Sunday, June 24, 2018

Two Questions with . . . Author Janet Walden

Thank you for inviting me to stop by as Part Three of the “Two Questions With…” blog hop.

2. What is the hardest part about writing?

Plotting. Bah. That way leads to lack of creativity and dull stories. Drudgery and boredom.

Oh, guys. Baby Writer me was so cute.
Hands up if you’re also a reformed pantser. 

Fifty percent of my writing issues disappeared when I learned to sit down and plot out a story. I always come up with characters first, usually completely by accident. They pretty much spring to life in my head, fully formed—then I’m left scrambling to find a plot to hang them on. 

My early stories always stalled out around the 70% mark. Right around the Black Moment. All because I had cobbled together plot as I went, and was often left not knowing what drove the characters into their crisis, or if I had the crisis, how to solve it. I got characters into trouble then had no clue how to get them out. I lost weeks and months to writing myself into corners.

Then came breaking down, figuring “What do I have to lose by trying?” and starting a new story outline from scratch on a legal pad. And it worked. I could see potential dead ends and lack of agency.

Gotta say, plotting an arc out on paper lets me brainstorm ideas ahead of time and helps keep the pacing tight. Since I try to stick to big picture outlines, it also leaves me plenty of room to innovate and change details without starting from scratch. 

 Thanks to my reformed ways, I can finish a story much more quickly now, and with less “Why did I ever think this was doable?” angst.

2. Who are you favorite writers at the moment, and what do you love about each?

So many. So, so many.

In romance, I’m on a huge contemporary romance kick with Sarina Bowen. I love, love, love her True North series, and Keepsake is my favorite so far. Sarina writes sexy—wow, does she have some intense heroes and heroines—but capitalizes on emotions to bring the heat. She builds tension into a delicious fire. She also makes unconventional heroes and consent sexy.

In SF/F/PNR, it’s Karen Marie Moning. I just caught up on her Fever series, devouring Feversong and High Voltage within days. Her long-term plotting just knocks me out. She lays out so many plot threads, then manages to connect them all organically. The level of detail and imagination just blow me away. Her descriptions of the Fae and Dublin are also lush and gorgeous. You can see and feel the deadly beauty and rain-wet cobbles.

Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn't read the fine print.  She has an unseemly obsession with dusty artifacts, great cars, and bad coffee.A founding member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance and The Million Words craft blog, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America member. She pens Urban Fantasy that escapes the neat confines of the city limits in favor of map-dot hillbilly towns, and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance. A #PitchWars alum, her first short story, Road Trip, is included in the Chasing the Light anthology.

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