My Writing Process: A Blog Hop Stop

Mike Tyson's Punch Out (copyright grungeclown.devianart.com)

Mike Tyson’s Punch Out (copyright grungeclown.devianart.com)

Hop, Skip, and Jump

What better way to get me back in the ring than a blog hop? According to author Tom Lucas, “Blog Hops are these neat little things where different bloggers build bridges between their worlds and hopefully introduce their readers to someone new.“ Tom did me a solid and pulled me in (see his post, here).

Tom and I connected through WordPress when I first started eD. He’s a supremely talented writer and a damn fine story-teller (get information about his book, Leather to the Corinthians, and check out his musings at www.readtomlucas.com).  I am grateful for his friendship and continued encouragement.

Blog Hops have themes.  This one is about the writing process.

The Questions:

What am I working on?

I have three projects currently underway. My first novel, Rolling for Coal, is undergoing reconstructive surgery. I’m excited to be working with a writing coach, who has helped me devise a revision plan to get my manuscript “market ready.” We are very early in the process, but I hope to document the on goings as they occur. Through the help of beta readers, professional critiques, and a few come-to-Jesus moments, I have a clear vision of what needs to be done to take my book to the next level. When and whether I get there, now that’s another story. So what is Rolling for Coal about?

Rolling for Coal is the story of Vincent, a young man coming of age in rural Pennsylvania during World War II. Vincent struggles not only to keep his family from falling apart but to keep his own fragile world from crumbling as well. Raising his younger brother, watching over his reclusive mother, and trying to keep track of an absent father, Vincent’s only solace is a woman whose husband is off at war. Vincent’s world is also one where all is not what it seems, however, and the end will leave you …

For the last 8 months, I’ve been writing the first draft of a thriller currently called Betta Fish. It’s the complete opposite of Rolling for Coal: think plot heavy noir kidnapping based in modern day San Francisco. The “down draft” (aka, shitty or first draft) is percolating while I dissect Rolling for Coal.

My third project is Life. I know. Lame, but true. As Pliny the Elder put it, and I’m paraphrasing here, you need to live life in order to have something to write about (okay, here is the quote: “True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written, and writing what deserves to be read.”). Life has come at me like Mike Tyson at Evander Holyfield’s ear. I’m just waiting to spit out the right words.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Tom said something about my writing in his post that really struck me – something about my work being authentic. I’d like to think there is some truth to that. I wear my emotions in my words. There are so many talented writers out there, particularly in the literary fiction genre.  Also in the thriller genre.  Truth is, at this point, what separates me from others is my willingness to put in the work. For every published author, there are 1,852, 312 that remain unpublished (50% of statistics are made up 42% of the time). And that’s what will separate me: the grind. If you write it, they will come. I am going to write it.

Why do I write what I do?

I love to write. I need to write, too.  There’s not much in life that I’m certain about, but when it comes to writing a damn solid book one day – I know I can do it, and the great thing is it doesn’t matter how long it takes (or how many lousy books it takes to get there). It’s my dream, and I have faith in myself to get there. That’s all the fuel I need.

I suppose my writing can generally be described as heavy or emotive, sprinkled with non-fat bits of humor. It’s probably the Italian and Irish blood in my veins, and the fact that I’ve been blessed with so much in my life, but I tend to write about the tension and inevitable connection between joy and loss.

How does my writing process work?

I write whenever I can. Otherwise, I feel like there is something I need to do. I like the way Tom put it, until he writes he feels like he “left something in the stove.” Yea, I buy that. It’s nagging like a clean sheet of ice.

My most productive sessions are on long-haul flights. Nothing makes me happier than draining my laptop battery with nothing but Microsoft word open.

I always listen to music, the genre depending on what I’m writing. Punk rock, Indie, Reggae, Frankie Sinatra.  Doesn’t matter. I need tunes. I’m grateful for my wireless Beats headphones.

When I can write on land, I tend to write at coffee shops. The white noise helps me hone in. Like a focus filter on Instagram, the coffee shop ends up surrounding me. And then I tap in, and I just write. I often end up writing something completely different than what I started with. I have no problems with word counts. I have no problem knowing that what I write today may never survive a delete button. It’s the process. It’s the grind. It’s one word at a time. And that is what I enjoy.

I played water polo in high school. I’ll never forget the first few weeks of practice. I felt so out of place. I couldn’t keep my head above water, I couldn’t understand how everyone else on the team could make it through the practice – treading water and swimming for several hours. After those practices, I would go home, vomit, and collapse into bed shaking with exhaustion. With time, and commitment, the water became my new normal. I went from survival to practicing skills like passing and shooting. I loved it. I worked hard at it. The sport will always be important to me, because it taught me a lesson in perseverance. Writing isn’t all that different. At times, I feel like I’m drowning. This isn’t easy. But one day, I have a feeling it’s going to click. And when it does, I can really turn my attention to finding, and writing with, my voice.

Who’s next on the Blog Hop?

Now onto the next stop: Wanton Creation. I started following Matt from Wanton Creation a long while back. He writes incredibly funny posts and is currently documenting his life as an Aussie living in Sweden (oh yea, he’s British). Most of all, I really connected with Matt’s posts about music – not just his taste in tunes, but the connection music has with writing. Top stuff. Enjoy.

