Monday, May 19, 2014

More Writing About Writing

            Shel Harrington (the divorce attorney who doesn’t like divorce) invited me to participate in a blog hop that asked the following questions of writers. Fortunately for me—and unfortunately for you—this opportunity comes at a time when I’m excited about some upcoming projects and possibilities. The result is a rather lengthy post, but that's what you get when you ask a writer to write about writing.
What are you working on?
Lots going on right now, and I like it that way.

I currently have several projects in the works, but probably the one I’m most enthusiastic about is converting Beyond the Farthest Star to an ebook. I’ve been contemplating this for a couple of years, and finally—with encouragement from Sarah Basore—decided to go for it. The determining factors were a couple of workshops at the recent OWFI Conference. This a revolutionary time in the book publishing business, and much of the stigma of self-publishing is vanishing. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and lately it seems the scales are tipping in favor of the pros. Also, I think my tolerance for risk-taking has grown. Sooo, in the not-too-distant future, look for my book on your favorite reading device!
Other projects include my finished manuscript, a women’s fiction piece with the working title Crossroads. My initial experience with electronic publishing will influence the course I take with it.  I’m also just beginning a book which centers on a woman getting out of prison and beginning a new life. I’m still blogging (obviously), and I’m trying to enter more contests these days. 
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
A tough question because as the verse in Ecclesiastes states, “There is nothing new under the sun.” So I’ve taken tried and true themes and—I like to think—added fresh twists. For example, BtFS is basically about bullying, friendship, and young love—definitely nothing new in young adult fiction. But I gave it an unexpected ending. In Crossroads, I borrow on the “reversal of fortune” idea. My pitch for this story: Take the Jasmine character in the movie Blue Jasmine—or Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire—and set her in the middle of Oklahoma with no drugs and better friends.
Why do you write what you do?
First, I blog because thoughts and ideas bounce around in my head like marbles in a pinball machine. Some of those thoughts I want to share and get feedback on. Others I just want to get out of my head before it explodes. Some are serious (gems), some completely inane (gimcracks). As far as books go, I also learned at the OWFI Conference that I can classify my work as inspirational women’s fiction. I was thrilled to learn this because I’ve struggled for some time with pinpointing the category in which I write. My work isn’t overtly Christian, but it’s based on a Christian world view, and I make references to Christian beliefs. I want my writing to entertain—and hopefully elicit the occasional laugh—but I also want it to inspire, to leave the reader with a sense of hope.  
How does your writing process work?
Huh? I’m supposed to have a process? No, really, I guess I do have a process. I just don’t have a routine. I don’t get up each morning, have a cup of coffee, and devote the next four hours to writing. But, like probably 90% of bloggers, I have a mile-high stack of newspaper articles or slips of paper with thought-provoking quotations or subjects I use to generate content. Or sometimes I just elaborate on observations I’ve made as I grow older and go about my daily life. Regardless of where the ideas originate, I try to remain consistent with my posts, writing one at least every one or two weeks. Blogging regularly is good for me. It requires a modicum of self-discipline, and when you’re retired from a “real” job, self-discipline can present a challenge. Another part of my so-called process is belonging to the Inklings, a writing group. If you aspire to be a serious writer—serious being a relative term—a writing group is the best thing you can do for yourself. The group will encourage you, feed your creativity, give you honest feedback, and hold you accountable. Plus, you’re guaranteed there will always be a few people who’ll read what you wrote.
As far as my process for writing a novel, I try to write a general outline first and then write the scenes in chronological order. I also write down events on a calendar as they occur, so I can keep the time sequence straight in my mind. Not everyone adheres to this plan, but it works best for me, even though I do adjust the plot for characters who won’t cooperate.
This is probably waaay more information than anyone wanted. If you’re still reading at this point, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and applaud your tenacity.
Next Monday, the destination on the tour will be Marisa Mohi’s blog. A member of Oklahoma WomenBloggers and self-described “unprofessional librarian,” Marisa brings her unique perspective to a variety of subjects.

12 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on writing because I see some of myself in you. Lately I've been thinking a lot about if I want to do anything professional with my writing. I don't know if I'm slowly laying groundwork for something I will do later, or just piddling around. I appreciate your candor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Natine, I think it is a very fine line (if any) that separates "piddling around" from "laying groundwork." As you probably already know, I'm a huge fan of piddling, and as evidenced by your own blog, I know something good (and funny!) will result from your "piddling" efforts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pardon me while I go all caps on you, but I LOVE YOUR PITCH FOR CROSSROADS!!!!

    And I always love reading about your writing process, or anything related to your writing. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Sonia. And no need to ask for pardon. Any time you compliment my writing efforts feel free to USE ALL THE CAPS YOU WANT! ;)

      Delete
  5. It is always interesting to me to read how and why other authors do what they do. Thanks so much for the share. Thanks for sharing. Keep on keeping on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Barbara. I like learning what other authors are doing, too. So in addition to writing about writing, I do a lot of reading about writing!

      Delete
  6. I'm with Sonia on the Crossroads pitch - good stuff! And I'm looking forward to seeing how your e-book journey goes - it will be nice to have somebody I know personally who's traveled the path if I decide to go that route with one of my projects.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Shel. And try not to lose any sleep over it, but I'm thinking I'll be taking you and the rest of the Inklings with me along much of that e-book journey! :-)

      Delete
    2. I am watching that journey closely. I'm looking forward to your travel tips.;)

      Delete
    3. Brandi, Something you can count on is that there will be plenty of wrong turns, u-turns, and mishaps along the way. But, hopefully, none will be fatal! :-)

      Delete
    4. Well, THAT might make an interesting book. Death by Kindle.

      Delete