Updated: Mar 2, 2020
Here is our next profile in our Member Profile Series. With this series, we hope you can learn something new about your process by looking at what others are doing. This week's profile is with C.H. Knyght.
WW: The writing process is different for each writer. Some view it as the place they write, what resources or software they use, or their setup, while others see it as being the steps you use while writing such as brainstorming, outlining, writing a first draft, revising and editing. How would you describe your writing process?
CHK: Ooh, tough one. Well, first of all, I’m primarily a pantser. I don't outline. I take an idea and run with it. It grows as I write. I work forward through the first draft until it's done, sometimes it's only one sentence or even word at a time, but I refuse to track backward and get stuck in an editing loop, been there done that. It's a trap. Revisions and edits come later.
I guess most of the time, I write better outside of home. At home, I have too many projects and tend to wander off. I love writing by hand, but my stories get farther if I type it in directly. I hate transferring my scribbles into the computer, it's easier to just start out there.
WW: How do you get started? Where do you get ideas from? What inspires you?
CH: Books! Walking into a bookstore or the library instantly makes me want to go write. Music also inspires me. I have fairly wide tastes, but I don't listen to everything. I always write with music on. Sometimes specific sounds if I need, but usually just my stations that I live on all day long.
Otherwise, I never know when something random will strike a spark. Sparks can lead to an inferno of typing, or light a steady candle that will light the way for days, weeks, if I’m lucky. Sometimes I have to keep pushing forward and strike the flint of my work over and over before a spark will ignite. I find that if I keep pushing, I’ll find it. If I stop, it’s that much harder to get the flame going again.
WW: Is there a genre you prefer?
CH: Fantasy for sure, everything that falls under that banner.
WW: What about fantasy makes it your favorite genre to write in?
CH: Fantasy, in all its forms, is my favorite genre for the ability to make the impossible, possible. To believe in unicorns(and vampires and werewolves, angels and demons, fairies and elves), to commune with dragons, wield magic, save the world. To fail, but get back up and try again, and again, and again, until you succeed. To be willing to sacrifice all that you are to save everything. Fantasy is possibility and dreams.
WW: Do you create an outline before you start writing? If so, do you ever stray from it while writing?
CH: Nope, so nope. XD I suppose I have some ideas scribbled down waiting for their day, which might count as outlining, but not really. Even then, I allow my stories to grow and tell themselves. You can find amazing things out in the vast unknown if you allow yourself to stray from the path.
WW: How would you describe your voice or style? Do you have an audience in mind when you are writing? How do authors who write in a similar genre as you influence your writing?
CH: Well, I’ve been told I have a clear voice in my writing. I guess I’d say it's probably a bit sarcastic. I try to keep the pace rolling without dragging it down with too much detail.
As for audience, I write what I’d want to read, so I guess me.
And yes, other authors are a definite influence, they kindled my love of fantasy, and probably most of the snark that shows up in my language.
WW: What part of your process would you change?
CH: I’d be steadier, faster and get more done.
WW: Are there a set of circumstances you need for you to write? Specific location? Music?
CH: No, but I do have a set music station that I only listen to if I’m writing. Not always when I’m writing, but only if I am; especially during NaNoWriMo. It sets a certain mind frame around that music and helps find it if I need ultra focus.
WW: Describe your editing process
CH: I flail around and die.
…no really. That's what it feels like anyway.
I print out a hard copy and scribble on it. The change in format make it easier to see things that need changes. A weird quirk of the human brain filter. It gets more edits as it goes back into the computer. Rinse repeat until I’ve fixed everything I know how. Beta readers. Then, I drain my bank account and pay the professional editors their well-earned, rightful dues. Yes, editors, plural. Did you know there are different types and stages of editors? I didn’t until I went hunting to hire my first one. They each specialize in different stages: content, developmental, line, copy etc. Who knew?
WW: How do you stay motivated?
CH: Sheer stubbornness some days. I refuse to quit. I might stray for awhile, but I’ll always come back to writing. It helps that I have the support of my family and friends. I also hang online with writing groups that help keep the notion front and center so I don’t stray too often.
For author C. H. Knyght, books have always been a part of her life, from being read to at bedtime as a child, to staying up obnoxiously-late reading as a kid, to actively writing as a teen, and now, pursuing a career as an author. There is a gateway in books that inspires endless imagination. She believes magic is what you create, and it can be anything you choose to make of it.