What’s My Writing Process

On the grind at Alien Encounters

I’ve been tag to participate in a year long blog hop by Alan Jones (http://alandjones.com/), fellow speculative fiction writing buddy and State of Black Science Fiction Collective participant. The question is, ‘What’s my writing process?’ Here are the answers.

What am I working on? I’m always juggling multiple projects. I’m currently revising the third volume of Changa’s Safari, my sword and soul/historical fiction adventure. As far as writing is concerned, I’m working on From Here to Timbuktu, my first steamfunk novel and the first novel in a trilogy adventure. Timbuktu is the expansion of a short story series I originated on Wagadu. The response was so positive and I liked the characters so much I decided to expand the story to a novel and add two more adventures. It’s about Zeke Culpepper, a reluctant bounty hunter andFamara Keita, a Soninke horro (warrior) on a mission to find an important book. The two cross paths then team up for a world hopping adventure.

How does my work differ from others in my genre? My books differ from other speculative fiction books because I write only black main characters. It’ s a commitment I made for a couple of reasons. The first and main reason? ┬áBecause I am. The second reason is because I saw a dearth in speculative fiction books by and about black people. I decided to see if I could make a difference. So far it’s gone very well.

How does my writing process work? Most of my ideas spring from historical research. I’m a real history buff and I’m constantly inspired by historical themes. Recently I’ve also been inspired by artwork. Some paintings contain a story. The story I see may not match the artist, but if it’s compelling enough I’ll sit down and write the idea in a journal to explore later. I’m not an outline kind of person. I usually carry the story around in my head until I figure out how it’s going to end. I can’t write any story until I know how it’s going to end. To me, the story is the most important ingredient. I develop my characters to fit the story; in other words the characters must have the background and personality to convey the story I wish to tell. Although I know how my stories will begin and how they will end, the path from point A to point B is always a surprising process.

Once I’m done with the first draft I put it away and let it ‘simmer’ for at least two weeks. I’ve discovered if I begin the revision process too soon I won’t like anything I’ve written. I’ll probably go through at least three revisions before I’m satisfied with the final product.

I write every day, usually in the morning. I write at least a page a day during the week; during the weekend I write until I can’t stand it anymore. I’m usually working on at least one novel and two short stories. It keeps me from getting bored with a particular project and makes writer’s block non-existent.

And there you have it. I hope this is insightful and helpful. Next up? Carole McDonnell and Ronald Jones.