Blog Hop: My Writing Process

I was recently tagged to take part in the “Writing Process Blog Tour” by the lovely and talented K. L. Schwengel. This particular “meme” (as these things are referred to nowadays) is about authors sharing something about your writing process by answering four questions. In turn, we pass the torch to other authors. This way, it spreads like wildfire. When I googled “Writing Process Blog Tour” I got almost 24,000,000 hits. :)

Anyway, here’s my own contribution to the meme:

1) What am I working on?

Right now I have two main projects going:
- A Wasted Land, the third novel in my Pendragon Chronicles series that started with Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur. This novel revolves around Yseult’s son Kustennin and the fate of Britain after the Battle of Camlann, when former alliances begin to fall apart and the Saxon kingdoms on the fringes of Britain are growing stronger again. I’ve been working on this one for over a year now, since the publication of Yseult and Shadow of Stone — and a number of readers started asking for more — but for some reason, it’s still not completely coming together for me.
- Final revisions for Island of Glass, a YA novella. The novella tells the story of Chiara, a young glassmaker of Murano, who makes glass shoes for a prince of Venice to help save her uncle from prison. But the magic works in a different way than she had imagined…
- At any give time, I also have several other projects in the works. Right now that includes revising a novella I wrote with Jay Lake for publication, Recontact, as well as brainstorming further works in the worlds of Island of Glass and Looking Through Lace.

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

Anyone brings their own experience, their own way of looking at the world to what they write. Not only that, we each have different priorities, different interests, and different kinds of stories that move us the most. Any author who writes out of their own experience and interests is going to produce distinctive work, work that is recognizable in some way.

5th century Britain
One of my passions is for historical maps and what they signify. Make of that what you will. :)

For me, a couple of the interests that probably distinguish my work is my interest in literature, politics, linguistics, and cultural differences in general. For example, there is a lot of big picture cultural conflict in my Arthurian novels, Yseult and Shadow of Stone, probably more than is generally common in that genre. Or take my science fiction novellas in the Looking Through Lace series: they revolve around the linguistic and cultural misunderstandings of a first contact mission.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write the books I would want to read, it’s as simple as that. My books and short stories contain the things that move me: events that break my heart, topics that get my back up or that I’m passionate about, my fears and my dreams.
I tend to package those passions in the genres of science fiction and fantasy because those are the genres I most enjoy reading. I have enough contemporary in everyday life. What I read and what I write is somewhere beyond or apart from that.

4) How does my writing process work?

Before I start writing a novel or short story, I usually do a lot of brainstorming and pre-writing in longhand on scrap paper and in cheap, sprial-bound notebooks. I’ve tried to use those beautiful Paperblanks notebooks for the purpose, but they’re too intimidating. I guess in order to free my playful brain, I need something that looks like it can be thrown away if it’s crap.
Once I’ve worked out the basic details of my world, my characters, and my plot, and have started playing with ideas for scenes to go with all of that, then I will start writing, jumping around here and there in the timeline as more scene ideas and plot twists occur to me. I don’t have everything mapped out from the moment I start to write, but neither can I start without any inkling of where the story is going to go. At the very least, I need to know the ending, so I will know what to shoot for.

An now, the folks who will be answer these question next! I did write three other writers, but one didn’t respond. Without further ado, here are my two “followers” who will be posting next week:

Shah Wharton: Shah loves fiction; horror, paranormal mystery, dark fantasy, and sci-fi are her favourites, although she also enjoys dark comedy, some romance, and an occasional young adult fantasy. She also writes poetry (two published in anthologies), short stories (one published), and ghost writes fiction as a freelancer.

Shah studied psychology, hypnotherapy, and counselling eons ago and once worked in a social work capacity with children, women with mental health issues and the homeless until her own mental health issues began to encroach on her abilities in 2005. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and speaks freely on her blog about how bipolar disorder has impacted her life.

As an infant, Shah’s father taught her to appreciate the written word through poetry. Now you’ll usually find her immersed in a story while slurping tea, cuddled up with her little family. Shah lives with her huge German Shepherd and her husband, anywhere between Dubai and United Kingdom.

Outside of reading and writing, Shah enjoys theatre, movies, zombies, varied music from old jazz to rock, travel, great food … and dogs.

Adrian J. Smith, or “AJ” as she is often called, is a part-time writer with an epic imagination, sharp wit, and kind heart that gets her into a bit of trouble when it comes to taking in all the neighborhood stray cats. Being obsessed with science fiction, Smith often goes off on tangents about the space-time continuum. She is also a part-time lunatic with a secretive past. It’s been rumored that she was once a spy for the government, but anyone who has gotten close enough to know the truth has never lived to tell the tale. When traveling around the world on various classified tasks, Smith requires the following be provided: buffalo jerky, mimosas, and eighty-six pennies. This is all we know about the reclusive woman.

About Ruth Nestvold

Ruth Nestvold's short fiction has appeared in numerous markets, including Asimov's, F&SF, Baen's Universe, Strange Horizons, Scifiction, and Gardner Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction. Her fiction has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella "Looking Through Lace" won the "Premio Italia" award for best international work. Her novel Flamme und Harfe appeared in translation with the German imprint of Random House, Penhaligon, in 2009 and has since been translated into Dutch and Italian. She maintains a web site at www.ruthnestvold.com.
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14 Responses to Blog Hop: My Writing Process

  1. Harliqueen says:

    Always fun to find out more about how others writers work :D Great post.

  2. kathils says:

    I know what you mean about the really nice notebooks. I have several. I haven’t written in one single one of them because I don’t want to ruin their splendor. LOL

  3. Great blog post, Ruth! I’m especially interested in your map fascination, since we work in roughly the same time period. Do you have any map sources in particular you recommend? I love the one you posted here – I’ve never seen one like that before! One of my later historical books will delve more into my hero’s homeland of Britain (in the early 700′s AD) and I could sure use some helpful sources.

  4. shanjeniah says:

    I’m tagged and slotted to do this next week, so it was cool to see how you handled it!

    I loved learning so much about you, your projects, and your process, Ruth. =)

  5. Widdershins says:

    Love your maps. :D

  6. So fun to learn how others do this writing thing! I, too, LOVE maps! Historical or contemporary, doesn’t matter. I can waste hours looking at Google Maps even!

    • Oh, don’t get me started on maps and how much time I can waste! *g* I love to mark all the settings in the books I’m working on in Google Earth and can happily sepnd most of my writing time there. :)

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