I want to thank my Red Room friend Vicki Nikolaidis for inviting me to join My Writing Process Blog Tour. A native of Iowa, Vicki now lives and writes in Crete. You can catch her blogs at http://redroom.com/member/vicki-nikolaidis/.
My Writing Process
- 1. What am I working on? I’m finishing up volume seven in my historical fiction/western series about the U.S. Army Ninth Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, and getting into the next in my Al Pennyback mystery series (about dastardly deeds in the fashion industry). I’m also preparing a syllabus and lecture notes for a workshop on professional writing that I’ll run for undergraduate students in the Rangel Fellowship program at Howard University this summer, along with my blogs and some copywriting work.
- 2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? I write in several genres. I guess, though, the main difference in my work is that I’m something of a minimalist. I hate reading long, detailed descriptions of people, places, or things, so I avoid it in my own writing. I believe in giving a brief description and allowing the reader to fill in the blanks. My mysteries differ from others in that I don’t use a lot of profanity or sex – again, just enough to let the reader know what’s happening and allowing that reader to use his or her imagination for the rest.
- 3. Why do I write what I do? I write mainly because I feel this intense compulsion to write. My head is filled with random thoughts begging to be put into some order on a piece of paper (or computer screen). My historical fiction series is intended to fill in the missing pages of our history to show the role of minorities in developing the American west. The Al Pennyback mystery series was a reaction to the fact that most stories set in Washington, DC deal with politicians, spies, and high-powered lobbyists – or pimps and prostitutes. I wanted to do stories about the amazingly diverse population of average people here.
- 4. How does my writing process work? I’m an early riser. I get up, shower, walk the dog, and fix breakfast, When that’s done, I start writing, and don’t stop until I’ve done at least 1,000 words (I frequently do much more than that). When I’m working on a book, I never stop at the end of a chapter. At a minimum, I do the first sentence of the next chapter before stopping. I do brief chapter sketches, but not complete outlines, because as the story develops, it often changes direction. I go with that flow. My stories more often than not start with a catchy title, but sometimes an idea or theme comes to me when I’m riding the subway or even in dreams. I keep journals (dozens of them) in which I write these ideas, along with character sketches, dialogue, descriptions, you name it – just about everything that pops into my mind. I travel with a journal, so I can write even on long plane flights, and always make my 1,000 word a day quota. For me writing a book is a three-step process. Step one: write it. Step two: go back to page one and see what needs to be added or removed. Step three: let it rest a few days and then do a line by line edit.
Who’s up next?
These three amazing writers are joining us on March 24.
Fantasy author Yvonne Hertzberger, author of the Earth’s Pendulum Trilogy, has been in her lifetime a Jill of all Trades – actor, singer, gardener, hairstylist, and decorator. A long-time student of human nature, she’s a late-blooming, retired, empty-nester who finally found her calling in the writing of epic fantasy. Yvonne is a contributing author on the staff of Indies Unlimited, the greatest site to support and promote Indie writers since the invention of the e-reader. She hangs out at http://newfantasyauthor.com/about-yvonne/.
DV Berkom is a slave to the voices in her head. As the author of two bestselling thriller series (Leine Basso and Kate Jones), her love of creating resilient, kick-*ss female characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages. Raised in the Midwest, she received her BA in political science from the University of Minnesota and promptly moved to Mexico to live on a sailboat. Many, many cross-country moves (and several years) later, she now lives just outside of Seattle, Washington with the love of her life, Mark, an ex-chef-turned contractor, and writes every chance she gets. Check her out at http://www.dvberkom.com/bio.html.
Kathryn Chastain Treat
Kathryn was born in Missouri and raised in the California’s Central Valley. She is one of two daughters. She was an active 44-year-old stay-at-home mother of two when she decided to venture back into the workplace after spending 17 years raising her daughters. Little did she realize that this opportunity for professional growth and financial independence would force her through a never ending series of battles with the medical and legal profession, make her a prisoner of her own home, and mire her in severe depression. After workplace exposure to mold caused severe immune system dysfunction, Kathryn’s world turned upside down and nothing would ever be the same. It was these battles that led Kathryn to write about her journey. Check out her blog at http://kathryntreat.com/