A friendly place where there is always more than meets the eye. That’s the blog of Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, hostess of the weekly challenge for fiction writers to make every word count. Rochelle specializes in history with a twist. Her exceptional attention to detail is reflected in every story she creates, and I enjoy her writing so much that I once travelled to a cemetery in Queens, NY to further explore the subject of one of her stories.
You can read about it here.
The challenge to create a 100 word story using a photo prompt provided by a different person each week has significantly tightened up my writing. For this, I am grateful to Rochelle and all of the Friday Fictioneers. When Rochelle invited me to share my writing process, my first thought was, I’m supposed to have a process? Readers who follow this blog know that I have a predictably random creative process. For anyone who has read my first book, “Summoning the Strength,” I hope it is apparent that my writing has improved.
My writing process when I first began went something like this:
Awaken in the middle of the night, if I’d gone to sleep at all, and let my grief gush into the keyboard until I had no feeling in my left hand. Seriously, this is exactly what happened, and when my book was finished, I went to see a neurologist to determine the damage. I do not recommend that process. However, passion being a lesser vice than indifference, if you must, you must. An interview which clearly shows my nerve naiveté nerve is here.
I am working on a second book entitled Beyond Belief. Although I have received positive feedback for excerpts I have posted, completing it has become a much longer process than I expected. This is mainly due to my priority being the completion of the degree I am currently pursuing at the University of North Texas. I’m also taking my own sweet time to avoid mistakes I made with my first book, e.g. too many characters, too much telling and not enough showing. That’s writer speak I heard somewhere which simply means I couldn’t shut up fast enough. It’s true; I was driven to tell the story of Katherine Doyle and the women who influenced her.
My work differs from others of its genre in no significant way. My life experience drives every word I write. Authenticity is job one, as they say, and if I cannot express my genuine self, I have learned, I dare not try to fake it. There are plenty of topics of which I know nothing, but I know more than enough than to waste my time and the reader’s with piffle they can get more easily somewhere else. I write because to do otherwise is to prove the prophecies of those who ever doubted I could do it, including myself. Of course, what I have to say about most subjects has been said before, and yet, if I die tomorrow I will not have said enough. So, I write.
My writing process today goes something like this:
A sensation akin to heartburn sears an idea into my brain. So, I guess you could call it brain burn. Once an idea is in there, it is hard to ignore. Kind of like a tabloid cover of Elvis and Tammy Faye Bakker being abducted to repopulate a dying planet. Your imagining that now, aren’t you? People like me are called pantsters, as in “flying by the seat of our pants.” But there is a method to my madness. Sort of. A story begins with a spark. If the spark grows past the tabloid stage to ignite disdain for manipulators or fascination with human nature, then I move forward with purpose to turn analysis into action. However, I usually end up deleting three five ten times as many words as I write.
Some things really are better left unsaid.
If an idea doesn’t spontaneously combust to reveal something amazing or at least amusing, I have to accept that I don’t know enough to develop a story. After all, anyone can Google “great loves of habitual liars” and discover a melodrama I could never tell. But I can spin a fine yarn about the deceptive practices of rat bastards. This I know beyond belief.
Okay, the point of this is to share some useful information. So, here goes…
I think. I write. I think it over and write some more. When I get tired of writing, I take a walk and think it over again. For me, there is more process in editing than in writing. This may not be anyone else’s cuppa joe. I am an over thinker and it works for me. However, over thinking can make even a good writer go bad. For instance, thinking about characters, what they desire and despise, what they fear and fiercely protect, these are thoughts worth thinking. It is when thoughts turn to distribution, marketing, and the many details that go along with storytelling for the masses that a writer can be driven to distraction.
Speaking of distractions, Author Carrie Rubin crafts a story we only think we’ve heard then turns it completely on its head. I couldn’t put it down. The same thing happened when I started reading “No Time For Kings” by Mark Petruska. Another thrill seeker whose writing I enjoy is S.W. Lothian, author of the Quest Series created for kids and adults alike.
S.W. LOTHIAN is a funny and cool guy from Australia. His kids call him ‘Phil Dunphy’, because he reminds them of the dad from Modern Family. He isn’t sure whether this is a compliment or not, but he takes it as a compliment. As an imaginative kid he dreamed of creating exciting worlds and funky characters, and thought he’d be the most famous person to ever do this. He loved to draw and was dux of Art in High School. Top of his dream list was to be an animator. He loved watching all those classic cartoons on TV – Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Road Runner, Wacky Races, The Simpsons, the list goes on and on.
BOOM! Reality hit. The dreams were parked as the corporate world beckoned. Then, 25 years later, the long-held dream to create erupted like a jam donut in a microwave and S.W. started writing fiction for kids of all ages. His books can be summed up as fun-action-packed-time-travel-adventures-for-the-kid-in-everyone. He writes stories to excite, inspire, teach and thrill. Stories with awesome edge-of-your-seat fun. Stories that let kids escape to new places, and adults remember the dreams of their own childhood. He is the author of the very popular Quest Series (The Golden Scarab, The Cursed Nile, The Fallen Pharaoh) and the first book in his new series, TIME SQUARE | THE SHIFT will to be let loose on readers in April 2014. His debut novel, The Golden Scarab, was a 2013 READER’S FAVORITE BOOK AWARD FINALIST.
