Writing Process Blog Hop

I have been tagged by Robert Runte’ in a Blog Hop.

That means I was interviewed about my writing process by Robert Runte’ my editor and friend here on my blog, because he was tagged and interviewed on his writing process on his blog by Joe Mahoney who was in turn tagged and interviewed on…well you get the idea. The chain is long and distinguished.

Dr. Robert Runté is an Associate Professor at the University of Lethbridge. As an academic, editor, reviewer, and organizer, Robert has been actively promoting Canadian SF for over 30 years.

He was a founding Director of NonCon, Context89,, and SF Canada; and has served on the Boards of the Edmonton Science Fiction and Comic Arts SocietyOn Spec Magazine, Tesseract Books, and The Writers Guild of Alberta.

In addition to dozens of conference papers, journal articles, book chapters, and a half dozen entries in the Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada , Robert has edited over 150 issues of various SF newsletters.

In 1989, his Guide to Canadian Science Fiction won an Aurora Award; he won a second Aurora in 1990 for his general promotion of Canadian SF. In 1994 he was honored as Fan Guest at the 52nd WorldCon, and in 1996 he co-edited (with Yves Meyard) the Tesseracts5 SF anthology.

More recently, he has been a regular reviewer for NeoOpsis Magazine, and was the scholar Keynote Speaker at the Academic Conference on Canadian SF&F, June, 2013.

Robert is also the editor extraordinaire of Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero. :)

Here are Robert’s questions for me.

Robert: The one thing I have never understood about your writing process is how you find the time to write as much as you do and still do your day job and meet the normal demands of family life, let alone find the time for your extensive involvement with with Boy Scouts, school author visits, and so on.  When was the last time you slept?

Michell: <Laughs> It’s funny you should ask that question. I’ve recently started to pay attention to my sleep patterns and, apparently, I’m now down to about 6 hours per night. I used to think that if I didn’t get at least 8 hours every night I would die. It would seem that I can be overly dramatic.

Seriously though, I thrive on challenge so, to get my work done, I challenge myself with every project. I set deadlines and I stick to them. The writing gets done as life allows: on the train, in the evening during the week and in the morning on the weekend. Whenever I can find a few minutes.

That is only possible because my family is supportive and understanding. I have also almost given up watching television.

Robert: How do you balance working on so many different projects at once? You have regular podcasts, the Mik Murdoch novel series, editing a couple of anthologies, and a couple of freestanding novels on the go.  Oh, and the blog. Do you allocate a certain time slot (e.g., Thursday evenings) for each one; or a certain number of hours; or a % of your writing time; or is it just a matter of focusing on each deadline as it comes up?  Or do you switch from one to the other as you get blocked or bored with what you’re currently working on?

Michell: I try to only work on one project at a time in a given day to avoid mixing and confusing what I’m working on. I don’t have specific days for anything, however, my deadlines drive when things happen.

For example, my podcast, Get Published, is released every two weeks on Sundays. In order to put an episode together, I have to do my interviews, produce the audio and ensure that all post-production (including show notes) are ready by Sunday night (latest). So, I’m always trying to find interviews (usually Thursday nights) ahead of time for the show and I try to come up with additional topics to talk about. Sometimes I have two or three interviews ready at a time and sometimes I’m scrambling a little to get one put together.

I usually have four or five different things running through my brain at any one time. That’s probably why I only get 6 hours of sleep per night. That’s why deadlines are so important to me.

I know what I’ve committed to and when so I force myself to hit those commitments. It doesn’t hurt that I hate being late for anything.

Robert: You don’t seem like a guy who has a lot of trouble with writer’s block or procrastination. What’s your secret there?

Michell: I’m not sure I really have a secret. I know that I only have a limited amount of time to get things done so I plow through. Tough sections of writing take longer and I often have to go back several times to get the words right.

When I really am not sure what should come next, I go for a walk and force my brain into story mode. That usually results in the plotting moving itself along.

Robert: What is your writing process? Where on the “just sit down and write <–-> detailed notes /outline” continuum do you fall? Do revise as you go, or first draft and then revise? Any routines or rituals that need to be followed?

Michell: It totally depends on the project. I’ve done a couple projects that were meant to be stream-of-consciousness type writing (i.e. GalaxyBillies and Boyscouts of the Apocalypse) and I’ve done some (like my Mik Murdoch books) that are more plotted.

