This month’s BP features the author of the characters instead of the characters themselves, which is a fun twist. 🙂 You can find the link-up and questions here.
How do you decide which project to work on?
It’s very rational: I sit down and calculate how many story elements are inherent in the original idea + an estimation of the time it will take to finish + how much time I actually have + how much coffee I’ll need to complete the project, and–
Just kidding! Usually, ideas for characters grab me and won’t let go, and so I have to follow and see what the story is. It’s entirely out of my control, I assure you. Other times, the process is a little more rational: sometimes based on whichever idea is the most vivid and interesting; sometimes it’s based on which story idea has the most pieces put together (e.g. one with the concept, conflict, etc. worked out); and sometimes, it’s whichever idea looks like one that I can finish quickly.
Which often turns out to be a complete fantasy. 🙂
Even when I settle on a project, I tinker with others on the side, and jot notes for any new ideas. Sitting now in my digital folders are at least 10 novel ideas (with tons of notes for each), along with notes for a couple of characters and concepts that don’t have proper stories, but that won’t leave my imagination either.
At the moment, I’m actively working on my semi-western Gentle Fire, and I tinker with my steampunk story here and there. Also, the steampunk story finally has a working title: Empty Clockwork! And speaking of, I’ll get that post about Lennox up
sometime before the apocalypse hopefully soon.
How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
In the words of Ebeneezer Scrooge, circa 1850–something: “Why do you delight to torture me?”
I don’t finish quickly, partly because of my health problems and fatigue–but partly because my concepts end up fleshed out into a Very Long Novel that will take more than a few months to pound out. But I comfort myself with the hallowed words of Charles Dickens:
“It is delightful to find throughout that you have taken great pains with it [the story] besides, and have “got at it” with a perfect knowledge of the jolter-headedness of the conceited idiots who suppose that volumes are to be tossed off like pancakes, and that any writing can be done without the utmost application, the greatest patience, and the steadiest energy, of which the writer is capable.”
Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
I listen to music that matches the tone of my story (e.g. The Alamo soundtrack before I work on Gentle Fire) and sometimes crochet a little before I write, using that time to think about the story and what I’m going to write.
What time of day do you write best?
Always in the early morning, when the rising sun melts the grey sky into soft blush and liquid gold, and the house is a still and peaceful place where my imagination can soar–
*dog barks at someone walking by the house*
*a sibling gets up earlier than I expected*
*air conditioner breaks*
Kidding! It changes from day to day, and I think it has to do with however much brain fog I’m dealing with. Sometimes I write best in the wee hours of the morning; other times, I can barely comprehend English during that time. Other times, I write best in the late morning; still others, late afternoon is the sweet spot. Keeps things interesting, eh, what?
Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
Erm…I have no idea. I’d like to think I have a style like Dickens’, but it’s probably a cross between Bronte and Austen. I asked my siblings, and Chris lovingly reminded me that he hasn’t read any of my stories because I haven’t finished one yet. (Thanks, bro.) Gingersnap said she couldn’t think of any comparisons and that I kind of had my own style. Enkie said Louisa May Alcott, but also said that’s the only author she could think of off the top of her head, and that it wasn’t correct at all. That I kind of have my own style. Emmett also said he hasn’t read any of my stuff, and so he also couldn’t think of any comparisons.
Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
I started writing because I always have story ideas bouncing around in my head, and at age 12, I hit upon one that I thought was good enough to become a book. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.) But it was enough to start me on this journey, and I keep writing because story ideas still bounce around in my head–stories that I would love to read someday.
I also truly enjoy the process and the artistry of it all, despite how hard it gets.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
Either the travel brochure for a writing class assignment (that brochure was as dry as ashes, people)–or the picture book I started in order to finish something before I die. The picture book was hard because it was short, and I didn’t have room to explore or flesh out its concept. It felt like shutting my mind up in a box.
Here’s a fun fact: Gentle Fire was supposed to be a short story. But I kept wondering what brought Durant to the very situation in the opening, and also what happened after the story. And then I thought of some answers. And the ideas wouldn’t leave me alone. See Question #1.
Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
My English political novel with the working title of Method and Manner. Actually, I’d love to focus on this one (Chris told me the other day he would put flowers ‘pon this story’s gravestone), but I don’t have time for the hefty research required. When I have time for that research, however, I shall thoroughly enjoy it!
What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
I hoped to finish the draft of Gentle Fire by the end of the year, but as it’s nearly August and only the beginning of the outline sits in my folder, that will probably not happen. I hesitated to set any other goals because I so successfully fail at meeting them year after year. It’s quite the impressive record.
Maybe I should switch to creating Mid-Year Goals? Breaking out of the cliche box and all its expectations might help. 🙂
Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
Help, coffee, help!
Kidding again! It’s more like Think, Organize, Write–only that order gets shuffled around a little. Okay, a lot. With confusion thrown in. Also a constant sparring match between my inner critic and artist’s soul.
And coffee does fit in there somewhere. 🙂