Monday, April 14, 2014

I Am a Work In Progress

I was invited by my fellow blogger Joe Scott (Mostly Harmless Drivel) to participate in the My Writing Process blog tour. (I don't do these blog-tag things a lot, though I tend to enjoy them when they come along.)

1) What am I working on? 

Aside from my grad school application letter?

Well, if you know anything about me, you know that I always have multiple projects going at once. But I'm trying (and failing?) to work on The Devil's Water (a working title) the novel I started with this past year's NaNoWriMo.

I've been missing my characters since I had to stop at about 30,000 words. (Due to real life issues.) I want to know more about them, their individual stories.  I want to see my two main characters interacting with each other. I want to get to the end of my tale and see what happens.

One of my main characters popped up on my blog, in the piece: One Night in LA. That takes place about 10-15 years before the main events of the novel (if it takes place at all).

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

Umm. It's mine? The writing style? The sexual fluidity of (at least one) of my main characters?

It's a story about a father and a son, a brother and a sister, artists and musicians, sacrifice(s) and love. Along with some weird supernatural bits.

Honestly, at this point, I wouldn't want to guess about the difference/sameness of the novel until I get it into something resembling a....well, a novel. At the moment it's mostly a collection of ephemeral images in my brain: a lot of style, little substance.

3) Why do I write what I do? 

I write because a character has a story to tell.

I also love horror, fantasy and slash fiction, so when I can mix them up, I'm happy.

I write what makes me happy. Not necessarily what will "sell." In fact, "writing to sell" is one of the quickest ways for a project of mine to end up in the trash. That happened to me last summer when I received an invitation to submit another story to a publication after my first submission (a piece I'd been shopping for a while) was rejected.

(This is also why I have no intention of turning fiction writing into a day job.)

4) How does my writing process work?

Ideas come to me at random. Sometimes they're inspired by an image, a song, a movie. Other times they bubble up out of the ether.

I may immediately put pen to paper to sketch out the idea.

Or I may roll it around in my brain for a while, imagining the story, putting myself into the body of the main character(s), trying to see and feel what they experience.

Then I put pen to paper. Or, if it's a big project (like The Devil's Water), I get nervous and start questioning my every ability, including things like basic grammar skills. (My Inner Critic pulls out all the stops.)

I'm slowly learning that for big projects, I must break them up into sections, treating each chapter like a short story. Sometimes even smaller chunks is better. It hasn't yielded any polished novels or novellas yet, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm also reintroducing myself to the art of longhand writing. I've spent so many years writing on a computer that I've forgotten the zone I can slip into when writing with pen and paper.

Maybe it's because there's no annoying blinking cursor on a sheet of college rule, daring me to fill up the blank screen as fast as I can. Or maybe it's because I can scribble notes in the margins and draw arrows and cross out things without that overwhelming feeling of permanence that comes with making changes in a word document (despite the fact that I tend to use the track changes feature).

While this current project might not be entirely written longhand, it's definitely gong to be a big part of my approach. I'll let you know how it goes.

You're It

Well, the idea of this tour was to tag other people to join in. As of this posting, I could only find get in touch with one other blogger (so many of those I follow have gone on hiatus!) who was game and who hadn't participated yet.

Say hi to Meg Hart. Meg blogs about a little bit of everything, from writing (and publishing) trials to daily life, all with warmth and humor at Hart Stories by Meg, While you're over there, check out her House Cat Confidential blog and see what goes in the mind of some suburban house cats. Meg'll be responding to the above questions next Monday (the 21st), but don't wait until then to check out her work.


L. M. Leffew said...

Not sure my comment took... Anyway it's fun to see how it works for others.

L. M. Leffew said...

It doesn't look like it did...

I like to learn about other people's writing processes. It's nice to know I'm not alone in banging my head against the wall.

L. M. Leffew said...

Yay - thanks for agreeing to do this! I love seeing the inner workings (or a bit of them, anyway) of other writers.

I've tried a little of the longhand approach, and I must say A) It works! and B) When did I utterly forget how to write cursive???

L. M. Leffew said...

You have that cursive issue too, eh?

I remember it being touted, in 3rd grade, as so important to learn.... The only time I use it now is when I sign something. I write in print otherwise. Because it's more legible. On the off chance I do write in cursive...half of it looks like slightly more embellished print, anyway.

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