Monday, April 28, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour: How I Write

I was so excited when my friend Ilene Goldman asked me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. I love to read how other writers work, and I love to discuss my own writing process.

For this tour, we were asked four questions. They, and my answers, follow.

1. What am I working on at the moment?

I'm finishing up my fifth novel, a historical set in Nebraska during World War II.

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

A lot of World War II fiction is set in Europe and deals with the Holocaust, the French Resistance, Occupied Europe, England, etc. There's not a lot of work set on the American Homefront (though Kristina McMorris is a notable exception as her American homefront novels are superb!). My work also deals with a rather unorthodox view of the war from the perspective of a German exile who comes to Nebraska and actually encounters prejudice against him for being German - even though he fled Hitler's regime. It's been a lot of fun to write (and also very challenging) because I have to look at World War II with a totally different perspective than I'm used to.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I actually just answered this question pretty thoroughly on a new blog that I am a part of - Modern Belles of History. We are a group of historical fiction writers who focus on the time period from about 1890-1950. It's a time period that usually isn't thought of as being "historical", but we are aiming to change that! So check out why I write what I do.

4.  How does my writing process work?

Actually, I'm amazed my writing process works at all! It's incredibly messy. I usually have a scenario that comes to mind first instead of characters which may be somewhat backwards. But it works. I'll usually do a general outline, character sketches, plot points, etc., though I am by no means a writer who meticulously records each scene. That would destroy the creative process for me. Many times I find out important plot points just by the sheer act of writing and then I have to go back and rework the rest of my novel.

I've tried to fine-tune this process by trying out different methods, but it hasn't worked yet. So I've just come to the conclusion that I'm a "discovery" writer in that the plot, characters, theme, symbolism, etc. really comes together through the writing process itself. And when that happens...oh, it's heavenly.

Make sure and stop by the blogs of Elizabeth Foley and Rachel D. Muller next Monday, May 5, for their stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour!


  1. Great post, Melissa! I'm wondering, though, how do the Research Assistants fit into your writing process? ;-)

    1. LOL! That is a great question! ;-)

      They usually help me stay sane. If I'm having a hard time with something, a dose of cuteness always helps. =D

  2. Love reading this posts, and I'm totally with you on the messy process... my outline works for me maybe 40% of the way but the rest I have to discover and muddle through and then go back and make everything new fit.

    1. It is a VERY messy process. I wish that I had a better way to do it, but this is just how my brain works, I guess!

  3. That's really neat that you have a community of writers that share the same focus! It seems historical fiction is a dual-love field - one of both fiction (and stories), and one of history. I would guess that putting the two together is both fantastic and difficult. :)

    1. Oh, it's indeed both of those, Heidi. But I love that I can put my two passions together. :)

  4. As long s it works it doesnt matter how messy it is!


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