#MyWritingProcess is an ongoing blog hop where a writer answers four basic questions about their writing process and then is asked to pass the baton to two more authors. I was invited by Karen Stockwell, author of “Dreams of Darkness and Light.” Please visit her page at www.karenstockwell.net.
It’s kind of top secret until it’s finished but I’m currently working on a collection of short stories wrapped up in a larger story. The main character is driving down a rural Wisconsin highway in the middle of a snowstorm and hits a hitchhiker with her car. The two of them are stuck in the vehicle waiting for help and they tell each other stories to pass the time.
I’m also busy marketing my first book, “Painting With Fire,” a gritty, urban murder mystery set in Chicago.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Well, in terms of “Painting With Fire,” I really tried to get away from the standard murder mystery formula and add elements of realism to the story. What happens when a normal person finds a body on the street corner? How does that affect them and make them question their relationships with the people around them? There are little touches of things that echo what I have seen in real life as a news reporter, like the way the family of the victim comes out to the crime scene the next day and the children tie paper hearts to the bushes. I show the reactions of the family, not just the cartoonish gore you find in some murder mysteries. The victims are human.
Why do you write?
I write because I have to write. It’s something I do everyday in some form or another, whether it's journaling, poetry or fiction. Sometimes it’s an outlet for emotions, but most of the time it’s an escape. It’s like dreaming on paper.
How does my writing process work?
I write when the mood strikes, which is often. I know this doesn’t always work for everyone, but I don’t believe in sitting down and forcing yourself to write. Writing is supposed to be fun and if you aren’t inspired, you aren’t inspired. That said, I find it helpful to set deadlines and goals while I’m writing, and writing groups help keep me accountable when it comes to finishing things.
I’m not a huge planner or outliner. I usually have notes and a rough idea where I’m going but I don’t always know how I’m going to get there. The things that come out of my pen often surprise me. I compare writing a novel to putting together a puzzle. You write sections and weave them together. It takes a lot of work to craft a novel. My editing process is extensive. I let things sit for a long time and then come back to them with a fresh eye. I also enlist other writers to critique and when the time comes I use editors and betareaders to polish my final drafts. I also read the entire manuscript out loud and print it countless times to catch errors.
Next, I hereby pass the baton to these two accomplished writers who will post their responses to these questions on August 18:
Clayton Smith is a sometimes-writer, sometimes-napper based in Chicago. He is tremendously good at bacon. His work includes “Apocalypticon,” “Pants on Fire: A Collection of Lies” and the comedic play “Death and McCootie,” which debuted at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. His books are available on Amazon. To check out his web site and blog, visit http://www.claytonsaurus.com.
Jamie Dodson is a veteran of a 30-year military intelligence career. He has served with Special Operations, Airborne Infantry, Air Defense, Army Aviation and other assignments. He has lived on three continents, the Hawaiian Islands and numerous U.S. locations. Jamie writes Nick Grant Adventure historical fiction and magazine articles. His first novel, “Flying Boats & Spies” is optioned for a major motion picture. His second, “China Clipper,” was published in 2010, and his third, “MISSION: Shanghai” in 2012. He is working on Book IV – “MISSION: Hughes H-1”. He has called Huntsville home since 2001. Learn more at www.jamiedodsonbooks.com.