Four Things About My Writing, and ROW80 Round 2

Sheri McGathy tagged me in this fun blog hop where we post the answers to four questions about our writing. Visit Sheri’s blog to read about her current WIP, a ghost story. Thanks, Sheri!

And now, my questions and answers:

1. What are you working on?
I actually have three works in progress right now, all in the Saturn Society universe. One is the third novel of the series, Time’s Guardian. The second is Part Two of Time’s Tempest, the serialized novel that started with “The Storm” in the Love’s a Beach anthology. The third, where I’ve been concentrating most of my energies at the moment, is a long novella or short novel (it keeps growing) called Time’s Best Friend, which is an interim story about a secondary character from the novel Time’s Fugitive. Here’s the blurb as it currently stands:

During the height of WWII, a time-traveling farm woman braves the eighteenth-century Tennessee frontier to search for the explorer she loves, only to find her historic home occupied by Nazi soldiers, and her only friend a dog who just might be their spy.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Most time travel romance, particularly that from big publishers, seems to be set in medieval Scotland or England, and mostly focuses on the relationship between a modern American woman and a hunky Highlander or knight. While I’ve read and enjoyed plenty of those books, mine tend to focus as much on “what if I change something”and all its consequences as on the relationship, and take place in North America, where I find plenty of fascinating history much closer to my own backyard. No knights or lairds–my books are about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, and feature hunky American guys. 😀

3. Why do I write what I do?

Time travel, and all its possibilities, from the paradoxical to the chance to right something that went wrong, to the very real potential of making something even worse, has always fascinated me. I like to throw my characters into impossible situations and then see them scrape their way out of them.

4. How does your writing process work?
Once I’ve mulled an idea around for a bit and done a little preliminary research, I write “the sentence” that becomes the short blurb, as above. Then I write out everything I know about the story, and figure out what all could happen in the beginning, the middle, and the end, and sketch out a rough outline. (I use the notecards in WriteWay Pro for this). Then I write the rough draft from that. I deviate from the outline whenever something better occurs to me, noting changes needed in the ms as I go, along  with any additional research needed. Invariably an idea occurs to me about 3/4 through the first draft that will make me change a lot in what I’ve already written, but it will make the story a lot better, so I note it, and keep writing as if I’ve already made the change until I power through to the end. Then I revise based on my notes, then hand off to the beta readers. And yes, the big change idea for this story hit me last week.  😕

Occasionally I’ll get an idea for a story and just sit down and write it. This mainly works for short stories, and was how I wrote Time’s Tempest: “The Storm.” But often when I try this, I run out of steam, and have to go back and do some planning.  That’s where I’m at with part two of Tempest.

So there’s your little glimpse inside my brain. Not that exciting, I know LOL. I also get to pass this on and tag some other lucky writer whose work I’d like to know more about. And that writer is Stacy McKitrick! Stacy is buried under deadlines right now, so if she doesn’t have time to play, we understand (but hope she will)! Here’s a little bit about Stacy:

Stacy McKitrick fell in love with paranormal romance, decided to write her own in 2009 and found her passion in life. She used to work in accounting, now she spends her time with vampires, ghosts, and aliens. Born in California, she currently resides in Ohio with her husband. They have two grown children.

ROW80Logo175And now it’s time for ROW80, the second round of which starts today. I have been dealing a bit with some health issues, and this seems to be ongoing, so I’m going to make just one very, very simple goal for this round: finish Time’s Best Friend.

This goes in line with ROW80 founder Kait Nolan’s wonderful post for today on the ROW80 blog, with an emphasis to remember to be kind to ourselves. Seriously, go read that post–even if you’re not participating in ROW80, or not even a writer, it’s worth it. Go on, I’ll wait. Back? Good. Okay, I’m grateful that depression is not what’s plaguing me–in my case, it’s more of an intense, sometimes debilitating fatigue, yet oddly, accompanied by an awful bout of insomnia. I believe the cause is the same: too much go-go-go and not enough being kind to ourselves.

I have seen my doctor, and she found one possible cause: Vitamin D deficiency. Given the winter we’ve had in most of the U.S., I can’t say I’m surprised. And yes, fatigue is one symptom thereof. I’m on high-potency prescription vitamins to get that set to rights, but my doc tells me it could be 6-8 weeks before I notice any difference. Then to top it all off, I caught either a mild flu or nasty cold a couple weeks ago, right before my DH and I were set to leave on our 20th-anniversary celebratory vacation.

Sick or no, our vacation was much-needed and wonderful (Puerto Rico). Not only was the island beautiful, sunny, and warm, I also got some fantastic sleep. Even better, I found that on an airplane is a great place to write! I’ll post some pics and blog more about that next week.

So this week I’m going focus on continuing to be kind to myself, not sweat every little thing like I’d been doing, and–I hope–continue to sleep decently at night while kicking the rest of this cold. If I get any writing done, that will be a bonus. But I had great fun writing on the plane, so I suspect I will.

What about you–do you have trouble being kind to yourself? Are you too much g0-go-go, and is it making you tired? Or do you maybe just need a vacation? What did you think of my four Q&As–did any of that surprise you? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

17 Responses to \

  1. Oh, yes. I struggle with placing productivity above self-kindness, and I can be a bit hard on myself when I fail to live up to my Wonder Woman-level expectations. I’ve since learned that chronic fatigue can be a symptom of burnout and that sometimes what we need is some rest and a little bit of fun.

