Thursday, June 12, 2014

Join Us on the TWIST OF FATE Blog Tour


Welcome to the first stop on the Twist of Fate blog  tour! A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shawna C. Smith on our podcast, and I thought our readers could benefit from learning more about her writing process.   

My Writing Process
By Shawna C. Jones
I like to start a story by writing with paper and pen. When I hold a pen and jot down words in a notebook, my creativity opens up. It’s a freeing experience to be able to write something down, and eventually get into a flow with it. At times it seems to be an altered experience. Words start flowing, and sometimes after reading, I wonder if I actually wrote it, or if it came from somewhere else.

At any time, if I’m not sure what I want to say, I just start writing, and eventually the pen glides easily over the paper. At least for me, this seems to help “prime the pump.” Then later, finding a different way of saying something, or adding more to the picture, can give me an “aha” moment. I was once told in a writing class to not cross anything out while writing a first draft. They also advised us not to write longer than two hours, because you need to process the information you’ve written and let it percolate. Ideas for improvements could show up later that day, or in the following days.

It took several tries for me to write Twist of Fate. It started out as a memoir, but that didn’t work. Because I had so much travel in it, I felt like I was giving readers a tour. And that’s not my story, although journeying to foreign countries was an important part of it. So I decided to focus the story on the characters, and go into less detail about the landscape. I realize this way of writing doesn’t appeal to everyone. And that’s okay. It’s my story.

While reviewing my second try with the memoir style, an editor told me that certain events had to happen before this and that. She said it was a great story, but needed refining. By this time, I’d written over one hundred pages (twice), and I decided to rethink the whole process, and approach it from a different angle. I took out a lot of the travel, or used it as backstory. I removed several characters that didn’t add to the story, and weren’t really necessary. Who needs all those extras?

This new approach took another two tries by long hand before I was happy with it. Then I went to the computer and started typing. Now as I typed, other ways of making a sentence better would appear. Sometimes I would continue typing it as it was, and other times I would stop and use long hand again. Since this book is a memoir, I didn’t want to change a lot of it, but I had two separate journeys going on at the same time. I didn’t know if I could reconcile them without the story appearing disjointed. Somehow, I managed to pull it off, but don’t ask me how I did it. I just went with my soul. In fact, I would say my soul wrote a lot of this book. And sometimes in writing that’s all that’s supposed to happen.
When we get too caught up in the words, we miss something. Too much detail, for me, is distracting. I know some people prefer to have every little detail, rather than using their imagination. I’m not one of those. It will either bore me or put me to sleep.

So all in all, I wrote out my book at least four times. I had it edited three times, and proofread twice, by some terrific people. It took longer than I thought it would take: about ten months. All I know is everyone’s writing is going to be different because we’re all different. We come from various backgrounds and experiences. And guess what? It’s okay. My advice for aspiring writers is to not stop writing. Write even when you don’t feel like it. Write even if the only thing you write is about is the weather, or nonsense stuff. Deep inside you is a story dying to get out. And millions of us want to read it.
Best of luck to all of you writing. Please don’t quit.

Shawna will be awarding the winner's choice of a  $50 Amazon GC, a $50 Starbucks GC, or a crystal from Middle Earth Store in Mt. Shasta  to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and a $25 Amazon  or  Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn host.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon GC, a $50 Starbucks GC, or a crystal from Middle Earth Store in Mt. Shasta. They will dowse for the right one for you. Value up to $60.00.(winner's choice)—a Rafflecopter giveaway)


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank for hosting!

Valerie said...

Nice interview!
I hope to read this book.
Thanks for the giveway!

Shawna Jones said...

Thanks for hosting me today, Dana. I appreciate it.

stacey dempsey said...

I liked the writing process piece , it is cool to see how that works and there are some good tips even for those of us who just write for ourselves

Melissa Snark said...

Great essay! I consider myself lucky if I only rewrite the draft once.

Best of luck with your new release and tour. :)

Shawna Jones said...

Thank you Valerie and Stacey sharing your thoughts.
There are two chances to win, if you follow along with ChelseaAuthorPormotions. A couple more prizes and I have second and third as well.

Shawna Jones said...

Thanks Valerie, and Stacey for sharing your comments.

Maria D. said...

Thanks for the spotlight on this book and for the guest post - I found Shawna's writing process interesting - I've heard of authors who still like to start their books on paper and about how it seems to help the flow of the story - at least at the start- for them. Thanks for the giveaway too.

junegirl63 at gmail dot com

amy bowens said...

A great interview! Always nice to get to know the author more. Really looking forward to reading this. Thanks for sharing.