Monday, January 20, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

By invitation from Gilli Allan (author of Fly or FallLife Class, and Torn) today I'm participating in the MY WRITING PROCESS Blog Hop. The only requirements are to answer four questions, and then tag more authors* at the end of the post to keep the hop ... well, hopping. So here goes!

1. What am I working on?
Right now I have two projects battling for space in my brain: a short story that wants to grow up to be a novel and a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) book that's demanding a rewrite. The short story involves a bottle containing water from the Fountain of Youth; the NaNoWriMo novel takes a woman from a small town in Texas to the neon lights of Miami's South Beach. The Fountain of Youth story is the lead contender for my imagination.

But before I can fully concentrate on either one, my focus is on the release by Secret Cravings Publishing of Bluebonnets for Elly in just a few weeks. 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to include strong older women in my stories, so not all of my characters are gorgeous twenty-somethings. Although the title character in Bluebonnets for Elly is in her mid-twenties, an important person in the story is Elly's grandmother, a woman in her seventies. I believe Granny adds warmth, wisdom, and humor to the love story, and I had a lot of fun writing about her and her senior-citizen friends. In my first novel, I.O.U. Sex, all three main characters are Baby Boomers. 

3.  Why do I write what I do?
I enjoy reading women's fiction and romance novels, and that's one reason I write that genre. It seems those are the kinds of stories that rattle around in my brain. Also, there's the whole "write what you know" thing. I like to set my stories in Texas because that's where I grew up and spent a huge portion of my life, and I go back to North Texas to visit friends and family often. The saying "once a Texan, always a Texan" is true in my case. Lots of interesting characters have been a part of my life so there's a wealth of personalities to draw on. 

4. How does your writing process work?
I'm not sure I have a "process." Basically, I'll get an idea and start thinking "what if." For example, I've seen lots of people around my town who seem to use mobility scooters as their main form of transportation - tooling down the sidewalk, braving traffic at pedestrian crosswalks, zipping around the outlet mall - and I started wondering, What if that's how I had to get around? What would that be like? And since I have a friend who lives in a mobile home community for senior citizens, I wondered what it would be like to live in such a place. Do some of those folks get around by scooter? Are there rules that apply to the residents? Those questions led to Bluebonnets for Elly. I changed the scooter to a tricked-out golf cart, and although there are golf carts and scooters in the story, they're not central to it. They're just what got me started! 
I actually saw a tricked-out golf cart that looked
almost identical to the one I'd imagined in Bluebonnets for Elly.
The plot for I.O.U. Sex was inspired by reading my high school diary with my lifelong friend and co-author Sandra Allen. We joked about hunting down our old boyfriends and one silly thing led to another. While writing the book, we would talk about our characters as if they were friends. No, June, Peggy, and Kiki are not based on actual people and certainly not on us! 

So, back to my process. Generally, an idea percolates for a while, and then I start writing. After I get into the story a little bit and get to know my characters better, I fill out an interview checklist for each one (physical appearance, flaws, beliefs, personality, background, goals, etc.) and also write down what I expect will happen in the story. Not a formal outline; more like a list. Of course, that isn't necessarily the way the plot works out! As I get deeper into my characters, they may take off in unexpected directions. This is probably the least efficient way to write a book, but it's the way  my brain operates. 
***
For more insight into the way writers work, on January 27 please follow the MY WRITING PROCESS blog hop over to posts by the following three authors and read how they answer the four questions:

Link to Delinda McCann at Delinda's Gardens, Books, & Advocacy 
      Delinda is the author of Lies That BindSomething About MaudyM'TK Sewer Rat - Birth of a Nation; and M'TK Sewer Rat - End of Empire. She is a Social Psychologist with many years of field work and an organic flower farmer. Delinda always has something interesting to say! You can find all of Delinda's books on her website: 
Delinda's Gardens, Books & Advocacy


     James Secor is the author of Det. Lupee: The Impossible Cases. A long time social activist, playwright/director and short story writer, James began work as a pin spotter in a bowling alley on the way to completing college--the only family member to do so. And he did it with a flourish. Or a florish. He lived and worked in Japan for five years, studying at the National Puppet Theatre; lived and worked in China for seven years teaching literature, writing and drama, staging plays regularly. Published in two languages. He's now retired from "working." James is at Linkedin and has an irregular blog at http://labelleotero.wordpress.com 

      Salvatore Buttaci was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award. His poems, stories, articles, and letters have appeared widely in publications that include New York Times, U.S.A. Today, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Cats Magazine, The National Enquirer, Christian Science Monitor, Thinking Ten, Pen 10, and Six Sentences.
      Look for Sal's latest collection of short-short fiction in 200 Shorts; Flashing My Shorts, his collection of flash stories; and A Family of Sicilians, a collection of his poems, letters, and stories. 
     Sal lives with his wife Sharon in West Virginia. You'll find his blog HERE.


5 comments:

Patricia Kiyono said...

I think your writing process is similar to mine - and we seem to be in the minority! I think most of the authors I know claim to be pantsers - they sit down and let the characters lead. But I like to have a LITTLE big of a plan! I think I read parts of Bluebonnets for Elly on the Sweet Saturday Samples blog hops - so glad you finished it!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Thanks for stopping by, Patricia. Yes, I posted excerpts from my Elly book on Sweet Saturday Samples long ago. I'm delighted that I finally finished it and that Secret Cravings Publishing decided they wanted to publish it. Exciting times for me!

Salvatore Buttaci said...

It's my sincere pleasure to be included in the BLOG HOP TOUR. It gives me an opportunity to explain myself to others who visit Sandra's Writing with a Texas Twang
and for me to learn from other blogging authors how their writing comes about. .

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'm looking forward to your post next week, Sal. Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and leave a comment.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I like how you look at something like a scooter and wonder what it would be like to use one then incorporate it into a story. I think I will start practicing looking at things in a useful light. - Delinda McCann (blogspot is nasty about letting me comment with my name and photo.)