Monday, March 24, 2014

Tagged-My Writing Process

“My Writing Process” is a series of blog posts in which authors ‘tag’ each other to answer questions about their work. Stephen V. Ramey asked meto take part, along with Jamie Lackey.

Stephen is an American author of contemporary and speculative fiction. His short stories and flash fictions have appeared in dozens of venues from Microliterature to Daily Science Fiction. His first collection, Glass Animals, is available from Pure Slush Books.

So here are the questions:

What am I working on?

My suspense novel, What Came Before, has just been released online at Every Day Novels. A lot of work went into getting it ready first for online and then for print, but I think that phase is coming to a close.  Now I'm in promotion mode. 

However, I do have a second exciting project that I am still deeply involved with and that's Pure Slush's 2014-A Year in Stories.  This is a monster project!  I'm participating with 30 other writers. The brainchild of Matt Potter at Pure Slush out of Australia and requires each of us to write a story for one specific day a month for all the days of 2014. 

The umbrella title for my twelve stories is "The Old Road," but each one is a separate piece about people who live in this particular neighborhood on the edge of a small city. 

What we’re publishing is a series of stories from each writer that arcs across the whole year, involving the same character or set of characters. Twelve days in the life of that person or people. So every month, as the books are released, readers can dip into these characters’ lives. Like a serial.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

In most of my work, people die.  That happens in suspense, mystery, science fiction, lit, and humor and I’ve dabble in all of them.  One thing I try to do regardless of genre is to try and make the reader feel as if she’s immersed in the story, the characters, and the setting.  I want to feel almost as if they are watching a movie.  Sometimes I get it right, other times, not so much.

Why do I write what I do?

When I was a kid and spending most of my time reading, I would sometimes draw a picture of the spines of books with their titles in different colors, with different kinds of handwriting (no computer fonts to fake it with in those days) and these were all the books I was going to write.

How does my writing process work?

I write every day and I commit to a lot of projects: contests, writing groups, ideas that are juicy over a period time.  I keep track of these projects using my sticky notes with deadlines in bold.  This way I always have something I can open when I grab a few minutes.  When I have something that is burning to get free or just as powerful something I’ve promised to someone, I attack those first. 

The way I work is force myself to do something a project every day or even several times a day.  I believe that—just like with crossword puzzles or jigsaw puzzles—there are advantages to stepping away from whatever I’m doing so that when I come back, I always find some easy to do.  A misspelled or left out word, awkward language, something that jumps out and then I’m off with a fresh mindset working away.

I am tagging Christopher Allen and Robert Vaughan.

Christopher Allen is an expat, gluten-free, photo-literary travel(b)logue writer.  His fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in many places over the last few years. Links to these publications are at I Must Be Off!


Robert Vaughan leads writing roundtables at Redoak Writing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s won several awards, He was former fiction editor at Thunderclap! and is senior flash fiction editor at JMWW. Find out more about his publications at robert-vaughan.com/.

3 comments:

Christopher Allen said...

I love your explanation of why you do write what you do. I drew book covers.

Matt Potter said...

"In most of my work, people die." Made me burst out laughing ... thank you Gay!

Jen Knox said...

Sticky notes are a writer's friend. I love how you're constantly working toward something. I think that's so key... keeping momentum. Thanks for the inspiration, Gay.