My Writing Process is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors. I’ve been invited to participate by the funny and talented James Beamon. You can find his answers to the questions here: fictigristle.wordpress.com.
You can find my answers to the questions below.
What am I working on?
Last year, I had yet another short story idea expand into a novel. I knew that was happening early on in the process, so I used my version of the snowflake method to plan it out, and I have a plan down to a list of chapters and scenes. However, said plan does not stop me from writing whole chapters of additional material when I realize I need it – which I just did. I’m now on chapter 11 out of 21 (unfortunately, my word count is not yet at half a novel, but I’ve got some content that I need to fill in later), and I’m trying to keep my momentum going and finish it this year.
Meanwhile, a number of short story ideas are rattling around in my head. I’m trying to keep them quiet long enough to finish the novel. Gags and muzzles may be required.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I’m more inclined to think about utopias than dystopias, and my take on even the darkest subjects is likely to be light. I am an eternal optimist, a glass-half-full kinda gal. I’m also an engineer by profession, so my take on things tends to be “how can we fix this” and “how can we make this better” more than “everything sucks”. So all hell may be breaking loose around my characters, but my emphasis will be on how to fix it, not on how bad hell is.
I wish I could claim that I was funny; the best I can say is that I’m working on it. Writing humor is very challenging.
Why do I write what I do?
I am fascinated by space travel and the idea of alien life (hence the title of this blog). Science fiction is a natural fit.
How does my writing process work?
When I start a new project, I start a document I call the project “journal”. I use this document to discovery-write various aspects of the story: the plot outline, character names, the world I’m writing about, etc. If the project grows to novel length, I follow a modified snowflake method to plan it. I also doodle a lot and have a sketchbook where I draw maps and building layouts and spaceships and aliens and whatever else I need to “see” before I can write the story. I write the story itself in a different file. Once I hit “the end”, I still have a checklist I follow to edit the story. Once I’m sure there’s nothing I can improve, I send it to my real-world writing friends and my online critique group (critters.org, which I have gotten a lot of mileage out of) so I can learn that there is, in fact, a lot I can improve. I wait until I’ve gotten all their comments, make a list of my responses to their comments, and implement my list. Then it’s a last pass with my editing checklist, and I’m ready to start submitting. Through all of this, I keep a log of how much time I’ve spent writing and how many words I’ve written per day.
So those are my answers, but every writer is different! You can find answers to the same questions from two other members of the Houston SFF Meetup group at the links below next week.
Dominick D’Aunno, MD, was born in New York and now lives in Houston, Texas. He is an Internal Medicine physician with a subspecialty in Space Medicine and Physiology. He was a NASA and US Air Force flight surgeon and a research physician-scientist at NASA JSC, focusing on cardiovascular adaptation to short and long duration space flight. He is also interested in immune function and extreme environments, and bone and mineral metabolism in microgravity. He currently provides primary medical care for adults and adolescents with autism/mental retardation and children in CPS custody. He writes science fiction and fantasy, and enjoys giving lectures and workshops about writing. You can find his blog at: www.dominickdaunno.com.
Judith B. Shields is a cross-genre filmmaker, screenwriter and author for historical, sci-fi, light fantasy and New Adult topics. In the fable tradition, her goal is to publish stories with a moral ending. Her website is www.judithbshields.com; her blog is judithbshields.wordpress.com.
Be sure to stop by and read their answers next week!