Blog Hop on the Writing Process
Thanks so much to friend and fellow author Belinda Buchanan, who recently invited me to join the Writing Process Blog Hop. Belinda posted to her blog last week, and introduced me and two others who are posting this week. Next week, my three teammates will post.
Belinda G. Buchanan is a writer of edgy, women’s fiction & mystery romance. Her first novel, After All Is Said And Done, frequents amazon’s top 100 in women’s fictions and is a story about infidelity, healing and forgiveness. Her other books include: The Monster of Silver Creek, a mystery/romance, and her latest, Seasons of Darkness – a coming-of-age story about a young man struggling to live among the shattered remains of his family after his mother’s suicide.
Married to her soulmate of twenty-three years, and a mom to two boys, she lives in the bluegrass state of Kentucky, along with a menagerie of animals that includes two persnickety cats, one hamster, and a dog that thinks he’s a person.
Find out about her writing process at: www.belindabuchanan.wordpress.com
Now it’s my turn:
1) What am I working on?
My most current project is a stand-alone thriller entitled Getting Even! In it, soon-to-be-retired FBI special agent Horace Whitaker is tasked with identifying and apprehending a serial killer who is prowling the Interstate highway system. problem is that Whitaker is due to retire at age 57, which is the FBI’s mandatory age for retirement. A recent widower, Horace is in no hurry to spend the rest of his days on Mackinaw Island in a home that he and his late wife had planned to share together, and would much prefer to continue pursuing the high-profile killer.
I’m also working on a literary novel called Changes, which explores how a man struck by lightning comes to terms with his relationship with his oldest child. This a book that has been on my “back burner” for a number of years. One of these days I’ll finish it.
I’m also actively blogging once a week, something I said I’d never do, but am enjoying immensley.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t honestly know that I can say my work differs that greatly from that of other mystery writers. But I can say that I make every effort to elevate my writing to a level that would make any of the more successful ones proud. One thing I do that my readers find attractive is to create three dimensional, believable characters. Because we are cautioned to “write what you know,” my characters either reflect personality traits of my own or of those with whom I am familiar. My main character, Chief of Police Matt Davis, for instance, is a fly fisherman and a lover of chocolate in any form. I was a professional fly-fishing guide for ten years, and am rumored to be addicted to cacao, especially anything produced by the Hershey company. My mysteries are less about “whodunnit?” and more about “why and how.”
3) Why do I write what I do?
I started my “professional” writing career as a sportswriter for a major NY/NJ metropolitan newspaper, the Herald-News, in Passaic, New Jersey. Ironically, I never intended to become a writer at all. Most of my youth was spent wondering how I could make a living just doing what I loved at the time, which was playing sports: tennis, basketball, baseball, hockey—you name it, I played it! I went to college as a physical education major, but quickly realized that a life spent in a gym somewhere just wouldn’t cut it. I had always liked to read and write, but mostly I had written poetry and short stories. Nevertheless, I changed my major to English in my junior year—and then promptly quit college. A few years later, after marrying for the first time (I’ve been remarried for nearly 33 years), I found myself in desperate need of a job. So, I went to what they used to refer to as an “employment agency,” and laid my cards on the table. Seeing that my interests included both sports and writing, the “personnel director” waived a little 3″ x 5″ card at me and said, “I’ve got a job here for a trainee sportswriter. Interested?” The rest, as they say, is history. I spent a year with the newspaper, and then several years as a freelance advertising copywriter. Over the next 20 years or so, I worked at various “jobs,” all the while writing my first novel (really a hybrid of my own memoirs and my imagination). Finally, in 2008 I published Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening. After examining and re-examining the follies and foibles of my life for two decades, I was ready to try something different. That “something” turned out to be a highly successful first mystery called As the Twig is Bent, which reached the lofty position of #24 best seller in the Kindle book store when it was first published in 2009. My wife, Becky, suggested a series, and the Matt Davis Mystery Series was born, currently numbering four books. Two of them, Opening Day and Broken Promises, have won Indie B.R.A.G. medallions for excellence in independent publishing. I continue to write mysteries because I enjoy it.
4) How does your writing process work?
To understand my writing process, you need to know a bit about me. Up until about 15 years ago, I was an unfocused man with many perceived talents (their words, not mine) and few real achievements. Then, in 2001, I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin. Apparently, the diagnosis was spot on, because immediately things began to change. Instead of abandoning projects in mid-stream, I found myself able to complete tasks that up until then would have been nearly impossible; the most significant of them was finishing a 1,500 square foot basement over a 16-month period. Then came the first novel, and subsequently five more books.
I don’t consciously think about writing, but rather I allow life’s experiences to flow through and around me until something triggers an idea. It might be a news story, or perhaps an event in my life or that of a friend, or it could be a book I’ve read. A good deal of my “examination” of an idea occurs in my sleep. I keep a pad and pen on my nightstand, and often awake with “stuff” buzzing around in my head that I immediately write down, lest I forget it. Because I am a huge fan of film, I envision everything I write as part of a movie. I literally “see” my characters as they move through a scene.
I write when the spirit moves me, which is contrary to every bit of advice written about “the process.” That’s not to say that I don’t try to write something every day when I’m working on a book. But, after an hour or so of staring at my computer screen with nothing meaningful happening, I find another activity to pursue for the day. Often, I write at bizarre hours of the day, either very late at night, or very early in the morning. And, before I write one new syllable, I first review what I’ve written the previous session. I read and re-read each sentence aloud, and listen to every word of dialogue to see that it sounds natural. I always have a title and a cover design done before I begin writing. I also lay out my pages just as I envision them appearing as a finished book. This, too, flies in the face of convention. So be it. It’s my book and that is how I like to write it.
Lastly, I never outline my books. I start with a germ of a story line and let the characters and ongoing action dictate where the story goes. When I finish, and by that I mean when I’ve written the very last word, I generally burst into tears. I guess the whole process is akin to birthing a baby, and I, like a mother of a child, initially suffer a sort of “post partum blues” experience. Or maybe it’s my feminine side showing. Whatever it is, it’s real and I’m not embarrassed by it.
Now Meet My Blog Hoppers
I’m very happy to introduce you to three other “blog hoppers,” so hop on over to their sites and see what they are up to. Each one will be telling you about their writing practices next week on April 7th.
Lee Carey’s writing career began in 1999. He has penned eight novels in various genres: three mystery/crime, three pet novels, two YA/Baby Boomer, and two compilations of short stories. Lee enjoys surfing, writing, golf, and hanging out on the beach with his wife and friends. His attitude is: “Paddle hard for every wave . . . it might be your best ride.” His sign-off slogan is “Keep smilin’ . . . thanks for sharing your time to read and review my work.”
Website/blog is: http://www.leecarey-author.com/
Jess C Scott is the founder of jessINK Publishing. She loves original stories and seeking the truth. She has a keen interest in psychological thrillers (fiction) and blogging about Singapore’s political history (non-fiction)
During his forty year professional career, Bill Ramsey wrote technical manuals, magazine articles and business newsletters. Retired and living in the mountains of western North Carolina, he now focuses his writing on real life topics. He is the author of three books, the most recent of which is “Me Now – Who Next? (The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery).” Learn more about Bill and his writing at www.LifesWrite.com
Facebook: Bill Ramsey Author
If you’re a writer, what is your process like? If a reader, what kinds of novels do you like? Come join the discussion, and please share this post on your favorite social media. Many Thanks!