My Writing Process – Blog Tour
I agreed to be a part of a Blog Tour where writers share a little bit about their writing process and introduce you to other writers whose work you might also enjoy.
First, a big thank you to Erin Leary for asking me to participate in this project. If you’ve not heard of Erin, you need to swing by her blog http://erinlearywrites.com and check out her work. Lately, she’s been devoting lots of time and energy to her current novel, Broken Parts. This is a story of a mother – daughter relationship that faces a major challenge when the daughter brings home her new boyfriend and he turns out to be an old lover from her mother’s past.
There are also two other writers sharing a bit of information about their writing this week. They are Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and Alicia Wallace twitter.com/_AliciaAudrey facebook.com/AliciaAudreyAuthor
1) What am I working on?
I’ve just completed the most difficult piece ever written. No, it’s not the Ten Commandments, but you’re close. Pen-L Publishing asked for a 250 word Book Description (pretty cool title, huh?). They want me to publicly confess my motives for writing The Perils of Heavy Thinking, tell what niche it’s expected to fill, give an explanation for its subject matter, and identify a few key points that make it unique. And then, as if that wasn’t hard enough, they want me to tell them what kind of person would buy or read such a book and why. The whole thing sounds intimidating and both my fans (the 3-speed oscillator and paperboard picture of Jesus) seem a little nervous about me sharing their personal information with a publisher.
I’ve also got a couple new essays partially written. One is based on the radio commercial asking you to donate Cars for the Blind. I figure that’s all we need, a bunch of visually impaired folks texting on Braille iPhones while driving seventy-miles-an-hour down the freeway. I can’t wait to see how that turns out.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Geez, another tough question. The easiest way to do that is to compare my vasectomy story to Dave Barry’s. While Dave is clearly a talented writer and an exceptionally funny guy, there’s a reason he wrote “To Russell—My Idol” inside my copy of his book.
In addition, how many humorists do you know who’ve had a great American icon like Mark Twain return from the dead to open for them at a live performance? This happened to me last May when Samuel Clemens showed up at Ozark Folkways and offered to warm up the crowd prior to my show.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I have a really short attention span. When I get up to go get something in another room, the garage, or boat shed, I usually forget what I went after long before I arrive at my destination. This means any attempt to write a novel would result in a series of totally unrelated chapters involving characters who think plot is a place in the cemetery.
I write humor because it’s fun and requires very little research or effort on my part. I enjoy having people tell me they laughed out loud, spewed coffee through their nose, or had a coughing spell because they got tickled at something I wrote. In my opinion, spreading laughter is one of the greatest rewards a writer can achieve.
4) How does my writing process work?
At my day job, we’re all about process and creating playbooks for every production related activity. In fact, I could easily draw you a flow chart of all the steps required to brush my teeth or perform other personal hygiene functions, but I’ll spare you those details.
Writing is an entirely different matter. Most of my stories and essays are inspired by observing ordinary people caught up in their daily routine. The original brain farts for Dodging Miss Daisy and Donut Abuse were spawned during my morning commute. Medical procedures such as a colonoscopy, vasectomy, or brain scans also provide good material and interesting characters. Although, I don’t recommend running out and getting a root canal just so you’ll have something to write about.
Once the basic concept for the story has been conceived (usually just a title), I start adding the bricks and mortar as time and inspiration allows. I don’t outline or follow any kind of structure, nor do I set lofty word-count goals. I take my role as an underachiever seriously and follow the mantra, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”
The best advice I ever received in regard to writing humor came third-hand from Patrick McManus. In his Writers’ Forum, he shares a tip from an editor on how to come up with ideas for articles: “Take the ordinary and reverse it.” This advice has served me well in stories such as Triple F and Much Nothing about Ado.
Please visit these other great writers on the Blog Tour next week:
Nancy Hartney writes about the Deep South. Her roots dig into the piney woods that she rode through on horseback, into the sweat-soaked hardscrabble farms, and into humid nights. Her slice of life tales chronicle a time past that is poignant, vivid and sometimes brutal. The reader stares into the eyes of people struggling with living, grasping for understanding, doing the best they know how.
Her debut collection of short stories, Washed in the Water: Tales from the South, reflect a region historically peopled by eccentric characters and less-than-honest politics. But therein also dwell independent, caring and resourceful individuals. Nancy writes non-fiction for Ozark Mountaineer, Flashback Historical Quarterly, Horsemen’s Roundup, and American Iron. Short stories have appeared in Voices, Cactus Country, Frontier Tales, and Echoes of the Ozarks. She makes her home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Her website is http://nancyhartney.com and you can find her blog at http://nancyhartney.worpress.com/
Gil had a normal upbringing, which means his parents aren’t to blame for him going into crime (fiction). Instead, he blames a steady diet of movies, shows, and books, from Miami Vice and Scarface in the ’80s to Breaking Bad and Justified in the ’00s. To cap it all off, he discovered authors such as Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Don Winslow, and the late, great Elmore Leonard. Gil is a member of the Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop, whose members sometimes wonder where he gets his inspiration. He makes his home outside Fayetteville, where he is at work on the first of his Rural Empires novels.
Gil maintains a blog at http://gilmiller.wordpress.com/
Lori has published several short stories and has a novel she’s marketing that highlights her journalistic past and her childhood growing up in the cemetery her family owned. Her mystery novel involves a young Ozarks reporter investigating a corrupt prison program and a string of child murders, while she also tries to restore a damaged professional reputation and avoid some dangerous personal threats. Check out Lori’s blog at http://loriericson.com/