Jesikah is a sci-fi/fantasy author. Many of you may recognize her first novel, Legacy, which I reviewed earlier in the year. [link] She is currently working on the next installment of The Biodome Chronicles, which I was thrilled to hear. I hope you guys keep an eye out for it just like I am!
When I read Jesikah's work, it was hard not to fangirl a little when I came across mentions to one of my favorite television shows. While the mention was subtle, it eventually came a point of conversation that let us share our experiences as writers. It's always fun to share what you're working on and how you tackle things, which is why I thought this blog tour was so great. Hopefully you enjoy the break from book reviews for a moment, and enjoy hearing a little about writing as well.
The Questions and Answers
1. What am I working on?
I am currently working on two novels, actually, but those are really just the 'active' projects. I have a little graveyard of half-started novels that gets picked through from time to time, depending on my motivation. There is a werewolf story in there I tucked away when the market got crazy, and another fantasy work that I started turning into a graphic novel instead. I never get rid of old ideas, but I sometimes wait until the right time to tackle them.
The two big projects I have are a steampunk nove,l and the sequel to my urban fantasy, Archipelago. Confluence is book two of The Lantern Project, and I am about 30,000 words in, gunning for a release between December and February. My steampunk novel, Silverline City, manages to cut ahead of other projects from time to time, and it's about halfway done. While Confluence is due for release first, Silverline City is hot on it's heels. I try to keep them in that order, but sometimes motivation changes best laid plans.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I think my work differs because I love dynamic characters. I really try to know every character in my book. It's one thing to know their name or their powers, but I really love getting to know my characters histories and motivations. I could probably write a mini-novel for every character in my story if I wanted to, and that appeals to me. I used to tell myself that "every person is the main character in their own story". What that means is in real life, no one is a minor character, and I wanted to feel like my characters always had a chance to grow and adapt, even if it wasn't in the pages of my book.
I spend a lot of time building the worlds I write in. Since I'm an artist and an author, I make all my own blueprints, character art, book covers and I even made my own website. It is time consuming to do everything myself, but I know nothing ever strays from my vision. Hopefully, people get a sense of that.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I'm a sucker for superpowers, for one, so almost every book I write has superhuman elements to them. And I love dystopians because there is an element of 'what if' to them. I don't write much pure fantasy because it eleminates a lot of the 'rules' that comes with fiction grounded in our world. It's easy to hand wave unknowns as magic or a similar force, but urban fantasy or similar novels make you question how. I want things to feel possible and I writes stories that seem to embrace that.
I write the genres I do because they question problems but the solutions feel within our reach. Themes are unlikely, but it gives you the hope to dream a bit. I write to fuel those sparks of hope.
4. How does my writing process work?
I sit, I write.
Okay, maybe not that simple.
I usually smash out a good three chapters of any-book I write before I actively do any planning about where it could go. Often, this takes place during NaNoWriMo, when I can just toss out a rough draft and not feel embarrassed by it. After I reach a certain point, I start asking the questions, and that's when the documents and the papers come out. I fill up files and folders on my computers with reference pictures, character biographies, and random thoughts I jot down. Gradually, I start letting the book show me the world it exists in. I write much like I do art, starting with a splot of detail, then letting the canvas fill in around that. Some areas are sketchier than others, some aren't filled it, but I like to get the vivid details down first. Most people outline, but I don't think I ever wrote an outline for a book. I just write and let it happen, and deal with revision later.
Once I have a complete novel, then I do several rounds of editing. Sometimes I toss out giant chunks of writing for one reason or another. Refining can take almost as much time as writing, because I have to whittle down to the core story that emerged. Once I think I've found that, I send it to my editor and we start doing some more precise editing work. However my writing doesn't just stay within a word document or a set project.
I do literature roleplay on the sides , and I find this is also helpful in addition to my professional writing. Working with other authors and writers to construct the same story lets you relinquish some of the control you typically find in writing, and challenges you to write better. Working on side-stories in role-play is an important part of my process to me, because it lets me bounce my writing off others. You don't have to be social to be a social writer. I think every author really just needs an outlet to share with other writers, otherwise their voice becomes static and it's hard to keep an upward trajectory.
Anyway, that's sort of my process, Thanks for swinging by to take a look at it. Since all the authors I wanted to tag already did this tour early on, I don't have anyone new to send you to. But I hoped you enjoyed taking a peak at my writing process anyway!