My Writing Process: A Blog Tour Interview
A big thank you to my author friend Nancy Hartney, short story writer found at website: http://nancyhartney.com/ or her blog http://nancyhartney.wordpress.com/ .
Her collection of short stories, Washed in the Water, was released in June 2013. Described as "gritty," the stories meander through violence and beauty among her hardscrabble characters as they traverse their religious and social landscapes. Since release, Washed in the Water has garnered rave reviews on Amazon.com, GoodReads, and the Deep South Magazine http://deepsouthmag.com/2014/02/literary-friday-edition-92/ .
The "Four Questions" (and my best-guess answers):
1) What am I working on?
I always have multiple projects in various stages of completion. Guess that helps stave off boredom. Like most writers, I relish creating that magical first draft: the time when I adore every word and I am the most amazing author to ever breathe life into characters. Ah, the blush of new love. Then I let a manuscript simmer, and the riff-raff floats to the top. But I am growing to like revisions. Might as well. Revisions are like that unbalanced aunt who shows up drunk for the family reunion, draped with a scarlet feather boa and ready to get down with her bad self. She’s part of the family and you have to learn to live with her. Besides, doesn’t she add interest?
The next in my middle grade fiction series, Dig Within, will pass through my critique group and into its third set of revisions. I plan to have it completed and in production by the fall. The next Southern fiction book, Secondhand Sister, idles in my files, awaiting a turn through the group, and my red pen. Not to mention my line editor, a patient, kind soul who has had more than a bucket of laughs from my errors.
Marketing my two latest books, Elsbeth and Sim (middle grade fiction) and Suicide Supper Club (Southern fiction novel), is further stretching my brain. If we buy dementia-free years by acquiring new skills, then learning to market has provided at least a few months’ reprieve. Thank goodness for my author friends. I watch what they do, then do my best to mirror.
2) How does my work differ from other of its genre?
Truly, there is nothing new, only an author’s unique spin on age-old human storylines. My twist comes from my Southern upbringing in a beloved North Florida town with a state mental institution on its main drag. I understand “colorful.” I descended from a long line of storytellers, and I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a fat pencil.
I have been told my humor is what sets me apart. Laughter flowed easily in my family of origin; still does. We look for the funny side, and this trait has buoyed me, and my characters, through some horrendous trials.
Though humor permeates my work—both the Southern fiction and middle grade pieces—I don’t shy from serious subject matter. My first novel, The Madhatter’s Guide to Chocolate, featured a hate crime. My fiction includes death of loved ones, child pornography rings, end-of-life issues, cancer, and suicide. The middle grade work features environmental issues, family ties, bullying, and self-subsistence.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Might as well ask why I breathe. To stay truly alive. To make sense of the things I perceive in my world. To add a little shimmer of light and humor into the universe. Heaven knows, we need all the light we can summon.
I don’t like to be corralled onto a certain “platform.” The experts want a writer to choose one direction, one genre, and run that into the ground. I suspect this is why many talented authors grow stale, why their novels start to sound identical after a few years. I enjoy the challenge of penning both Southern fiction and middle grade chapter books. Two collections of short fiction rest in my line-up. I don’t see myself writing non-fiction, but who knows?
As long as it makes me happy, and I do my best, who is to tell me what to write? The muses are in control. I shall follow their lead.
4) How does your writing process work?
When I am hot on the path, I write for a few hours each day. No set word count. I have tried using an outline. The muses chortled. Instead, I allow them to take my fingers to task, sit back, and let it flow. One of my Southern fiction novels generally takes about three months for a first draft. I allow it to sit for at least four weeks, then dig in for the word and scene kill.
After that, the manuscript falls under the scrutiny of my trusted critique group, the Wild Women Writers. More revisions, chasing the typos like sprayed cockroaches. Finally to my line editor. Then back for more culling for critters.
If I’m lucky, I have a published book. Then I find those last illusive typos that keep me from being perfect. No worries about remaining humble. Writing is the best way to never be full of yourself.
Well, gee, that was fun! Thank you, Nancy Hartney!
Next week, April 7th, tune into these three talented author friends' blogs, where they will carry on this fun blog tour:
Website Link: www.malcolmrcampbell.com
Weblog for the blog hop: Malcolm’s Round Table:
Weblog for the blog hop: Malcolm’s Round Table:
Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. In addition to writing, she has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado.
Weblog for the blog hop: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4447391.Melinda_Clayton/blog
Susan Mary Malone:
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, I Just Came Here to Dance and By the Book, as well as four co-authored nonfiction books, including What’s Wrong with My Family?, and many published short stories. A freelance book editor, forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to Traditional publishers.
Website link: www.maloneeditorial.com
Weblog for the blog hop:www.maloneeditorial.com/blog/editorial-tips/