A blogger whom I adore, and an author in her own right, JULIE VALERIE, has enticed me to participate in something called a blog roll. I’d never say no to Julie: She’s an expert on metadata, and I hope someday she’ll teach me her secrets. She also knows how to rock a blouse, and still manage to look hip!
What’s a blog roll, you ask? It’s similar to a chain letter. If one chooses to participate, she tags more authors to participate and so on and so on. Thus, a discussion about writing ensues, and free “lessons” are out there for pre-published and established authors alike.
And what’s The Writing Process? Well, it’s not as lofty as it sounds in most cases. No need to be intimidated. In fact, let’s call it “the writing process.” Less scary. I’d say that the writing process is whatever it is that you do to cover pages with words.
I’m flattered Julie thought of me. Before you read my thoughts, check out what Julie says about her writing process HERE.
Q: WHAT AM I WORKING ON
Two things. The main thing I’m working on is edits. My brilliant editor at HarperImpulse, Charlotte Ledger, has done me the favor of going over my latest manuscript with a sharp eye and her desire to see me succeed. As a writer, I’m grateful that fate landed me in this situation. I learn so much each time she edits my work. When I push my ego aside, and try to view my work through a reader’s eyes, I see that my editor is right 99 percent of the time.
I’ve also just begun a new novel with a different tone than my others. My background as a stand-up comic and improviser served me well when I tackled Romantic Comedy. I’m a little more contemplative these days. Since February, I lost both my brother and my mother-in-law. I still laugh, and think life is absurd, but I’ve experienced a shift. My current way of being is a little slower than it used to be. My experience with these deaths and my own mother’s death a few years ago has brought out my compassion. I’m operating using a keen radar that clocks other people’s struggles. This has affected my voice, and there’s nothing else to do but to be where I am, and be authentic.
Q: HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
My Rom Coms feature American girls abroad, in fish-out-of-water situations. I’ve been told my particular stamp shows up in the deeper emotion under the comic or farcical situations. There’s a famous book about improv written by some of Chicago’s Second City greats called TRUTH IN COMEDY. It proclaims a tenet I firmly believe: You can’t try to be funny. The situation must be played as real. Tell the truth. Don’t have characters trying to do something badly. Have them try for all they’re worth. The more real you are, the more the funny comes out.
Q: WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
I write what I’d want to read. I’ve sought out comic novels with heart my whole life. I don’t pretend to be in their category but I enjoy greats like my personal hero Jennifer Weiner, and solid comic female writers like Meg Cabot, Jennifer Crusie, Claire Cooke, and Katie Fforde. I’m not trying to mimic anyone’s style, but let’s face it, what we spend time with influences us.
Q: HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
For me, my process involves never stopping. Especially when I’m in the middle of a long work. When I take a break, I find myself opening a document and line editing. I tell myself I’m re-familiarizing myself with the content, but the truth of the matter is that it’s simply a procrastination technique.
My demon is fear. Will this be good enough? Will it sell? I’ve found my best writing came when I had strict deadlines to which to adhere. When I have a loose outline, then challenge myself to write 1000 to 3000 words a day, I usually wind up doing more. It’s about the flow, and the momentum for me.
When my kids and husband are around, I like to go to the main library in New York City (the one with the lions) to write. It’s only about six long blocks from my apartment and Bryant Park, which is next door to it, has the nicest public restrooms around. Or, I’ll go to the Center for Fiction in midtown. It used to be the old mercantile lending library. Both of these places are inspiring, as one sites surrounded by books.
Q: AND THE OTHER PART OF THIS QUESTION, HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS NOT WORK?
When I stick to the plan, it works. Pure and simple. Make time to write, then write. Writers write, they don’t talk about writing, I coach myself. This usually prods me to type.
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