The Writing Process Blog Hop!

When delightful fellow Northern Beaches author Zena Shapter asked me to join The Writing Process Blog Hop, how could I refuse? I often trawl the interwebs looking for writers techniques, tips and tricks and I find them helpful and reassuring.

The idea: Every author in this blog hop answers the same four questions, then points you towards four other authors doing the same. Here goes…

1) What am I working on?

A few weeks ago I finished final copy edits on my second YA novel, Head of the River. It’s about 17-year-old twins, Leni and Cristian Popescu – talented rowers in the Harley Grammar senior rowing squad. They’re training for the annual Head of the River regatta in Melbourne – the event for the state’s rowing elite. Pressure mounts and so do bad, bad decisions. Throw in unrequited crushes, unspeakably handsome boys, regattas, epic parties and the tricky topic of performance enhancing drugs. I’ve had a ball writing it! Look out for it mid-year from UQP.

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

I try to write very real YA. I don’t like to sugar coat or turn away from the grubby, messy and awkward side of young people and their lives. I also love to write complex, flawed and interesting parents, which can be rare in YA (often, parents are out of frame)

3) Why do I write what I do?

Every story I’ve written with any traction has had a young protagonist. The first short story I had published in a real book – the UTS Anthology – was about a teenage girl. For some reason, that’s my sweet spot. I also think teens are amazing, funny and underrated and I really enjoy writing for them and talking to them about my work and their writing and ideas.

4) How does my writing process work?

I’m a pantser from way back. I have an idea – think about it for far longer than is necessary – then start writing wherever I feel like it. I use a word doc and make basic forward planning notes on it after my last sprint of writing. I also keep a big plastic folder of research flotsam and jetsam. Maps, newspaper articles, regatta programs, photos ect. I’ve lately started using pinterest in the same way. I do the awful first draft, then at least 2 more re-drafts, then it goes to my chosen readers and I incorporate their ideas. I give it a good polish and then it’s off to my agent and if she approves – my publisher. I really enjoy editing in-house. It’s so lovely to collaborate and I’m deliriously happy to be out of the writing cave, that I pounce of every new bit of input. I’m lucky to have worked with a brilliant freelance editor, Jody Lee, who just gets it.

Check out the process of these other fab authors:

Zena Shapter is a British-Australian author who loves putting characters inside the most perfect storm of their lives, then watching how they get out. She likes wild rides through the gulches of adventure that spit you out breathless, and close-to-reality books of the unexplained. She’s won seven national fiction writing competitions (all blind judging), has been published in short story anthologies like “Award-Winning Australian Writing” (Melbourne Books, 2012) and magazines such as “Midnight Echo”. Her novels are represented by literary agent Alex Adsett.



Walter Mason

Walter Mason is a writer, spiritual tourist, lifelong dilettante and the author of Destination Saigon (named one of the ten best travel books of the year by the Sydney Morning Herald). His latest book Destination Cambodia is a colourful adventure to one of the world’s hottest new destinations, a fascinating literary journey in which Cambodia is vibrant and its people excited about the future while never denying their haunted past.


Facebook: WalterMason

Twitter: @walterm

Jenn J McLeod

Jenn J McLeod writes Australian contemporary fiction about friendship, family and small country towns keeping big secrets. Her Seasons Collection of four novels (with Simon & Schuster) will keep her busy until 2016 – at least! Jenn’s writing process is here.



Twitter: @JennJMcLeod

Alan Baxter

Alan Baxter is the author of dark fantasy thriller novels, RealmShift and MageSign, as well as the short horror novel, Dark Rite (co-authored with David Wood). He has around 50 short stories published, including in the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror (twice – 2010 & 2012). Alan won the 2013 Australian Horror Writers’ Association Short Story competition (tying with me – yay!). He has a triology of novels coming out shortly with Harper Collins Voyager.


Facebook: Alan-Baxter

Twitter: @AlanBaxter