Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Writing Process

The wonderful Rebecca Enzor, whose books I fully expect to see at my local B&N one day, has kindly tagged me for the My Writing Process Blog Tour.  Or as I like to think of it, "The Caffeine and Chocolate Tour."  I think it's pretty self-explanatory, so away we go!

1. What am I working on?

If you follow this blog or have seen my anguished gnashing of teeth on Twitter, you know I've always had a problem with 'voice' and 'connection' and that's a very difficult issue to fix.  What drives me mad (madder than a Targaryen) is that I've written several stories now, and the problem isn't getting any better.  And the criticism is spot on.  I KNOW it's missing.    

After getting the dreaded 'lack of voice' feedback in the last contest I entered, I took a couple of months off to see if I could fix the problem.  You know, without tricking a certain red-headed mermaid.



I have a plan of attack now and if it works, I'll let you all know.  I love my Beautiful Medusa story, love it dearly, and I'm going to try to re-write it to finally get that voice I've been searching for.  It probably won't work, but I want to make an attempt.    

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work doesn't have voice and other people's stories do?

Ha!  Sorry, couldn't help myself.

I like to mess with people's expectations and I think that makes my stories different from what else is out there.  If you ever see a character in one of my books named Darla Dogooder who spends her time rescuing sweet forest animals, rest assured she's a mass murderer.

In Beautiful Medusa, Medusa is the hero and Perseus and Athena are the villains.  Another character in the book, Echidna, eats people (mmmmm, villager sandwich), yet she'd risk her life to keep Medusa safe.  That's another feature of my writing, I suppose, I tend toward grays rather than black and white, straight good and evil.

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because it makes me happy.

Because I have to.
 
I caaaan't stop.  I have a writing addiction.

Once a story idea gets ahold of me,  I have to get it out.  If I don't, it becomes unbearable.
 
For Beautiful Medusa, the original myth enraged me so much, I wanted to redeem a character who I felt had been terribly wronged (as told by Ovid, Medusa was turned into a horrible snake monster because she was raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple.  That's it.  THAT'S IT.  Even worse, after she's turned into a monster, Medusa runs away so that she won't hurt anyone and Perseus HUNTS HER DOWN. Why is he the hero?!).

I also wanted to explore why Athena punished Medusa in the first place.  That fascinated me and there's no easy answers there.    

4. How does my writing process work?  

I write slow.  The turtle is my spirit animal.  The three-toed sloth is the wind beneath my wings.  Snails wave to me as they zip on by.

I climb trees in the same amount of time it takes for you
to write a page.

I'm OK with writing slow.  As long as I get there and am proud of the result, who cares how long it takes?

Part of the reason why I'm so slow is that I'm an epic Pantser.  Sometimes people ask me questions, like:  "How does this chapter end?" or "What happens on the next page?"  Those questions are always greeted with this:



I have no idea.  I write strictly linear and let the plot develop organically.  I go wherever the characters want me to go.  I do have images in my head, and if I can work them in, great, and if I can't, then that's OK too.  For example, from the start, I've pictured Medusa riding the Pegasus and landing dramatically in front of her friends to save the day.  And luckily for me, everything came together and I got to include that in a scene!  Woohoo!

But I also had a very specific idea of how Prometheus and Medusa would first meet (it was inspired by Nick Fury and the Avengers) and I had to give up on that, because it just didn't mesh with the direction the story had taken.    

There you go.  That's my writing process.  Slow and steady, largely improvised, and aided by chocolate and caffeine.

I now tag the lovely and talented Maria D'Isidoro.  Check out her site!  She can also tell you all about her exciting news.    

2 comments:

  1. I was a rabid Greek myth fan in my childhood, but I don't remember if I read this version that paints Medusa as a victim of rape, a victim of an unfair punishment, and then a victim of an obnoxious hero. This IS a story worth telling.

    Good luck with the quest for voice (nice of you to spare Ariel). It's something that's hard to teach, but (as a teacher, I can't help trying) you might want to read a bunch of books with a similar setting and tone to what you're striving for, and then aspire to emulate it.

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  2. http://ovid.lib.virginia.edu/trans/Metamorph4.htm#478205208

    The story (it's really short) can be found here. I've read a couple of other translations and they're all clear that the Greeks considered Medusa's punishment to be justified.

    Likewise, they have no problem with Perseus hunting down Medusa. He's a hero, after all, and she's a monster. From the text though, I think it's fair to say that Medusa wants to be left alone. She's far away from civilization, not terrorizing villages and cities, and she only turns to stone those adventurers who want to kill her.

    Thank you for the kind words and advice. It means a lot. I'll keep you updated on how things go!

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