Blog Hop – My Writing Process

Hi Folks,

We’re having a brief interlude in Scarlet’s Web today because I was asked by the lovely Jonathon Fletcher to participate in a writing process blog hop.

Below are four questions and my answers about my writing process. Beneath them is a link to Jon’s blog where you can read his answers to the same questions. I’ve tagged another great writer, Kela Lewis-Morin and will add a link to his blog when I have it later. Please check them out once you’ve read this.

Without more ado…

reflected birds

1. What am I working on?

I’ve been working on the next story for the blog. The Life Without Tumblr series has lasted six months and come to almost a hundred episodes, so it’s time for something new. It’s tentatively titled The 13th Rose.

Every morning, the Flower Seller leaves his chambers in the Flights and travels to earth. He sets up his stall on Embankment and waits. Every day he meets his one customer, to whom he sells a bunch of twelve red roses and gifts one extra. His subject has already been chosen for him. His task is to pull that person away from the edge and save their soul, regardless of what state it’s in. For some the choice means life and death, for others, lies and deceit.

But this week isn’t going well. If he doesn’t hit his quota, he’ll get banished and what’s worse, the Father is coming to visit on Sunday.

One by one our characters are introduced and one by one, they make their choice. Come the end of the week, everything changes and the world as we know it will cease to exist. Who will still be standing to take their place in the wreckage?

It’s part character study, part zombie apocalypse, part fantasy. The usual mash up and so far, great fun to write.

In terms of editing, I’m mid-re-edit on The Spirit Room while the third book in The Assembly trilogy is with my editor. I’m tidying up the language and refining it more than anything. I’m also formatting the ebook and print editions of A Game of War seasons One and Two in time for late May release.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Hopefully the answer above gives you some clues to this one. My favourite reading genre has always been fantasy first and foremost, with science fiction and horror close behind. My favourite TV and movie genres have always been Urban Fantasy and Zombies/Horror. I’m a huge comic fan and have been all my life.

These genres all fit together so well, I couldn’t figure out why they shouldn’t be combined. So my Epic Fantasy assassin trilogy, ‘The Assassin Cycle’, features zombies, and my epic fantasy ‘1000 Hours’ features characters with super powers. My modern-day-magician series, ‘The Broken Circle’ has goblins running around London and The Assembly Series features superheroes, alien invasion and the world’s greatest magicians.

Aside from the genre-splicing, I’m hooked on characters and always have been. My aim is to create characters within fantasy that affect the reader as much as those in any other genre, something I feel has been missing in many of the books I’ve read growing up. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’m working hard on it.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write because I love to write and love to tell stories. I write what I write because I love the freedom and the escapism. Growing up, fantasy gave me new worlds in which to exist; an escape from real life and all it entailed. I get that in most books I read, but fantasy was always an especially exciting prospect because you didn’t know where you were escaping to. Plus, of course, dragons. And swords. And zombies.

Why content yourself with writing ‘person A travels to place 1, meets person B on the way and they fall in love’, when you can write ‘person A travel to place 1, finds the sword of Danelar, meets person B who turns out to have magic powers. Together they defeat the Witch King of Shail and fall in love’?  Maybe it’s just me, but I know which I’d rather read and write.

being creative is not a hobby

4. How does my writing process work?

I’ve been working on this a lot in the last year or so. I’ve read countless blogs that tell me to plan and outline and so forth, so I’ve tried, in various ways. However, my basic process has stayed the same. I sit at my computer, open a new Scrivener project and start typing. I will have nothing in my brain. In fact, the emptier it is the better.

By the end of the first page I’ll have a character, maybe a place and some questions.

By the end of the first chapter, I’ll have the answers to those questions in my head and lots more I can’t answer.

By about five thousand words, I’ll have a world. My protagonist will have an aim, some baggage and if they’re really lucky, some friends. They’ll also have an antagonist.

By, hopefully, twenty to thirty thousand words, I’ll have an ending in my head. I’ll also know whether the book is standalone or part of a series/trilogy.

there's nothing to writing

That’s the process. From there till the end I put my head down and write. I try to write my first draft as quick as possible in order to stay in the flow, so I’ll average 25-30,000 words a week and bash it out in three to four weeks.

I then put it in the drawer with the rest and let it sit. When I come to edit, I read it cover to cover. If it still excites me, I begin to pull it apart and make it work. If it doesn’t, it goes in the virtual bin of ‘useful things I might use one day but probably won’t but can’t bear to throw away’. :)

I don’t ever take a break from writing, so in the last fifteen months, since I started writing seriously, I’ve clocked up around twelve books and a bunch of novellas and short stories. The real positive about this is that it stops me being too precious about my work. I don’t feel I have to use everything and it has to really stand out to make it to the editing stage. Now if I only had a bit more time…

we rarely know where we are going

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little dip into my writing life, do pop over now and check out Jon’s blog on GoodReads for more writing related goodies. It’s interesting how different our processes are to achieve the same end goal.

I’ve tagged @KelaLewisMorin…link to his post on Deviant Art coming later.

Thanks so much for reading. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on my process or would like to share your own. Scarlet’s Web will return on Wednesday, when she’ll finally meet the Council…

Interview with Saffron Bryant, Fantasy Author…and Pirate

 

PirateSaff

I am delighted to welcome to the blog fantasy author, blogger (and Pirate) Saffron Bryant.

Saffron has a fascinating background and is an incredibly driven author.

Today’s post is an interview to find out a little more about the lovely lady and her latest novel.

