Gerry Huntman shares his writing process with us. His latest book, Guardian of the Sky Realms, a middlegrade fantasy, is out now.
My Writing Process
Writing is the most delightful job to have, and by and large, easy for me. The inspiration for a story is the easiest of all, and often requires very little ‘thinking’ – a seed can come from anywhere and it grows very quickly. Building from there does need the brain, though. Exploring what the story really means, and how its beginning, middle and end is structured, is critical from this early development phase. If it is a short and fairly straightforward story, the whole can be conceptualised/visualised in my head, and it is just a case of writing it. If it is complex or intricate, or it is a long story, such as a novel, I would start plotting. Yes, I’m a plotter – but only against those criteria. What’s interesting, though, is plotting is a highly creative process, just staggered/separated from writing.
Once the story is drafted it has to go through a number of proofing iterations and I will, most of the time, leave a few days between each step. It helps to get out of the forest to see the whole. At the end of this, if my story really wows me, I am happy to submit it to a market or to my editor if it was commissioned. If I have any concerns at all, I will probably look to find a writer colleague or friend to provide me with some feedback, to help with the polish process.
I really don’t see any stages of the process as ‘hard’ per se, or frustratingly tedious. Yes, the self-editing and proofing has a degree of tedium associated with it, but the upside is seeing a better product come out of the end of the process. I’d be a liar to say that it is all ‘easy’ – it isn’t. Some stories grow into something that has a great end-form, but it requires a lot of heavy lifting to get there. On occasion I may not be in a good place mentally – a bad day, a distraction – and it can stifle the creative process. In these circumstances, it is a case of sitting down and doing your best.
GUARDIAN OF THE SKY REALMS
GENRE: Upper Middle-Grade / Lower YA / Fantasy
Maree Webster—an “almost-emo” from the western suburbs of Sydney—hates school, has few friends, and is obsessed with angels and fallen angel stories. Life is boring until she decides to steal a famous painting from a small art gallery that has been haunting her dreams: swirling reds, grays and oranges of barely discernible winged figures. There, she meets a stranger who claims to know her and stumbles into a world where cities float in the sky, and daemons roam the barren, magma-spewing crags of the land far below. And all is not well—Maree is turning into something she loves but at the same time, fears. Most fearful of all is the prospect of losing her identity—what makes her Maree, and more importantly, what makes her human. Guardian of the Sky Realms takes the reader on a journey through exotic fantasy lands, as well as across the globe, from Sydney to Paris, from the Himalayas to Manhattan. At its heart, it is a novel about transformation.