Updated: 12/19/2011: for Third Sunday Blog Carnival
How do I write? What inspires me? Why do I tackle so many different genres?
I was asked this by Alejandro Guzman, of the blog Raising Amelie, . He’s not the only one who has asked this. I’ve shrugged my shoulders most times when asked this. How and why I write: I never have given it any real deep thought. Honest. I’m not narcissistic enough to believe anyone would really want to know my process. But, I heard him REALLY ask, really want to know, and when I included the others, and comments, I felt I had to take a shot at this. Thank you, one and all. Really, I’m a newbie, to not only blogging but in writing AS a writer: as of this writing, 5/30/2011, I am unpublished, and have only been blogging since January of 2011.
*AMENDED 12/19/2011: I am now a published author!! You can find my work on my Amazon Authors Page: My first short story was published in the Dawn of Indie Romance Charity anthology; a second one was published in After Dark (paranormal anthology); my own eStory, Flash Over (a psychological thriller); and coming soon (around the end of December/Beginning of January), my first eBook-The Path Away From Love.
Tale Spinning is my outlet for writing fiction (beyond the odd Guest Blogs I’ve done, and will do, if someone asks me). I just started to enter fiction contests. Fans of Tale Spinning have been asking to continue writing beyond the shorts I have been doing. I am in the process of doing that with three of the stories.
Stephen King, when asked this, gave the answer: “One word at a time.”
I find that I write best at my desk, in my bedroom, with the door closed. I turn off the phones, and make sure I have a large cold beverage at hand. For some reason, even at the coldest time of the year, I prefer cold drinks. Mainly Iced Tea, then Iced Coffee. I don’t drink alcohol of any type, and I don’t do drugs. What comes out of me is what’s in me, not altered in any way. That, in itself, can be a scary thought.
I give myself a two hour window of writing sometime during the day. My schedule is erratic. Sometimes I have all morning, sometimes just the night. It changes day to day. Two hours is my minimum time to write daily-yes, daily. I will go longer if the muse hits me. I started out wanting to write about 400-500 words a day. I now try for 1,500 to 2,000 a day in total. That’s fiction (1,500) and non-fiction (500), give or take. I can do it if I don’t let myself get distracted.
Research plays a big role in what I write. I’ll get an idea, but only know a smidgeon of what I want to express on that subject. When someone mentions how detailed I can be, a lot of times it’s the research giving me the tools to write what I need to. Yes, how I put the words together makes me, me, but…research is vital. I also make up a LOT of things. Ask my family and friends.
I enjoy language, and love playing around with it. Language, to me, is musical. It’s there for me to play with, redefine it sometimes, create new versions, and just have fun. I’m not comparing myself to Shakespeare or Lewis Carrol. It’s just fun to play around. Verbs can become nouns, and visa versa. I don’t believe in rules, overall.
That is another thing: I’m not the greatest when it comes to the mechanics of writing. Yes, I have my moments where I don’t care that I’m not following the accepted methods of published authors or genres. Why write what they’ve already done, and follow a path that is not making me happy? So, I’ll have some dangling parts here, an adverb there, break the ideal of what is accepted…and I don’t really care. Yes, I would love to be published. But, if you really knew me, you’d know my principals for myself can be stronger then following “what’s right.” That might change when money and a book publishing contract is dangled in front of me, but…I’d like to hope not.
I find it creatively freeing. Since I started to just write for myself, I gave myself permission to do whatever I wanted. No demands, no one breathing down my neck, no one’s expectations of me (which I HATE). I’ve always written well, but I never felt I had the discipline to write daily. That changed when I took on TWO blog challenges, both in April 2011. What I thought was going to be arduous and overly demanding…wasn’t. It was fun, and I was getting some nice feedback with both blogs (more info on the other one at the end of all this meandering).
