Writing Process Blog Hop
March 25, 2014 § 14 Comments
Miranda, a dear friend who blogs as Author Miranda Stone, has invited me and three other writers to participate in the Writing Process Blog Hop. I have no idea where this idea comes from: it’s a hybrid – a cross between an interview and an award. Nevertheless, I’ve decided it’s a good thing, as writers are pretty nosy when it comes to finding out what goes on in other writer’s heads! It’s also allowed me to articulate what goes on in mine, as I generally never give it a moments thought!
A little about Miranda. Her gift is unusual. She understands the human condition intuitively – never glossing over the difficult and messy bits of our complex nature – and relishing its exploration with a rare realism. She tells me some of her work has been labelled as Gothic Realism, and after reading about the history of Appalachian mountain culture where her heart – or at least her writing heart seems to be – I begin to see what drives her powerful narratives. Her writing has a uniquely bare quality – without frippery, without ornamentation – yet it shows great sensitivity. Her poetry and short stories are always moving and powerful. Go to her blog and find out for yourself.
Now for the rules of the Writing Process Blog Hop:
1. Answer the four questions below
2. Link back to the person who invited me to Blog Hop
3. Name four writers who might just continue to hop…
1) What are you working on?
I always need to have a number of pieces on the go at the same time, so if one isn’t going well, I can move to another. There are two pieces on the top of the pile just now. One is set in a taiga (the Mongolian name for forest), and is about the observations and trials of a child who lives with a nomadic tribe of horse herders. The idea for the story started with little more than a series of snapshots in my head, and over the last week or so I have been weaving these ‘stills’ together into a story. Ancient myths and tradition form the background – even though the story is contemporary – and the tension will come from the conflict between the old, known ways of survival, and the ‘pull’ of the modern world.
The second story is again seen through a child’s eyes. Some would call her ‘simple’, I would call her gifted. She has the ability to see things others do not in a clairvoyant, second sight sort of way. Her mother has recently died in strange circumstances, and she lives with her father on an isolated farm. The problems come when the outside world tries to get too close. It’s a tale about different personal realities, the wielding of power, and the beauty and wildness of the natural world.
Having said all that, most of my writing energy these days goes into mastering the art of the haiku. It’s made me aware of the power of simplicity, and of saying ‘just enough’. I love the way it can capture a single moment, yet mirror timelessness. It’s power is in what it does not say – allusion is all.
2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?
Someone else will have to answer this one, as I have no idea where I’d fit!. There are elements of fantasy and myth in some of my stories, magical realism in others – some are even held together by humour and irreverence!
3) Why do you write what you write?
The simple answer is I don’t have a clue. Not being a published writer, I don’t have to consider my audience, so I write simply for myself. Some authors say they write what they would like to read themselves, and that is certainly true for me. Why do I choose the content that I do? First, I love writing about nature because I feel at home and am inspired when in that environment – cities leave me cold and wanting to run; and second, I like playing with different ideas of ‘reality’, where the reader has to suspend disbelief for a while. I like to take my readers on a journey where they can forget – just for a few moments – who and where they are.
4) How does your writing process work?
I have no set rules for this, but if I’m working on something, I’ll get out of bed in the morning, and go straight to my desk for an hour or two, because there are words and ideas that I must get down before the day gets in the way and I forget. I do have a writing pad by my bed, but I’m too lazy to use it, and I often send texts to myself if I’m out somewhere and think I’ll forget an idea. My memory is rubbish, so I probably still forget about 90% of it!
I find it very useful to not finish a piece at the end of the writing day (unless it is time to do so). Leaving a half finished sentence or paragraph makes it much easier to pick up where I left off. If I want to waste time, I’ll revise and revise what I wrote the day before. This often means, as I think Proust said, that I will spend the whole morning removing one word; then, in the afternoon I’ll put it back! I am a master of ‘over writing’.
If time permits, I’ll write in the afternoon and carry on until I get hungry – usually after I’ve done practical everyday tasks, and maybe taken a walk or cycle ride. The afternoon is also the time when I do most of my reading. I used to think reading was what I did when I couldn’t write, and although this is sometimes true, I now recognise that reading time is vital. It is nutritional for any writer, and I am often amazed how many authors admit to hardly ever reading other writer’s work.
Writing haiku is different. It can happen any time, anywhere. Something or someone will spark off an idea and it develops from there. I have a notebook full of first lines which I’ll dip into whenever I have the time. I meditate twice a day, and this often puts me in the right space to compose a haiku. Either that, or I’ll fall asleep!
I have nominated these four writers, as I’d really like to know what makes them tick!
the hour of soft light… : a blog with beautiful photographs, and innovative and often, very surprising poetry.
Only Fragments : deliciously poetic excerpts from longer pieces. Descriptive and evocative writing to inspire…