    I hope the extra dose of vitamin D works for you.

    I hope that your anniversary celebration and your trip to Puerto Rico offered lots of relaxation and good memories. Congratulations and happy anniversary!

  2. Yes, I definitely struggle with being kind to myself. I really can be my own worst enemy. I hope you feel better soon, Jennette. I had a vit D deficiency too. Good that you figured it out! Also, enjoyed reading about your writing process. I’ve always been fascinated with the time travel paradox of changing something too. Hope you have a good week!

  3. I’m sorry to hear about your health issues but I’m glad you’re listening to what Kait is saying. Simple goals certainly work. Best of luck this round. You can do it.

  4. I like your take on time travel books. I don’t really read them, because I can’t really wrap my brain around the concept, but I admire folks who think outside the box.

    Just one question: Are there Cameros in those “other worlds?”

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  5. Denise, I hope so too–thanks!

    Coleen, I bet there’s an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency, with the winter we’ve had!

    Thanks, Ryan!

    LOL Patricia–my readers tell me my books aren’t confusing (which is a far cry from the first few drafts of Time’s Enemy LOL). And yes, there’s a Camaro in almost all of my books, as long as at least part of them takes place in contemporary times!

    Sheri, you’ll be one of the first who get to read it–and thanks again for tagging me!

  6. Hola chicka! Puerto Rico? Muy bueno!

    I am sooo glad you and hubby got a chance to get away. Although flying sick is no picnic. How were the ears? Been there, done that. Love the beaches in Puerto Rico. 🙂

    Glad the doctor figured out the Vit D thing. I supplement that vitamin also. I think the majority of us are deficient. Keep it up Jen. I love that you are able to put your focus on more than one project at a time. I am always in awe. And I loved the insights into your mind. Wow girl, you are on fire. Can’t wait to see the pics next week. Until then, sleep tight and keep up that good routine. (And yes, I did read Kait’s post this morning. It was inspiring!) 🙂

  7. I’ll do my best to play along, but won’t promise anything. Heck, it might make posting next Monday easier anyway. Who knows?

    I can’t write on a plane (but I can read). It’s just too cramped for me. And then my ears start hurting and, well, I really hate that part of flying. My right ear is still recovering from my flight to California and back and it’s been three weeks!

  8. Okay, I just did a MAJOR happy dance! So happy to know that there are more projects in the works that take pace in the Saturn Society universe. And Kait’s post also resonated with me. Sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling unwell! Take care of yourself–I hope the Vitamin D regimen helps with the fatigue.

  9. I discovered that it might be nice if I actually spent an entire evening on one project before moving on to the next. And I finally forced myself (and my wife) to go for a long-overdue hike in the woods this past weekend.

    Someday, I will slow down. Then I won’t know what to do with myself.

  10. Thanks, Karen! The flights weren’t bad at all. And very worth it!

    Stacy, ouch! I hope your ears are better now! I did the writing after the plane leveled off, so it wasn’t bad.

    Lena, so glad to see you posting again – and thanks! It makes so much difference knowing someone wants to read my books!

    Jim, I have a hard time not flitting from project to project myself! I hope you don’t have to get sick to be forced to slow down like seems to happen to so many of us.

  11. This is my favorite of all your posts so far, Jennette. I feel as if I was making a friend, and she just moved into my neighborhood so we could be closer friends!

    First, let me say that I hope the Vitamin D is working and that you’re feeling better. I agree that with the winter we had, it was often the greater part of valor to remain indoors. My husband and I like to go on nature walks, but this winter, there was rarely anyplace decent to walk. Paths were either covered in deep snow, treacherous ice, and occasionally mucky mud.

    Second, I love the interview with you. Great insights into your writing process and some ideas for me to appropriate in my own writing. One of the things I liked best is the way you “correct” yourself as you write. I remind my writing students that even the books they enjoy by productive authors probably hit bumps during their creation and had to be re-thought and revised. I’m going to send them the link to your post.

    P.S. I suspect Vitamin D wasn’t the cause of your sleeplessness since you enjoyed wonderful sleep while away. Maybe this is another reminder to slow down, so you can sleep well at home! 🙂

  12. Lynette, who wants to go outside when it’s zero degrees, too? We had too much of that this winter! Glad you enjoyed reading about my process, though. 🙂 I don’t really correct myself, just make notes and keep going, or else I’d never finish. And I totally agree–I think I just need to slow down!

  13. Here’s hoping the vitamin supplements do their job! It was fun reading about your writing and your process.

    I can’t write on planes. My head starts getting fuzzy after about two hours, and then I need something mindless, like a mystery novel or a movie.

    Good luck with your goals this round!

  14. Hope your feeling better! Your vacation sounded awesome:). Looking forward to seeing pictures. Btw, I love your time travel books–I really enjoy learning all about the history right here!

  15. I love your Saturn Society series, Jennette. I’m not a big time travel reader, but I definitely enjoy yours – probably because they are different than most I’ve read.

    It really is funny how different authors proceed so differently from the first word. There’s no way I could sit down and plot. And yes – I sometimes (most times) have to go back and do a lot of rewriting, but it’s what works for me.

    Just glad that however you do it, it makes for some great books!