At the Hop – the blog-hop, that is…

I was recently tagged in a blog hop by N. E. White, fantasy writer and editor of the anthology I had a story in last year (so I guess that means I now owe her two). After googling “blog hop” to make sure I knew what was happening to me–which I did, thank you very much–I was happy to be involved.

The subject of this pseudo-chain-letter is “questions about your writing process”, which for authors is a bit like approaching someone at a party and saying “So, tell me all about your job”. I’ll totally understand if I’m now talking to myself. Just let me put some music on in the background… okay, let’s go to the hop:

1) What are you currently working on?

Apart from novel editing (see most of my recent posts), I’m alternating between planning a sort of sequel and hovering my mouse over the folder containing a previous Work In Progress – a scifi/fantasy novel I’d really like to get finished. I usually keep something smaller handy as a palate cleanser, and at the moment that’s a submission to a follow up anthology, this time an Alternate History collection focusing on World War One. That deadline is creeping up though.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

My current novel is Steampunk and in the first draft I attempted the genre’s default stylistic approach, which is to say I tried to fake a period tone by using slightly over-elaborate vocabulary and sentences. However that isn’t a Steampunk universal, and in general I think my writing has developed a “voice” that is my own (not that I’m making any grand claims there: I just write the way I do). So, if I bring anything unique to the genre I guess it’s that. Aside from a kick-ass story the likes of which have never been seen before, of course.

3) Why do you write what you write?

I’ve always been an enthusiastic reader of scifi and horror, perhaps less so of the latter as I’ve aged, but to an extent they are still the genres that drive me. In the specific case of The Glass Sealing, though, I was partly inspired by the legacy of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which played out more or less on my doorstep here in Madrid.

The occupation of El Plaza del Sol, 2011. Click the pic for more info.

Starting in 2011, a square in the heart of the city played home to a tent camp for months on end as people protested the Spanish government’s response to the global financial crisis. It was only fully cleared ahead of the Pope’s World Youth Day visit a year later (both at once would have been too much contention to bare…). Though mostly it was a peaceful protest–and a peaceful containment–aggressive tactics were used at times and I put some of that into my story. You could call mine a Luddite version of Occupy Wall Street set during an imaginary Industrial Revolution. Steam-powered Robots Won’t Take Our Jobs!

4) How does your process work?

I’d have to say… Occasionally. In 2013 I was scarily productive, churning out a quarter of a million words (about four times my previous record). This year it’s been far, far less. I have excuses, but they don’t deserve to be aired.

I vary in my approach: I’m mostly a planner on big projects, mostly a seat-of-the-pantser on short fiction–but in both cases I tend to spend a lot of time thinking before I get started. When I’m in the right mode then the words flow and I’ll clear a thousand in no time. When they don’t, I’ll be lucky to manage a hundred all day. In any other line of work, I’d get fired.

Okay, that’s my answers, hope I found them interesting. And in the interest of broadening the horizons of any hypothetical readers that made it this far, here are a trio of friendly writers to whom I pass on the baton:

Sean McLachlan | Nicola Jane | Lance Tooks


Postscript: another friendly writer, Tony OG, is very unhappy that I didn’t point people his way too. So now I have. He doesn’t usually blog about writing, but he is quite talented so maybe we’ll all be lucky and he’ll start.

Post-postscript: everyone else who knows me can go hang–what am I, a charity?

Post-post-postscript: gowan, get– getoutofhere! Leave me alone!

Post-post-post-postscript: stop looking for things that aren’t there. Like my generosity.

5 thoughts on “At the Hop – the blog-hop, that is…

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