The Writing Process Blog Hop

I was nominated to participate in this blog hop by K.C. Finn, a brilliant author who managed to get two of her books on my Favorite Reads list over the last year – The Book of Shade was the first to hit my list and The Mind’s Eye followed not too long after. I really must find time to crack open her Caecilius Rex series, too, but I need to focus on the main point of this post… my writing.

My Writing Process

keyboard smash

What am I working on right now?

I have two books partially written, but my focus is strictly on my untitled post-apocalyptic zombie novel. Is it just me or is coming up with a title the worst part of the writing process? I dislike it as much as most authors’ aversion to writing blurbs. I began writing this untitled piece the most recently of the two. The other book is a paranormal mystery that I started in 2012. I’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day, but you know… never say never and all that jazz.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While the horror and post-apocalyptic genres are flooded with an overwhelming amount of stories, some great and some not, I believe that each new cast of characters provides a new perspective to the post-apocalyptic world. I embed a portion of my soul into the development of my characters and the decaying world around them, and I hope that readers will be able to recognize that. While I may be only one snowflake in the middle of a post-apocalyptic blizzard, I am unique and so my stories shall be too.

Why do I write what I write?

I am obsessed with a post-apocalyptic world. And zombies, of course. My twisted mind is always conjuring up “what if” scenarios and most of those ideas end up on paper. I write what I write because it’s what pours from my mind and out through my fingers.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process is still a work in progress of its own. I really considered myself a “pantser” for the longest time, but after a while I realized something significant. When I do what most people have told me to do over the years — Just write! — I get stuck easily. I end up hitting a wall and my WIP skulks off to a corner of my mind until it’s completely forgotten. With this book I am trying something new — planning.

I started out by putting every idea I had in my head for this story down on paper (well, not real paper, of course). I wrote until I got stuck, like I used to, but instead of tossing it aside I began writing character sheets, which helped me get to know each one of my characters intimately. I also set up a brainstorming board to jot down random possibilities, even if it’s something that pops into my head as I’m falling asleep. I learned quickly that I will NOT remember these ideas in the morning, no matter how much I swear I will. Both of those new aspects of my writing process have helped me further the story in ways I never imagined. Why haven’t I been doing that all along? I could have written several books by now if I had tried that years ago! Everything happens for a reason, I guess. I am also going to take a crack at crafting a timeline in the very near future. So, that’s where I’m at — trying to navigate this writing vessel down a path of least resistance with a most favorable outcome. Wish me luck!

first drafts

Meet the talented folks I nominated to carry on this hop!

sarah lyons fleming

My first novel, UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD, is a mixture of post-apocalyptic, zombie, women’s and suspense fiction. I’m currently working on the sequel, AND AFTER.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, I now live in Oregon with my family and, in my opinion, not nearly enough supplies for the zombie apocalypse.
But I’m working on it.

Sarah’s Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Staci Hart

Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom; she has three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife; even though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f, ends with k, and there a uc in there. Just saying. From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s sleeping, cleaning, or designing graphics. But let’s be honest, she’s mostly writing.

Staci’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Pauline Creeden

In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. Her books have hit #1 on the Amazon Bestseller List and Armored Hearts won the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Award in Historical Fiction. First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal is her first mystery. It’s a dark urban fantasy and will be released March 31, 2014.

Pauline’s Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

You can catch their posts at their blogs on April 21st!

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Follower of Jesus, loving wife, homeschooling mom, blogger, author, gamer, and a lover of the culinary arts. Toni lives in Michigan with her husband and four children. If she's not writing or curled up with a book, you'll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies.
  • Becky Stephens

    I can’t wait to read your stories, Toni.

  • K.C. Finn

    So interesting to see your process developing and once again I find myself desperate to read this book of yours!

    • I’ll admit I’m a bit nervous about you reading it, Kim!

      • K.C. Finn

        Don’t be silly! I read your extract and I KNOW you have talent. You can send me anything anytime if you want advice too πŸ™‚

  • I nearly fell off my chair laughing at the gif, especially when that eyeball flops around like it’s on a rubberband! I wish you much success with your post-apocalyptic and your paranormal mystery! πŸ˜€

    • I saw that gif and just couldn’t pass it up! I still laugh when I see it. Thank you so much, Lexa πŸ™‚

  • Sarah Lyons Fleming

    I too can’t wait to read your books! I think the board is a great idea, especially since some thoughts can be so fleeting. I write them in Notes on my phone before I can forget.

    And I love the “First drafts don’t have to perfect…” idea. Just get it out, whether by pantsing, outlining or what have you. Ugh, my first drafts are awful. Keep on truckin’. πŸ™‚

    • I can’t imagine your first drafts being awful, but I’m glad to hear that all authors struggle at times and I’m not totally in over my head.

      The “First drafts” button is a reminder for myself because I tend to write and edit at the same time.

  • It is ready now? How about now? Now? Maybe now? Can’t wait!

  • Lets’ be each other’s beta readers! It sounds awesome and the amount you read, you’re gonna know what’s needed in this genre! The gif game me tummy ache from laughing! lol!

    shahwharton.com

    • Sounds like a plan! I’m glad you liked the gif.. I still laugh when I see it, too. πŸ™‚

  • I’m so geeked to see how this blog hop is carrying on! I was nominated a month or so ago. AND I love, love, love your entry..and your graphic is to die for..and then you can come back as a zombie of course! Thanks for sharing.

    • It is pretty amazing how long this has been going. I didn’t realize it until I was nominated and looked further into it. Yes, I can absolutely come back as a zombie — but then my fellow apocalypse-obsessed friends will put me right back down. Haha! Thank you so much for stopping by, Elizabeth. Do you have a link to your post? I’d love to read it!

      • Someone should archive a list of the stops and then forward it along when they pass the torch adding their own entry

        • Brilliant idea, Mike! Why couldn’t you be the one to start this whole thing? πŸ™‚

          • I’d probably have to have been a writer for that to work right. Aside from reviews (which is relatively new to me), any writing I do is just code, scripts, and awful descriptions for a text game.

            “I’d let you watch, I would invite you. But the queens we use would not excite you.”

  • Erin Hayes

    I’ll second the comments that I can’t wait to read your stories. Keep at it. You’ll be amazed what you can accomplish. xx

  • AuthorElizabethWyke

    What an insanely fun community writers get to share. So fun to connect with a fellow panster turned plotster. I can attest, drafts certainly get written quicker when choosing the latter…I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing. Then again, I’ve also heard it said, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” -Louis L’Amour…. so when even the best plot is stuck in the mud, a good ol’ pants session is sure to help! And even if you scrap it the next day, you’re no further behind than if you’d have just taken the day off…

    • That is an excellent saying, and very good advice. Thank you so much. I always get pumped up after reading comments like this (and the previous comments below) from other authors! Pep talks really light a fire under my rear. πŸ™‚

  • I’m working on turning myself from a pantser into a plotter, and though it’s a lot of fun to be known as a pantser, it isn’t working for me, either. I know where you’re coming from with having to jot things down or else you forget. No matter how many times I tell myself I will remember, I don’t, so I use the notes app on my iPhone to jot down those ideas, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time. This post gives me some great ideas, Toni! πŸ™‚