Writing Process Blog Tour


Thank you BSLI was recently invited by Callum McLaughlin to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. It’s a great way to learn from, and get to know, other writers, so I’d first like to thank Callum for allowing me this opportunity.

The tour involves answering four questions, so here’s a little more about how it works for me!

Why do I write what I do?

I lean towards science fiction, I always have done. When I was younger I built a series of worlds that I could escape into. It allowed me the space to explore my strengths and weaknesses while letting my imagination roam free.

I write in a mixture of genres but at the core there is always an element of romance. I love exploring relationships in whatever form, and especially friendships. We all seek connection, and my characters are no different. I like to show how they develop and grow through their interactions, as I imagine we all do, because it makes them real. Whether they live in a world you recognise or not, it’s human nature to look for similarities and find a common ground.

Most writers create the kind of stories they themselves would read, and I’m no different. I’m influenced by whoever is in my head at the time and since it can get pretty crowded, there’s no wonder I juggle so many projects!

How does my writing process work?

I think it was George R. R. Martin who created the analogy of Architects and Gardeners. I’m definitely a gardener – I enjoy digging a hole and planting the seed of an idea to see what springs to life. Having said that I envy the architects among us, those who work to a blue print and have a clear idea of where they’re going.

My process is always evolving and so I try to find a happy medium – maybe one day I’ll be a gardening architect! I have access to such talent within my circle of writing friends. Callum for example, has taught me a lot about the benefits of planning. Then there’s Mishka and Winter who both reflect the importance of setting goals and having a clear outline. We’re a mixed bunch, so it’s gratifying to know I have the support there whenever I need it.

As writers we try to strike a balance, no matter what our default settings are. We build a tool box, a fascinating array of resources, which we can dip into along the way.

I normally start with a vague idea of where I want to go and let the story tell itself (so to speak). To me, this is especially useful when I hit a brick wall and don’t know which way to turn. When writing the Missing Link, I got to a point where I couldn’t decide how to move the action forward – my ‘ink’ literally dried up. So I put two of my characters (Barry and James) in a room and let them talk it out. The dialogue was free-flowing, I had no destination in mind. They were just two buddies, shooting the breeze. At the end of it, though useless to anyone but me, I had a clear idea of where to go next. If I’d planned more carefully in the beginning, this might not have happened. But then I would have denied them their fun!

Like anything else it’s about flexibility and compromise. My latest project is more structured, and that’s a good thing.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I think all writers put their own spin on things. No two stories are the same. We all have a unique voice, so that’s going to be a recognisable difference.

What am I working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on Worlds Apart. I wrote it last year during NaNoWriMo and I’m currently tearing it to pieces (as you do!). It’s a science fiction novel dealing with alternative universes. I haven’t written anything like it for years so I’m excited about sharing it with my readers. I’ve also found, given the number of worlds I’ve created, that I can take the story in many different directions and each one has its own rewards!

I’ve actually named one of the main characters after my father, and it feels right to honour him in this way. I didn’t do it intentionally, when the character came to me I could see him so clearly the name fit.

At the same time I’m putting the finishing touches to Hands of Evil, which is a thriller and will be published at the end of July. The cover for the novel is proving the hardest part!


In keeping with the rules of the blog tour, here are the three people I would like to nominate and encourage to participate:

Cynthia Morgan

Mark Morris

Janna T (Writes)

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out the other participants in the tour.



11 thoughts on “Writing Process Blog Tour

  1. callummclaughlin says:

    I could absolutely tell from The Conduit that friendship plays an important part in your work; it was actually the element I enjoyed most 🙂

    It’s exciting to hear you’ve got several projects well underway, I look forward to hearing more about them and exploring your work in more detail in general.

    Thanks for accepting my invite onto the tour, your answers were as interesting and insightful as I had hoped they would be 🙂

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      What a lovely thing to say 🙂 Thank you. Your comment about the Conduit made me smile, it’s probably one of its redeeming qualities 😉

      As always, I’m grateful for your support and friendship.

  2. jannatwrites says:

    There’s a fine line between planning and over-planning, I think. I like your comment about the planning would’ve denied the characters their fun. It’s fascinating to see where stories will go with a little freedom.

    A thriller, huh? That sounds like it’s up my alley!

    Thanks so much for choosing me to participate, Mel – I appreciate it 🙂

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      You’re welcome – I love the different flavours I get from your work 😉 It’s interesting to learn about how it all works for other writers and the reader in me can’t get enough! Thanks for your comments.

  3. Mark Morris says:

    Hi Mel. I loved your post and found it most illuminating. You’re remarkably talented and you’ve shared a lot of things here that could well work for me. Now, I’ve my reply blog post to write… it’ll be this weekend, I promise!

    1. mbarkersimpson says:


      Thanks, Mark, that’s lovely. I’m glad you found it useful, and I’m really looking forward to reading about your process at some point over the weekend 😉 I respect your talent too – your ability to weave a tale in so many different ways is inspiring.

  4. paulwhitberg says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I think I’m also a “gardener.” The nice thing is that you probably find yourself pleasantly surprised by the crops your seeds produce;)

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