Friday, August 1, 2014


No cats harmed in the
writing of this novel.
It's my turn to play! Welcome to the #MyWritingProcess blog hop. I am following on the heels of my awesome Critique Partner, Tracie Martin. Her book is a ghost story (among other awesome things) and therefore not my usual fare, but I LOVE IT. So, there ya go. Read out of your comfort zone from time to time. You never know what you will discover.

1) What I'm working on…

I am taking a poetry class. In between book projects, I like to focus on something different than what I just finished. Someone recently described it as changing crops in the field when you are a farmer. I'm planting poetry for a bit.

My next project is forming slowly. Or a future project is forming slowly. I don't know for sure it is what I will write next. It will involve a lot of research. I can't say much about it, because I don't KNOW much about it.

2) How does my work differ from others in the genre…

It's mine. It comes from my head, my heart, my experiences and fears and passions. I've spent my whole life being told I don't think like other people, and in writing that is a very good thing. Every writer comes to the table with a different past and present. We also have read different books, watched different movies, listened to different music, etc… Therefore, different stories come out of us.

As for concrete differences, I will say poetry usually plays some part in my stories. Sometimes a very very small part, but it's there. Poetry is my first love. It shaped me as a writer.

3) Why do I write what I do…
I read all kinds of writing
books when I am writing.

I write for two reasons, generally…

I write to face my fears (mental illness, suicide, school shootings, cancer) and to put my passions into stories - to put topics that anger me into a form others can see from many angles (homelessness, the apathy of the church, statutory rape, death).

Aside from that, I write because I am a writer. I always have been. I feel more myself with paper and pen. I don't know what I think or feel until I write about my thoughts and feelings. Stories make sense to me. The worlds inside my head make sense to me. This world? The one I live in? It baffles me on a daily basis. Only in writing can I begin to find my place.

4) How does my writing process work…

For fiction, it starts slow and builds to a crescendo. I may begin with a character or a news story that ticks me off. It's different each time, but there is always one thing that grabs hold of me. With The Tornado Year, it was a small homeless community in my town. It was bulldozed. I was angry. Then a tornado wiped out a nearby community, and the two events became linked in my brain. Callie, the MC, appeared next. She started telling me about her family, and I realized she was homeless because of the tornado. I wrote a page. Later, I wrote another page. Eventually, I had a book.

Once I have a draft, I get readers. I listen to their thoughts. I re-examine my story. I revise. I edit. I revise again. I get more readers.

As for the physical process itself…

I write best at the start of the day, after coffee and breakfast. I write best in silence or with background noise that has zero to do with me (like in a coffee shop). With homeschooling, that meant locking myself in my bedroom and typing away sitting on my bed. I was constantly interrupted to referee disagreements and re-explain concepts. Luckily, I tend to write in short bursts. I work with my ADHD instead of forcing myself into someone else's mold. I know writers who can sit for hours, writing scene after scene. I rarely manage that. I write a scene, maybe two, and I feel drained. I have to reboot before I write the next scene. It was Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird that helped me. I thought I could never finish a book because of my short attention span. Then, I read Bird by Bird and gave myself permission to write a scene… and then write another scene. Eventually, the scenes made a story.

I keep poetry books by my bed.
Sometimes they spark something new.

I am tagging two people to follow me in the blog hop…

My friend, Maria, blogs at A Problem Like Maria. She and I have been talking a lot about writing and editing and all that goes with it. Plus, she doesn't write fiction, and I thought it would be fun to see how all sorts of writers do things. Those of you who read my blog regularly may recognize Maria as the fearless leader of the Middle Sisters.

Next up is Gina at This is Not Your Blog. I met Gina through some Twitter writing friends, and I liked her pretty much instantly. I love her fairy tale concepts, and look forward to a whole shelf of her books one day. Again, if you read here often, you may recognize her blog. She ran the Thinks You Can Think series a while back, and I had a poem and a scene featured there.

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