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.
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.