My Writing Process

Okay, so there I was, my mind foggy from writing twenty-six short stories when a comment pops up on my about me page and caught my attention. The main reason it caught my attention was because it wasn’t spam (really, what does my blog have to do with haemorrhoids and natural remedies??). Instead, it was from the brilliant, if somewhat highly caffeinated, wanna-be-published writer AKA Heather B Costa.

Heather asked me if I wanted to be part of a writing process blog hop and, of course, I thought ‘sure, why not?’ Actually, I thought ‘what day is it?’ And ‘how many of these posts do I have left?’ but I said yes anyway. I then noticed that Natacha Guyot over at Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom, also tagged me in her writing process post. Seriously, you really have to check both of these authors out. Their writing is amazing and they are both frighteningly omnipresent (or, at least, that’s how it feels to me).

Wait, where was I…? Oh, yes, writing process post…

Heather and Natacha bid me answer four questions:

  • What am I working on at the moment?
  • How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  • Why do I write what I do?
  • How does my writing process work?

Then came the catch: find three worthy writers and force them to answer the same questions. Sorry, did I say ‘force’? I meant force.

I’ve deliberated long and hard on this and want to nominate:

Now, let’s do this…

What am I working on at the moment?

Currently, I’m pretending that I’m not working on anything and taking a break following the success of A Dictionary of Tales, but you and I know that was never going to happen. So, what am I working on? Those of you who’ve been following this blog know that I’m heavily invested in my urban fantasy series, Harlequin, and I’m in the process of editing book one. I am also drafting book two of the same series.

As well as Harlequin, I’m planning on releasing my Dictionary of Tales anthology but not before I add twenty-six new stories to the mix. Stay tuned for updates at a later date.

The A to Z Challenge enticed me to the websites of writers I’d never come across before and out of this I found a number of new blogs to follow. I also found opportunities to collaborate with other writers on new projects (I’m very excited about these). Announcements will be made on the blog in the coming weeks (months, if my brain fails to restart).

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

That’s a tough one.

You’re probably all aware that I’ve a strong leaning towards the themes of urban fantasy and horror. These themes are both known for their wide spectrum. What makes my work different from the others? I suppose it’s that I infuse it with my own black humour and tongue-in-cheek references. I am not afraid to bring the gods down to the level of man, or to elevate monsters above us. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I end up on the working end of a lightning bolt but, until then, I’ll take my chances.

Why do I write what I do?

Purely and simply, because I love it. I love the very act of writing. I love the release and creativity it affords. I write because I love my characters (not to mention that it’s the only way to stop them from talking to me…constantly).

Why horror? Fear is what drives us. It makes us feel more alive than any other emotion. It get the heart pumping and the adrenaline going. Horror, revulsion and fear have minds of their own. You can test this, just sit alone in a dark room for any real length of time and your mind will instinctively start to worry: what else is in there with you? What’s just outside your field of vision? What was that chill on the back of your neck? Our minds are drawn to it, so why shouldn’t I be? Besides, I suck at writing romance.

How does my writing process work?

Very simply, it works like this:

  1. Stare at computer monitor until I can no longer keep my eyes open – total word count: zero.
  2. Give up and go to bed.
  3. Lie awake in the darkness with 1001 ideas clattering through my head like express trains – total word count: somewhere in the thousands.
  4. Repeat.

I’ve begun to look at writing as a creature in need of daily sacrifice in order to be sated. What sacrifice does it require? Time. It requires time in the following quantities: 10% writing and 90% day dreaming. Each night, the creature searches for an offering of words: sometimes only a handful, sometimes thousands.

I find that the beast can awaken at any time, and have taken to carrying a notebook with me wherever I go. I also carry a phone (should I forget how to use my notebook) and an audio-recorder (should I forget how to use a pen). The notebook is so well travelled that it has worn a hole in the pocket of my jeans. I open the book the instant an idea comes to me which has led to more comedic pile-ups than I can remember. It is used when I have two or more minutes with nothing to do. Inside, it holds my thoughts, observations, new vocabulary, misused words and anything else that I think important. The notebook is the first thing I open when I sit down at the laptop placed far enough away from my coffee (once bitten etc…) I don’t know where I’d be without it.

