Writing Process Blog Tour

I recently joined this amazing group that is for authors that are out and about, querying to their heart's content! While I'm relatively new to this group, I was able to join in on this great blog tour about authors and their writing processes! Karen Mahara tagged me as a part of this and now you'll get to revel in my unnecessarily complicated writing process!


1. What am I working on right now?
I'm currently juggling a few different things. The Faithful is about to end its submission tour after over a year of continuous submissions. The plan is then to hire an editor and push it out the door.

I just finished The Magician, a novel about a robot who has always wanted to be a Magician, only to come against Lovecraftian Elder Gods.

I was going to re-imagine my first novel, Between the Shadows, but have decided I'm going to try editing it after five years. If it can't be salvaged, then I'll pull it down from here.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?
Over the last several years, I've culled all passive voice and focused on actions rather than info dump character feelings. This is best exemplified in the first page of The Faithful. Raine is smoking a cigarette when he is approached from behind by a mysterious man. Raine gets the pertinent info out of him, then pitches the cigarette and walks off, without ever looking back at the man or giving him a thought. He doesn't care who it is. He got what he wants and moves on.

3. Why do I write what I write?
I'm a bit of a strange beast. What got me into reading was horror. I am honestly not sure where my penchant for fantasy came. Some of my most recent influences have been dark and dirty fantasy, such as Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks and The Deepgate Codex by Alan Campbell. I go where the story takes me.

I'm not sure I'd be able to write real-world horror, but I definitely splice those elements into my writing where I can.

4. How does my writing process work?
At the beginning, I open up a document and write what I know. I break it up into categories (Society, City, MCs, Plot, etc.) and write everything I can.

This never ends up the same.

Another City by Tobiee

Another City by Tobiee

I don't know what it is about my process, but my initial thoughts morph and change as I write the story. In The Faithful, my city was pious with their seven gods living among the mortals, creating spectacles as their followers danced through the streets. The heart of the story is a murder mystery. What detective couldn't piece together that his best friend was a god, that the current champ was the god of war, that the trickster was involved in a murder? So I changed it to a heathen city, with only one central group still believing. This not only shifted my initial pitch, but changed the motivations of every character as well as adding history to my world.

Once this document is "completed," I start writing the novel. I write from beginning to end, no matter how long I am stuck on a scene. As I describe characters, I go back to the Worldbuilding document and add descriptions, both big and small, to reference back to.

I prefer to grab a cup of coffee and whittle entire days writing. I throw on music, some hard rock that I've listened to a thousand times, and just lose myself. I honestly couldn't string together a single coherent sentence without music to back it up. The words just jumble in my head and come out stilted.

To keep myself motivated, I use spreadsheets that track my total goal, as well as how far I got that day and if I'm staying on track. The idea was to give myself a week to write as much as I could (say 6,000 words total), then push myself to 10k, then 15k, so on and so forth. For a better spreadsheet than I had made, check out Abby Annis' spreadsheets.

As for editing, I get most of my true work done by printing and hard editing it. I use three different colors. Red for line edits, blue for commentary and black for no questions asked eliminations. This allows me, at a glance, to tell what I'm dealing with when transcribing my notes to a revision. I keep every version of my novel and track ALL changes.

For complex novels, I use spreadsheets to break scenes down with dates, times, etc. so I can track where it sits in the novel. For The Faithful, I even put which characters showed up and who was a POV, as well as blacking out anyone who died.


For more on my process, with more delicious examples, I'm going to take my first draft (over twice the size of this post) and post it up next week with a bit more insight into these questions. I'd love to have spilled all this info at you today, but was advised by my lovely wife that no one wants to read that.

Please prove her wrong. (Love, love, love!)

Now that you're done with my post, please check out K.A. Reynolds! She's a Canadian (ooooh!) writer, poet, mother, that will capture your imagination!

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.