Writing Process Blog Hop!

My awesome agency sister Charlie Holmberg (whose story, The Paper Magician, is coming out in September!) tagged me in a blog hop!

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I feel special.

1) What am I working on?

A story called SWORN, which is a contemporary fantasy about dragons in the Rocky Mountains. It’s got ties to ancient Welsh legend, war sparked by a family feud, and lots of awesome romance.

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It’s ‘finished,’ so right now I’m drafting the sequel (creatively titled SWORN II). But as I write I keep coming up with small things I’d like to add/tweak in the first book, so I’m kind of working on both.

2) How does my work differ from others of the same genre?

It has DRAGONS in the ROCKY MOUNTAINS.

But seriously, I feel like SWORN kind of sits in a unique place on the spectrum between high fantasy and urban fantasy. It has a heavy romantic element and it takes place in “this” world, but (to me) the worldbuilding and plot feel more like high fantasy. Except I’m super-intimidated by the term “high fantasy.” Is “low high fantasy” a thing? Basically I LOVE urban/contemporary fantasy and I LOVE high fantasy and I LOVE hidden world fantasy (like Harry Potter), so I SMASHED them together!

3) Why do I write what I write?

Hello. Because fantasy. It makes me feel like this:

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4) How does my writing process work?

I always start with an idea ‘seed.’ The idea seed for SWORN came when I moved to Utah from the Midwest and realized how huge and wild the mountains are. I looked at them and thought, “Dragons could live there and no one would know.”

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BAM! That idea sparked more ideas, which collided with things I knew and made MORE ideas, shooting off in a thousand different directions. I have a decent working knowledge of world mythology (which is full of dragons), so the ‘soil’ of my mind was already a pretty fertile place. As soon as that seed hit, EXPLOSION!

As for my actual process, I am neither pantser nor outliner. I tend to have a good, general idea of characters plus a list of events before I start a draft. Like so:

-I need Character A to fall through a portal to a hidden world.

-I want Character A and Character B to meet in an awkward situation.

-Someone close to Character A needs to betray her so Character A develops trust issues.

-Character B needs The Thing He Loves Most taken away.

-They overcome everything and live happily ever after, more or less.

Etc.

Then I outline the first three to five chapters. Once I reach the end of the outline (by which point I have usually taken new ideas and gone off in a slightly or entirely different direction) I outline the next few chapters. And so it goes until I reach the end. That’s the first draft.

I let the story roll around in my subconscious a bit, then read through and make a list of changes. I make the changes. I realize there are more changes to make. So I make those, too. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Etc. Finally I can’t take it anymore, so I stop making changes and decide to be done. The vast majority of my time is spent on revision and polishing.

Exciting, is it not?

A lot of the time it’s difficult. I have serious problems just getting myself to open the document. But once I get over that, I love it. It’s kind of thrilling, living so many lives.

Thanks for tagging me, Charlie! I’m tagging Caroline McDonough, because she is talented and one of the smartest people I know. I want to hear more about what she’s working on!

About Caitlyn McFarland

Mom of three girls, writer of fantasy novels.
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One Response to Writing Process Blog Hop!

  1. Pingback: Writing Process | Caroline McDonough

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