06-18 Sarah Raplee – WHY PSYCHIC AGENTS?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

MY FIRST BLOG HOP by Sarah Raplee

I want thank my sister, Diana McCollum, for inviting me to my first Blog Hop. (It’s about the writing process.) I’d also like to give her a shout out at www.dianamccollum.weebly.com .

Diana is one of the authors of LOVE & MAGICK: Mystical Stories of Romance from Windtree Press.

What am I working on? 

                 I’ve set aside my paranormal romantic suspense novel, Blindsight, which isn’t due to my editor until summer, to write a pair of short stories—one due out in July at Free Reads from the Genre-istas (& friends), and one that I’m submitting for inclusion in a Valentine’s anthology from Windtree Press.

                So far, I only have a title and a hero for my Valentine’s anthology story. A Portent of Peacocks is a YA romance that takes place ten years after the events in Blindsight. My hero, Jake, was only seven when he used his psychic Talent to help free himself and the other prisoners from a drug lord’s camp for enslaved psychics. But life on the outside has not been easy for him.

His foster mother died in the escape. Jake still misses her terribly. His biological parents are afraid of him and his older foster brother is leaving on assignment with the FBI. Plus, there’s this new girl at school. She’s locked down, sarcastic, even scary when she wants to be—she’s an Illusionist—and none of his friends want anything to do with her. But something about her makes Jake seek her out, no matter how many times she cuts him off at the knees and twists him up inside.

This story is going to be so much fun to write!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

                Writing instructor Alicia Raisley told me I write dark comedy. I think she meant I don’t shy away from dark truths, but my voice is humorous and breezy, which keeps readers reading through the tough parts.

                I also like to push the boundaries a little as a writer. My heroine in Blindsight lost her sight in a car accident, but her blindness has nothing to do with her psychic Talent. It just makes life more difficult for her in many ways. My heroine in another book is an ex-con who was rightly convicted of trying to kill a man with a manure shovel. Contrary to what the so-called experts told me, I was able to make her a character my critique partners loved. I’m confident my readers will love her, too.

                And last, but not least, dogs play a role in almost every story I write, although when I started writing I thought I was a cat person. Go figure!

Why do I write what I do? 

                I write to entertain and uplift my readers, to restore their faith in happy endings and give them hope.

How does my writing process work?
            Wait. There’s a process?

Seriously, I spend time on what I call pre-writing before beginning a first draft. This includes figuring out my characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts; mapping out the story spine (inciting incident, turning points, ending.) I plot using four-act structure, and it’s easier when I have a TP to write each act toward. I also do obvious research during this time, such as researching the setting or a character issue, like survivor’s guilt.

I’ve learned to knock my internal editor out for the duration of my first draft. I need to go full-bore from start to finish. Once I have the rough draft in hand, I wake her up and get to work. I sketch out what I’ve got on a story board and then to story edits. This is also when I do a book collage.

The second draft is about adding description and sensory detail, and deepening the emotion.

Then I polish before sending the story to my wonderful editor, Kelly Schaube.

The next step is incorporating Kelly’s edits.

Then I send the story to my Beta readers.

I tweak the story if needed, and finally reach THE END of the process.

This has Blog Hop has been fun! Thanks for inviting me, Sis.  


Judith Ashley said...

Wow, Sarah - your YA Valentine's short story looks amazing! I love the idea of taking a Blindsight character and building another story around him.

Your writing process is interesting. I know I do it backwards in that I have my Beta readers read it and I make their changes before sending to Kelly. They have a good albeit not perfect eye for story continuity, grammar, punctuation, etc.

When Kelly gets it she makes sure I've have more conflict, show my character's deep point of view more clearly, etc.

Thanks for sharing and good luck on getting those short stories and Blindsight done.

Diana McCollum said...

Awesome, process, Sarah! Your Valentine's short story sounds like a fun one to write. Sometimes the title is all I need to start a story, too. Good luck with your projects!~!

Louise Pelzl said...

Enjoyed your blog. It is so interesting to see how our writer's minds work. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your stories in Love and Magick. I can't wait to read your other stories. Louise

Sarah Raplee said...

Hi Judith! Thanks for sharing your process. It's funny how we're each a little different in our process.

Diana, I wonder if we do so many writing things alike because we're sisters?

Thank you for your kind words, Louise! I agree it's really interesting to find out how other writers' minds work. Sometimes that helps me figure out my own process.


Naomi Baltuck said...

Hi Sarah,
I really enjoyed hearing about your writing process. I really enjoy humor in my reading, and it sounds like you have lots of fun. I look forward to reading your work.
Wishing you all the best with your writing,

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for reading my post, Naomi. Your last post at Writing Between the Lines really clicked with me.

Robin Weaver, Author of Blue Ridge Fear said...

Great post, Sarah. And loved the pic of Freckles. :)

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Robin. Freckles is my personal bad boy!