Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blog Hop!

My friend Windy of the HouseBlend blog tagged me to play along in a "blog hop" Q&A. The Rules: Answer the following questions, then tag someone else (or someones elses; up to 5). I shall endeavor to play by the rules.

What am I currently working on?

Besides my day job, and the house that needs painting (etc.), I'm working on a novel about a sentient zombie. I have two notebooks full of notes, scenes, character sketches for a steampunk novel set in an alternate post-Civil War America, and another novel that is a sequel to my most recent manuscript (Caliban: Giants in the Earth, which made the quarter-finals of this year's Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, but did not make the semi-finals, alas). My answers below will relate to my fiction writing, not my reporting or columns.

How do I write?

After years of working just in the digital realm, I have returned to writing longhand in unlined journals with a pen for my first draft. Then putting it all together and editing as I go with a keyboard. I tend to write with the keyboard late at night; I make notes, sketch scenes, etc., whenever the idea hits me throughout the day. (I try to keep my notebook handy.)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

OOof. That's the most difficult question on this list. I like to think my stories have unique approaches stylistically as well as a willingness to be unblinkingly honest about everything, from a character's spirituality to a description of a violent act. Caliban, for instance, is a multi-generational Southern Gothic/Lovecraftian horror/fantasy. My steampunk novel will explore a Native American response to Euro-American expansionism, among other topics.

Why do I write what I write?

Because I can't stop it. I can't take a weekend trip with my wife without coming up with crazy story ideas. I hear a song and stories form in my head. I  see a movie and think how I would have done the story instead. I overhear a conversation at a coffee shop, and imagine the backstory. These things go into text so I can see what I'm thinking, and so I can revise and clarify them, and maybe make somebody feel something real. So few people ever read what I write, that I don't write for them at all.

How does my writing process work?

Like I said, I write down ideas, characters, scenes, questions, notes all the time. I will sometimes write a brief outline to help me recall my thoughts later, but when I sit down to the actual work, those outlines mean nothing. I color outside the lines until I find my way through. I try not to revise as I go, but keep moving forward to the end. I take chapters to my writers' group to get their edits and suggestions, then dive in to revise.

Who wants to play along?

Let me tag Mark Boss, author of One Bullet, and Milinda Jay, author of Her Roman Protector.
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