Monday, March 31, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Hop!


A gifted writer and dear friend, Silvia Villalobos, invited me to join the blog hop–My Writing Process–which offers viewers a look at the writing processes of different authors and artists of the pen. Please take a look at Silvia's blog, Silvia Writes. She's participating in the A to Z Challenge through the month of April (as am I), so in the coming weeks she'll be posting new articles six days per week. That means it's a good time to get to know her and her work. I've had the opportunity to read her novel, SRANGER OF FRIEND, even though it isn't out yet, and I'm definitely looking forward to the glorious day when it is.


Now–drum roll–what am I working on?

Jeez. Too many things.

 I'm working on the revisions to a fantasy novel for middle graders, a literary  coming-of-age novel, a genre romance sprinkled with bits of mystery, and a literary love story. When I'm not working on a novel, I'm working on short stories. I've had shorts published in the Writer's Journal, Woman's WorldShort Stuff  for Grown-ups, The Storyteller, and Once Upon a Time. Last December, I had my first online  publishing credit, a short romantic story in Downstate Story. Currently I'm working on a sci-fi short story and three literary shorts, one about Alzheimer's disease, one about the power of jealousy, and one about a mentally handicapped boy who helps his sister discover who she is.
 
 
Paul Cubitt, Pinterest


I'm in trouble when they say you are  what you write, because I jump from children's stories to adult stories, from happily ever after to horror, and anything in between when the mood strikes me. So I'm a little bit of everything, which is much like my heritage. I love short pieces where characters face a situation that can take place in as little as five minutes or stories that unfold over years. Sometimes I like it simple, the sweet romance that started in a special but unsuspecting moment, and sometimes I like layers of complexity that I fully emerge myself into in order to fully appreciate the world I am reading.

My writing process

 I NEVER close a day of writing without leaving the project I'm tackling on my desk so that I know where to begin the next day. I generally stop writing at the end of a scene or chapter. If I only have an idea of what’s going to happen next, I make a note of that idea. This way, I never face a morning wondering what I'm going to write about. If I don't have an idea, I seriously use a one-word prompt. I might look around my house and see something weird or odd in some way. It might be my husband taking forever to peel an orange. Watching that process might be my prompt. 

Throughout the night, I'll be thinking about it and find a way to associate at least the process, if not the orange, to one of my characters. I'll have left that note on my desk, so I will think about the image the next morning. (Keep in mind, this is only if I don't already have an idea of my character’s next move.)  Once I start thinking about the peeling process or any other process in the morning, I've already awakened my creative brain. At that point, I reread and perhaps do a little editing on the writing I did the day before. This plants the voice back in my brain and reacquaints me with any tension I left off with. I let myself feel it again and then start writing. 

If I get stuck, I look for another prompt. Usually they work. If they don't, so what? There's a delete button and at least the prompt will have awakened the creative part of my brain and pushed me into writing. I don't have the patience to deal with a blank screen, so I found ways to work around it.

I pin up my long hair with a clip, because I'm one of those weird people who believes that having hair fall on either side of my face blocks my ideas from coming out freely. It's distracting. If I lean forward a little, I can see that hair out of my peripheral vision. The hair clip avoids any distractions the hair might otherwise cause.

 I bring a cup of decaf coffee to my desk and let myself  be fooled into thinking it still works like regular coffee, and maybe a snack or two so I don't have an excuse to leave my desk, and then I commit to spending the day seat-to-seat (butt in chair) and work until quitting time.

Sometimes, rather than edit my own work to get my brain into the writing mode, I start the day critiquing another writer's work. This also wakes the brain up.  Whatever works, I do it. Chocolate helps. Sometimes I use it just as a reward. I promise myself that if I accomplish my goal during a given day's writing, I get a guilt-free chocolate bar that night. (Bribery is good for more than raising kids.)

 Again, many thanks to Silvia for inviting me to this blog hop. I’m tagging two excellent writers to share their stories–Lynne Hinkey, author of MARINA MELEE and soon to be released YE GOD! A TALE OF DOGS AND DEMONS, and Sherry Gloag, author of many titles including two wonderful reads coming to you soon. Take a look at Sherry's blog, The Heart of Romance.


 

10 comments:

  1. I like the idea of bribing yourself for meeting a goal! :-) I'm interested in the story about Alzheimer's Disease - anything to bring attention to that horrible disease is a win in my book.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. And you are right – it's a horrible disease, and yet it affects so many people. I hope to hear from you again. Stop by anytime.

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  2. Loved reading this, Deb. Thanks for giving us a look inside you writing process -- now, I have to try the clip-my-hair- up deal, there's no way I'm letting such a great idea get by me. I like the one-word prompt. Never used it.
    Having read many of your wonderful story -- including the Alzheimer's Disease story -- I'm always amazed, but never surprised, at your talent, my friend. Can't wait to read more. See you around during the A-Z Challenge.

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    1. Thanks, Silvia. I'm glad you got me to jump on this blog hop. :-)

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  3. What a great process! I'm envious of your "writing time," but I suppose there will be a season of life when it's easier. I don't actually have to bribe myself. My writing time is my bribe to get done with the chores and kids schooling. =) I always start with editing over the last bit I wrote to get the brain working...unless I've been writing emails and articles until my creative side is threatening to bust free and flood the house if not channeled into the computer.

    Looking forward to tomorrow and the A to Z Challenge.

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    1. I remember the days of child rearing. I used to get up at five so I had a little writing time before getting the kids up at 6:30 to get ready for school. I had the "paragraph" a day plan for writing, and I still use it because I often have a baby in the house (grandson) or two-year-old (granddaughter). Those days I do not schedule more than a snippet of time for my writing. It just works out that way. But yes, there is a season of life that allows more writing, if you let it. Sometimes that's the hard part, for me. Thanks for stopping, Crystal.

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  4. I also pull my long hair back when I write, not because I think it blocks my ideas but because I got tired of hitting myself in the face with my pen as I'd push my hair back so I could see my paper! You'd be surprised just how different the markings of different pens are let me tell you...on second thought, let me not, still too painful, still too painful...

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Tressa. My sister tells me just to cut my hair, but I'm not ready for that. :-)

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  5. I'm with you on that. I think, at this point, only disease or some freak accident gets to take my hair!

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