My Writing Process (Blog Hop)

Talented writer and fellow blogger Andrew Knighton recently tagged me for a writing process blog hop. So of course I said yes! My hop post will probably be a bit different from the norm, since my personal writing is focused on blogging (for now) rather than traditional stories or novels. My day job involves a lot of business/technical writing and editing for a corporation. My blog gives me a chance to show off my creative side.

1. What am I currently working on?

I started Doorway Between Worlds four months ago. I write weekly tips about communication through the lens of sci-fi/fantasy. I also proofread for Editors’ Weekly, the official blog of the Editors’ Association of Canada.

At my day job, one of my current focus areas is writing online help that is useful, clear, and easily accessible. So I have been learning a lot about information architecture, user experience, and plain language. The plain language aspect is filtering into my blog, because I try to write posts that are readable for a wide audience. As someone who has spent years explaining technical concepts to the business side, I strongly support plain language and clear communication.

In the back of my mind are many story ideas. When I have more time to devote to writing, I’d like to explore them. These include ideas for a traditional epic fantasy story, a post-infrastructure collapse apocalypse story, and an adventure story about a family that saves the world.

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

I am a big fan of Grammar Girl because she writes about grammar in an accessible and entertaining way. I wanted to take things one step further by writing communication tips in the form of stories. I have seen other people do this, but usually the story is limited to a few sample sentences with a lot of exposition in between. I am working towards fully integrating the information into the stories. I’d like the story metaphor to seamlessly reinforce the learning. I’m not there yet, but that’s my goal. Can I write fun stories about grammar that are just as entertaining as a traditional story? We’ll see…

3. Why do I write what I write?

I started my blog for a couple of different reasons. I wanted to share what I’ve learned about communication in a fun way, so that I could help others who are interested in this topic. I also wanted to start writing creatively again, because ever since high school, all my writing has been analytical. My dream as a child was to write a fantasy novel, and that hasn’t changed. But I’m out of practice. Writing this blog is helping me use those parts of my brain that have been sadly neglected.

4. How does my writing process work?

I use a form of writing prompt to come up with post ideas. I have two lists: a list of communication problems I would like to help people with, and a list of sci-fi/fantasy settings and concepts that I enjoy. Then I try to connect the two of them together.

Statue holding a stylus in front of a beautiful sunset at Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy

Do you feel this serene while writing? I wish I did!
(Image sourced from gnuckx at Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-2.0)

Sometimes I start with a problem, like the time I was trying to figure out how to write a story about apostrophes. This seemed impossible, until I thought about how nice it would be if someone could just take them away. And so Night of the Apostrophe Ninja was born. Other times there’s a concept I really want to write about, like vampires. What do vampires do? Suck the life from people. So then I ended up writing about how passive voice sucks the life from sentences in Tale of a Sentence Vampire Hunter.

Once I have a basic idea, I let it kick around in my head for a couple of days. (My best thinking times happen while I am commuting, out walking, or, unfortunately, trying to get to sleep.) I typically write the first draft in one shot. I let it sit for a day and come back to edit it before posting. I used to spend a lot more time editing. I’m starting to get used to the blogosphere, where speed is more important than perfection.

5. Tag three other writers for the blog hop

A lot of writers I follow have already been through this blog hop, so this is a tough one. There are three writers I admire who have a knack for humour in their posts. I’d love to find out more about how they write:

Celine Jeanjean

Brenna Layne

Shelley Sackier

Ladies, if you would rather not blog hop, I understand. Feel free to post a link in the comments below to one of your favourite posts so I can share your greatness!

And finally…N J Magas has already done this blog hop, but I wanted to share her fantastically funny post: In the Back Abyss Without a Light or My Writing Process.

Thanks for reading!

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14 thoughts on “My Writing Process (Blog Hop)

  1. Experience of corporate writing has made plain language a big part of my approach as well. The endless battles against jargon ogres legalese have reinforced those lessons pretty hard.

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  2. Oh I really hope that you write that novel you’ve been dreaming about all these years. Writing stories is something I love more than anything, and one of the best things I’ve ever done is taken the plunge to write my own novel. I really hope you do too!

    And thank you for the link. I’ve turned down writing process blog hops before as I feel a little fraudulent talking about my process when I’m still working it all out (and my process is like a chameleon, it changes all the time), but I think three times is a charm and I’ll give it a whirl…

    Count me in! 🙂

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    1. Fantastic, Celine! Looking forward to seeing your post. Don’t worry, I think all of us feel like frauds when talking about our process. 🙂

      And thanks for the best wishes on my future novel…I promise I will get there!

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  3. Thanks for the link, Sue, and for sharing your process as well. As someone who waited an embarrassingly long time to finish her first epic fantasy novel *ahemstartedineighthgradeahem*, I second everyone above and urge you to go for it! I suspect it will be a good one. 🙂 And I’m going to get cracking on that writing process post.

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  4. I think it’s always absolutely fascinating to read about other writers’ processes and creativity–and yours surely did not disappoint, Sue. I’ve always enjoyed your stories and the lessons so easily built within them. They’ve been immeasurably helpful, and I’m counting on them to continue. I NEED them to continue! 🙂
    And a mighty big thanks for including me in your blog hop links, Sue. I have (and this is actually rather common) already done this particular hop, maybe two months ago, but I will tuck in the link should anyone be interested in the answers.
    http://peakperspective.com/2014/05/17/boundless-talent-okay-some-of-it-has-been-bound/
    Again, a big hug for thinking of me, and I too shall be waiting with bated breath till the epic adventure is down on paper.
    Cheers to you!

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    1. Hi Shelley, thanks for sharing the link to another of your fabulously entertaining posts! I am often time-challenged in creating regular weekly content for my blog, but I will be sure to keep it up after such a heartfelt plea. 🙂 All the best!

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