According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, xenocryst is a geological term that means "a crystal in an igneous rock that is not derived from the original magma." What does this have to do with writing inspiration, you ask? Think of it as finding the good, shiny bits of your first draft. Your job as a writer is to work through the original magma and find that crystal, the piece that glitters. No first draft is perfect, but finding the very best parts can inspire you to polish the whole manuscript.
I'm hoping to be the only "xenocryst" in the A to Z challenge. :) Do you have any metaphors, geological or otherwise, for the creative process?
If you want to read about my writing/revision process, continue below. I've been tagged by Mike Mullin and Charlotte Bennardo in the Sucker Literary Magazine Blog Hop.
Mike Mullin is the author of the award-winning Ashfall trilogy. The last book in the trilogy, Sunrise, was just released in April. Kirkus, in a starred review, says: “A story about how hope is earned, as heart-pounding as it is heart-wrenching.”
Publisher’s Weekly says: “Bennardo and Zaman (the Sirenz books) offer a light mystery filled with fashion tips, entertaining dialogue, a pair of potential romances… and an alluring Roman setting.
1) What am I working on?
Besides working on publicity for Pandemic (official launch date May 6, but available now!), I’m working on a YA psychological thriller about a girl who fears she is either being haunted or going insane. I started this story years ago, before Pandemic, and I'm excited about its recent evolution.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m interested in portraying realistic, contemporary situations. I like the idea of creating scary circumstances in our ordinary world. For example, pandemics are inherently frightening, and my debut novel includes details about how a deadly outbreak could actually play out if it occurred tomorrow.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I took a novel class years ago that said to write what you read. A quick glance at my nightstand anwered the question: a big pile of young adult books towered on top of it. I also feel that teens have less tolerance for fluff than adults. You have to tell a good, authentic story in a tight way, which fits my writing style.
4) How does my writing process work?
I find the first draft is the hardest; I’m happiest when I have a rough draft to work with. I tend to revise, reread, revise again, share the work with my critique group, then revise again. I like the keep a notebook for brainstorming ideas and tracking plot and character decisions. I also tape pictures and others bits of info into it, so it becomes a physical complement to the computer files.