Writing Process Blog Tour

Lately I’ve been late a lot. This isn’t normal. I’m the person pacing the block before your party. I pad my padded time, leaving 15 minutes early before I go anywhere. I will spare you the excuses. But it naturally it falls that I’ve been going to publish writing process blog sharing thing for some time now. I was tagged by VP classmate (and writer of some pretty terrific YA), Nicole Lisa and I’m passing the baton onto once of my very favorite creatives, Jill Seidenstein.


As soon as a recent dose of “Life” removes its heel from my windpipe, I’ll get back to my new novel — a tale of Cassandra and Cressida as they find themselves amidst a near future, post-pandemic Trojan War set in the New West.

Even though I’ve been anxious about getting to the writing part, having a longer time to think about my characters before I dive in isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I write quickly when I know where I’m going. When I don’t I meander and start down roads I inevitably abandon. While I’m dealing with “life”, I can use my downtime to mentally explore Cassandra and Cressida so that they are lifelike and natural when I finally put them on the page.


My work straddles the line between literary and genre fiction, almost to the point of being unclassifiable. The fantasy elements in my latest novel-in-progress will be barely there (Cassandra is a seer, but I haven’t added any other magical sorts of elements *yet*). However, I am dealing with mythology and a culture with a deep reverence for god(s). My writing explores the facets of friendship and family and love and hate and home as if they were all a part of the same gem — in my experience, they are.


We retell stories over and over. As a novelist, I find myself interested in the characters I feel haven’t had their say, to shine a light in dark corners. As a short story writer, I want to share an image, a moment, a breath of truth — that moment when the light floods into a room (regardless of whether it’s a serious room or a zany one). I read in order to feel those moments and I want to give those moments back to my readers, too.


For short stories, I usually have a sentence or two I’ve jotted down for an idea. Once I’m ready to really work said idea, I usually bang out a story in one or two sittings (any more and it’s likely the idea wasn’t as fantastic as I’d originally thought). I am a writer who needs to rest her words. I go through the resulting drafts once a week for three weeks for developmental edits and a final editing pass for typos in order to try to catch any boisterous awkwardness & errata.

As a novelist, I’m not much of an outliner, though I do enjoy drawing big maps in crayon and sketching characters on my office whiteboard. I typically jot down the high points of my characters’ arcs in a big notebook, but detailed outlining makes my prose fairly dull. (I have friends who flourish under that same model, so I’m not saying it’s wrong, just not my cuppa.) I sit down and read my progress on my kindle or printed pages — somewhere new and without distractions — in order to gut check where I’m going. I have a writing group and some trusted critique partners to look over things and give me honest feedback, without pulling punches. I also like to workshop formally and will look for those opportunities when they align.

Thanks, again, to Nicole for tagging me in this very fun exercise. I know you’ll all enjoy Jill’s take on things over at Slowbloom!


Up in the Air

I’m writing from one of my favorite places, an airplane somewhere between San Francisco and Salt Lake. For the past six weeks, I’ve stepped out of my own life to help my family. I won’t say it’s been rosebuds and cherries. It’s been tears and new chapters and torn pages and hurt feelings and sore necks and shoulders. But the project is winding down. I’m headed back to Montana tonight to collect my things, say my goodbyes, and take one of the dogs home with me to Seattle.

I’m slushing for an exciting anthology focusing on sense of place. Moving my grandmother from one home to another — neither of which have ever been my home — makes me homesick for my own little house in Seattle in a way I had not known possible. When Adam brought a couple of dresses for last weekend’s wedding, I could smell the house on them — smoke but not smoke, plants but not plants, soil, wood, the particular combination which makes our home ours.

It’s a particularly good time to read these stories as my soul reaches out for the chance to say, yes, friend. I feel that too.