Monday, May 26, 2014

My Writing Process

My Writing Process
Thank you, Megan Easley-Walsh, for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Project. Let's get to the questions!

What are you working on? 
I’m currently writing Uncharted: Inheritance, the third book in the Uncharted series, which is commercial scifi with a romantic bent. The first book of the series, The Land Uncharted, will be released in the fall of 2014. The second book of the series, Uncharted: Redemption, is complete.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?
My stories are technically commercial science fiction since they are set in an imaginary world ruled by actual science, not myth, but they aren’t the aliens and spaceships kind of scifi. The Uncharted series is different than most scifi in that it has a rural, pre-civil war feel due to the setting and culture. And finding love is a prominent theme in this series.

Why do you write what you do?
I write in general because I must. I’ve gone days without writing, but they weren’t my best days. So many writers say writing is their outlet, and while that’s true for me, it’s an outlet like my windpipe is an outlet—it’s also an inlet and the force behind my voice and life would feel suffocating without it.

I write fiction because my imagination is constantly coming up with ways to make every situation and setting and detail in life more adventurous, and I thrive on taking those what-ifs and weaving them into stories. I love the challenge of writing original stories that not only give the reader a this-could-happen feeling, but also provide an entertaining escape. I love people and relationships and the exquisite torment of new adult life, so I like to let my characters work through the usual coming-of-age struggles but in speculative settings with complications we don’t encounter everyday.

Underneath it all, I write because I want to encourage, entertain, inspire, uplift, and engage the reader.

How does your writing process work?
I’m a mix of plotter and pantster. I can easily outline a novel in one day, but then the ideas for details and scenes and dialogue and mood and characters pop into my head faster than I can write. Not only do I write fiction about 40-50 hours a week, I’m also a working musician, a homeschool mom, and I help my husband with his business, so I have pens and notebooks and sticky notes in every room of the house. When I get to sit at the computer, I compile all those notes into my outline and start the first draft. While writing the story I’ll get more ideas and the story may go in a new and better direction than I first imagined. Sometimes, I’ll wake up at 4AM and my first thought is a plot twist that ends up defining the story.

The first draft is simply me telling myself the story. I try not to get bogged down in research at that point. My first drafts usually end up being 70% of the final word count. Next, I’ll go through the story, do the research, and fill in all the details to bring it to life. After 4-5 more times through the story, I’ll send it to a couple beta readers. When I get their comments back, I’ll revise, edit, tweak, edit some more, and then send it to a few more beta readers. And while that story is out to my betas, I work on something else so that when I revisit it, I can see it more clearly. Then I edit using a stack of editing checklists I’ve compiled from books and blogs on writing and my editors’ notes. Finally, I’ll give it a couple more read-throughs and when I simply cannot stand to look at it one more time, I know it’s ready.

Next up:

Emily Ungar is the author of the upcoming middle grade release Liberty Belle (Anaiah Press). Emily is a graduate of Indiana University, where she majored in journalism. After living in seven different U.S. states by the time she finished college, she now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her husband and very curious twin toddlers. When she isn’t chasing after her twin boys, Emily loves to curl up in a chaise lounge with a book in one hand and a lemon cupcake in the other. Emily loves connecting with her readers, so she welcomes you to say hi on her blog at

Jelsa Mepsey is a young adult author whose debut novel Second Chance will be released soon. A full-time college student by day, she is also a research assistant in a personality lab, a worship leader at church and in her campus ministry, and a mother to her beloved dog Waffles. When she isn’t naming her pens after Bible characters or rock climbing, Jelsa can be found stabbing her work with a red pen or attempting to longboard down dangerous hills.

Be sure to check their blogs June 9, 2014 for their contributions to the My Writing Process Blog Project.


  1. Great post, Keely! I definitely agree with the details faster than you can write part and wanting to inspire and uplift the reader, as well as needing to write not only as an outlet- but an inlet. Happy Writing! :)