The somewhat cute Adam Oster asked me last week whether I wanted to play along in a funny blog chain game for writers, four simple questions, no big deal? I thought, sure, why not, and then he told me I’d have to pass it on to three other writers.
Nah, ’twasn’t like that at all. I asked three people, who just like me instantly agreed, because your average writer is basically a helpful, friendly creature that will jump on any train as long as there’s a remote chance for a bit of extra promotion at the end of the tunnel. So, next Monday, you can blog hop on to Jesamine James (who writes all kinds of things from Real Life to Comedy), Rubianne Wood (who writes Paranormal Romance and Mystery) and Tabatha Stirling (who should be writing her own biography but keeps writing other stuff instead).
Now, the four simple questions:
1.) WHAT AM I WORKING ON?
We-hell. Let us assume I thought I might try my hand at a romance. Let us further assume, it didn’t quite work out as planned. But, in any case, let us assume I have no idea who pressed the silly button and let all the zombies out. Apart from that, I’m around 10k into the third part of my Tales of Istonnia series. So far, no one has died yet. Or maybe someone has. I’m not telling. In between, I write the odd short story.
2.) HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHER OF ITS GENRE?
Ha, easy, I know the answer to that one. Let’s make it two answers.
- Tales of Istonnia: This is a fantasy series, but one without the usual fantasy clichés. No elves, no dragons, wizards, gods, sparkling vampires, and most of all, no magic. If I get my characters into trouble, only their wits, and maybe a little luck, can pull them out again. Neither do I have princes marrying beggar girls or stuff like that. I don’t know if this is what people call magical realism, I prefer to call it realistic fantasy. Oh, and there’s humor, too, which isn’t normal, or so I’ve been told. On its desperate quest to be more epic than thou art, fantasy literature sometimes tends to be no fun at all.
- The Girl on the Red Pillow: This is, on first glance, a fantasy book, too. Then it becomes a psychological exploration. Or maybe it’s the other way round. Either way, this book is an attempt to explain the workings of a depressed, abused mind by fantastical means. I’ve only come across one other book with a similar goal so far (Monochrome, by HM Jones, already on my Kindle waiting to be read).
3.) WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
Because not writing it is not an option. There are writers out there who write because they like to play with words, or they feel they have some sort of message. I’m more the compulsive type. It always takes some time for a story to manifest in my head, but once it’s there, it’ll cry ‘Write me!’ till I cry uncle. It will start as a rough idea, a small scene, a whiff of dialogue, something like that, and then it’ll evolve, turn around, pile up, and all in all, take up every available inch of brain space until I simply have to write it down, or else I’m completely useless for everything else. I only have so much brain capacity.
4.) HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I’m probably the seat-of-my-pants type of writer. I usually start with a basic premise and an idea where it’s all supposed to end, but most of the times the characters get in the way, insisting they do their thing, and I constantly find myself scrolling backward and forward, deleting here, adding there, completely rewriting something which seemed a good idea on page five, but turned out to be completely unrealistic because of something someone does on page fifty-two…Once I have a rough first draft, I put it away for a while, to let it ripe. Or ferment. During that time, the whole story may well change completely once more. When satisfied with the second draft, I start pestering people about feedback, and again put it away for a while. The result is a third and almost final draft. Then it’s killing darlings, repetitions, exaggerated descriptions, and generally tightening things up. Then I’ll print it, and go through the printed version with an eye for typos, commas and those sentences which looked good on the screen, but read completely awkward in print. Chances are, I’ll do that twice. And then I’m done. Hopefully. The process can take anything from three months to five years.