April 8th, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

So, I’ve been tapped.

For those not knowing about this — I admit, I’ve been focused…. Okay, so Trying to focus on getting the current book I’m working on actually done.  You know, quasi finished.

So I’ve not been keeping up with blogs and all - sorry.

There’s a lot of things I’ve not been keeping up with, but we’ll not go into that part.

Anyway, when a friend asked if I would do this blog tour thing for a friend of his….. Well, this is a person that is hard to say no to. 

Then I got up the next morning and realized what I’d agreed to. [Talk about shades of the late writer Emyl Jenkins who could do this in spades.] 

Like everyone these days, especially writers trying to actually write and, well, live at the same time, I have a lot going on in my life.  So there was probably a lot of mental arm flinging involved.  Literal arms were too busy typing up notes on all stuff I’m supposed to be working on.  Except for the actual book I’m supposed to be actually working on… hmmm….

Then as I was thinking of three writers I was supposed to tag to take this on, I looked around my circle of writers.  Many of them had already been tapped for this, but the really great thing about being a part of a great writing community - James River Writers, in case you aren’t a part of it yet - is that I have contact with a whole bunch of writers.

So I got to thinking about some of the writers I know, and since this is not exact questions we ever talk about, I got to thinking about some of the ones that I would really like to know the answers to these questions.

And so here I am.

The person who tagged me is :   Libby.

Be sure to check out her answers to the questions over at her blog.  www.subourbonmom.wordpress.com

And you Know that’s what we like to do, right?   Check out what other writers say about how they write, and what works for them, so we can see if we can find better ways to handle it all.

Like I said, great thing about being part of James River Writers, you get to meet a lot of writers.

So, now, on to the questions everyone answers:

Answer the 4 questions below about your writing process. (I didn't choose these questions!)

1)     What am I working on?

I am currently trying to finish a YA (young adult) novel about a girl named Kelpie struggling with the aftermath of Celtic legend’s clash with strong southern women, and facing the past secrets that those southern women carry around in their lilting accents.

I read eclectically, and usually am reading more than one book at a time.  Apparently that’s how my mind wants to write too, since I’m constantly fending off characters and conversations from other books that are sitting in my file folders in various stages of ‘dress’ and ‘undress.’

So the other book I’ve been trying not to work on at the same time is a commercial fiction novel, that I’ve titled “Running with Fire” about a woman dealing with her health and her marriage reaching the end, having to make a trip back home to settle her past after the death of her parent, and being shocked at what she finds.

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

The biggest way I can think of is that it is written in my unique voice.   We all have a unique voice as writers, although I’ve heard of some teachers and other writers wanting to change and ‘helpfully’ mold other’s into images of their voice.  I have worked hard and waited until I felt comfortable in my own voice to begin to put my writing out beyond my own computer.

Like this great Neil Gaiman quote says -

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman

3)     Why do I write what I do?

Short answer:  self-preservation and sanity.

My stories just pop up in all kinds of weird ways and places.  Characters show up and want to natter on and on about their stories.  Often it feels like I’ve been dropped into a viewer port into someone else’s life.  Although, I’ve also had them show up and not want to talk, just hanging and lurking around all mysterious like.  They just seem to want me to somehow write it out    They don’t give me a category or genre or anything.        I don’t really like those characters.

So really to me, the question is Why I write at all.  And I have heard a few writers say it better, like author Kyle Mills at the 2007 James River Writers Conference, and I don’t have the words exact but basically it’s that you Have to write for some reason it’s hard for even you to fathom.  If you could do something else and not write, it’s much easier.

Something along the lines of this quote -

Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell

Enough said on this?

4)     How does my writing process work?

I have a process?  

Yes, of course I have a process.   I really should.   I know I should.    Of course, phhhffft, shoot yeah, I have a process.  Of course.

Uhm.   Well.      Right now I have a process that involves a lot of mental arm flinging, and physical word flinging every chance I get.

Does that count?

Really, I seem to have thoughts about stories and characters almost always rolling around in my head.  So I always try to keep some kind of documenting instrument around to use - phone, computer, pen, some scrap of paper, to jot them down before they get trampled under by the other thoughts and story ideas rampaging around.

Scrivener Software has Really helped me a Lot!   It helps my ‘process’ tremendously!

It helps me keep my thoughts and stories and ideas at least somewhat organized.

I can jot down any thoughts and ideas that come to me and put in the files and folders where they belong.  Or where they seem to belong at the time.

I don’t write in a linear fashion to start with, and I’m a very visual writer.  The thoughts and ideas are like in snippets of film segments that I have to try to describe and bring into form with the best words I can.  With Scrivener I’m able to put all this in a place where I can go into to work on the detail, and I can look at them as a whole and move them around if they came to me out of sequence.

Yeah, still working on making the characters do that nicely.

I work on writing as I can.  When I’m not able to sit and type things into Scrivener, and when I am in lull times of being out doing other things, I am thinking and plotting and coming up with more details and facets on the story and characters I am working on.

Okay, so that’s my process I guess.     Needs more tweaking?

Well, while I’m dong that, and trying to get back to work writing with Kelpie and her problems, be sure to check out the answers of the writers that will be posting next week on April 14th.

J. T. Glover has published short fiction in Fungi, Handsome Devil: Stories of Sin and Seduction, and Underground Voices, among other venues, and he has a co-written story, "Pale Apostle," forthcoming this summer in The Children of Old Leech. He is currently shopping one novel to agents and drafting another. In 2014 he joined the Board of Directors of James River Writers. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and a not inconsiderable number of fur-bearing friends. By day he is an academic research librarian specializing in the humanities. You can find him online at http://www.jtglover.com, where he blogs about reading, writing, publishing, libraries, and everything in between.

Bill Blume discovered his love for the written word while in high school and has been writing ever since. His debut novel Gidion's Hunt (originally titled Tales of a 10th Grade Vampire Hunter) was published this past August by Fable Press. His short stories have been in many fantasy anthologies and various ezines. Just like the father figure in his first novel, Bill works as a 911 dispatcher for Henrico County Police and has done so for more than a decade. He also served as the 2013 chair for James River Writers in Richmond, which produces one of the nation’s best annual conferences for educating and connecting writers. You can learn more about Bill and his stories by visiting his website: www,billblume.net.

Check out his answers on his blog:  http://billblume.wordpress.com/

Cynthia Price has been telling stories her whole life. She started off as a newspaper reporter and then turned her focus to media and public relations and strategic communications. She writes a blog called Cynthia's Communique: http://cynthiapricecommunique.com/ about communications and leadership.

She is active in communications groups and enjoys mentoring young people as they launch their careers. She's also an avid traveler/explorer of the world and is currently on a quest to visit all 50 states.