MARK PETRUSKA is a writer by trade, though he regrets turning down the drumming gig offered by “that Cobain guy in Seattle.” Born in Hawaii, he lived in a variety of exotic locales growing up (Dayton! Rapid City!) before settling in the Pacific Northwest, where his penchant for rainy days and bacon-topped doughnuts was richly rewarded. Mark is married to a woman he met online, but would like to make it clear she was a fellow blogger and not a mail order bride. He is estranged from his two children…wait, that should read “strange to his two children” who, as teenagers, believe anybody over the age of 30 is strange, especially dad. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, indie rock, and all things paranormal. Mark is a published author whose novel, NO TIME FOR KINGS, is available on Amazon. He is hard at work on a follow-up he describes as “a blend of Dickens’ satirical caricatures and gift for allegory, and Twain’s rich narrative and social criticism…or it’ll make a great coaster for your cup of coffee.”
CARRIE RUBIN is a writer, physician, public health advocate, humor blogger, mother, wife, fitness enthusiast, movie fan, and avid reader. To her, every experience is worthwhile, even if one’s path deviates from where it started. She is the author of “The Seneca Scourge,” a medical thriller, which was awarded Best New E-Book: Fiction in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards. She is currently seeking publication for her second novel and has just started work on a new one. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two teenage sons, all of whom take great pleasure in teasing her.
Check them out, and as always, thanks for reading.
13 thoughts on “My Writing Process – Blog Tour”
Your original process, well it sounds like mine.
Face Palm….dang you mean I am doing it wrong?
As you know, I loved your first book. I await (with patience of saint of which I am not) your second. Because I loved your first book, I will consider your sage advice. I loved Carrie’s book also, I read her advice always.
Hey there, Val. You’re not doing it wrong at all. Sometimes the only way to get a story out is in one continuous flood. The thing I learned from that is after the flood, there’s a bit of clean up necessary. It also helps if you have good insurance. It’s that way with all kinds of storms we experience in life.
Your praise means the world to me. I promise to make the next one worth the wait.
So many things I could comment on but I’ll stick with pantsters – what a great term.
It is a great term. I secretly wish to be a planner, and I start out well enough, but I can’t seem to make it stick. So, pantster it is!
I’m so glad that I invited you to be part of the tour. From your first FF story, you’ve never disappointed me.
It seems that our processes are similar. At a recent conference we were told to start with short stories and then 1st person POV novels. Well, I certainly did that bass ackwards. I started with a multiple POV novel, then tried my hand at short stories, only to go shorter with Friday Fictioineers.
I don’t make an outline, but have by my husband’s suggestion, my novel characters on a file in Family Tree. The program really gets cranky when I change names and birth-dates. 😉
But this isn’t all about me. I really enjoyed reading your process and getting to know you a little better. Thank you for your kind words that made my head swell.
Your comments are always supportive and your posts instructive. Yes, I said instructive. The tone you set with your stories is very instructive. Sometimes causing an avalanche of laughter, sometimes tears, always inspiring. Friday Fictioneers has made working on my writing seem not like work at all. So, thank you very much for the invitation and the opportunity to challenge myself to write more better.
Sister Swollen Head
Whew – you really sound like a writer! And your writing pretty well proves it.
“Once an idea is in there, it is hard to ignore. Kind of like a tabloid cover of Elvis and Tammy Faye Bakker being abducted to repopulate a dying planet. ” Love this!
Elvis and Tammy Faye were the most outrageous characters that came to mind to describe how an idea can hit you right between the eyes and leave a permanent mark. Thanks for all of your encouraging words.
Thanks for the free publicity!
Like you, I don’t know that I have a real “writing process.” Also like you, my follow-up novel is taking a lot longer than anticipated thanks to other writing obligations. Work-related mostly, which I can’t really put on the back burner since they pay my rent, utilities, groceries, etc. But it’ll happen. And once again like you, I seem to spend a lot more time on editing than writing. That I chalk up to being a perfectionist.
Great post, Honie. Thanks for sharing!
Great minds….and all that. Thanks, Mark. I mean, Mr. Petruska.
“Of course, what I have to say about most subjects has been said before, and yet, if I die tomorrow I will not have said enough. So, I write.”—I loved that. You have such a knack for putting word to the visceral. And I agree with you about the over-thinking. We can easily get trapped into changing our words because of what we think they should say instead of what we want them to say.
Thank you so much for mentioning me today. I can’t convey my gratitude very well (you could if the tables were turned–that whole visceral skill you have 😉 ), but know that I appreciate all the support you’ve shown me, both for my book and on my blog. You’re a class act, Honie!
Fun to read about the other two writers as well. How cool that Mark met his wife online through blogging!
Carrie, I appreciate your comments so very much. You often find something specific to compliment and that means a great deal to me. Always a pleasure to support talented writers like you.