23 thoughts on “My Writing Process

  1. I write both because I love my characters and to get them to stop talking to me too! That doesn’t sound crazy, does it? haha My notepad app is also constantly within reach 🙂 Happy writing!

    1. Wait until you start arguing with them…out loud…in public. I think I need to make some sort of badge that says: ‘Warning! Writer at work. Interact with caution’

      1. Haha! yes. Haven’t quite crossed that line lol. Though if people knew how much time I spent writing, and how much time I spent working through characters in my head, they still might think I was crazy lol. Thank God mind readers don’t exist 😛

  2. So glad to see your post about your writing process! I’m glad that the A to Z challenge helped you and I wish you tons more of happy writing. Oh and your writing process? That sounds so familiar and reminds me of that funny picture with the brain talking before its owner sleeps. I’ll have to repost it on Twitter I bet!

  3. Thank you so much for taking part in the blog tour, Chris, I knew you’d do us proud with your response 🙂

    Thank you also for your kind words about my writing and I, flattery will get you everywhere, my dear. Well, perhaps not everywhere, but you know what I mean….

    I loved your dictionary of tales from start to finish and I am very much looking forward to your first book in the Harlequin series. Your writing process is frighteningly like my own; I often spend hours staring at a blank screen and then find myself overcome with ideas at night (when I’m trying to sleep)

    An excellent blog post, Chris. Bravo!

    1. Thank you and thanks for inviting me to join in. I had fun and it made me look critically at what I do when I sit down to procrastinate…I mean, write. I’m just glad I got away with the ‘highly caffeinated’ comment 😀

      As difficult as it was at times, I enjoyed writing Dictionary of Tales and reading all your comments made the effort worthwhile. Harlequin is proving stubborn, as is his nature, but as soon as he’s ready, I’ll let you know.

      1. I have to admit that the ‘highly caffeinated’ bit did make me laugh but I couldn’t pull you up on using it because it’s true!

        Maybe I should use that as a byline for my blog: ‘Heather B Costa – abusing caffeinated substances since 1999’

        I can’t wait to hear more on the Harlequin project! 🙂

  4. Outstanding post, Chris! I like your writing style and your black humour. It resonates with me! You Dictionary of Tales was a real treat! I thought your use of myths and urban legends was great!

    Thanks for including me in the writing process blog hop!! I’m honoured for a couple of reasons. First, to be considered a real writer by another human being! I know we all struggle with calling ourselves writers if we don’t have something on a best seller list. But the truth is we are all writers and we write because we must–best seller list be damned! Second, to be part of a tremendous and supportive community of writers and bloggers! It’s nice write, be read, and read! Looking forward to the blog hop! TiV aka Eilidh (A-lee)

    1. Thank you. It was good taking a critical look at how and why I do what I do, especially when you post enticing prompts on your Twitter feed and give me more work to do 🙂

  5. This was entertaining. I enjoyed it.

    I do, however, disagree with the “Why horror?” paragraph. Insert “love” instead of “fear” and it works just as well for me. And what you said is not what I think about when sitting in a dark
    room for a length of time. So don’t generalize things like that.


    Are you starting TTT again tomorrow?

    1. 1) Thanks
      2) This was my writing process, not yours so 😛
      3) Dark rooms scare me (light rooms do too now I think about it)
      4) blah blah blah my writing process blah blah blah so 😛
      5) TTT will be back tomorrow, bright and early. The topic will be on how to write a surprise ending (if I set it right, that is).

  6. See, Chris – you didn’t need to cut and paste my Writing Process post at all – yours is super fine! I really enjoyed reading it. You’ll be amused to know that while on vacation last week, I drove my poor husband crazy by constantly pulling out my little notebook and jotting ideas or phrases down. I did this on the plane; in restaurants; sitting by the pool; in the rental car. I actually came up with a lot of inspiration last week!

    Anyway, terrific post, but I expected no less. 🙂

  7. Notebooks are magical items, I’m convinced of it. They create worlds and people more effectively than any cauldron or wand. Unless the wand is a pen and the cauldron is a very big mug of coffee.
    Gutted I missed the A-Z challenge, but it couldn’t be helped. I’ll get on it next time.

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