The Writing Process Blog Hop

This particular blog series has been winding its way through the writing blog community over the past few weeks and it’s found its way to my humble little corner of the Internet. I was tagged by Brandy Vallance, who was tagged by Joseph Courtemanche, who was tagged by…

No, wait, I’m not going to turn this into a Biblical genealogy. That’s not what this is about. No, instead, it’s a chance for me to give you a little peek into my process as a writer through a series of five questions:

About me as a writer?

Tearing up another crumpled paper ball for the pileI’m not entirely sure what this means, so I’ll take it as a “what are the basic facts about you as a writer?” type of question.

I’ve been telling stories in one form or another for as long as I can remember. I started by drawing really horrible comic books when I was in the fifth grade. When I realized that I had little to no artistic talent, I switched to writing really horrible novels, some of which were semi-autobiographical Mary Sue-type sci fi stories. I tried my hand at fantasy, sci fi, teen mysteries, apocalyptic, and all before I graduated from high school.

If I’m very, very lucky, all of those stories have been lost to the ages, never to resurface.

I’ve tried my hand at writing screenplays (three in particular: a riff on The Boys from Brazil, a sci-fi take on Romeo and Juliet, and a romcom about an angel sent to Earth to help a pathetic loser—in no way another Mary Sue, honest!—learn how to be a good boyfriend), a stage play, and fanfiction.

I finally “got serious” about my writing after taking a course on C. S. Lewis while attending Seminary. That started a very long journey with several false-starts and shelved manuscripts that finally culminated in my debut novel, Failstate. And the rest has been downhill from there is history, as they say.

What am I currently working on?

I hate to say it, but I’ve been a bit scattershot lately in my writing endeavors. For the past couple of months, I was supposed to be working on a new book that I’m calling the GenShip project (the lamest of working titles). It’s the story of a girl who gets unfrozen on a generation ship while en route to her new home. I usually update people on my progress through a series of posts called Wordcount Wednesday.

Lately, though, I’ve been distracted by other matters. For example, my latest book, Failstate: Nemesis, is part of a Kickstarter campaign being put on by my publisher, Enclave Publishing. You should totally go check it out and contribute. You can get some great books for a discounted price and you’ll even get the ebook versions early!

There has also been another project that’s distracted me lately, but I can’t say any more about it than that.

But I’ve been trying to get back to the GenShip project. Ideas for it have been percolating during the time I’ve had to put it on hold and I’m excited to see how they will all shake out.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Boy, I have no idea how to answer this one. There aren’t many superhero books out there to begin with, and even fewer that arise from a Christian worldview, so that makes me unique.

I would also say that my perspective is a little different as well. I’m a Lutheran minister in my day job, and so my theological foundation is going to be different from others within the Christian fiction marketplace. That will bleed through into my works from time to time.

Why do I write what I do?

Because they’re stories I want to tell. I try to write the kind of stories that I would enjoy reading. It’s as simple as that. For right now, that means that I like writing Christian speculative fiction. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have ideas that would fit better in the secular market.

How does my writing process work?

In broad terms, I’m a plot-first outliner. I usually come up with the story before I come up with the characters. And I definitely have to figure out the story’s beginning, middle, and end before I can get started. The few times I’ve tried to write stuff on-the-fly hasn’t turned out well at all.

Stepping Stones on Mississippi

Crossing the mighty Mississippi on foot

To get a bit more technical, I like to call myself a “stepping stones” writer. It’s like crossing a river on foot: if you want to get to the other side, you have to have enough rocks to get there. The same thing is true for me when it comes to writing. I need to have envisioned enough scenes or moments in the book to get me from beginning to end. But once I have those stones in place, I meander between them and kind of/sort of make it up as I go along.

But to help me find the stepping stones, I use the incredible wonderful Snowflake Method created by Randy Ingermanson. All of my published novels have been put together by using this method, so I highly recommend it.

As for the rest of my writing process, it’s mostly a matter of finding the time to eke out a chapter here and there. I don’t have a set time when I write, although I really should. And while I try to meet a wordcount goal for every session, it’s very rare when I’m able to. But I do have two favorite places to write: the Wentworth Library in West St. Paul and at a monthly mini-writers’ retreat hosted by Sharon Hinck.

So there we go folks, a little about my writing process. Unfortunately, I may prove to be a dead-end on this particular blog hop. A lot of my friends have been tagged already and I haven’t been able to find anyone to continue the chain. Ah, well. Such is life, I suppose.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Working at libraries is definitely cool. It’s one of the few ways that I can get anything done at all. That, or sometimes I go to McDonalds and buy a one-dollar coffee or soft drink to sip while I work on my laptop connected to my headphones and my Neverwinter Nights soundtrack.

    • Oh, I didn’t touch on the music choices for when I write! I usually stick to soundtracks too. I read a study once that said that writing with any form of music that included lyrics was a bad idea, because the words in the music would distract the language centers of your brain, making it difficult for them to work on whatever you’re writing. I’ve found that’s true for me, so I stick to instrumental music only when writing.

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