 

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Categories: Creative Writing, Fiction, Rolling for Coal, Writing

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Dominic,

    I’m delighted to see your post, fun to learn about your writing process. I especially like the balance found in your statement, “My third project is Life”. That’s wonderful and true, without “Life” what would there be to write about, or would there even be a need to write?

    “It’s the process. It’s the grind. It’s one word at a time. And that is what I enjoy.” Your words have allowed me to create a visual image that reflects your process, thank you for that.

    Best of luck on the reconstructive surgery, and I hope you are able to surround yourself with plenty of white noise.

    Take care,

    Pepper

    • Thank you, Pepper! I really appreciate your kind comments and well wishes. I’m hoping to sneak out a few times over the long weekend to surround myself with a coffee shop’s hum. It’s the best: hot cup of joe, first song of a great album tee’d up, and a cursor the only thing I see. Can’t wait! Hope you are doing well, thanks again Pepper!

  2. Ooh nice questions, but even better answers! I think your answers to these questions in themselves are proof of how you work hard on your writing and you put a lot of yourself, and a lot of emotion, into what you say. I’ve always liked that about your blog posts over these last couple of years – they are such an insight into who you are yet they don’t seem accidentally so. And I’m quite certain that when you get your manuscripts market ready, and one day they’re published, people will love them and be drawn into them because of the way you write and the hard work will have paid off! 🙂 Also I’m pretty keen on reading them – they sound so interesting!
    I’ll start working on my post for the hop tomorrow, but with Camp NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow and a few other things going on I might take a few days to write the blog post. But I’d rather take my time and make it a good one!
    Also, one last thing, you’ve reminded me I need to get back to doing some music posts. I have discovered so much new amazing music lately, I really need to start sharing it! So thanks for the reminder!
    Thanks for a great read and for getting me in on this Blog Hop – really looking forward to writing this post!

    • Thanks, Matt! I’m happy, maybe a bit apologetic, that I dragged you into this hop! I’m really looking forward to your post – but again, no pressure whatsoever. I know folks have different reactions to these types of deals (hops and awards, that is), so no worries either.

      I really appreciate your words of encouragement. I hope you are right 🙂 Bottom line, I’ll put in the work to at least give my words a chance to be read. May take years, but we’ll get there!

      Enjoy Camp NaNoWriMo – you are crazy! I took about two or three weeks to respond with Tom pulled me in, so I wouldn’t feel pressured or obligated in any way.

      And yes, more music posts please. I’m’ ready for some new, or renewed, tunes…

  3. Dom,

    Once again, you nailed it. Ok, you could have written anything after posting a picture of Punch Out, one of my childhood faves. You could have posted a recipe for bran muffins and I would have read it.

    But you didn’t.

    I described your work as authentic, and it’s in every word on this page. I have always respected the emotional bravery I see in your work. On your blog, you’ve never tried to be anything but your true self. There are many in the blogosphere that spend their days honing some kind of brand or personality. I find that so tedious.

    When I read your work, I know that I can safely put my defenses down and simply enjoy it. For someone I have never met in person, I feel like — no, I know — what kind of man you are.

    And that guy, he’s a hell of a dude. Glad to know you and I can’t wait to tell people, “I knew him then.”

    • Dude, there you go again making me blush. Man, I really appreciate it. And, by the way, right back at you. I swear we are going to be on a panel one day talking about our books (while checking hockey scores on our phones). I can see it. It’s out there.

      And I’d be incredibly fortunate to be in your company. I’ve said it several times before – but it bears repeating – your posts back in the early days about your journey to publish Leather to the Corinthians were, and continue to be, a huge source of inspiration to me. Not to mention your book is amazing.

      Anyhow, thanks Tom. Really appreciate it, my friend. Looking forward to this journey more than you could ever imagine – patience might be a virtue but it sucks. No choice. One word at a time. One book at a time. Let’s do this. It’s out there for the taking.

      • Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

        Oh, I don’t know how this slipped past me, but congrats on your KINGS!

        I was just reading about a throwback third sweater — Gold with Forum Blue (Purple) trim. Better set aside some scheckles for that one.

        Cheers, my friend.

  4. My favorite advice to other writers: Writers write; it’s as simple and as complicated as that. Enjoyed your blog hop post!

  5. Your dream and your faith. That’s all you need.

    “Nothing makes me happier that draining my laptop battery with nothing but Microsoft Word open.” I feel and appreciate that.

    You have a feeling it’s going to click. And it will. Intuitive here.

    You already have a voice, Dominic. Onward, even blindly with your passion and dreams.

    • Thank you, Eric. As usual, you bring a smile to my face. I’d trust your intuition…hence the smile. Blindly – yes indeed, I have no idea where it will take me or when I will get there – but onward is the only way. Thanks again for your very kind words 🙂

  6. Wow, Ed. You just – nailed it. 🙂 “Writers write. Dreamers talk about it.” – Jerry B. Jenkins
    Being a writer, an honest, authentic writer, requires that one be disciplined in the art and craft.
    Congrats on the books – looking forward to reading much more from you!
    Namaste

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