How do I Write Thee?

You gotta love writing.  It is like a passionate embrace from a total stranger, one who gets you, or at least is beholding to you for their existence, which may be even better.  So that would mean that writing can be compared to the love of a child.  Your characters—your stories really—are your children.

So Bea Cannon asked me to be part of this writing blog tour thing, which has made me have deep thoughts about writing . . . not really, writing is like breathing.  I might as well have deep thoughts about taking my next breath.  Still, I’m going to answer these questions as if I had pondered them for eons and wrote poems to all my favorite authors in gratitude for sharing their talent.  I decided to skip that last part because they would not appreciate it if they ever read any of my poetry.

  1. What am I working on?
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  3. Why do I write what I do?
  4. How does my writing process work?

I write mostly fantasy.  I’m currently finishing the final touches on my next novel Stenson Blues.  It is the sequel to The Order of the Wolf and is the second book in my Kingdom of Haven series, and follows the exploits of the nephew of the main character in the first book.  I’m also working on the first draft of the third book in the series, which has no title at this time.  Lastly, I’m partially through the first draft of an unrelated novel titled The King’s Man.   I’m submitting this to my writing group a chapter at a time for critique.  It is a bit farther down the queue for completion, so I figure I have the time.

My writing is my own.  How else can I explain it?  I’ve been an avid reader my entire life, and have been writing stories for more than half of it.  My reading interests have moved around a bit over the years.  Currently, I prefer historical fiction and fantasy, but I’ll read anything that sounds interesting.  I prefer to write in a tight point-of-view focused on a single character.  I think the character is the heart of a story.  I want the reading process to be more intimate.  I want the reader to connect with my characters.  I like to think that my writing is a bit on the gritty side, but that may be wishful thinking because that is the kind of story I prefer to read. 

I tried to write for the industry, but who can keep up with the latest trends.  This was during my short story period, when I believed that submitting short stories was a way to break into the industry.  I mostly stopped because I prefer writing novels.  If I’m going to put out that kind of effort then I’m going to put it into what I love to do.  I prefer the longer form because it works better with my style of writing.  I can’t say why I write the stories that I do.  They are the ones that come to me, so I write them.  I’m sure that I’ve been inspired by stories that I’ve read, but there are so many good stories out there that I couldn’t just pick one or two to reference here.

I do quite a bit of research for my novels, but I tend to do it on the fly.  I’m not a big paper person, so I keep most of the world building/character building in my head.  I do keep character notes and society notes as I go.  I like to write my first draft straight through and fill in more details in the second go round.  My revision process has changed over the years.  I’ve worked with writing groups on and off, both online and in person.  My first book, The Order of the Wolf, was a capstone project as part of my English degree.  For Stenson Blues, I hired a proofreader.  I have a few other drafts sitting around that have gone through several writing groups as well.  My plan is to put out as least one novel a year until I can’t.  If and when I can afford to quit my day job (translation: when I retire), I will probably do more.