Blog Post #3:
by Judith B. Shields
It’s been my honor to join the #MyWritingProcess blog hop. The previous week’s blog was by ANTHA ANN ADKINS’ BLOG.
What is #MyWritingProcess? It is a blog-hop that is currently being done by Authors across the internet. We’re answering four basic questions then passing it to fellow authors/screenwriters/poets. This is a great way to explore how other writers approach creativity & their wordcraft.
What am I working on?
Currently I’m working on the final edits for a New Adult manuscript called Twice Reborn—a Vampire’s Story.
My previous work, Frankenstein’s Monster a steampunk manuscript based on Shelley’s masterpiece, has been completed as a film.
I put this question before the next because there is a story behind it. As a cross-genre author and screenwriter, I have an eclectic group of writing interests: Sci-Fi, historical fiction, fantasy, YA. However, my rule is that anything I write must have a moral theme.
What’s unique about this story is that I wrote this during the hardest days of my life—a period when I felt I had nothing. Writing was a tool I used to explore, escape and give me hope. It was a walk of faith with God. Eventually, life surprised me in the most wonderful way. I was able to get out of that slump. Later, I had to put Twice Reborn on hold while I pursued my other life’s dream—filmmaking.
Why a story about vampires? Doesn’t everyone write about vampires? I believe vampires are the new western. As long as markets are still struggling, as long as people are curious about fantasy, there will be those who like the genre. I was challenged by an agent to write a vampire story and I took up the challenge. Afterall, this was during a moment of my life that I was close to giving up all of my dreams. This gave me a new goal and distracted me from my worries. I usually shy from horror (although I can write suspense), but I was okay exploring the vampire theme because of Dracula and the spiritual aspect written within that classic novel. I told myself that if I tackled this project, the story would focus on the spiritual aspect of vampirism.
I have other finished manuscripts on the back burner: a western, a historical Christian fiction, a futuristic cyberpunk piece…but this is the one I wish to release first because of the timing and my desire to grab the attention of a young audience.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Unlike many other vampire stories, it’s not all about the blood. Well, there IS blood. Yes there is violence, but biting is not the main point of vampirism in my tale. Twice Reborn asks a simple question: what if vampires lose their soul? A spiritual change happens to the vampire, he reacts to the world around religious items, monks respond to his presence. The question becomes—does a vampire become such a monster that he no longer cares if he loses his soul?
The story’s pace pulls a reader forwards and it has been described as “cinematic” in its storytelling. Do not expect many lines of inner monologue, a romance story, or sweeping multipage descriptions. Actions, characterization and dialogue are the main focus of this book.
How does my writing process work?
I typically write my first draft by hand. I’m starting to shy from that, but much of what I do is written and charted out. I type the second draft from what I’ve written—making sure to elaborate, explore, find a better way to share the story.
During my days off, I join a local writer’s group in the mornings. We sit at a coffee shop and type for 40 minutes before resting/talking for 10. We do this for 3-4 hours, 4 days a week. We do not edit each other’s work. If I can’t meet with them I will write at home. I have a desk in front of a large window with a view of some palms and a rose bush. Pandora’s set to classical music, film/video game scores or even rock. If I’m really missing writing next to my “coffee-writer” friends, I’ll light an espresso scented candle. Sometimes I’ll drive to the sea and watch the sailboats or go to a small meditation chapel to find peace and center myself.
I have two critique groups. The newest one I joined edits each other’s work every month/twice a month. The other group focuses on one writer every week—so it takes about 6-9 weeks for each writer to share his work. Both groups are good and the writers have different backgrounds. One group is full of sci-fi and horror writers; the other group is full of literary writers. It’s surprising how their backgrounds influence what they look for in a work.
Beta readers are important. I’ve been blessed with three beta readers who have strong educational backgrounds in writing. I take their advice with a grain of salt and they give me honest and valuable feedback. Actually, they help me in other ways critique groups cannot because they are able to read everything at once instead of a chapter at a time.
I hire both an editor and proofreader. The proofreader is important when you are self-published. Self-published writers are often criticized if there is a lack of editing in their work. Beta readers and critique groups do close to the same thing as an editor, although an editor may understand markets better.
Finally, I read. A lot. However, I do not read anything that’s fiction when I first write a new plot or a second draft. I do this to have my work uniquely separate and to maintain my writer’s voice.
General Words of Advice:
Go for it! If you want to write—do not give up! Twice Reborn has taken me three years to complete. Some works can take much longer or shorter. If someone doesn’t like your work, that doesn’t mean no one will like it. Put yourself in the hands of your higher power. For me it’s Jesus and for me He helps. But no matter what your faith, do not be alone. Community, friendship, family, volunteerism—these are important parts of life. Embrace those who go forwards with you as you live your life. It makes the world full.
In all things: peace, love, and hope.
Thank you for reading my blog! Please check out my official website at JudithBShields.com
Next week’s #MyWritingProcess will be Gibson Michaels and Dianna Mills.
Gibson Michaels, a retired Technical Instructor, has forsaken the joys of traveling the world and routine household chores to finally surrender to the voices in his head and launch his second career as an author. Arc-Flash Publishing is scheduled to release his debut novel, STORM CLOUDS GATHERING in August, 2014. SCG is the first book in Michael’s SENTIENCE Trilogy.
Donna Maloy is working on fantasy and paranormal fiction for teens, tweens and young adults. She’s also written twenty-five produced plays for children and teens. As her alter ego, Dianna Mills, she is working to ready several suspense-filled adult romances for self-publication. Check out her blog about writing at TangledWords.com.