The lovely Rory Ni Coileain messaged me and asked if I wouldn't mind being tagged for an ongoing blog hop. I just met Rory recently at Rainbow Con in Tampa, shared a hot tub with her and sat on a panel with her about religion in genre fiction (hot tub and panel did not occur simultaneously.) And if those aren't bonding experiences, I don't know what is. How could I say no?
What am I working on? I'm finally down to two WIP's right now, which makes me feel less frantic. I'm not good with several works rattling around my brain at once. The focus for the next month and a half is on No Fae Is An Island, the fourth Endangered Fae book in which Diego returns from exile, parts of the world have major issues with magic users, and Theo the vampire decides to play hero.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? There are a couple of ways to look at this question. I do write genre fiction, science fiction and fantasy, but I'm also writing, to some extent, romance, and I'm also writing, much of the time, M/M fiction. When you write sub-sub genres, and sometimes sub-sub-sub genres, (e.g. the M/M Science Fiction Fairytale) you're work is already different, a little off center. I write dark things sometimes, but don't enjoy the overload of pages upon pages of internal angst one often finds in romance. I write humor but don't like a story that's over the top slapstick, non stop funny. I like a good story. I like surprises. I like to throw odd things in the recipe.
Why do I write what I do? Because I can't write anything else. That's a rather glib answer to a complicated question, sorry. Why do I write SFF? Those are the genres I've loved from childhood. Sure, I read other fiction - mysteries, horror, suspense, literary - but it always comes back to Science Fiction and Fantasy. Those are my snuggle in and devour genres, my "I got seven new ones for Christmas and now it's New Year's Day and I've finished them all" genres.
Why do I write M/M romance over M/F? This is the complicated part, but I'll condense it down to three things:
1. I can't stand het romance, with very few exceptions. The roles men and women are forced to play in them, the mindless, repetitive plots, the stupid choices characters make. Just doesn't sit well with me.
2. But I still like the idea of romance, the core of it that says everyone deserves to be loved for who they are and everyone deserves someone willing to fight for them. Writing M/M romance gives me more freedom to let the characters be who they are. You don't have to have a heroine who melts when the hero kisses her. You don't have to have an Alpha male who must always be strong and forceful. It's less constrictive. While there are tropes by the dozens in M/M fiction, the expectation that the writer will color within the lines isn't there as it is with M/F
3. Love is love - this is important to me on both a personal and societal level. LGBT readers need heroes, too, heroes who find love and triumph and get their happy endings. The world is full of het normal heroes in fiction, in film, in television. Why should I feed the beast with more? And why should LGBT readers be stuck with only peripheral characters or characters who die tragically? I hope I'm able to supply some better options.
How does my writing process work? Right. Process. I've always felt I should have more of a process. Most of my stories begin with process intent, anyway, the woolly mammoth looming in the corner of my room which, partway in, I manage to ignore. I don't keep character spreadsheets. I don't have novel bibles or lexicons or index cards.
I have scribbles. So - here's how the scribble method works:
1. Idea strikes, usually at 3 a.m. Make mental shelf for idea. Let it ferment a bit in the dark.
2. Characters begin to form from the ether. This is not a character stat sheet process. This is an organic messy process, like getting acquainted with a new friend. Jot down possible names. These may or may not make it into one of the spiral bound scribble notebooks.
3. Scenelet strikes. It has no grounding in solid plot, nor will it necessarily survive to the end of the process. Scenelet will often be a snippet of dialogue, more often than not written on a cocktail napkin or the back or a receipt. It has become more than idea now. It has evolved into The Thing That Must Be Written.
4. At first opportune moment, turn to new page in scribble notebook. Write possible titles or at least name of what the story is ("3rd Finn story", something like that.) Scribble in barely legible handwriting names of main characters and basics about them, all subject to change without notice when the dreaded I Have A Better Idea moment strikes.
5. Begin structural plot notes. These are often simply road markers along the way - here's how we want to start, here's how we want to end. Scribble questions to self regarding plot directions and how certain conflicts might work or how resolutions might be possible. Realize that certain aspects of story will require RESEARCH or WORLD BUILDING. Backpedal.
6. Construct answers to questions - all those things that will comprise the Plausibility Foundation for the story. How is this possible? How might this happen? Under what circumstances might this occur? How cold is frozen nitrogen? How does a cannon work? What would speech sound like with large, sharp teeth? If page is out of room, scribble in margins. Don't want to turn page.
7. Begin story. Write first scene. Agonize over first scene. Rewrite. Realize more research is necessary. More scribbling. Ask in-house experts certain questions. More scribbling.
8. Whine to trusty beta reader about plot issues. Toss idea around. Have lightning strikes moment.
9. Now story begins to gel. Write at ponderously slow pace - often less than 1K words per day - until story is complete. Rewrite constantly while making slow progress forward. Reach end. Go back and rewrite certain scenes from beginning. Give to beta reader. Add, delete, rewrite more. Consult scribbles. Laugh hysterically because story no long in any way resembles scribbles.
Some or all of these steps may be omitted and different ones added. I suppose that's a process of some sort. The gods of chaos love me.
Look for writing process posts from Freddy Mackay, Silvia Violet, Toni Griffin, Grace Duncan, and Lee Brazil to follow this one!
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.