“My Writing Process” Blog Hop

Within the space of an hour, two different people tagged me in this blog hop: my editor Danielle Ellison and fellow Spencer Hill author Liza Wiemer. Saying no to either of them was never an option! Plus, I like answering questions!

Since that’s the case, without any further dawdling, here is a peek into my writing process:

What am I working on?

Right now I’m about to jump from writing the first draft of a contemporary thriller I’m currently calling SHARP OBJECTS (which will totally not be the name of this book for long) to second round edits of DEADLY SWEET LIES, the second book of The Dream War Saga. Later this summer, I’m going to try to finish SHARP OBJECTS before I start drafting book 3 of TDWS. In between the rest of the edit round for DEADLY, of course. I also have a concept for a science fiction novel that would be really fun to wrap my brain around, but I don’t know that I’ll have a chance to dig in for a while. It’s going to be a busy year!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I honestly have no idea how to answer this question except to say that nothing else in the genre was written by me. Every author brings their own experiences, biases, and viewpoints to their books. This means that the way they approach any given subject (dreams or vampires or first love or anything, really) is going to be very different from the way anyone else might see it. One thing I can say about my work as a whole is that it will jump genres within YA. Extensively. In the works right now are a contemporary series (co-written with Lani Woodland), a fantasy series, and my current thriller WIP.

Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been a wide reader. From the classics like Frankenstein and Pride & Prejudice to modern genre fiction like Carey’s Kushiel Saga and Pierce’s Tortall books. Mystery, fantasy, contemporary, historical, science fiction, romance, or any combination thereof. I have read a little bit of it all and I think that’s one of the reasons that the ideas I’ve gotten so far have covered a little bit of it all. One of the reasons I want to be a writer is to play in all of these different worlds. I think it would get a little boring after a while to be writing only contemporary fantasy or only thrillers or only anything, really. I subscribe to the “write what you’d like to read” ideology and I think that the books I publish over the course of my career will show that.

How does my writing process work?

The word “process” makes it sound as though the path through each novel is the same. For me, at least, it isn’t. At all. For example, most of the novels I’ve written up to this point have involved little to no true research. My gemstone and metaphysics reading for The Dream War Saga books is really the closest I’ve gotten. This thriller I’m working on, however, is the exact opposite. I’m only 35,000 words into the first draft and I’ve already had to stop writing several times to spend an hour or more researching something just to make sure ONE SENTENCE I wanted to add was actually accurate. Did you know that all copiers built after 2002 include harddrives that store copies of whatever is printed on the machine? I do now. That kind of minute research isn’t something I’ve ever had to do for a book before. Double checking a fact to make sure I remembered it right, sure. But not out-and-out research.

For me, the psychology of WHY a character reacts a certain way to a given situation is very important. That’s part of the reason I suck at outlining. At least until I really know my characters. I tend to get an idea and let it carry me until inspiration runs dry, After that I may–MAY–go back and outline the rest of the book, but not usually. Usually I try to push through and just get my crappy first draft down on paper and then turn the whole thing over to someone who knows better, like my agent Danielle Chiotti, or my editorial team at Spencer Hill, Danielle Ellison, Patricia Riley, and Britta Gigliotti. Honestly, as hard as it is, I prefer editing to drafting. When I’m editing, I already know the characters and the world and the story and all of that. And, on top of that, I have a fabulous new roadmap from someone I trust telling me where the p(l)otholes and the wrong turns are. That makes going back into the world and making the whole thing shinier (or less shiny, as the case may be) a whole lot easier.


I was tagged by:

Liza Wiemer‘s YA debut HELLO? is about five Wisconsin small town teens, whose lives intertwine when a grieving girl calls her dead grandmother’s old phone number. In an innovative use of free verse poetry, screenplay format, narration, and drawings, five narrators tell a story of hope, friendship, and redemption, to Patricia Riley at Spencer Hill Contemporary, by Stuart Krichevsky of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency.
Find Liza on:
Twitter | Author Site | WhoRuBlog – book reviews, author interviews, and giveaways | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Tumblr

Liza has had two adult non-fiction novels published, Extraordinary Guidance: How to Connect with Your Spiritual Guides by Random House and Waiting for Peace: How Israelis Live with Terrorism, by Gefen Publishering. A graduate of UW-Madison, Liza is a Badger fan and a die-hard Packer fan! To learn more about Liza, check out Liza’s “About” page.


Danielle Ellison is from a small town in West Virginia. She spent her childhood pretending to fly, talking to imaginary friends, and telling stories. She hasn’t changed much since then. You can still find her pretending to work, talking to imaginary characters, and writing stories.

When she’s not writing, Danielle is probably drinking coffee, fighting her nomadic urges, watching too much TV, or dreaming of the day when she can be British. She is the author of SALT, FOLLOW ME THROUGH THE DARKNESS, and three other upcoming novels. You can find her on the web at danielleellison.com or twitter @DanielleEWrites.

Who I’m tagging:

Check out these awesome authors’ blogs next week for their answers to these questions:

Marni Bates began her writing career at the age of 19 with her autobiography, Marni, for HCI’s Louder Than Words series. Her debut fiction novel, Awkward, has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Hungarian and has been optioned by Disney Channel as a made for TV movie. She has three other novels with KTeen; Decked with Holly, Invisible, and Notable, as well as short stories in Ambush Books’ Magical Mayhem and Love Stinks Anthology.

In her free time she can be found reading romance novels, rollerblading, singing really loudly (and off-key) in public and . . . watching copious amounts of television.

Visit her at marnibates.com or on Twitter @MarniBates.


Hi. I’m Elisa Nader. I like cheese and reading and TV show marathons. Writing is scary, but not as scary as, say, Civil War amputations. I’m an Aquarius. Uh… let’s see… I’m not very good at writing my own biography. Or autobiography. I guess this is reading more like a slightly incoherent personal ad.

I write stuff and design some other stuff. My YA mystery/thriller ESCAPE FROM EDEN released August 18, 2013.

Find out more at elisanader.com or on Twitter @elisanader.

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