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Tracy Bilen, young adult author

Tag – You’re it! (My writing process)

Thanks to my writing mentor, Shutta Crum, for tagging me in the writing process blog hop! Shutta is the author of many picture books, including Fox and Fluff (my favorite) and Thunder Boomer (my daughter’s favorite) as well as the middle grade novels Spitting Image and Thomas and the Dragon Queen. You can read all about her and her writing process (and learn what happened when she was invited to read at the White House Easter Egg Roll) at her website. And stay tuned at the end of this post for the two cool authors I’m tagging for next week! But first, let me tell you about my writing process!

What are you currently working on?

In the next few weeks I should be getting edits for my upcoming YA novel, WATCH YOUR BACK, which is coming soon from Tulip Romance/Spencer Hill. It’s just been added to Goodreads (like today!), so you can add it to your To Read pile HERE! Also later this month will be the cover release for WATCH YOUR BACK. I can’t wait to share my awesome cover for this book about…

MURDER. A SNOW STORM. AND A GUY SHE JUST MET…

When sixteen-year-old Kate hears the boom that ends her parents’ life, she doesn’t even realize it has anything to do with her. Until the police arrive at her front door.

Sent to live with her aunt at a ski school in Vermont, Kate tries to adapt to her new life. But then Kate’s aunt is hit by a speeding car and a rogue FBI agent tries to force Kate into his car at gunpoint. She’s saved by Ryan, the risk-taking skier she’s only just met.

On the run, the two must unravel the truth about her parents’ murder in order to stop a terrorist plot and save their own lives.

Besides working on WATCH YOUR BACK, this summer I’ll also be working on a new manuscript, which I’m calling (for moment at least!) WHISPER, also a thriller.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My new book, WATCH YOUR BACK, takes place at a boarding school for high school students who want to become professional skiers and snowboarders. It’s a mix of my two favorite genres – thriller and romance!

Why do I write what I write?

When I started to write my first novel, I was just barely out of high school myself, so YA was what felt most comfortable to me. As a high school teacher, I’ve still got a foot in that world, so I still love reading and writing YA.

How does my individual writing process work?

This is how I start a new book:

1. Float through life certain I will never come up with an idea. This process can last days, weeks, months…

2. Sit down at computer in front of a blank screen.

3. Stare at screen. Put fingers on keyboard. Type random story ideas.

4. Hone in on one sentence that I love. Run with it. Write all day. If I have to go anywhere, live out the story in my head. Give monosyllabic answers to anyone I meet. Get back to computer. Stay up late and write. Live in this euphoric world for the first 50 pages, then…

5. Bam! Get stuck. Outline. Write the end.

6. Float through life certain I will never finish this book. This process can last days, weeks, months…

7. Return to computer. Begin a log of how many words I write each day. Trick myself into thinking I will finish in a month.

8. Continue to obsess about word counts until I only have 10,000 words to go.

9. Consume lots of Super Pretzels and hot chocolate (doesn’t matter what season)

10. Reach the end! Go to Barnes and Noble for a red velvet cupcake (if still in season)

So there you have it, my writing process in ten (easy??) steps! And now, tag – you’re it! Go write that novel!! But first, check out novelists Marissa Doyle and Patti Richards. Marissa is the author of several YA and historical books and writes a cool blog on what it was like to be a teen in the nineteenth century! Patti is living the writing dream, earning her living as a freelance writer by day, and writing picture books and novels by night! Head on over to their websites right now, and be sure to check in on them again next week (June 16) when they’ll be sharing their own writing process secrets! Also next week, I’ll be blogging over at YA Fusion. See you there!

 

 

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