Tale Spinning came about when I was bored, which can happen often. I only had Born Storyteller, and was just adding pages when I felt like it. I wanted to write fiction, and posted a challenge on FaceBook: give me a theme and the first sentence of a story that has never been written before. I’d write a short piece on that. After a week or so, I did not get anymore, but before that happened, I spun the stories off into this blog. (btw: if you want to continue that challenge for me, the About page has the info. Thanks).
What changed all this for me was the A to Z Blog Challenge. I had to write 26 blogs, one for each letter of the alphabet, with Sundays off. I started doing small bits, but on D Day, I stared an ongoing story that is now Novella length, my Work in Progress. Since then, I have tried to write every day, normally a different story idea every day. I might hop jump to a previous story to continue it, or I might feel I’ve said all I wanted to say.
Things. Paintings. Photographs. Words of the Day (try Dictionary. com). Prompts of abstract ideas, sentences (like stated above). People’s comments. People. Love. Hate. History. Myth. The Origin of something. Abstract concepts. Music
Sometimes I’ll have an idea, but what solidifies it is finding that image, or music. It ground it all for me. That was how the Tango piece came about: concept, research, then the music. “Birdsongs” came because I had asked the illustrator to surprise me with an image. I had to let it sit for three days or so, and then the whole story rushed out in a series of notes at Starbucks. “Redhead Riding”, well…ahem…I was trying to impress a redheaded woman I knew by way of blog (another country, def another generation). That’s how it started out: I took info off her blog (her music playlist is what my character hears as she rides her bike), looked at the photos of her, and just went with it. It was a fun exercise that’s turned into something people want to read more of.
I also realize my love of prompts comes from my many years as an Improvisation performer. We have to create our scenes/stories from only a few ideas tossed out by our audiences. The rest is up to us. I learned to think fast and go with my first idea; that serves me well when writing a Flash Fiction, short story or poem.
I think what it is: when I get an idea, I write. If I’m “blocked”, it’s the material I’m writing, not me. If I struggle with it longer then a day, I put it aside. If I come back to it and still struggle, then something is wrong with the material, not me. It is just saying, “nope, you aren’t really engaged with this material. Bye.” There is always something else to write about.
There is always something else to write about. Wait. I just said that. Yes, there is. I believe I tackle the different genres, and if the comments by many are taken as reality, because I do it fairly well. 🙂
Well, also because of a number of things:
- I read a LOT.
- I read a number of genres and styles:
- SciFi, Fantasy, Mystery, Thrillers, Classics, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Myths, Fables, Legends, Bios, and assorted other works of literature.
- Oh, plays, and non-fiction books that deal with theater, storytelling and now writing.
- I am an avid Pop Culture watcher/listener/junkee.
- I watch TV, listen to all types of music, love Film, go to theater, concerts and ballet and modern dance.
- You’ll notice things that are missing from my stories: I am not a fan of sports, so you’ll see very little of it. There are other things. You tell me.
- I have a lot of things to reference from
You’ll have to ask me if you feel you MUST know more about my exciting writing habits. I hope I’ve answered Alejandro’s, and others, queries. If you want me to go “behind the scenes” with particular stories, let me know. I don’t think it’s all that exciting to explain, but…who knows.
I’ll add some links here (after my BTW below) for other writers links. If you have a great link, share it with me and I’ll edit it in.
As to comments, let me throw this back to you: if you write FICTION, the questions above are posed to you. Write it up on your space and post the link in the comments section. I WILL read yours. Always great to hear the personal stories, while we weave fantastical fiction, and go Tale Spinning together.
BTW: For those who don’t know, I also write another blog: Born Storyteller . Since October, I’ve been running The Creativity Series, with guest blogs on Mondays and Wednesdays, and then, well… I talk about the other things I am passionate about: Arts-In-Education; Storytelling; my role as a Teaching Artist; my performance art; and the philosophy and practice behind all that, through my lens of experience. I ask questions about your POV, so be forewarned. Question and comments always welcome. Thank you.
Third Sunday Blog Carnival Every third Sunday, starting in January 2012: links to many great blog posts on writing
Krissy Brady Keeping the passion for writing alive