The stream-of-consciousness writing doesn’t get revised at all until the writing is done. The heavily plotted stuff is different. I usually reread the previous chapter prior to starting the next (whenever there is a break). I typically do some minor revision thing but nothing huge.

In both cases, I let the writing sit for some time (longer time for longer works) between writing completion and serious edits and revisions.

The only real routine I have is my walking and thinking through plot elements. When I walk, I relax and my mind is free to wander. It is easy to set my thoughts down the path to getting the ideas that I need. Then I come home and type it all in.

Robert: Your podcast, “Get Published” has had over 130 episodes of interviews with agents, editors, publishers, and otherwriters on how to get published. Out of all of those, what stands out in your mind as the most important principle or useful advice you’re heard so far?

Michell: There are several, actually. In no particular order: persistence, networking and not being afraid to try new things.

Too many authors are afraid to stray outside their own comfort zones and meet people or talk in front of people. Unfortunately, those are both necessary skills to have. If you don’t have them today, work on developing them like I did.

Regarding persistence, the difference between a published author and one who wished they were published is often a matter of who never gave up and kept trying to improve their writing until it was good enough to be published.

Robert: Anything else you’d like to add on your writing process?

Michell: I guess one last item of note is that I like to try different things; different genres, different Points-of-View and so on. To date, I have written fantasy, science fiction, horror, comedy, young adult, superhero and steampunk (there may even be a couple more that I’m forgetting). I’ve written in multiple POV’s and I’ve collaborated on both editorial projects and writing projects. I think by trying different things I stretch my own writing skills.

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Here are the Two Bloggers I have Tagged

Jeffrey Hite

100_49562 Jeff Hite, A.K.A. The Dark Lord Hite, A.K.A. Dr. Evil-n-Carnate, A.K.A. Steve Wolencheck, current occupant of cubical 3257J, affectionately referred to as “that jerk who eats lunch in his cubicle even though we have a lunch room and he really should eat there,” is first and foremost a husband and father.

He and his wife and their ten minions – I mean children – live in their orbiting space station. No, that burned up in the atmosphere last year. They live in their undersea lab. No, that is not right either, it fell to crush depth three months ago.

Well wherever they live, that is where you can find them.

By day he is an IT professional. By night, when he and his partner in crime, Alex the 486 Beowulf Super cluster are not trying to take over the world, they run the “sheep dating service,” also known as sheep breeding, for the local farming cooperative. When he can fit it in he writes short fiction about the fantastic, is a reader with Cast Of Wonders, and an assistant audio producer for Get Published.

He and his alter ego, Michell Plested, are co-editors of A Method To the Madness: A Guide To the Super Evil and the forthcoming book (now open for submissions) There is a Magic Portal Under My Sink.

He and his wife home school their minions – I mean kids – and teach NFP to anyone who will listen.

The rest of his life is devoted to his first love, his family, their chickens, sheep, dogs and now to appease the cat owners, one of those as well.

JR Murdock

jay3 Despite what you may think, J.R. Murdock did have a normal childhood. If you consider swimming in lakes, playing hide and seek in the woods, and spending more time with his imagination than a television, then yes, it was normal.

There are those times when little voices will talk to him inside his head. This was never a frequent occurrence and he learned to ignore them. Most of the time.

His first book was attempted over several years (probably closer to a dozen) and somehow that book about Dungeon and Dragons characters just never really worked out the way he wanted it to.

Someday it might! Just you wait and see. Those characters will not stay down. They will have their story told!

I’m telling you here and now… Shhh, calm. Relaxed. Don’t scare away the nice people that have come to this page and might want to buy a book (or three).

Where were we? Oh, yes, the voices inside his head. They like to talk to at inappropriate times. Fortunately they also talk too at appropriate times and that’s when books happen.

Yes, the voices must have their story told or they just keep talking over one another and it’s just a big old jumbled mess and nobody will want to read anything like that, right? So it’s good that they get their chance to come out so that you’ll have something to read and enjoy.

When not listening to the voices inside his head, J.R. Murdock spends time with his wife and his favorite daughter (yes, there is only one daughter that’s why she’s his favorite).

They reside in sunny San Diego which is about as close to paradise as you can get and still be in a big city.

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Get Published Episode 133 – Mark Leslie Lefebvre – What’s New?

