Wednesday 16 April 2014

My writing process -blog hop

My Writing Process – Blog Hop
I was tagged by Joanne Hall -– for the My Writing Process Blog Hop.
What am I working on?
Trying to take over the world. I’m currently working on several projects, all on spec: I’m working on my first novel, tentatively called “Seven Deadly Swords” (You heard it here first folks), I’m working on editing an anthology for the North Bristol Creative Writing Group (stories are due in soon) & writing my own stories to go in that anthology, I’ve been doing some editing and writing for Far Horizons e-mag (coming soon -!/farhorizonsemag) and working on an anthology of my own short stories, tentatively called “Thunder and Magpies” (that I’ll probably put on Smashwords, Amazon etc for a nominal fee perhaps), last, but by no means least, I entered into a pact with several other authors at the beginning of the year to produce, and submit to market, one short story a month. I’ve just sent my April one to the crit group and am nervously awaiting their feedback.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Genre schmenre! Genre is a marketing macguffin. OK my stories tend to be on the darker side of speculative but does that make them Horror SF?, Dark Fantasy? Slipstream? New Weird? Or just plain old SF&F? I don’t know. I started out saying that my stuff was “the real world but with a twist of the speculative”, now I’ve written a bit more and have a Steampunk story published I reckon I’m now a bit more “eclectic”, some of my tales have little to no genre signifiers within them, others are full blown SF. It may be too early to say what my style is, although I’m beginning to notice recurring themes and a voice (& I hope readers are too). I may try to work this question out - what genre am I? how do I fit within that genre? when (if?) I start approaching publishers and agents and all that industry stuff.
Why do I write what I do?
I write the kind of stories I like to read. Many of my stories have started out with a prompt from a competition or an anthology. Recently though more are just happening as my brain regurgitates lost dreams, semi-crushed ideas and the hangnail thoughts that whizz through my brain inconveniently late at night. I write some of this stuff down and some of it actually makes it onto the page nowadays.
How does your writing process work?
“Process” is a bit of grand word for how I write I reckon! I’m not one of these people who can write every day, despite the many people who say that that’s important. I tend to work in intense bursts of activity between periods of such inactivity, writing wise, you may wonder if the torpor is a permanent vegetative state. But the brain never sleeps, well yes of course it does I’m not sufferring with a sleep disorder but go with the flow here; the unconscious mind is always wandering hither and thither in the land of stories picking story seeds and getting snagged by story thorns.
When I do actually sit down to write I use a laptop and Word – I downloaded yWriter but haven’t got my head round it yet. I actually have three separate notebooks that I scribble stuff down in too. Everything related to the novel goes in a nice lined red journal I got as a present. Ideas go into a separate, cheap, blank page notebook where I feel free to doodle and dream and I have another, reporter style, notebook that goes with me to events and where I jot things down in. That last one also inevitably has stuff that should properly go in one of the other notebooks as things occur to me. Now I’ve written that down it seems terribly convoluted!
When I’m actually writing I’ll do it all on screen and I also edit on screen, I tend to have three or four (or more) saved versions of each story. When I think it’s ready (it’s not) I’ll print it out and then read it out loud, making marks on the paper that are pretty mysterious, sometimes even to me (my handwriting seems to have atrophied terribly in the electronic age). I’ll make a final edit then pass it on to a reader for feedback (long suffering partner mostly, crit group, or random people in the street).
OK that all sounded great, perhaps I should do that a little more, as I said process is a grand word for what I do. Sometimes I hack at a keyboard in a white hot frenzy and other times I add a sentence or two in a day. I’m moving towards what I describe above (printing out, reading out loud etc.) but that’s fairly new, but seems to be working OK for me so far. Next week/month/time I write I may do something different…..
And the last part of the blog tour is where I nominate new victims for the beast, er a few other authors. I have chosen to tag :
Gaie Sebold – writer of the marvellous Babylon Steel & Shanghai Sparrow books -
David Gullen – Wordsmith extraordinaire, author of Shopocalypse and many cool short stories -
Jim King – Astute political commentator and gnome wrangler -
Meg Kingston – Steampunkstress and writing guru -
Andrew Goodman – Writer of the fantastic YA adventure “The Emperor Initiative” series  -

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