Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

David Goodner , one of the wonderful members of the DFW Writers' Workshop, tagged me to participate in the "My writing process" blog tour, so for today, it's all about writing.

What am I working on?

In addition to revving up the old Death Writer blog, I've been writing a novel about a menopausal vampire.  It's called Forever 51. Yes, yes, I know.  Does the world really need another vampire story? I didn't think so either, but this woman was quite insistent that I tell her story. And so far, it's been quite fun.
Here I am having fun.  Damn, I love photo booth!


I don't know about you, but I think that's what we should aim for as writers.  FUN!  For the first time in quite a while, my butt is in the desk chair, I'm typing words and I'm laughing my ass off.  I'm thinking about all the crazy stuff this vampire is going to get into and I don't have to worry about the truth.  Or even getting published.  I get to make shit up and let me tell you, that is liberating. Despite my enthusiasm for fiction, my first love will always be nonfiction.  It's always way stranger than anything I can come up with in my imagination, so I hope to be returning to it soon.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Because I know so very little about vampire mythology, I've been reading several books about those blood suckers.  I think what makes my story different is that it hasn't been told, at least not from what I've read.  And yes I know, there are a lot of books about vampires.  I don't have the time or inclination to read them all.  But it seems that a lot of vampire stories focus on sex, power, youth and beauty, which is kind of like what we're already saturated with in real life.  My story takes a look at what happens to a woman who is perpetually stuck at an age that renders her invisible and unimportant, at least in American culture.

In the genre of nonfiction, I don't know how different I am as far as the writing, but I do know there is only one Pamela Skjolsvik and nobody has lived my story.  One of my strengths as a writer is voice.  I am what I am and that's all that I am.  I'm Pam.  I'm attracted to a lot of stuff that people fear, but I present it in a Mary Poppins, spoon full of sugar (humorous) kind of way.

Why do I write what I do?

Let's see.  I write what I know and if I don't know, I go find out about it.  I enjoy that process. It gives me permission in my head to go live or something.  If I have my writer hat on, I can go talk to someone in prison or follow a hospice nurse around or ride along with EMTs.  Pam without the writer hat would not do that.

I'm lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) in that I've had a fairly odd life filled with a fair amount of trauma and unusual characters, so it's been fairly easy to write what I know.  With death, it was a BIG I don't know.  I didn't have much experience, so I did my research and found out about it.

Why vampires?  Well, death, or at least the realization that our lives will end at some point is usually what inspires people to live their life to the fullest.  So what happens to a person who can't die and is stuck at an undesirable age?  How do they get up in the morning?  What motivates them?  I want to find out.

How does my writing process work?

I do a lot of writing while driving and washing dishes.  It's all in my head, of course.  And then when I've got things sorted out, I sit my booty in a chair and verbally vomit it out onto the blank page.  Then I take those pages to my writers' group and read them out loud.  That is probably the most important step for me and it's not the feedback so much as hearing the words out loud and the group's reaction to them.  Like a 12 step meeting, I take what I like and leave the rest.  I've learned you can't be too attached to what is on the page.  Kill your darlings and all that.

Then, I go home, I look at my scribbled feedback and I make those changes immediately while they're still fresh.  Then I let it sit for a day or two and come back to it.  It's a long damn process.  I'm lucky that I always have dishes in the sink and I do a lot of driving.

I am not going to tag anyone.  I figure most of the people I know and follow have already done this and if they haven't, they are welcome to say I tagged them.

Have a great week!

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