Hi all! Today I get the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for Scion of the Fox, and I have to say, I am really excited about that! Below you will find a guest post by the author, S.M. Beiko, info on the book and the instructions and link for the giveaway.
S.M. Beiko is here to talk to us about her writing process!
Hey, you know what’s not stressful at all? Leaving things to the last minute! Put off today what can be done tomorrow! I do my best work on the fly! The purest writing comes from the moment. I’ll know what happens in the story when I get there!
Just writing that gave me a migraine.
But this is how I used to be. Laissez-faire, the work will do itself attitude. Know what that got me? A bunch of unfinished, unrealized projects, the years flying by and dust collecting on ‘books in the drawer’. I worked organically—only when the ‘inspiration’ struck, working things out in my head instead of having a plan. Never making the time to write, only ‘getting around to it’ with months between writing bouts, a few words at a time.
We call this approach pantsing—when you’re even writing, that is. For some people it works, but only with discipline. You’ve got to throw yourself into the bit if you’re going to get that cart to the finish line.
I’ve only been seriously writing for maybe twelve years. I never took an objective look at what worked for me, writing-wise; I pursued a career in publishing, spending about seven of those twelve years helping others massage their own work for publication. Focusing on my own was never a priority. So just shrugging my way through seemed an okay approach.
But all that changed, rather quickly, and rather recently. A three book deal is a definite boon and has its benefits, but there are schedules. Deadlines. You can’t just shrug when your publisher says, “Hey, it’s April, but can you hand in your sequel mid-May? Even though Book 1 won’t publish ‘till October.” You know what you say? “Oh sure!” Even though inside your procrastinator soul is writhing over the house fire of your own making.
I’d written the first 10,000 words of Children of the Bloodlands, but its prequel Scion of the Fox was 127,000 words. Could I get there in thirty days when Scion took me a year and a half? I was about to find out.
I had a vague idea of plot, themes, character arcs. There was already a lot to juggle, and I knew I had strengths as a pantser, but I had to invert those for plotting. I didn’t use any special software—a lot of people love Scrivner but I haven’t tried it yet. I just got out pen and paper, and wrote down what I ‘knew’ of the plot. Longhand, essay-style like a book report. After I had this down, I already felt better. Then I grabbed note cards, wrote down fake chapter titles. Scion of the Fox was split into 5 parts, so I emulated this format, named each part, and wrote the events of each chapter on the back of the cards. I moved them around on the living room floor manically while my dog looked on with concern.
After that, I got to work.
I had word count goals per day. I got up early to meet them so I could do my day job at the same time. In the end, Children of the Bloodlands is a 130,000 word behemoth, complete, and is currently being edited. It took discipline, time management, and planning. Having a deadline was a good incentive, but I learned a lot about myself as a writer that’s for sure. I was open with myself about my strengths and my process, didn’t put too much pressure on making it perfect (because the first draft is never what the final published version is!) and kept reminding myself to enjoy the ride.
Most of all, knowing I’m capable of finishing projects has changed my creative perspective entirely. The motto I’d like to shout from the rooftops is FINISHED NOT PERFECT—Past Sam would’ve definitely benefitted from that. See? Migraine alleviated.
Since then, I’ve finished drafts on three other novel projects using these simple methods—this year alone. Plotting gives you a map to refer to when you’re stuck, which is key when you don’t have time to be stuck.
Do I still procrastinate my own stuff? Oh yes. Old habits and all that, and I’ve still got that day job. But now that I’ve got the confidence to buoy me forward, I think I’m a plotter ‘till all the stories in my well dry up…which, happily, won’t be any time soon.
Interested in what Scion of the Fox is all about? (Yes, you should be!)
Scion of the Fox By S.M. Beiko
The Realms of Ancient, Book 1
Available: October 17
Barnes & Noble
About the book: Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.
American Gods meets Princess Mononoke in this powerful first installment of a trilogy sure to capture readers’ imaginations everywhere.
About the author: S.M. Beiko has been writing and drawing strange, fantastical things since before she can remember. She currently works as a freelance editor, graphic designer, and consultant and is the co-publisher of ChiZine Publications and ChiGraphic. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Scion of the Fox is the first book of the Realms of Ancient trilogy. Samantha lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Social networking links:
Praise for Scion of the Fox:
“A thrilling tale underscored by excellent, deep, and unique world-building.” — Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A smart, complex, animal-based fantasy.” — Kirkus Reviews
“S.M. Beiko’s Scion of the Fox is the thrilling first installment in what will surely be an exceptionally imaginative trilogy. Roan Harken is an instantly relatable heroine, a girl with guts and moxie in spades, and Beiko moves her story from hilarious to heartbreaking with true literary grace. Evocative prose and crisp, crackling dialogue perfectly define this rich fantasy world. I can’t wait for Book Two!” — Charlene Challenger, author of The Voices in Between and The Myth in Distance
“In Scion of the Fox, S.M. Beiko introduces us to Roan, a wry, fierce young woman whose world changes in the blink of an infected eye. She’s more than she has ever imagined, and there’s enchantment everywhere — flying, running, and swimming around her — transforming everything and everyone she has ever known. Beiko’s magic-steeped Winnipeg is a marvel, and Roan is a delight. I look forward to following her into her next adventure.” — Caitlin Sweet, author of The Pattern Scars.
Want to win a copy of the book, Scion of the Fox and this signed Print? Click here! The contest ends on OCTOBER 21!!!!