My Writing Process Blog Tour Stop Post Meme Thingie

*gazes out at the unfamiliar faces*
*pulls fourth book on the bottom shelf*
*door slides open*

Hello! Welcome to my humble corner of the blogosphere. If you're here because of the "My Writing Process" blog tour, grab a comfy chair, be careful of low sconces and don't mind the bust on the mantle--he thinks he's funny.

This meme-tastic post is coming to you LIVE from Ellen Booraem, author of SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS, THE UNNAMEABLES and her newest novel, TEXTING THE UNDERWORLD, which is basically about this:

Perpetual scaredy-cat Conor O’Neill has the fright of his life when a banshee named Ashling shows up in his bedroom. Ashling is—as all banshees are—a harbinger of death, and she’s sure someone in Conor’s family is about to require her services. But she’s new at this banshee business, and first she insists on going to middle school.

Even as Conor desperately tries to hide her identity from his classmates and teachers, he realizes there’s no way to avoid paying a visit to the underworld if he wants to keep his family safe.

You can check out more insights about Ellen's books and how her brain works when you check out her website,

But right now we're here to talk about *process*--specifically, the writing process; specifically, mine. Take a teacup. Cream or sugar? Excellent. There are warm scones and chocolate ginger biscuits, if you'd like. Here's a fork--sorry, the pixies took the spoons again. Right. Here are 4 questions that might shed some light on the darker tetrahedrons of my mind:

1) What am I working on?

Having finished the rough draft for Book 3 of the Twixt series, which is currently undergoing an alias change, I am now working on the outline for Book 4, INVINCIBLE. Or at least that's what I keep telling my editor. Really what my brain is doing is playing catch-can with some time going to brainstorming the latest chapter of Joy, Ink, Inq, Graus Claude, Monica, Filly, Briarhook and the Cabana Boys, but also time-sharing with 3 other ideas including a near-future sci-fi book about gender, a murder mystery cloaked with Jewish mysticism & (*gasp*) a contemporary YA novel! My brain, it is verklempt! Honestly, it's enough to make anyone a tad mental.

Please do tell me if that portrait blinks again. Thank you.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmm. Well, if there's one thing I've noticed about my reviews, both good and bad, is that my work is almost always described as "unique." I'd like to think of it as a compliment, as in "Wow! I've never read anything quite like this!" rather than "Wow! What the heck is this?!?" But bottom line: I like to take old myths and stories that have a toehold in our cultural realities and give them a good twist ala the Brothers Grimm, Guillermo del Toro or Hayao Miyazaki. I like turning things on their heads, mixing stuff up and changing rants--the things I'm most passionate about--into stories. Basically, I love to write the books I wish I could read, which tend to be dark, strange, quirky, dramatic, a little funny, a little thoughtful, very inclusive and cinematically beautiful.

I guess that makes me a little bit different.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Um...because that's the way my brain is wired? Next question!

4) How does my writing process work?

Ah. Now here's where things get interesting. I can shed a bit more light on my process now that I'm actually *in* it right now!

First, I have a "What If...?" question in mind, something that came to me as a character or a bit of dialogue or a place in the world that doesn't really exist and I write that down (since often these things come to me at inconvenient times including sleeping, driving or in the middle of writing something else at the time)! Next I follow the lead, filling in bits of scenes or things that will happen as we get from the Point A (the first spark of an idea) to Point Z (the end). I always know how the story is going to end, but often find that I cut the first 1-3 chapters as I get to know the characters, the world and the situation. It's more my introduction to my story than the real introduction to the book. (I'm not as smart as my readers!)

Next it's all about sitting down and writing. An ideal writing day goes like this: Wake up, Get kids ready for school, Drive. On the way home, I'm already thinking about what I'm going to write so that I'm geared up for the keys right when I walk in the door. If I'm lucky (and being disciplined), I sit down and write. I will write for hours and lose track of the time until either I have to a) eat lunch or b) go work out. (Karate is my drug of choice!) Then either I go back to writing, address errands, take a shower, do some other work--anything that I can and have to do on my own gets down first; things like dishes and laundry can be done when the kids are in residence but this is Quality Writing Time and I know what a precious commodity that is! Once school is over, I revert to Mom-mode and my focus is there until I tuck them into bed. This is when I used to be able to sit down and write for another 3 hours, but ever since the accident, I have found that I'm unable to keep that pace any longer and usually have to sleep. But still--I have a notebook on the nightstand and every once in a while I'm struck with something I *have* to write down and if a few scribbles aren't enough, I'm back up at my desk typing.

I write roughly 2,000-3,000 words a day and do so in total silence. I find that no matter how hip I'd like to be, music, cafes, coffeehouses, parks, moving objects or interesting people are way too shiny and distracting (SQUIRREL!) and I get no writing done. In fact, writing dates and retreats are more a time I treasure being with other fascinating, creative people as opposed to getting any actual writing done so, Word Count-wise, they are a total disaster. A terrible fate for an extrovert! Thus, I find myself often alone at a quiet computer and then needing to recharge at art shows, mad parties, writer's conventions and festivals in full costume. We do what we must. Lather, rinse, repeat at least five days a week for roughly 6 months until I have something vaguely book-shaped that I put aside for 4-6 weeks to think about what it's done before I crack it open and begin self-editing by reading the whole thing aloud (another reason why I must be alone and in quiet) before allowing anyone else to tear it twelve ways from Sunday. My rule is that at least 3-5 people who are not related to me by blood, marriage or friendship must rip it apart first before any official eyes see it. I find that this helps it be the best it can be before I send it off with a sigh and wave.

And start all over again with the next bright & shiny idea!

Thus, my take on the writing process. Um, you're drooling. Have another napkin. Did this help you? Or at least made you feel more sane and secure in your own methodology? I fear I should have begun this tour with a sign:

Yes. That's better.

So I'll add a concluding bit of advice that I've shared with all my critique groups and partners: *ahem* "You are the author, you know best--take what you want & leave the rest." If anything I shared here helps you, wonderful! If not, that's okay and look for another nugget of brilliance in the next stop along the way: one of my favorite fantasy writer friends, Maurissa Guibord, author of WARPED and REVEL!

Maurissa Guibord is a doctor, a writer, a cancer survivor (2 years, yay!) and insatiable story addict who lives on the coast of Maine. She loves books almost as much as she loves bookish friends. She's the author of two novels for young adults: WARPED, (Delacorte Press, 2011) which was a Rita award finalist for best young adult romance and REVEL (Delacorte Press, 2013). She has also written and published a number of short stories in the mystery genre. She’s currently working on her third novel for teens.

Twitter: @Maurissa_G

Look for her Writing Process Blog Stop Meme Thingie post about on June 12th at

Thanks for stopping by & you're always welcome to come again or visit me at:

Twitter: @dawnmetcalf

*offers you another cookie*
*kicks baby dragon back discretely behind the curtain*


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