Monday, May 12, 2014

My Writing Process and Spring Bootcamp Update

Young Adult writer Deana Barnhart tagged me for the My Writing Process blog hop. 
You can find her here: blog twitter

Fun Fact: In 2012, Deana hosted an agent pitch contest called Gearing Up to Get An Agent (GUTGAA) which yielded page requests from agents. This eventually led to signing with my literary agent (networked through another contest) which happens to be Deana's same agent!

1.)     What am I working on?

A YA summer contemporary set on the Oregon coast. Here's the cozy cottage that inspired the story. The road ends into sand with the ocean just steps away. I love how it looks like you're at the edge of the world:

Photo: Stephanie Scott
(The first photo inspiration is on the McBee Cottages website with the flowering tree, go check it out.)

2.)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?  

Like any writer, I think we all strive for our own unique voice. I try to combine interesting settings with complicated family drama, using relatable characters. I also emphasize female friendships and aim for funny depending on the story.

3.)     Why do I write what I do?

I write the books I would have loved to read as a young adult, and what I find interesting now. I LOVE summer beach stories. Jessi Kirby's Moonglass is one of my favorites. I've written another contemporary that's more urban with a fashion flair, which was incredibly fun because I drew on my own interests. And I also wrote a YA set 50 years ago which I loved researching.

4.)     How does my writing process work?

The idea begins in my head. I think over it for days or weeks. I jot notes in a notebook. Everything I've done started as at least one handwritten page of notes. The more I write, the more I plan ahead. Setting, characters, sample pitch, and premise. My pre-work is a hodge-podge of notes, opening lines, character data (birth dates, a few facts), impressions, the big picture plot. Something that's 10 pages and bullet-pointed is not going to happen. 

After a first draft I try all sorts of methods. I've printed out the draft and made notes on post-its. I've pulled the doc into Word (from Scrivener) and select reading layout for an overall impression. I use a beat sheet or a plot outline to see how my draft can be streamlined. Or sometimes I go right back to chapter 1 and start fixing (which I don't recommend). I will try out any revision method once, honestly. Whatever works, I'm open! 

Since last August, I've been working with a critique group which has been fabulous. I highly recommend working collaboratively, though I think having a full draft helps before submitting to others.


Next Monday, go check out these writer's blogs for their writing process:
Valerie Cole lives in Philadelphia where she works in marketing and advertising. A graduate of The Art Institute of Philadelphia and Drexel University, her love of storytelling began as an intern in MTV’s animation department. She loves words and numbers, but hates being called Val. Follow on twitter @ValerieColeYA
Aimee Hyndman is represented by Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary. She is a Sophmore in college, attempting a triple major in Creative writing, English and Film Studies because she is, arguably, crazy. 
She reads the slushpile as an intern for Kimberley Cameron & Associates and she is also a contributor at Operation Awesome. She has been writing since her toddler fingers first grasped a pencil. Her area of specialty is Fantasy of all sorts but she dabbles in many genres. Whatever she feels compelled to write at the moment.The plot bunnies are never ending but, luckily, so are the words! Follow on twitter @AimeeHyndman

YA Spring Writing Bootcamp

I haven't updated for the past two weeks, though I've been busy with lots of writing stuff. I finished the A to Z blog challenge and networked with new writers (I may even have a new story idea thanks to a seed of inspiration found on a writer's blog. Hint: horses). 

I also attended a regional Romance Writers conference which was wonderful and encouraging. Here are updates from April and goals for May. 

April Updates:
  • Completed edits for my agent. Yay!
  • Read and scored more YARWA contest entries. I read a fantastic one in a genre I don't usually read, so that's a testament to the writing.
  • SPRING FLING CONFERENCE! The sister Chicago chapter of RWA runs this every other year and it's pretty much amazing. Most of these writers have day jobs and some have publishing deadlines, not to mention families. It's seriously amazing how they pull this off. I should probably do a separate post about this, but overall, it was such a different experience than 2012 when I knew no one and had no connections to RWA. I met more new writers this year and talked YA books with contemporary romance author Kristan Higgins who is just so cool and kind in person. She doesn't even write YA but she's good friends with Huntley Fitzpatrick who wrote My Life Next Door, a book I wish I wrote!
Goals for May:
  • Tearing up SUNSET SUMMER to make the conflict stronger. I would like to have a solid second draft by the end of the month with all my new plot points, even if it's still rough. (Big Goal)
  • Complete the Margie Lawson online writing course and all the assignments. It's about opening scenes, along with pitches and general editing techniques.
  • Complete all the YARWA contest entries (I'm 2/3 done).
Goals for the Week:
  • Complete writing course assignments--since this ties directly into my WIP, it will help me solidify my opening chapter. 
  • Complete revision of opening 2-3 chapters and/or outline (*shudder*) revision plan. 
  • Read and score two contest entries.
  • Attend RWA chapter meeting.
  • Update photos to our chapter website from the fantastic librarian appreciation dinner this past Friday.
Thanks for reading through my long check-in post!

Visit me in the comments! Let me know about your writing process, or any goals you have going for the week. 


  1. Wow - sounds like an amazing couple of weeks! You know how I feel about Kristan Higgins ... ahhhhh - it's so, so awesome that you got to hear her speak. Thanks again for tweeting about it! :) Congrats on finishing your edits for your agent, and best of luck meeting your goals for the week!

  2. Love the little blue cottage, I can see why it's inspirational! Good luck w/all your goals, I'm sure you'll knock them out of the park!

  3. You are a seriously busy woman! It's so great that you were able to attend a writer's conference recently. I've never been to one, but I love that so many people come away feeling inspired and filled with fresh ideas.

    I've never heard of Margie Lawson...just checked her course page out, and wow! I'm always up for strengthening my craft. My goal this year is to work on dialog, so thanks for the idea, Stephanie!

    Best of luck with all your goals this week. I hope you're completely inspired, and find a little extra time to do all that writing/revising/fabulousness!

    1. She networks with a lot of Romance Writer chapters, though her teaching is not limited to romance writing. This is the first of her online courses I'm taking after having seen her in person and also buying one of her lecture packets online. The packets are a great resource, though I think it does help to have gone through one of her classes. I think they are reasonably priced.

  4. That cottage is awesome - makes me wish I was at the beach right now! I LOVED Moonglass.

    Good luck with your goals this week!

  5. Good luck tearing up that manuscript.
    The Oregon coast is a beautiful place to set a story.


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