Monday, March 24, 2014

#MyWritingProcess -- You've Been Tagged!

The wonderful Shane Simmons has tagged me in the #MyWritingProcess hop... Which involves, as you might have so perceptively guessed, talking about this thing I do: write.

What am I working on?
The 2014: A Year In Stories project, of course. And I'm behind. I delivered the August installment a couple of weeks ago--the same installment that was due at the end of January. I'm still working on the September story, which was due at the end of February. October will be due exactly a week from today, and I haven't even started (obviously, since I haven't finished September--you see how this becomes a domino thing?).

I love this project. More on that during April, but for now let me just say it's an honor to be included.

I also have a novel in its thirty-something-th draft that needs--well, complete rewriting, I think. Should've done that last year, the rewriting, but instead--because I'm lazy--I thought I could just add and tweak and take out. I did; I cut it from 110K+ to 55K, then added another 50K (a different 50K).

Yeah. It's a mess. Which is why it needs complete rewriting. I mean from scratch. The weird thing is I'm kind of looking forward to that.

Writers. Strange, strange people.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Uhm. I don't think I'm the right person to answer that question--at least not if you want an objective, hubris-free answer (or insecurity-free, because hubris is just that, isn't it? Insecurity with a Napoleon complex?). Plus I don't write genre fiction. And that there is a genre, too, isn't it?

Image credit: this website
Maybe it's easier if I tell you how I'd like to write. What I strive for in my writing. No dragons, no vamps or werewolves, cute or sparkly or not; no fairies or wizards, but plenty of magic--but it's the magic of life, of moments; the magic of small things, of people that touch each other and, like dough meeting heated oil, change each other and there's no turning back. It's the magic of everyday life--the magic we so seldom take seriously.

I try to stay away from adjectives and adverbs. I like to write in deep POV. I love unique characters, characters with quirks and flaws, characters with obsessions and insecurities, characters that think they've got it all figured out when in truth they've no idea what they're really seeking--and I love it when that thing, what they really need, hits them in the face.

Why do I write what I do?
Because the interactions between people fascinate me. Because I've been changed--bettered, spoiled, but above all forged--by the people in my life, whether it's been a momentary brush or a lifetime friendship. Because life is made of moments, and it frustrates me no-end that we can't seem to remember that: we keep focusing on the future, or the past, or both. But what about the present? What about the now?

How does my writing process work?
I'm a pantster that's been flirting, on and off, with the plotter Dark Side. The first drafts of my novels have all (except one) been written for NaNoWriMo with very little outlining (read none), but for the 2014: A Year In Stories project I did outline the whole thing before delivering the first story to the editor. Because there would be no turning back once the stories were accepted. Knowing how much rewriting and revising my first drafts require, I knew that somewhere around the June or July story--or worse, around November or December--I'd think of a brilliant plot twist that would require proper foreshadowing in March or April to work... And it would be too late. So I did outline the whole story arc. Which doesn't mean I've stuck to that outline, but--well. I tried.

My first drafts are crappy: verbose, soaked in adj/adv arterial spray. Dialogue is probably the part I rewrite the most; in the middle of the night I'll wake up because I just thought of a brilliant comeback to something a character said. Dialogue, for me, is what takes a story from good to great.

Image credit: this website
I sit. I write. I don't believe in the hoo-doo of routines: I don't have a Writing Robe or an Inspiration Mug or a Muse-Friendly Desk. I don't believe in writer's block, either. Park your butt on the chair and write, dammit. It doesn't have to be Homer, it doesn't even have to be good. But--like Maya Angelou says, if you mean business, eventually the Muse will give in and show up. Talent to me is loving something so much that you can't bear not doing it--and that makes you willing to put in the thousands and thousands of hours of work it takes to get good at it.

~ * ~

There you have it: My Writing Process. Definitely more Process than Progress :D Thanks for tagging me, Shane; this was a lot of fun to do.

I'm tagging three excellent writer friends to share their writing process next Monday: Silvia VillalobosEmilio Calderón, and Mira Desai (who's just announced a wonderful publishing milestone--hop over to her blog and say congratulations!).

If you enjoyed this and want to jump on to the #MyWritingProcess tag, please! Yes! Do so! Next Monday (or whichever Monday works for you), answer these four questions on your blog and tag another two writers to post the following Monday. Leave a comment below letting me know when your post will be up so I can visit and tweet and FB and G+ and, you know, share it everywhere. Us writers must stick together ;)


  1. How different every process is, na? My eyes popped out at the novel's number of words written, cut, rewritten... wow. And TY for the link, for the mention of my DRUMROLLL....I shall try.

    1. I agree: the diversity in writerly approaches is fascinating. So many ways to skin that muse ;) Glad you'll jump on board! Looking forward to next Monday! And--oh, that novel rewrite... Torture, Mira. T.O.R.T.U.R.E. Which makes me a masochist, because I'm looking forward to doing it again :D

      Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS again! So awesome. I'm so happy for you.

  2. Thank you, Guilie. This made me laugh: "Writers. strange, strange people." So very true. The creative process takes us all over the place, doesn't it? All this noise and constant activity in our heads that must become prose. Gee! I so agree with your take on writer's block. Writing, in whatever form, leads to more writing. So, yeah, butt in the chair it is, because we love this writing thing too much to surrender to excuses.

    I think it's great that you keep busy and push, push, push for the best outcome, the best there is to offer. Before long, a good story takes shape, then another, and another. A novel. Enjoyed reading your answers here -- great way to start the day. Now, off to think about my answers. :)

    1. Hahaha... Well, we *are* pretty weird :D But you're right: we love what we do too much to give up, and that means we'll persevere until we get really good at it. Or die. Whatever comes first :D

      *So* looking forward to next Monday and your spill-all, Silvia. Thanks for hopping on board!

  3. Hi Guilie,
    Nice to be here again after a bit gap,
    Nice to know about your writings and
    about few writers you tagged! Nice to
    know that many more to follow in line.
    Thanks for this three here, out of that
    I know Silvia Villalobos and i visited
    her page too. will visit to other pages too.
    Have a happy time of blogging.
    Best Regards
    Philip Ariel

    1. Thank you, Philip! Ah, so you know Silvia--you're lucky :) I hope you'll enjoy discovering the two others; they're both extraordinary, if very different. Thanks for the visit, and I'll look forward to your next one.

  4. It really is quite something to see that although we're all bundled under the writerly umbrella, we're all so wonderfully different in the way we work! Made me giggle, we are a strange bunch really!

    And don't worry, I'm just as behind with the '2014' submissions... eek! We'll get there!

    One day I'll get around to my twentieth or so rewrite of my novel! ;) One day...

    1. Too right, Shane--we all work, and think, so differently. I guess that's why there will always be room for one more author, one more novel: everyone has a unique point of view, a unique way of telling a story. Again, thanks so much for inviting me to do this (and for the empathy re late submissions to 2014) :D

  5. Oh you answers are wonderful Guilie ... so insightful and very very you, which is what we expect and want!

    1. Aw, Matt. Thank you. I think :D No, really--thank you. You know it already, but it bears repeating, especially in "public"--it's in no small measure thanks to your editorial finesse that my writing has come so far. You're a wonderful person to work with, Matt.

  6. I second that-- THANK YOU, Matt.


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