For several months now (exactly how many months, who knows!), the Writing Process Blog Tour has been making its way through the world of bloggers. It’s now my turn to add my answers to the Tour’s 4 questions.
But before I begin, I want to thank Devon Flaherty for inviting me to contribute. You can see her post HERE. And, if you follow it backwards, you can work your way through many insightful posts on the writing process of a wide range of writers.
1. What are you working on?
I have three fiction projects I’m working on right now:
- A post-apocalyptic novel titled *Bulb: Conversations in a Bar at the Eve of the Apocalypse*. It is set in a world that has been largely destroyed by an unknown cause. In the aftermath of this “attack,” human society adapts to carry on or rebuild as many of its familiar constructs as possible, including hanging out in bars and telling stories.
- A family drama featuring a middle-aged man’s search to find his father’s stories. I just started this book, with only one chapter finished. I’m still working out the plot, which is built around a criminal enterprise that’s gone wrong.
- A weekly short story to post on my blog. So far, I’ve done nine. Many of them are derived from old Twilight Zone episodes.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I write literary science-fiction/fantasy, which is a bit different than many sci-fi writers. But there are plenty of examples of writers I look up to: Jennifer Egan, Kelly Link, Jose Saramago, Chuck Palaniuk. And many others. One interesting aspect of my writing is that I like to make each chapter of my books readable as separate short stories (ala *A Visit From the Goon Squad*). Also, I have a background in psychology and counseling, so I tend to focus on dialogue and interpersonal relationships.
3. Why do you write what you do?
The honest truth is, I am too chicken to write the real honest truth. So, I write fiction. I admire the hell out of memoirists. I can’t imagine how vulnerable you have to be to tell the naked stories from your life and the life of the people around you. Fiction allows me to tell those same stories with varying degrees of distance. It also lets me exercise my brain’s ever churning world building process.
4. How does your writing process work?
I am a discovery writer, meaning I write first and discover what I’m writing second. Usually I’ll have a character in mind and I’ll begin with a conversation between myself (or a proxy of myself) and that character. This can go on for several thousand words before any semblance of a story reveals itself. But that’s okay with me. I find that, once I can encounter an autonomous fictional character, the rest of the work moves fluidly.
The downside to this kind of process is limitless revising. I have yet to complete a full-length novel. A large part of that is because I have to constantly revise what I’ve written to match plot/character elements that I’m discovering as I go.
Unfortunately, I agreed to join the Blog Tour before realizing that I don’t have many social resources to call upon to pass the baton on to. I’ll keep asking though, and hopefully will find someone(s) to pick up where I’ve left off. In the meantime, check out Jacke Wilson’s brilliant and entertaining post on being honest and on how to approach the dreaded blank page.