Oh me! Oh life! I was recently asked by a fellow fantasy and Bilbo Baggins enthusiast, Miriel of Gisbourne, to answer four questions on writing. I’ll answer them and then tag three more people to do the same on their respective blogs. This really isn’t a burdenous (it’s a real word in Claire-land) project and it’s a chance to avoid studying those darn cranial nerves.
What am I working on?
I currently have two different projects in the works. One is fantasy and the other is leaning towards science fiction. I have a snippet of the fantasy WIP here. It’s currently titled “The Mountain Baron” and involves a disgraced member of the seven clans of Alsaya who has taken up residence in an abandoned mountain keep. He is recalled by his people in order to find his brother who has been captured by another lord. The first eight chapters written see him travel to the castle of said nefarious lord in the company of an old friend and three of his men from the keep. Future chapters to be written will include a daring escape, ghosts from the Baron’s past, and hopefully a shocking twist of events. I’m really in love with this story so far. Just saying.
The second project is going by the title “Worldjumpers”. It breaks from my usual pattern of medieval fantasy and jumps into modern day Texas. Here we follow the adventures of ordinary David Standish who thinks he’s in for a typical summer on his grandfather’s farm but is thrown for a loop when a flying ship lands in the backyard. He joins forces with Captain Zoey Blackheart and her ragtag crew for a tour of the galaxy and beyond. The Captain is a worldjumper who sails between worlds by accessing “portals” which are basically holes in the sky that take you from one planet to another. She’s also on the run from the authorities of her home planet. David encounters cyborgs, bounty hunters, a former spy turned mechanic, talking otters, and unravels a plot to destroy the planet of Minas.
How is my work different from others of its genre?
Medieval Fantasy is my standard fare. Within that sub-genre I usually go for non-magical fantasy. I prefer stories of ordinary men and women thrust into extraordinary circumstances in which they must rely on natural talents and on their faith to succeed. I try to stay away from the typical “oh so-and-so’s just an ordinary person but really any minute now some stranger will pop into his life and tell him/her that they are the greatest wizard/magician/demigod/warrior/adventurer in the history of time and they must go save the world from imminent destruction”. There’s usually little to no magic in my stories or, if there is, it’s attributed to the divine. I have two stories written in which I’ve finally involved some mythical creatures such as pegasi, griffins, etc. Dragons are mentioned in passing once or twice. I still haven’t decided what my official stance on dragons is. Are they bad or are they faithful companions to the forces of good?
Why do I write what I do?
I grew up on fantasy stories like Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Redwall, etc. Any historical fiction was fair game, too. I spent summers and winter breaks inside of books and I began to make up my own worlds. I wanted to write a book that I would want to read. I had some characters that I had fallen in love with and I thought they had a story worth telling. That’s how I got my start and worlds have multiplied since then. I like to write stories where I can express my faith. Family is important to me and that theme runs strong in all of my writing. I also want to write stories that I would feel comfortable letting my younger siblings read and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to a younger audience. I think that’s something we’re lacking in this day and age.
How does my writing process work?
My writing process can be kind of a laborious one. All of my major stories have been written in spiral notebooks. It’s easier for me to sit down with a pen and paper and physically write. The ideas flow smoother and a page is more inviting than a harsh blank computer screen staring at you with that line mockingly blinking in and out. Also, there’s just something that feels right about scribbling away with a pen. After completion, I take the stack of notebooks and sit down at my laptop and type everything in. That’s where all the editing takes place. I add, subtract, and hopefully improve upon existing passages.
I usually find a quiet corner, plug in some soundtrack or classical music, and work away. My family pretty much has stopped asking if I’m ok if they see me sitting on the couch staring out into space. Odds are I’m hammering out a passage or living an action sequence, or deciding the fate of a character. This phenomenon doesn’t just happen with a notebook in front of me. It can happen at the dinner table, in class where I should be listening to the professor wax lyrical about important subjects (after all, that’s why I’m in school), sometimes in church-don’t judge. Some of my best ideas have come in church.
Some people respond with an “oh em gee! That’s so involved!” when they hear about my process. Well, haters, that’s what works for me. You can go get judged by that flashing cursor on your bright computer screen. (Please don’t take this the wrong way. Seriously, we’re all different and maybe I like to do things the complicated way. 🙂 )
Now, to pass the torch on to three very worthy people.
Michael Gunter-friend and spinner of the Tales of Yesterday and of Today
Perry Kirkpatrick– Fellow Christian, author, and homeschool grad.
Allison the Writer– blogger of the writing life