My Writing Process – Blog Tour
This is something new for me. I agreed to be a part of a Blog Tour where writers write about their writing process. Try saying that three times fast!
First, a big thank you to Kory Shrum for introducing me to this idea. If you haven’t heard of Kory, you soon will – her book Dying for a Living releases this month. This is a story of a woman who has died 67 times before, a Necronite who acts as a surrogate for others in the death process. Look for her book from Timberlake Press starting on March 4. Check it out on Amazon!
Now on to the questions!
1) What am I working on?
My current work-in-progress is a story I started many years ago. It’s about a mother – daughter relationship that faces a major challenge when the daughter brings home her new boyfriend and he turns out to be an old lover from her mother’s past. The central question is “What does the mother do?” Should she tell her daughter or does she keep it quiet? What would you do?
The novel, Broken Parts, is a story of a mother’s love for her daughter and the lengths she will go to ensure her happiness. Loving, though misguided, Ann’s desire to protect her daughter, Caitlin, ultimately causes her to lose sight of her own needs. It is only in recognizing that she has factored herself out of her own life does Ann realize what she’s lost. Told from both Ann and Caitlin’s point of view, the story raises questions around honesty with oneself and others, along with lost chances and new beginnings. Woven through the story is the use of Algebra, which in Arabic means the reunion of broken parts, or finding the missing value.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to think that my writing paints a picture but still allows the reader to use their imagination to fill in the blanks. I don’t want to dictate everything to them; I am assuming the reader will be clever and can infer some things. I know as a reader, I prefer that style to being beaten over the head with too many descriptions or colorful details. I want to create some of the world for myself!
3) Why do I write what I do?
Because it is what I love to read! Some would say I’m addicted to reading – and have been all my life. Simply put, I read what I like and my writing stems from that same interest – I find I read a wide range of books, but the key elements for me are relationship driven stories. The central part of our human existence is how we interact and relate to others and that theme is universal.
4) How does your writing process work?
One of my motivators recently was finding boxes of typewritten pages in my mother’s bedroom as I cleaned out her home following her death. I knew she was a writer, but I never realized how much she’d done. Her work never went beyond a dream. I wanted to do more with mine and not leave boxes behind for my own children to wonder over. Now that I’ve made that commitment to myself, I am working toward a more disciplined approach – committing to writing regularly, with a word count in mind, as I begin new drafts of new work.
So clearly, my previous model was not one to follow. I started this story long ago and wrote myself into a corner. I went to a writer’s retreat and found some tools to get myself out of that corner. Once I got myself unstuck, I wrote the ending of my story first. That helped me figure out where I wanted to take it, then I went back and carved out chunks from the original manuscript to use in the reworked storyline. And then I just let the rest pour out until I had draft one done. I shared it with a few trusted readers, incorporating their feedback and comments. I shared out draft two to a few more readers. I polished it each time, using some of the feedback but working hard to stay true to my own instincts and voice.
Then I took a leap of faith (Insanity?) and shared it with an agent who had asked to see it when it was ready. Following her response, I made more changes and worked on character development until they felt more real to my readers (they were all real in my head!). I hired an editor to read through it for content development and to help me with some of the dialogue. I sent that draft to more readers. The feedback on this latest draft has been very positive, which makes me happy. I have some ideas for things I could still do, but am now in the “let it sit” zone again. I need more time for perspective.
Ultimately, I look at the process a little like photography. You use the best tools you have to take a picture of a subject that interests you. You develop it and highlight the colors and balance to make it shine. Then you crop it to bring the eye’s focus to the intended elements and suddenly, you see something that is even better than what you may have started with. I am learning the writer’s craft more with each pass, working to be more patient, and striving to put something together that not only tells the story but tells it well.
Please visit these other great writers on the Blog Tour next week:
Rochelle Wisoff-Fields calls the Kansas City, Missouri area home where she lives with her husband Jan. Married over forty-two years, they have three sons, two daughters-in-law and one adorable granddaughter, all of whom are scattered from one coast to the other.
Over the past decade Rochelle, a graphic artist, has discovered her passion for creating word pictures as well as visual ones. Both her original artwork and short stories have been published in her eclectic debut anthology, This, That and Sometimes the Other by High Hill Press. A few of her short stories have been included in other High Hill Press collections, Voices III, Echoes of the Ozarks VI and Voices IV. In November 2013 twelve of her flash fictions were included in Echoes of the Ozarks IX.
Her novel, with the working title Please Say Kaddish for Me, is under contract with Jeanie Loiacono of Loiacono Literary Agency.
Alicia Audrey is a writer, editor, and blogger living and working in Nassau, Bahamas. She writes flash fiction and short stories, and is currently working on her first (women’s fiction) novel. She runs on chocolate, Coca-Cola, and tea.
Russell Gayer has two fans. One is a 12” 3-speed oscillator made by Westinghouse in 1967 and the other features a tongue-depressor handle and picture of Jesus. Most of his life has been frittered away in the pursuit of laziness and procrastination, both of which slip through his grasp since he refuses to put forth the energy to close his palm. In his made-for-TV-reality-show lifetime, Russell has been a dashing rock-star wanna be, a starving carpenter, a Hall of Shame softball player, and a poor excuse for a fisherman. His only saving grace is marrying way over his head. The fact that poor, sweet Connie has tolerated his antics since 1975 is a testament to her angelic patience and sympathetic heart. His grown children, Greta and Jesse, look at their Dad and shake their heads, praying that most of their DNA came from Mom.