Get in touch with Saffron:

On Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, via her Website, or blog.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your books. 

Well, I’m a 22 year old Australian and a fantasy fanatic. I’ve been reading books such as Tolkien and Raymond E. Fiest since I was about 10 years old. I have a dragon collection which would put Daenerys to shame and of course a Lord of the Rings ring.

Along with reading came writing, I first started writing stories at about 5 years old and it’s grown on from there. There is of course more to me; a biomedical degree (which is going a long way to helping me write my new sci-fi series), a brain tumour (which you can read all about with a simple Google search) and much more, but I won’t bore you with that here!

In 2011 I finished The Fallen Star; a fantasy novel that I felt was ready to be released. So in 2012 I self-published and haven’t looked back. Last month saw the release of my second novel in The Lost Child Saga; The Herald of Darkness.

Both novels are high fantasy and would be enjoyed by any fan of Tolkien. To give you a bit of a taste, here is the blurb for The Herald of Darkness:
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“I am the one who walks the night,
I am the heart that sees no light,
I am the crow upon the carcass,
I am the bringer, the herald of darkness.

Like the calm before the storm the Draconum are thrust from their peaceful oasis into a vicious war. Refugees flood the shores in a desperate attempt to escape the coming darkness and the death it carries.

Allies become enemies and trust becomes a things of the past. Laila and Sarin must wrestle to maintain control as racial tensions and disputes threaten to tear apart their command.

The dragons struggle in a strange new land and no place is safe as the very shadows reach for their throats. What is it about their past which comes back to haunt them?

Astrocytes tries to contain an army which is bent on its own destruction. But how do you find the light in a world consumed by darkness?

The clouds are gathering and no-one can outrun them…”

 

What is it that draws you to writing fantasy?

Fantasy has always held a special place with me. I couldn’t say exactly what it is; perhaps that sense of being somewhere else, or perhaps glimpsing just for a second the possible.

The thing I love most about writing fantasy is letting my imagination run wild… one part of my brain will be like ‘wow wouldn’t that be cool,’ meanwhile the other part is already writing it down.

Who are your favourite fantasy authors and why?

Obviously Tolkien is a favourite- let’s face it, he’s pretty much the reason that fantasy as a genre is the way it is.

Stephen King- I just finished the Dark Tower series and I have to say, I’ve never had a book have such a significant impact on the way I look at the world. People who have read it will know what I mean when I say it made me question everything… that suddenly I started seeing nineteen everywhere… People who haven’t read it… go and read it.

James Clavell – Ok, not fantasy but I absolutely LOVE his books.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your books?

Mostly it just comes from my imagination with chunks of reality thrown in. People who know me will recognise names or situations in my novels which are similar to real things although mostly it’s just my mind talking to itself.

Sometimes I throw little jokes in, which probably no one other than myself will get- but hey, it makes me laugh. For example, in Herald of Darkness one of the dragons is called Elsevier. So what? You say, it sounds like a perfectly good dragon name. Well it is, but it’s also the name of a major academic publisher, and a name I see EVERY day in my work… 😉

What would you say are the strong points/weak points of the fantasy genre when viewed as part of the larger literary world?

Ooo tough question. I think one of the strongest points is the sheer size and scope. Let’s face it, what is fantasy? It could include almost anything so in essence it could appeal to almost any person. The myriad of sub-genres attract a massive readership.

A weak point (which I personally don’t agree with), but which is commonly cited is its lack of ‘reality’. That people use it as a form of escapism. Personally I think that’s a pile of rubbish- like contemporary fiction literature is any more realistic? Ha! Don’t make me laugh.

If you could have written one fantasy book or saga, what would it be and why?

Lord of the Rings… then I could be cited as the mother of modern fantasy!! Jokes :) in reality probably Raymond Fiests’ epic (1 million books long) saga. They are just something else and it would be awesome to lay claim to them.

What do you feel are the top 3 traits needed to be a successful author…and do you have them?

  1. Discipline. I think that goes for an author in any genre. If you don’t have the discipline to sit in your chair and finish a novel, well there’s your career gone straight away. Discipline is something I can proudly say I have.
  2. Adaptability. Look at it this way, when you’re starting out you have a day job, your writing job and then your friends and family and everything that makes up the rest of your life. Somehow you have to try and juggle all of these different roles. Then once you’ve written a book you need to be able to market it (whether that is to publishers or to your readers). If your only skill is writing then you probably won’t be successful, unless you pay other people to do the rest for you of course. :) I’m learning to be adaptable, but it’s been tough!
  3. Social Skills. As with almost every profession or business, you need to be able to network. With agents, publishers, fellow authors, readers, whoever. If you can’t connect with people, people won’t want to connect with you. Personally I find this one of the hardest ones, like most people I thought being a writer was an excellent choice because I could lock myself in my study and never see another living soul… wrong!!

If you could have coffee with anyone, (living or dead) who would it be and what would you ask them?

Ooo another tough one. I think it would be George R. R. Martin… and I’d ask him two things:

a)     WHYYYYYYY??????

b)     How can I make my books so famous they make a HBO show based on them?

Where can people find out more about you and your work?

Saffron BryantI always like to talk to people, about almost anything but specifically; fantasy, sci-fi, science in general, the future of literature and books, art and marketing. So please, hit me up at any of the locations below!

On TwitterGoodreadsFacebook, via my Website, or blog.

Or head straight over to Amazon to get your copy of The Fallen Star or The Herald of Darkness.