Thursday, 20 August 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post and Giveaway : Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist by Jennifer Ellis

Hi everyone! Today I have a guest post by author Jennifer Ellis as part of the Confessions Of A Failed Environmentalist blog tour. She'll be talking about her writing process! Enjoy!

About the Book

 Title: Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist

Author: Jennifer Ellis

Genre: Romantic Comedy / Women’s Fiction

Alana Matheson always tries to do the right thing for the environment, even when it means boycotting school meatball day, forgoing the use of makeup, or getting entangled in a bet with her non-chicken-loving ex-husband over which of them can be the most environmentally conscious.

So when a mining company proposes developing a mine right in the middle of the community watershed, well, of course Alana is going to be on the front lines opposing the development.

Except she isn’t. To her own shock and dismay, she finds herself taking a job… with the mining company. Worse, she finds herself drawn to her attractive and mysterious boss, Nate: a capitalist mining executive. The enemy.

Alana struggles to do right by the community, deal with her feelings for Nate, and maintain her own environmental morals. But as the conflict over the mine heats up, it gets increasingly difficult to be on the “wrong side,” and both Nate and Alana are cracking under the pressure.

Part satire, part serious, Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist is about the cast of characters who seem to pop up in all environmental disputes, and how all of us fail sometimes to do the right thing for the environment, in both big and small ways.

Author Bio

Jennifer lives in the mountains of British Columbia where she can be found writing, hiking, skiing, borrowing dogs, and evading bears. She also works occasionally as an environmental researcher.

Jennifer writes science fiction, romance and dystopian fiction for children and adults, including Apocalypse Weird: Reversal in Wonderment Media’s Apocalypse Weird world and A Pair of Docks, which was a bestseller in children’s time travel fiction. She has also contributed to several anthologies, most notably Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel, which hit #16 in the Kindle Store.

She may or may not have a Ph.D. and dabble in tarot card reading and cat sitting.

You can subscribe to her blog for the latest book news and industry insights at She tweets about writing, cats and teenagers at @jenniferlellis.




Giveaway 5 winners will receive an eBook copy of “Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist” and one winner will receive a $10 Amazon giftcard! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post

My Writing Process


Writing is a joyful, time-consuming, difficult, and serendipitous process. Although I may claim to be systematic and have a “process” (and I blog about my process routinely on my website at, getting into things as mundane as sentence starts and dialogue tags), my approach and habits shift all the time. My writing process also differs depending on whether I’m writing a first draft, second draft, or doing a final draft. It also tends to vary a bit depending on where I am in a novel or short story.


I do try to make a habit of writing every day except for the occasional holiday and day when my job or life makes it impossible.


If I’m working on a first draft, my daily writing process tends to look like this (Note: Ideally here I will be working from a detailed outline of each chapter, or at least a detailed list of the major plot points that I am hoping to hit):


1)     Go a page or half a page back into the previous day's work to orient myself as to where I was and what I was trying to accomplish in a scene. Think a little bit about what the "turn" in the scene was or will be and if it is the right turn to move the plot forward.


2)     Write in silence trying to get as many good words out as possible. My general word count goal is a minimum of 1200 words per day and a preferred goal of 2000 words per day. I prefer to try to accomplish these word count goals in the morning before 10:30 a.m., so I can move on to paid work and other life commitments, but if I cannot, I will also write in the evening from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m.


3)     Research and fact check as necessary as I go and try not to fall into too many research rat holes. Sometimes this will involve looking at photos of locations or items I am including. Sometimes it will involve reading research papers.


4)     Work always to keep my prose and characterization fresh and of high quality. Try to make each character unique with a distinct voice and their behavior reasonably rational and "in character" (unless they are mad of course—then they can build mechanical dolphins and spend their afternoons hunting for Elvis and Princess Diana). Consistently check for overuse of hads and repeats of words. Consistently check for a balance of exposition and dialogue. Consistently check for appropriate use of dialogue tags and action tags and that I’m effectively using physical reactions to convey emotion. Consistently check that my setting has been effectively acknowledged and incorporated into every scene in a manner that plays on as many senses as possible. Try to axe all purple prose.


5)     Try to keep my eye on the plot and whether I’m laying down the scenes necessary to execute the grand vision, or whether I’m digging myself deep into a methane-venting crater (filled with carnivorous mechanical dolphins). This often involves thinking a lot about the motivations of all the characters—who wants what, who is capable of what, and who is where when—and how does that all come together to create the story. It’s a bit like chess—you always have to know where all the pieces are. It also involves thinking about the fundamental themes of the book and how I am (or am not) effectively pulling them out through the plot.


6)     Hope for those moments of sublime inspiration or supreme luck when my metaphors somehow reflect my theme, or everything comes together, or something you have written or led my characters to matches something neat or exciting in the real world.


7)     Try not to decide everything I have written so far that day is blasphemous, moronic tripe (unless it is). Repeat steps #1-6.


If I’m working on a second draft, my process tends to look like this:


1)     Work on the prose to correct grammar errors, heighten the poetry of my words, make things clearer, insert contractions (since I always make my characters speak too properly the first time through), and make any other needed adjustments to language.


2)     Work to refine and deepen my characters. This includes adding more mannerisms, nuances, references to appearance and thoughts in order to make each of the main characters, and some of the side characters, more unique, fresh and multi-faceted.


3)     Fix minor inconsistencies including things like characters having a different hair color in chapter one versus chapter five, clues that didn’t end up working out as expected and need to be tweaked, and references to the passing of time (e.g. references to “That morning” or “On Sunday), that are no longer correct now that the entire timeline of the novel has been plotted out.


4)     Take notes identifying any major things that need to be fixed including plot issues, big inconsistencies, characters that could be cut, scenes that need to be added or cut and any out of character behavior of my characters.


5)     Do some bit thinking about plot and make sure it hangs together and that the set-up matches the resolution.


6)     Make the changes identified in #4. This can take a few weeks if there are a lot of them.


7)     Read the entire novel through on Kindle or on paper to check for final issues and see how the whole thing “feels” and identify any sections that need to be fixed, rewritten or tweaked.


And that, in two seven-step lists, is my general writing process. But writing is a very organic process. I will often stray from these lists as the writing demands, and I will often do several steps at the same time. My process is also ever-evolving as I learn and become a better writer. The most important part of my writing process is sitting at my desk every day and getting the words on the page.


  1. This book sounds so interesting! I haven't read a book about an environmentalist before. I will give this one a try!

    1. It definitely does! I hope you enjoy it! :)