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Jun 05 2014

The #amwriting #whywrite #process hop

The Writer’s Blog Hop

Mention the person who tagged you. Answer four questions. Tag three people.

(Those three do the same on their blog.)

 

My thanks to Lisa M. Lilly for tagging me in this hop.

 

Lisa M. Lilly is an attorney and author. She lives in Chicago, where she serves as vice president of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, a group dedicated to preventing DUI injuries and deaths. She has a novel entitled The Awakening.

 

 

1 – What am I working on now?

 

I’m supposed to be working? Wroot wroo, Shaggy…
Kidding.

 

I’m working on an epic fantasy with a strong female lead. I’m also revising Fractions of Existence (the first in my Existence book series). Apparently, moving most of my characters 80 miles may improve the story. We’ll see.

 

2 – How does my work differ from others its genre?

 

MY EXISTENCE BOOK SERIES

 

There has been a trend in recent book sales of dystopian or post-apocalyptic stories. As I read the Hunger Games and Divergent, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened before these stories. Divergent, for example, takes place in the ruins of Chicago. This new way of governing has come up. What happened to the old one? How did shy-town fall? This isn’t some little city with a population of less people than a NYC public high school! It was while reading books like this that I realized how my Existence book series is really different from others, especially in Urban Fantasy.

 

It’s different because I’m different. I suppose a fair amount of readers weren’t bothered not knowing how North America became a selection of Districts while they read about Katniss and her bow. On the other hand, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I didn’t just want to know how this came to be, I wanted to know what happened beforehand and if it was preventable.

 

Terminator Salvation (the fourth one) was an alright movie.

It is difficult to appreciate it without seeing the others.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the movie that gives John the most character.

 

For anyone who doesn’t know, in the second Terminator movie, the world is a place you already know. With the exception of some time traveling, there is little in the film that seems impossible, improbable, or unlikely. (And, really, even time travel isn’t that much of a stretch for most people to accept.)

 

When I wrote Fractions of Existence (the first in the series), I put the setting just a few years ago. (There is a reason for the dates selected.) The world is one the reader already knows. I put in my fantastic characters, which are disguised as people that a reader could believe to be among the population. The story of this group is not just about what will happen after a certain apocalyptic event. It isn’t even only about the event itself. The story is in how they come together, the mistakes that are made, and how the few who will survive manage to do it. (If only I could shove that in a query letter.)

 

I created the website what-are-they.com because that seems like the first and most obvious question the audience should ask. This is a Speculative Fiction series with an Urban Fantasy book. These city-dwelling main characters are not ordinary humans… so… what are they? But the better question, the one that may take a few books, will be, “what can I do to survive if this really happens?”

 

And that’s the rub. What I’ve written isn’t so impossible for most to believe. No, let me put that another way– good luck proving that I’ve written fiction.

 

Ha ha. Alright, I’m partly kidding. It is fiction, after all. Even if the characters and situations were true, the story comes from my head. The movie Titanic was fiction. Yes, there really was a ship, and it really did crash, and people really did die. A fictional story was woven in to the facts. It would be crazy to think that what I’ve written will happen.

 

You know what’s crazier? Three times so far, my fictional words came true.

 

 

THE EPIC FANTASY

 

I’m still working out how my fantasy story is different from others, exactly. There are little parts, of course, such as locations and creatures that others didn’t have. There’s the difference in how certain positions are given to people. It has a religion that I believe to be unique (since I made it up).

It’s also different because I used mostly “simple or common” names. (And yes, I have an actual reason to do so.) There are some excellent fantasy books out there with names in them that look like alphabet soup was used to select them. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just isn’t what I have done or intend to do. Perhaps I’ll be criticized by current epic fantasy lovers for not using such names.

Maybe my take on the elf or elf-like characters will draw as much attention and shock as Stephenie Meyer got for her take on certain vampires. (I’m alright with that, so long as I also get the $125 million.)

 

3 – Why do I write what I do?

 

Hang on, is this question implying that I have a choice???  😉

 

I write what I write because the characters in my head inspire me. They come alive in my mind and prove to me that they are worthy of my time and attention. It is a great deal of time, so they really need to do a song and dance if they expect to be on a page. (Alright, that’s why I can’t answer questions like that. I have two of them in my head right now doing a strip tease dance while singing… and one of them really can’t sing well, but is unaware of that reality.)

Now playing inside my head:

Perhaps this question also pushes the point of why don’t I write something else? I am in a class now where the instructor would like me to turn one of my fictional short stories into a non-fiction article. Essentially, I can keep all of the research, but I have to throw out the characters. I’m struggling with this. It has no soul. It’s a true piece, and it isn’t bad, but I no longer have any emotional attachment to it. Like a grocery list or a while-you-were-out memo, I just don’t care. I don’t think my voice is still in it. I’m certain that anyone could have written it. So what do I do now? Do I turn in this article? Do I fail the assignment by writing something that has passion instead? I played in the non-fiction world. I’m good at it. I don’t care. I have won awards for it, but I seldom mention them, for they mean little to me. An award for gathering information and aligning it in a way which someone could read and understand without being bored to death… thousands of people do that every day. A few find a flare for it (Barbara Walters, Katherine Boo, Walter Cronkite), probably because they have a passion for it. I do not. It could make me a million dollars and still not have my heart. Naturally, I will do the assignment, because I lack the gene or whatever that allows someone to defy a teacher. I’m curious about what others would do though:

 

 


4 – How does my writing process work?

 

I prefer to sit in silence and type.

 

Before the full story is on the pages, there will be numerous documents and spreadsheets of information. Dates, character information, inspiration, research on various facts, etc all get computer folders.

 

Then there is editing. Combing through the words to see what isn’t needed. Checking the sentences all enrich the character, provide necessary information, and/or move the plot forward. I’m rereading each scene for sensory details. Making sure every part is worthy of reading and has a clear and accomplished goal which is vital to the plot. Writing is comparatively easy and fun. Editing is the bear a writer need to fight for the last scrap of food.

 

The three people I am tagging:

 

@WriterJoMalby
Jo specializes in health and nutrition articles. She’s been a freelance journalist, a feature writer, a staff writer, and a ghostwriter.

@SpookyMrsGreen
Catherine is a published adult paranormal romance author.

@HarveyBurgess
Harvey is an award-winning journalist, former police officer, and a fiction writer. He is the author of Kiss Her Goodbye: A Houston Cash Novel – available on Amazon.

6 comments

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  1. Catherine Green

    Thank you for inviting me to play! My post will be up shortly…
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    1. J Lenni Dorner

      I look forward to that. 🙂
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  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    So you like to delve into the ‘what caused this moment to transpire?’ part of the story? The how did they get to this point part.
    You like to rock – awesome!
    Alex J. Cavanaugh has this post to share Star Wars Director News, Box Office, Movie Reviews, Writing Progress, and Ninja NewsMy Profile
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    1. J Lenni Dorner

      Yes indeed. 🙂
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  3. Medeia Sharif

    Cool song.

    I also wonder how civilization fell in dystopian novels. It’s described, but not in scene.
    Medeia Sharif has this post to share New Releases from T.B. Markinson and M. PaxMy Profile
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    1. J Lenni Dorner

      Glad that I’m not the only one!
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