Saturday, December 20, 2014

Calling all authors: Can you relate?

…So, lately, I’ve been hesitant to tell people I’m an author…because…I’ve written and published 8 books, a while back, but then I’ve been working on getting a series of 12 books polished and published as a series, and they’re contracted with my favorite publisher, Champagne Books, but until I get them polished, I can’t get them out there, and since it’s been so long since I actually had a book out there, and people can’t actually buy my work right now…well, I sometimes add that I’m an author to that ‘What do you do for a living?” question people often get when they meet someone…but…sometimes I don’t…
…Yes, I know I shouldn’t feel that way, and once an author always an author and all that, but since my daughter got cancer last year, I barely keep up, and I remember talking to people in the past that hadn’t written for a long time, and thinking, “Wow, that’ll never be me. I’ll always write.” Humph. Naïve little ole me. Got slapped in the face with life and reality.
So I asked others if they could relate to the problems of writing style and changes and interruptions to their life. They could.
Hebby Roman said, “I've been writing since around 1990. I was print published in the late 1990's through 2001. I came back to writing early last year. And yes, my writing process has changed a lot over time. I actually have a blog about the changes, entitled: \"Obsessive Compulsive vs. Seat of the Pants.\"
… Kevin Henry said, “I was thinking about being a writer 30 years ago. Could be even longer than that, but it was about then that when people asked where I would be in five years I would say A Writer. It took a little longer. I was imitating and not being very original. I rarely finished what I started. It was a wonderful pile of incomplete manuscripts that all sounded like someone else. Then I finally realized I needed to be me, and an idea presented itself shortly thereafter. My first novella was written like a knitting project. I would write stuff all out of sequence and then put bits and parts together to fill in the holes. It worked well, and I continued that process with the second and to a lesser degree the third story. Those will be published in 2015 by Champagne Books. I’ve begun work on the fourth story, and it’s been more challenging. I have notes and scribbles on cocktail napkins and all sorts of things I want to include. I intend on sitting down over the holidays and start this new knitting project. I guess the answer is for the first 30 years the process was incomplete. In the past three years, the process has become more concrete and much more productive.” 
Ronald Hore said, “I have published four novels through Champagne and one novel-length collection of my novellas. I have seven novellas in total with Champagne. The process changes. The first book arises from an idea, then sequels appear. More of a pantser than a plotter. I write in two main styles, High Fantasy for my novels, and more of an urban fantasy style for my series of fantasy detective novellas. As yet, unpublished stuff might include bits of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror (with thriller thrown in.). I’ve been writing for several years, 30 or 40, with 15 years of non-fiction thrown in. My published fiction dates back about ten years. Process changes, started as a plotter, became a pantser, and now it depends on the project.”

… Angelica Hart and Zi, a writing team, said, “We have written and had published 62 novels/novellas and approximately 230 short stories over various genres. Additionally, we have 7 novels in various forms of draft and have another 280 short stories waiting to be polished. We are the little engine that could.  No wonder I’m so tired. So to answer the question, does the process change, it needs to be answered in two ways. No, it does not. Yes, it does. I’m not fence straddling here.  There are fundamental processes we need to go through to create any work, such as develop the idea, create an outline, character development and determine the genre/audience.  

..."But when writing a piece such as romance, we must immerse ourselves into the components that make it such.  This would be typical for any of the genres produced.  A romantic hero is certainly different than a contemporary hero.  One bigger than life, and the other the result of the character created within the context of the story. One of the advantages and complications of sharing intellectual properties is having to share the depth of the stories and characters.  This requires a lot of prepping dialogue, so that we can approach it as one writer.  If not the conflict becomes apparent if parties are of conflicting directions.  This requires a strong, tight outline with equally tight characters that have been fleshed out before we discover their adventures.  However, the one thing we do not share are the jelly donuts.  They are mine! 

..."The trick of writing in various genres is to first feel the universes within each.  One of the tricks we do is, we will retrieve ten to fifty images that reflect the mindset of that universe.  That could include geography, the look of a character, outfitting, sights or buildings.  We tape them to the walls of our office.  We will also talk and communicate with each other as if we are in those worlds, thus it helps create the patter of our dialogue. We go to great distances to get into the minds of the characters.  Separating who we are as people and what we intellectualize about the characters.  I as a mother have to think like a telepathic okapi, and I’m neither telepathic nor an okapi, therefore, I have to feel within the world of their existence.  I can’t project myself.  I must project the character. I can’t feel what it’s like to fly since I never have without a plane.  And I have never been in a life threatening conflict, but I must write as if I am.  

..."So, it becomes extraordinarily important to relinquish myself to the identity of the character I am creating.  If we can’t do that, we fail that character and our story and mostly the reader. Therefore, every day we write, we are Water Mitty, dreaming and living vicariously. We both started seriously writing in our twenties, found some success in our thirties but became prolific in our fifties. As partners we learned short cuts to creating ideas.  We have lamestorm sessions where we each present an idea and determine if it is lame or worthy of further creation. Our basic process hasn’t changed, but has been refined.  I don’t turn red-faced trying to get my point across.  The vein in his brow no longer throbs blue.  

..."We have learned to discuss in a way that makes it about the story, the reader and not about our self-esteem. The Golden Fleece we Jasons have retrieved is that we have made a pact to agree to agree. This means we force ourselves to compromise for the betterment of the story and the reader, not our own egos. Having had the privilege to work with various editors we have learned to become more efficient and effective by anticipating what their needs are.  We have as a partnership created defined roles and responsibilities.  Someone may be the lead on a project and the other is the strong editorial force.  Someone may be the ideas guru while the other punches up the color of the universe.  Then on final read, we switch roles.  Thus, hopefully enriching our gift. 
rebeccadraco.com

2 comments:

January Bain said...

Rebecca,

My gosh what a heart-felt blog! So full of meaning about the realities of the human existence. Wonderful to discover how fellow writers think also. Thanks for that!

Best, January

Big Mike said...

Cancer stopped me for two years, but I kept thinking up stories (g).

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)