It wasn't initially my intention to write very much about my own personal writing on this site, but when one is tagged by such an illustrious writer as Josh Vogt (evidence of his crime here), there is really no choice but to comply.
That being said, it's also important to share my writing process and help explain how I edit and how I edit my own work. This should give you a feel for what to expect from my philosophies of my own writing as well as editing.
1. What am I working on?
Right now I'm working on my Masters thesis for my Creative Writing degree at Regis University. Basically I have to write a novel, then edit it and get it ready for submission in four months. Now, I'm pretty sure they aren't requiring the last part, but I figure if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right.
I have had a fascination with Miguel De Cervantes' novel Don Quixote de la Mancha for many many years now. When re-reading it, I was also looking for inspiration on what to write for my thesis, and realized I could do a pastiche of Don Quixote, but in a way that no one had ever done before. To my knowledge, no one has done a science fiction tribute to one of the greatest novels ever written. If you, dear reader, can think of an example, I would love to hear of it in the comments below.
In addition, I'm constantly writing short stories for submission to a variety of magazines, as well as editing several novels for clients. I keep busy, which is just how I like it.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is always a tricky question, because I feel that every author brings something new and exciting to the genres in which they want to work. I say genres, because I assume (for the most part) that authors like to dabble in as many things as they possibly can. Of course, I assume this because that's what I like to do and obviously my way is best. Right? Riiight.
Funny aside, I feel that it is important for authors to write in as many genres as possible and tolerable in order to stretch their metaphorical wings and experiment with what works best for them. This is especially important for new authors, since finding a niche is, I feel, vital to getting a good grasp on what works best for you as a writer and where your brain feels the most comfortable.
Additionally, writing in as many genres as possible also means that you're writing as much as you possibly can, and becoming better with every work finished, or even started, for that matter.
When I first started writing seriously in 2012, I made a point of writing a piece of flash fiction a day, varying from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror, to mainstream, romance and so forth. Not only did that show me what I enjoyed writing the most, but I also learned how to write concisely and with clarity. Every piece that I wrote, every day, taught me how to write better.
To answer the question, clearly and concisely, my work differs from others in its genre by being willing to cross genres, or even break genres. I feel this is important to keep the genres fresh and to try new and exciting things.
3. Why do I write what I do?
All of these questions tie in together, so I'm going to try to avoid redundancy. But basically, I write what I do because I have no choice but to do so. I feel that if I'm not writing, editing, or otherwise engaging in something related to writing, then I'm wasting my time. The ideas beat against the inside of my skull, demanding to be let out and given voice. I find so many thoughts and plot bunnies occur to me every day and if I don't do something with them, I lose them.
I also write fiction that I hope represents not only people like myself, but also people who don't always get a voice in fiction. I feel that diversity is vital in speculative fiction and that we are given such an opportunity to represent people from all races, genders, sexualities, nationalities, and belief systems that I feel that we should take that opportunity and ride it as far as we can make it go.
Finally, I write what I do in order to answer the perpetual question of "what if?" I look at anything and ask "what if this were different?" "what if this were in space?" "what if humans were given this opportunity?"
Those questions fascinate me, and I hope they fascinate my readers as well.
4. How does my writing process work?
I suspect like many other peoples' writing process, my writing process involves a lot of sighing and beating my head against the desk until words come out. I find that if I don't write every day to keep my brain fresh, then it takes me longer to ramp up and get ready to write again.
Fortunately with working toward a Masters degree, I have quite a few opportunities to try new and strange (to me) techniques with writing. I have learned about poetry, for example, which prior to last year was an arcane science to my plebeian eyes. Learning about poetry broadened my horizons to how words can be used to sound beautiful to the reader's inner ear and read melodiously.
Basically, once I've gotten past my sighing and head beating phase, I write out a first draft as fast as possible. Then if possible, I let it sit and percolate for as long as I can (which, with deadlines looming isn't as long as I would like sometimes). After percolating comes the editing phase.
Now the editing phase is possibly my favorite phase, provided I have let the work percolate long enough (usually 3 weeks or longer is optimal). Taking the time to let it percolate does an interesting thing for most writers, where it provides enough distance between the work and the writer that they can look at their work with fresh eyes and dissect it to "kill their darlings" and find all of the parts that don't work as well as they did the first time.
Preferably this process is done at least two more times in order to make the work as shiny as it possibly can be. Copy, content and developmental edits are vital to revamping a work to the point where it is not only readable but also pleasurable to read.
Victims... er... other people I'm tagging:
J.A. Campbell: Julie has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog, Kira, her Arabian mare, Triska, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories, the young adult fantasy series, Tales of the Travelers, and the young adult urban fantasy series The Clanless. She is also the editor of Steampunk Trails, an old west steampunk fiction magazine and a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers of America Association.
Lou J. Berger: Lou J Berger lives in Denver with three kids, three Sheltie dogs and a kink-tailed cat with nefarious intent. He's an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, has been professionally published in short form and is writing his first novel, a non-genre YA book set in 1978's North Carolina. His website can be found atwww.LouJBerger.com
Aaron Michael Ritchey: Aaron Michael Ritchey is the author of Long Live the Suicide King, a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite contest. Kirkus Reviews calls the story “a compelling tale of teenage depression handled with humor and sensitivity.” His debut novel, The Never Prayer, was also a finalist in the Colorado Gold contest. His forthcoming works include a new young adult novel from Staccato Publishing and a six book sci-fi/western series from WordFire Press. In shorter fiction, his G.I. Joe inspired novella was an Amazon bestseller in Kindle Worlds and his story, “The Dirges of Percival Lewand” was nominated for a Hugo. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two goddesses of chaos posing as his daughters. For more about him, his books, and how to overcome artistic angst, visit www.aaronmritchey.com. He’s on Facebook as Aaron Michael Ritchey and he tweets - @aaronmritchey.