I don’t talk much about my “process.” Probably for the same reasons that I feel compelled to put “process” in quotes. It’s just such a fickle, fluid thing. Some days I do X; some days I do Y. If I’m lucky, I can just go back and forth between those two. But more often, I’m forced to try Z, or G, or B, or M. There’s a whole alphabet of tricks and techniques. Of methods and madness.

But I really enjoyed Natalia’s post about writing the other day, so I’m going to participate in this blog-hop about my “process” too. Who knows. Maybe if I talk about it enough, someday I’ll lose the quotes.

What are you working on?

Right now, mostly a story about a girl escaping to Spain.

Sometimes I play in pages about a girl and her parents visiting the Galapagos. And very occasionally, I dip my toe into a story about a girl and her famous football-playing father.

But yeah, mostly the Spain thing.

It’s about mourning the loss of a toxic friendship, holding onto an identity that everyone except you questions, and dancing your heart out in a noisy, electric nightclub in Barcelona.

I like it.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Hm. I guess the primary difference is that my work is written by me, while the rest of its peers are not.

And of course what that means is, my work is infused by my specific thoughts, questions, and feelings. My stories embody the particular discussions and debates that I have with myself about the world. Most of all, they reflect what I see — or hope to see — in the world around me.

I especially like to focus on uncommon settings, diverse characters, and strong emotional relationships.

Why do you write what you do?

Because it is what interests and compels me most.

Because I don’t see enough of it on the shelves yet.

And because I have always liked to connect with people and explore the world through stories.

How does your writing process work?

Ah, and now we come to that pesky alphabet I was talking about…

Most days, I sit at my desk, open my Word document, and try to add sentences. Other days, I sit on my couch, with my journal and a pen, and try to add sentences.

Sometimes I go for a walk with my dog and think about a scene that’s giving me trouble. Sometimes I talk through ideas with my writing buddies, who often help me find an even better path than the one I was considering. Sometimes I read for hours — to fill up my well of inspiration, and to study good storytelling. Sometimes I watch TV or spend time with loved ones — to recharge my batteries, and to remember that there’s a world outside my own brain that I need to be in dialogue with.

I am by no means an expert in How To Write. I am just a person who tries, and fails, and tries again, and hopefully fails better.

Bottom line: Add sentences.

(Until it’s time to revise. Then delete!)

9 responses to “On the alphabet of madness, my particular worldview, and adding sentences”

  1. Natalia Sylvester (@NataliaSylv) Avatar

    I love this: “Bottom line: Add sentences. (Until it’s time to revise. Then delete!)”

    So simple, but true. There are a hundred different ways to do it, but it all boils down to this.

  2. T. S. Bazelli Avatar

    It sounds so easy but it’s not!

  3. Shari Avatar

    I love this! And hey, it might be an alphabet of madness, but it’s also an alphabet of possibilities, right? :)

  4. Anthony Lee Collins Avatar

    I really like these questions — I answered them myself without even being tagged. :-) For one thing: short. Any time I see lists of “Twenty questions…” I immediately move on. I’d rather be writing.

    I like your answers, too. “Because it is what interests and compels me most. Because I don’t see enough of it on the shelves yet.” That’s so much better than “Because it is what I think I’m going to be able to sell.”

  5. yogadog Avatar

    I have no insights about writing. But, because I still want to play, I offer the insights of others: In one of the JD Salinger stories about the Glass family, Seymour tells Buddy that the way to write is to sit down and think what you as a reader would most like to read, and then write that. James Dean (the actor, not the sausage guy) once compared the creative process to film – some light was needed for it to develop. But too much exposure ruined it.

  6. Jonathan Avatar

    I think the biggest part of my writing process is not to get distracted. This is difficult when Facebook is always a click or two away. I need to work on that!

  7. Browsing the Atlas Avatar

    Your current projects sound very compelling. Especially the one about the girl in Spain. Hope to read it someday– soon! :)

  8. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, and thanks for the signal boost on Twitter!

    Haha, so true. You always know how to put the positive spin on things. :)

    I wasn’t formally tagged either. Like you, I just liked how brief and yet encompassing this list of questions was. I think it’s become quite the popular writer meme for those reasons. Love your answer to the process question. :)

    I LOVE that analogy about light and film!

    Omg distractions… Don’t even get me started!

    Thanks! I hope you get to too. ;)

  9. […] don’t frequently participate in blog hops, but I really enjoyed these posts from Kristan, Julie, and Heather, so I decided to jump in with one of my own. Added bonus: I’ve been […]