My sweet friend and fellow author, Carla Stewart tagged me in a current blog hop. She actually wasn’t the first friend to do so, but the first one that asked when I actually had time to participate! Carla writes lovely books, her first four were set in more of a nostalgia time frame–the 1950s and 1960s. But her current release, The Hatmaker’s Heart is a lovely historical that spans the ocean from New York City to London and back again in the 1920s.
This blog hop is about the writing process, which is a subject I find fascinating. In fact, I’ve gleaned much of my own process from listening to others! But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll answer the questions as they were given.
1) What am I currently working on? I am currently working on several different things. I am researching in hopes of writing another historical novel, but I am also exploring some possible Christmas novella ideas, either for submission to traditional publishers or possibly as indie ebook projects. We’ll see how things go!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? For my current published and soon to be released work, I’d say that my work differs from others in my genre in a couple of ways. First, I dont’ write historical romance, as so many of my fellow Bethany House authors do. While there is romance in my work, it is generally more subtle and does not take center stage. The other thing that I feel sets my work apart is a spiritual theme meant for the Christian desiring to grow in their faith. Most of my books speak to lessons I’ve learned or am learning in my own life. I simply use a story vehicle with which to illustrate that truth. My heroines are already firm believers in Jesus, but they have an area of their lives in which God wishes to transform them closer to His image.
3) Why do I write what I write? I write what I write because I have learned that I learn best through story. In fact, I can name more novels that have changed my life than non-fiction Christian living books. I can see myself in the characters–both the good and the bad. And I believe that writing and reading in the historical genre provides another level of distance that helps me not to balk at the truth I see portrayed on the page. The historical setting, in essence, lowers my guard to the point that I can receive revelation about myself that I might resist if the truth were presented in a contemporary situation or character. Thus, I write historical fiction threaded with truth that (hopefully!) leads to spiritual self-realization in the character, the reader, and me, the writer!
4) How does my writing process work? My writing process is an ever-evolving thing. I thought once I knew how to write a novel, that would be it! I’d just crank them out. That hasn’t been the case at all. At least not for me! I’ve come a long way from simply sitting down to write and seeing where the story takes me (a seat-of-the-pants approach) to making a general map of the story before I begin, even knowing that as I write things will change. In order to do that, I’m learning to give myself permission to think more and write less at the beginning stages of a project, which is hard, sometimes, when the story is begging for release from your brain! But the patience has paid off in the past, so I am loathe to neglect it now. Once my preliminary thoughts have been captured on paper and reworked and rethought and rewritten, I then set everything aside and knock out a fairly quick first draft. After that, it’s revision time, seeing where the draft veered from my original ideas and evaluating which makes the story stronger. But my favorite revisions come after a good substantive edit, when I often tear the story into pieces, re-arrange, add and subtract, until I have something that stands much stronger than the first draft.
So that’s it! Nothing mysterious, just time and hard work.
Want to hear more? Here is a sweet friend who will post about her writing process on Wednesday, so hop on over to http://thoughtsthatmove.blogspot.com/ to learn how she creates her novels. Wendy Paine MIller is a native New Englander who feels most alive when she’s laughing, reading, writing or taking risks. She’s authored nine novels and is currently writing what she hopes will be your future book club pick. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies and online sites. Wendy lives with her husband and their three girls in a home bursting with imagination and hilarity. She’s represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Agency.