Andrea G Stewart

Art and Writing

For Those Women, for My Friends

Mother's Day is coming up again, and amongst all the fanfare, commercials, and my own effusive love for my mother, I'm reminded of my friends for whom this is not a joyous holiday. Some of my friends have wanted to have children, but have been unable to for one reason or another. While some of them went on to eventually become parents, others did not.

This is for those women. You know who you are.

Better Than Dreams

Maya met him when she was twenty-three, stray bits of salt from last night’s tears clinging to her eyelashes, her lips still bruised from the kisses two nights before.

She barely missed stepping on the heels of her boss when the woman stopped. The tower of items in Maya’s arms--binders, reports, two bottles of water--threatened to topple. She took in a deep, slow breath as they settled. The scent of hot asphalt filled the summer air, mingled with the astringent smell of some burned, alien fuel.
 

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On Beginnings...

I have a guest blog post up on the amazing Alex Shvartsman's blog (oh, you know, writer of a gajillion awesome stories, super-slinger of Magic cards, and editor of the uber-fun UFO series)!  He runs a series entitled "The Hook," where authors write about why they chose the beginning they did, and what they intended to accomplish.

I've written about my urban fantasy, Loose Changeling, which is out today!

Check out the post here.

If you have the chance, mosey on over to the rest of the series, and the rest of the blog. You won't regret it.

Writing Process Blog Hop

I've been tagged by Bob over at The Doors to Everywhere!  Bob is a YA author and is a member of my in-person (*gasp*) writing group, Stonehenge.  He writes sci-fi adventure, wherein the kids don't just save the universe--they save one another.

1. What are you currently working on?

I’ve got a dark fantasy novel, Windrider, which I’m currently in the process of revising and cleaning up.  I’ve been describing it to people as The Other Boleyn Girl meets Breaking Bad, with dragons.  I’ve got an urban fantasy series, Changeling Wars—the first book needs one more pass, and the second is in-progress.  Sillier, lighter fare than my usual.  And I’m very excited for the next epic fantasy I’m working on, entitled The Bone Shard Daughter.  I’ve been throwing a lot of “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” ideas at it.  For now, my lips are sealed!  Errrr…my fingers are taped together?  Hmmm…not sure the equivalent for typing…!

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I wouldn’t really presume to say that it’s that much different.  I can say that I like to deal in non-Western European fantasy, but other authors do the same.  I can say that I write complex, complicated characters, but a lot of other authors do that too.  I like poetic language, I like immersive description, I like worldbuilding.  Again, I am not the only one.

I think the one true way in which my work is different is that it is my work.  It will always be colored with my perceptions.

3. Why do you do what you do?

Is “I’m not entirely sure” an acceptable answer?  I’ve been writing since I was a kid.  I love creating stories, characters, worlds.  I love reading, I love to be immersed.  I guess I’ve always wanted to be the one on the other side, pulling the puppet strings.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’ll just cover novels, since short stories are an entirely different beast for me.  I get an idea, a concept.  Sometimes it’s inspired by something really mundane, like Marina finding a bone shard in her Chinese food.

A lot of them die out when I realize they are DUMB, but some keep germinating.

I start researching, picking up other ideas and sticking them onto the first one.  At some point, I’ll usually dash out the beginning couple scenes, just to get a feel for the voice, the characters, the world.  I create a character and world sheet, and add to it as I see fit, but they’re usually only 1-2 pages each.  Most of it, in the beginning, just grows in my head.

I daydream for at least a year before writing the outline and starting the project in earnest.  This may sound like a long time, but I’m always drafting or working on something else while I’m daydreaming about the new project.  I find it takes that much percolation time for the world and the characters to feel real and developed.

Completing the outline usually takes a couple weeks, and then I like to draft in a mad rush—usually a few months’ time.

And then I let it sit for a bit and I procrastinate and I become a ball of anxiety about how I will NEVER be able to get the draft into shape.

I start revising.  My worst fears are true.  It’s horrible, it’s awful, I’m paralyzed by indecision and appalled at my own ineptitude.  And then 1-2 weeks in, I hit my stride and start to feel like it might just work out okay.  I make a list of all the things I need to change and where (lists are great and very, very calming).  I change them.  One day I wake up and I’ve got something I can send to beta readers.

That pretty much covers my process.

Tagged:

Matt Maxwell A writer I met at FogCon who also lives in the area.  He did a reading in the same time slot as me.  Very surreal, fantastical coming-of-age story.

Drew Rhodes I also met Drew at Stonehenge.  He writes some very fun, funny stuff.

Richard Crawford Richard is pretty much one of my favorite writing people.  Read his stuff, it's funny and creepy and awesomely weird!