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Monday, September 22, 2014

Writing Process Tour

Photo by Laura Bear
Hello again. Elena Greene, the author of several stunning historical romances, most recently, the re-issue of Lord Langdon's Kiss and The Three Disgraces series, has asked me to participate in a Writing Process Tour. Please check out the websites: www.riskyregencies.com and elenagreene.com. Even if you think you're not a "romance reader", you can't deny the quality of Elena's story-telling and the strength of her characters. In this tour, a writer answers four questions then invites other writers to answer those questions the following week. I totally dropped the ball when I misunderstood how this actually works, so I'm a bit behind. Sorry, but hopefully I can redeem myself at least a little. Here is my contribution to the tough questions of writing process. Please read through to next week's contributor, whom I'll introduce at the end.

1) What are you working on?

I am currently in the midst of the editing process of my first-to-be published novel WHERE THE HEART LANDS through Unsolicited Press out of northern California: www.unsolicitedpress.com. The story of Lucy, a woman who reinvents her life after a failed suicide attempt, and Addie, a young girl with a dark past. I am also working on my next novel about a killer virus triggered by technology and several short stories that have an "other-worldly" bent.

2) How is your work different from others' work in the same genre?

That is a difficult question for a new author. Although, I am not actually "new" in age. I grew up knowing that  I was supposed to write, but I could never figure out exactly what I was supposed to write. I took a circuitous route to writing my novel by starting out as an English/Journalism major, then quitting school and later going back to school for nursing. I worked as an RN for several years before deciding to go back to school again to get my degree in Speech Language Pathology/Communication Disorders. I still work full-time as a speech-language pathologist, but the dream to write never went away. I decided to pursue it head-on after several serendipitous encounters with, shall we say, magical people, and that constant nagging realization that I'm just not going to get any younger. I believe that my nursing and speech background--working with people in crisis and who have incredible stories in their own right--offers a unique perspective to my writing that not many others have had the opportunity to encounter. The privilege of sharing people's feelings at their most vulnerable has left an indelible mark on my heart that I hope comes through in my writing.

3) Why do you write what you do?

Because it's part of me and it's what comes through me. I don't have a better answer than that.

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process is constantly evolving. I tend to ruminate on a subject or character for a long time. Some might call that procrastination, but it's active procrastination. For my work-in-progress, I have to do much more research than on my first novel. The first one was organic. It began with an idea about one particular character. The story developed as I talked about it with a couple of early editor/coaches at a life-changing writing retreat known as WHEN WORDS COUNT in the Green mountains of Vermont. I spent many months writing and rewriting the opening of the book then outlined it up to chapter 17 or so and "pantsed" the rest (as in "by the seat of my pants"). I had some beta readers that were very helpful in asking questions that I had to figure out how to answer. Once I had the story in my head, I was able to write fairly chronologically. I wrote backgrounds for all my characters so I could really get to know who they were. After that, they sort of wrote the story themselves. I just did the actual typing. The outlining helped give me a structure, but my characters would surprise me and do something completely different. I think being creative requires a little bit of "crazy" to work. I am trying to tap into that as much as possible!

I am pleased to introduce you to another fantastic writer:

Gregory L. Norris is a professional writer whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines and fiction anthologies.  He once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager, and wrote the scripts for the feature films Brutal Colors (presently in post-production) and The Demon of Lakeford County (filming Winter 2015).  Norris penned the handbook to all-things-Sunnydale, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and two recent short story collections, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse and Shrunken Heads: Twenty Tiny Tales of Mystery and Terror.  A former columnist and feature writer at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), Norris judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror category.  Short stories of his are forthcoming in XIII, Anthology Year Three, and multiple releases by Cleis Press and Bruno Gmünder Verlag in Germany. Please check out his responses to the questions of writing process and other wonderful things in the coming week at: gregorylnorris.blogspot.com.

Happy writing, and always, happy reading!