Thanks Mel over at Overreader! You tagged. I believe this means I’m it. Well, it had to happen sometime. I always wanted to call myself an “it” girl.
Usually, I am writing about what I am reading – although I have to admit that the whole #36in12 concept didn’t work out so well. Nevermind all that now, because this is not about what I read but, rather, how I write. I have been tagged in the writing blog hop by the aforementioned Melanie, who possesses far more literary acclaim that I can ever hope to attain. But enough about Mel (although you should all subscribe to her blog over at Overreader), immediately after you subscribe to mine – on to me.
1. What are you currently working on?
Well, currently I am working on not ending a sentence in a preposition.
The finer points of grammar aside, my current project is a return to my roots. I have been dabbling in the romance world for a while, without much luck but with a lot of enthusiasm. I think what has been wrong with my romance is that I have a great deal of difficulty with a “happy ending”. After a hiatus, I started digging around in my pile of “stuff” and came across my first novel, penned ambitiously when I was in my early 20’s. My little foray to classic literary fiction turned out to be not as bad in concept as it was in execution. I freely admit the execution was not very good. Too much youth and fervent emotion went into that 125,000 word epic. Adding a little over twenty five years of hard-earned experience has made this as-yet-to-be-named novel a little less earnest and a little more matter-of-fact. Kenneth, a middle-aged therapist, is caught in a trap of his own making. His midlife crisis, in the form of a young secretary, is about to catch up with him. Meanwhile, his wife, Barbara, is tired of her country-club life and lonely evenings with the scotch bottle. She sets out to establish herself as a person with a career and not just Kenneth’s wife. Add to the mix Kenneth and Barbara’s only child, Gillian – a precocious 16-year-old waiting to leap into the world and leave the troubled waters of the family domicile. The central theme of isolation, how it comes about, what purpose it serves, and what can be done about it merge together. Each character looks through their internal glass darkly, while the surface of life runs smooth. Well, until it all blows up anyway. I dig the ending. Anyway – literary fiction – isolation – Ken, Barbie, and Gilly (did I really just name them that? note for the rewrite – rename these people!) – and just a tinge of the smoke-edged sardonic indifference of the universe. I’ll bet you’re dying to read it.
I am not currently working on any other project, except the ones I’m actually paid to write. You know, the job and all.
2. How does your work differ from others in this genre?-
I would describe myself as an old-fashioned writer. I was born and bred on the classics of literature – I think I cut my teeth on Just So Stories and it went down hill from there. Modern literary fiction seems to jump from here to there and from person to person. I have not definitely settled on a narrator, but you can be pretty sure that it will feel almost old-fashioned with a hint of modern cynicism. I think this is a slice of life type work as opposed to a sweeping epic – the the slice is an old fashioned pasty with plenty of meat and not much for dessert. My experience with modern literary fiction has left me wanting a straight-up story line. This one is straight-up.
3. Why do you write what you write?
I am a journeyman writer for a living. I write by trade – those documents that are called for in the business world. When I write for me, I write what I write because I love the swings and moods of life. I am fascinated with the gray area that lives between right and wrong and diving into that sea is refreshing. Sometimes, the self-examination that comes with the process is exactly what I need in real life. Sometimes it is not. I don’t look for a happy ending – I just look for the place from which we can all progress – a little wiser, a little sadder, and a little madder. I believe all movement is not forward, but progress is always being made. It seems to be reflected in The Novel that Has Not Yet Been Named!
4. How does your process work?
I took a right-brain/left-brain inventory several years ago. It found that I am neither right brained nor left brained, but somewhere stranded on the sandbar of my corpus collosum. What does that mean? It means that I have no way of knowing how an idea will come to me. Sometimes inspiration flashes an image at me and I grasp it quickly, before it fades away. Sometimes, a voice in the back of my mind whispers a piece of dialog to me (and it builds character with the sounds and timbres of each voice). When these things happen, I grab them in notes or pictures or sketches. I don’t write in a linear fashion. I write in scenes that will eventually be woven into a pattern that has a logical beginning, middle and end. With my current project, I am still searching for the thread that ties my images together. That flash has not yet come to me. I’m thinking it might be one of two things – a third-person observer-narrator or an image that I can weave through the warp and woof of the story. I tend to think it’s an image and I tend to think I know what it is. Scenes fall into place in the middle of the night, when all is quiet and there are only me and my imaginary friends playing.
I have a great critique partner, who works historical fiction in a pretty cool way. She is also a big-idea kind of gal and she is able to give me some sound, thoughtful critiques that definitely improve my work. My oldest and dearest friend always tells me I’m wonderful, so I let her read all my stuff too. Of course, I have my friends Melanie and Cristina. You can find Cristina over at Quiet Content, and she is so tagged now.