I had the good fortune to meet Mark Leslie Lefebvre when I attended World Fantasy Convention in Toronto two years ago. I had heard Mark on other podcasts and knew a little about him. I was very happy to have the chance to talk with him during one of the evening parties. During that time, Mark was gracious enough to agree to come on Get Published. That was episode 97 if you would like to go back and listen. We talked about writing and publishing as tends to happen on this show. We also talked about Kobo and Kobo Writing Life.

Why? Did I forget to mention that Mark is the Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations at Kobo? Did I also forget to mention that he has been helping develop Kobo Writing Life?

Yeah, sorry about that. But all of those things are true. And now, almost a year-and-a-half later, I thought it would be great to talk to Mark again about what has changed with him and with Kobo.  I am excited to say, he is my guest on today’s show and there is a lot of great stuff to hear.

I’ve also realized that I haven’t really done a good job of keeping all of you up-to-date on my own writing journey.  I want to rectify that lack in the middle of the show. I talk about my projects and what seems to be working.

One last thing. Parsec award nomination season is upon us once again. I would humbly ask that, if you consider this show to be worthy, please nominate it for a Parsec. Maybe I’ll be 6th time lucky. J I will include the link to the nomination page in the show notes.

And with that little bit of self-promotion out of the way, let’s get the show started.

I hope you enjoy it.

Show Notes

00:00 — Opening – Get Published Episode 133 – Mark Leslie Lefebvre – What’s New?

Everything has to start somewhere and this is the start of “Get Published”

00:14 — Introduction – Get Published Episode 133 – Mark Leslie Lefebvre – What’s New?(continued)

Welcome to the show.

02:08 - Promo - Earth Station One

02:52 – Tips and Typos

Mike provides an update to his writing and creative projects. What has been working and what has been less than successful. This includes his forays into Wattpad with Boyscouts of the Apocalypse & GalaxyBillies as well as his soon-to-be-released novels, Mik Murdoch: The Power Within & Jack Kane and the Statue of Liberty (co-authored with JR Murdock).

10:20 - Promo - Pandemic

11:20 Get Published Episode 133 – Mark Leslie Lefebvre – What’s New? (continued)

Mike and Mark talk about writing, Kobo Writing Life and several other things:

  • 7 impressions, skeleton, skull, ice breaks as an author, eye contact, kobo, kobo writing life, self publishing, Kevin J. Anderson, Boyscouts of the Apocalypse, network, free, pricing, book pricing, Canadian werewolf in New York, Gaming the system, sales stats, writing life

1:01:37 - Promo - Pop Mockers

1:02:08 — Closing

Thank you for listening.

 

Websites mentioned in this episode:

Mark Leslie – http://www.markleslie.ca/

Kobo Books - kobobooks.com

Kobo Writing Life - http://www.kobo.com/writinglife

Wattpad – http://www.wattpad.com/

Earth Station One – http://esopodcast.com

Scott Sigler’s Pandemic – http://scottsigler.com/pandemic/

Pop Mockers - http://www.popmockers.com/

Parsec Award Nominations - http://www.parsecawards.com/2014-parsec-awards/nominate-a-podcast/

Portal Under My Sink Anthology - http://portalundermysink.wordpress.com

 

Special Thanks to Jeffrey Hite for assisting in the production of Get Published.

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Dull Roar

One of the challenges I am currently facing has nothing to do with too much work. In fact, it is the complete opposite.

I have been going full-out with revisions and editing for the past several months, not to mention putting work out on Wattpad. Now that I have met a revision deadline, I’m suddenly without anything pressing.

That may not sound like a bad thing, and in fact, it isn’t, but I’m feeling a little lost. I have plenty of things to work on, but nothing immediate. That is the problem. Rather than jumping into one of my other projects, I’m taking a break.

Again, not a bad thing.

Except, I’m letting myself relax too much. For me, the pressure to perform is what keeps me going at a manic pace. So, how do I fix that?

Well, I suppose I could get rolling on Boyscouts of the Apocalypse. Before you ask what I have left to do on that particular project, let me tell you. First of all, the podcast is long over. I had a trusted Beta reader go through it with a fine-toothed comb. I have also put it up on Wattpad for comment.

And a comment I did get. One that seems to answer my doubt about the story. So, now I know what I need to do to take it to the next level. That means I need to get the sense of urgency back because I would like to release it in August.

Wait…did I just say, “August?” As in four months from now?

I think I just found my urgency.

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