I got tagged by Christina Hawthorne at Ontyre Passages in the #amwiriting blog tour, for which I thank her sincerely. However, I must confess that I have failed. All of the writers I contacted to join the tour told me they had already participated. So, in lieu of tagging anyone, I would encourage you to stop by Christina’s new website and check out her blog, poetry, and ongoing Fantasy serial, Last Word Before Dying.
1) What am I working on?
I am currently working on a mystery/suspense novel, Jeanne Dark. Dark and her partner, Foster Cain, are investigators hired by the U.S. Government to investigate a mysterious death abroad. Is it a simple case of jealously gone awry, or the leading edge of a broad, international terrorist ring? Whichever the answer, the mystery is certain to get darker before Jeanne and Foss can begin to share any light.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The primary difference is my use of first-person Point of View (POV) for both leads. It’s a challenge, as writing in viewpoints of two very different characters requires a formulating two distinct voices, while simultaneously blending the two into a harmonized whole, with lyricism and rhythm as the common element. If I’m successful, at the end, it will read like a jazz piece, an easy-to-read lyrical prose poem punctuated with humor and the occasion burst of synaesthetic poetry.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I am a character-centered novelist and story teller. For the most part, my choice of projects is based on “channeling” a particular character that inspires me. I sit, think about who the lead is, what their personality type is, their history, and before long, their story shows up. At the end, it needs to be someone I care about and whom I think the reader will care about.
I’m not tied to a genre, having written novels in Visionary Fiction, Science Fiction, and Mystery. My short stories span an even broader set of genres, but the unifying thread in my writing, according to my best friend and love, is romance. I guess all those years of watching black and white romance movies had a lasting impact.
4) How does my writing process work?
It has evolved dramatically over past three years, to the point where I am just beginning to recognize a pattern. As I’ve written before, I am a plotter, both in writing and in life. Particularly with mystery stories, I first determine a crime, or set of crimes. Then, once I know who’s done what, I sit down and develop a case file, much in the way I would expect my lead to do. I lay out, step-by-step, path the investigator(s) take, complete with dead ends, in order to solve the case. Once the outline is done, I’m ready to write.
And that is precisely where everything comes undone. The writing, see, isn’t really done in advance, and my characters generally don’t like to keep to the script. My leads explore emotional paths I’d not anticipated, and minor and even previously silent characters sometimes nail their auditions and end up with larger roles. As a result, my plot expands, contracts, deviates.
Writing is the hard part, and the joy. While most is at my computer, I am just as prone to write while walking. For my last book, I wrote at least half the book that way, with the scenes being acted out in my head. I feel more like the scribe, frantically trying to transcribe my characters’ lives to the book. The one thread that never deviates is the music. I have to have music with the write emotional content before I can write. Each book has its own soundtrack, with Dark’s being a combination of jazz, 70s R&B, and female vocalists. It doesn’t matter whether I write late at night, which is my norm, or in the morning; what matters is that I do it consistently. Finally, unlike everything I’ve ever read, I edit while writing. I’ve found the easiest way to keep a consistent, easy flow, is to reread and edit the previous night’s work before starting the next bit. It means the 1st Draft takes longer, but I end up with half as many drafts at the end. The last step is always the same: make it flow, make it flow, make it flow.
Step Three: Share who’s up next:
Anyone who wants to be up next. Link to this post and I’ll be sure to check yours out.