I've been invited to participate in a “blog hop”! The assignment is to write a post that answers four specific questions about my writing, and then tag three other writers who will do the same in their blogs. Be sure to see the links at the end to their blogs–you'll want to get to know these amazing ladies! Thank you to Sandy Ardoin for inviting me to be part of this. You can find Sandy's answers to these questions on her blog. In the meantime, here are my answers:
What are you working on? I am still working on my first novel. Do No Harm is women’s fiction, the story of a young female obstetrician who’s struggling to overcome the trauma of a delivery gone very wrong, while trying to fit in with the women of the church where her husband is the new worship pastor. I wrote the first words of this manuscript in 2012, and if anybody had told me then that I’d still be working on it in May 2014 … I probably would’ve cried. But here I am, plugging away, word by word, trying to get it right.
I’m also working on capturing some ideas for a second novel, and trying to be more consistent about blogging. All this is in my “free” time outside my day job.
How does your work differ from others in its genre? I’ve often asked myself that question. One of the things I struggle with most in my writing is the feeling that everything worth saying has already been said, more than once, by better writers than I. But I’ve been reminded multiple times that no one else will say things quite the way I do, because I bring my own perspective, colored by my lifetime experiences. So there’s that.
I think my work also might differ in that I try very hard to be honest and transparent, to not skirt the tough issues. My goal in all my writing, fiction and nonfiction, is to tell the truth, because I really do believe that the truth will set us free.
Why do you write what you do? I write the things I want to read. I write to explore the questions I have about life and human relationships, because I need to believe that I’m not the only one who feels the way I do, and I hope that by telling the truth as I see it, somebody else will feel a little less alone.
How does your writing process work? My writing process works s-l-o-w-l-y. I have to make time for writing while still practicing law full-time and trying to be a decent wife and mother.
Do No Harm started as a question–the proverbial “what if?”–that turned into a stack of index cards. On each card I wrote one little sentence or idea for a scene or an event. Then after I had a good-sized stack, I sorted them into an order that made sense, then copied the scene ideas into Scrivener (the app I use for writing), and I just started writing, one scene at a time, fumbling for words as I tried to find my story, get to know my characters. I generally try to write from the first scene through to the end, but sometimes the next scene in order just isn’t there for me, so I’ll look through the list of scene ideas and pick one that catches my eye.
I have an overactive internal editor who sits on my shoulder when I write, telling me what I’m writing is stupid and badly written. To shut him up, sometimes I’ll set a timer and just start writing the first words that come into my head, as fast as I can, without stopping or editing or correcting. I’ve learned that the purpose of a first draft is to get words on paper. They don’t have to be pretty; they just have to be written.
Once I have paragraphs, pages, scenes, chapters written, I can edit them. I LOVE editing. Moving words around, playing with sentence rhythms, finding a better word, a better way to say what I’m trying to say.
Tag, You're It!
I’ve enlisted three of my favorite writer friends to pick up the hop from here. Sometime in the next couple of weeks each of them will answer the same four questions in their respective blogs. Be sure to watch for their posts. They are:
- Amory Cannon writes romantic suspense as Amryn Cross. She and I met through the American Christian Fiction Writers’ big online critique group, so I had the privilege of reading some of her wonderful work-in-progress early on. Her debut novel, Learning to Die, will release in September 2014. Amory/Amryn blogs on her very cool website. Watch for her answers to the four questions there in the next week or so.
- Laura Hilton will post her answers at her blog. Laura leads the small critique group I’ve been privileged to be a part of for the last couple of years. She writes wonderful Amish fiction, and has published several novels in that genre. I’ll confess that I’d never been a fan of Amish fiction until I started reading Laura’s chapters–she adds humor and a bit of sauce to the genre that makes it tremendously appealing.
- Dana McNeely is a semifinalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest in the historical category. She's been such an encourager to me in my writing journey, so I'm excited to see where her writing is taking her. Watch for her answers to these questions in a few days on the Christian Writers of the West blog.