Habits, Life Update, Writing

Blogging on Tour: My Writing Process

So, technically I was suppose to post this on Wednesday, but I just feel weird posting things on days that aren’t Monday without a punishment involved. It’s like punishing myself for not having done anything. At any rate, here we are now: a blog tour! I was tagged in this lovely blogified chain letter by the insightful and ridiculously hard-working Anne Bean, fellow member of the blog pact and all-around badass. It’s come to me with weirdly appropriate timing, as just yesterday I had a short story accepted for publication for the FIRST TIME EVER. STORY. GUNNA BE PUBLISHED. GUNNA GET PAID. Only like $20, but STILL. (Details forthcoming)

So let’s talk about my writing process.

By Luisale (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

1) What are you working on?

Aside from this blog, my two main works-in-progress are a short story about dragons and a musician, and a longer story (possibly a novella?) about con artists in the 1920s finding love amid a whole lot of theft, arson and murder. The former has been kicking around for a while–I’ve gone through three different drafts so far, but I think I finally figured out what it was missing and how to make the plot timing work. Of course, I think that every draft, so who knows. I’m hoping to have it finished before I leave for San Diego on Wednesday, because I want to submit it to a specific journal submission call.

The possibly-novella is more of a long-haul project. I currently have three separate library books on various topics checked out as background research, and I’m having a devil of a time plotting out all three main characters’ internal arcs. It’s squirrelly, but I think in the end it will be worth it. Plus, it means I get to listen to a lot of 20s and 20s-inspired music while working on it, and that much Miss Fisher soundtrack is never a bad thing.

There are a couple other, minor/future projects simmering in places, but nothing so concrete as the two mentioned above, so I’ll just let those remain a mystery for now.

2) How does your work differ from others’ in the same genre? 

I’m not sure I have enough finished pieces to say I have any particular style, but I’ve definitely noticed patterns in the types of stories I want to tell. They tend to be very interested in prying open characters’ heads and exploring what, exactly, made them do the batshit insane things people always do. My stories are inspired by the obsessions I see in other people, news stories, weird bits of psychology, fairytales that make absurd leaps and yet somehow still make sense–the gaps where I can’t know exactly what other people are motivated by, but I can try to imagine it. I’m interested in finding the logic behind seemingly irrational behavior.

3) Why do you write what you do?

Curiosity, mostly, as stated above. Writing is how I unravel the world for myself. If I can then thread those bits back together into a story that means something, even better, but mostly it’s about taking people apart. Plus, it’s just good, clean fun, and I like to make people laugh.

4) How does your writing process work?

Oh, gosh, it’s all over the place. Mostly I begin with jumping straight into the middle and writing whatever comes to mind until I latch on to a story that interests me. Sometimes the whole thread comes out all together and only needs minor tweaks, but more often I end up writing multiple drafts, from scratch, sometimes with extensive outlines. It really varies, but I’m definitely a 20-drafts-before-it’s-rough kind of writer. That’s probably why I like flash fiction so much–the size is more manageable when you do as many complete re-writes as I do.

I also prefer writing by hand, at least for the initial creating process. It’s a lot easier to focus in on what I’m writing without the internet to distract me, and I can always use my phone if I need to look something up. Music also plays a huge role. I try to find something that matches what I’m writing atmospherically, but doesn’t have any English lyrics, or any lyrics at all. For example, the previously-mentioned dragon story is largely soundtracked by a Mongolian folk music band called Egschiglen. It all gets typed up–every draft–but for the actual writing part it’s just easier for me to do it in a notebook.


I was probably suppose to ask people to do this in advance, but since I’m just breaking rules today, instead I’m going to tag two people I know who both write and blog, and then gush about them profusely in hopes of guilting them into doing this blog tour anyway. They are:

Emily Kimble

I have counted Emily among my best friends for a long time, and she continues to be well worthy of the title. Aside from being an all-around excellent human being, she’s also an inventive writer with a taste for meta and a writing work ethic like you’ve never seen. To be honest, really I’m just tagging her in this because I want to see what she says about her epic writing project, which I have not yet been allowed to read but lust after on a regular basis. You can read about her reading at Curses! Books! and find her on Twitter at @myrioddity.

Robin Jeffrey

Robin is a friend of mine from college, where we co-ran a writing group called Write Away!, which mostly involved answering prompts and gushing about Doctor Who. Now, she runs a small twitter empire, and posts regular short fiction on her blog, Simple Complexities. Not only is she a fantastic writer on her own merit, but she’s generous with her inspiration, dishing it out to others whenever possible. Follow her on Twitter for regular prompts: @TheSidekick.

Yours in progress,
M.M. Jordahl

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” -Mark Twain

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