My Writing Process

My homie Necole Ryse invited me to this blog hop. Of course I’m so preoccupied with other whatevas that I didn’t let her know til Monday that I wanted to get in on it. And whats worse? I knew I wanted to get in on it but I wasn’t sure I would have time so I basically wasted time trying to figure out if I could do it then forgot to tell her I could do it and yada yada. #Slacker.

Lame, I know, my bad Necole… But as always, she is gracious and angelic in how she treats me and she let me in anyway. :)

4 questions and answers about my writing process! You wanna see em, here they go!

What are you currently writing?

I am working on a sequel to Inside Out, currently untitled. I completed a second novella, unrelated to Michael Taylor and am in the process of editing it. I’m also doing a miniseries on my blog, but it’s not as demanding as my sequel which will be a novel. Whoo hoo! I’m also always developing ideas for Michael Taylor because I want to continue writing him until I can’t no more!

What makes your work different?

My dad called me after reading my book, I don’t know if he finished it or if it was just the first few chapters, but he said, “Now Tiffany, I don’t want to have to fight your mother for custody of Khyra if they lock you up.”

That almost sums up my work, but my work is different because of a few things. First of all, most of my main characters are African American. In Inside Out the main character is not only African American but he is a very upstanding and moral citizen, for the most part. I’ve seen too many times that African American characters are immoral in their behavior or just ugly individuals on the inside. I, being African American, wanted to portray Michael and Vanessa as highly educated and decent people. I want to bring a positive light to my culture through my work. Not everybody is willing to put their work on the line for that type of thing. People would rather make money on things that people are “interested” in, instead of challenging them to be interested in something else.

My work is also different because I decided to make a city one of the characters in my books. I think authors succeed at doing that in series, sometimes, but my city, Oakland California, is such a place that it really lives. It breathes before anyone even makes a move. Sunrise and sunset over the water. San Francisco just a train ride away, Berkeley with all the weed and incents you could want! Major universities right up the street. It’s just a magnificent area and I will have no problem creating a diverse environment in each book because of how vast it is.  I hope to do the area justice as I continue to write Michael Taylor and feature him in the Bay Area. As a side note, I intend to write all of my books with characters in and around the Bay Area, mostly in Oakland.

Why do you write what you do?

For some strange reason, I really like crime. I have always been fascinated with serial killers, not like, write-to-them-in-prison fascinated, but wanting to know what is in their mind fascinated. For some reason I skipped psychology as a major but I always wanted to know what made them tick. Detectives became fascinating to me from that. They had the ability to break those complex individuals and often make them explain themselves which was the juice of it all. In my writing I focus on both sides: the detectives and criminals as main characters.

I remember writing Newsworthy, a short story published in 2011, and I was terrified. I was writing crime for publication, for the first time. I was literally nervous sweating. I had never seriously written a murder scene or a fight scene and this story had both so I was undone. After gaining publication, and for the first time in my career at that, and seeing my work in print I knew I would never go back to writing anything else. Killing and crime would be my thing. I’d watch it, read it and write it for a living.

What is your writing process?

You know something is your true calling when you can’t run away from it. I say that about my writing process because I think the way I write is attributed to the fact that writing is my true calling. Sorry if I’m being obscure but bare with me.

Ideas for stories usually just fall on me. I can’t escape them. If I try to brainstorm and create an idea it’s kind of like, wack. Wack compared to works that just fell on me, so I let em fall.

All that being said, when I get an idea I do one of two things: I either grab the back of an envelope or I run to my laptop. From there I start an outline. My outline usually has quotes, character descriptions or whole paragraphs. These are all the drops that fell on me. The things I saw in my head that I don’t want to lose (with my bad memory having self). For instance, for Inside Out, the first things I wrote were who Michael was and what the serial killer was going to do as his signature killing style. I also wrote about Vanessa. Michael made it to the laptop instead of an envelope or scrap paper because I was awakened by him at about 4 a.m. and my laptop was within arms reach. Yeah, 4 a.m. I said they just fall!

Anyway, after that I write a real outline. I generally know my whole story beginning to end in basic details before I even start writing it. It’s like a little movie in my brain. I can see the good parts.  So, like chapter one would be: meet killer, chapter two: meet Michael, chapter three: meet Vanessa, etc, etc. I use the outline to remind me of important things that I thought up to include in a chapter like quotes and all kinds of other. I have, as I stated above, a bad memory so I can’t go without an outline.

Oh, and I never write anything more than an outline by hand. That’s because I hate nothing more than to have to transcribe something I hand wrote. Don’t get me wrong, my hand writing is nice! But I used to have a job where I had to take hours of notes and then transcribe. NEVER AGAIN!

From my outline I start my book. I generally write in chapter order. If I get writers block in the middle or something, instead of moving on to another part, I just stop all together, until I “feel the spirit move me” and I return energized. I may also work on another story, blog post or something, but I usually never move to a different part until I’m done with the one before that.

So, all that being said, my next up is Nike Ma. I can’t tell you how much I love this woman! My mentor, a writing mother to me, my sister. Amazing writer! I cannot even wait to read more about her. Love, love, love this lady and you will too! Follow her! In a week she will drop her writing process bomb on ya!

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