Pass the blog-tour-baton! As part of a blog chain aimed at promoting, inspiring and publicising writers, I am honoured to take the baton from Michelle Newell, a writer I 'met' as part of the super-supportive and creative Blog With Pip community.
Michelle blogs at Lost Story Found, and last week posted an audio clip revealing her inspirations and process as a writer, complete with beautiful bird-song in the background.
Now it's my turn...
What am I working on?
This is a difficult question at the moment, as I am not the kind of person who can focus on one thing at a time. My mind wanders, I'm a dreamer, and I have an abundance of ideas that take me off on an adventure of tangents. I've been told there is a name for this: MULTI-PASSIONATE. I'm Multi-Passionate.
At the moment however I am obsessed with birds, and am working on a poetry anthology inspired by all the birds that visit my garden and their distinct personalities and mannerisms. Don't be lulled into the idea that this is a cute little project though: a lot of the poems so far are rather dark.
My other project is a novel. Actually two novels, both set in Glasgow and with very different themes. I have had dreams about my two lead characters (both female), and feel the threads of their stories coming together in my mind. I'd like to keep the plot lines a secret for now. Is that allowed?
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
All I can say about this is that no matter what the story, no matter how many times a theme or plot line might have been written about in the past - seemingly mined for all its gold - each writer, each individual, has their own, unique, distinct voice.
There are 'tells' in the sentence structure; in the words that are used and how they are peppered throughout the text which is akin to handwriting - similar, but not the same - could never be the same as anyone elses. So I feel my work - my writing - stands out in its own way because it is mine, my voice, my observations, and my story.
I think this is reinforced by this Martha Graham quote:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost."
Why do I write what I do?
See above quote!
All I can say to expand on this is that these ideas, these threads and ribbons of stories manifest in my mind and come to me in dreams, and I feel that these are the stories I need to write, must write, that only I can tell. It's a duty and a calling, and probably a curse too.
How does my writing process work?
It kind of doesn't - see all of the above!
I have the ideas and I scribble notes and I write things down and I make a start, but after that, a lot of the initial enthusiasm...dwindles.
More ideas come to me - plot twists, sentences, scenes - I imagine the characters and construct mood-boards to build up a better picture in my mind of the finer details. Although I love descriptions, I'm not the kind of writer who likes to launch into a description of a character first off - I'd rather leave that a bit anonymous and build in the detail over time.
Previously I have drawn out spider-diagrams for characters and story arcs, but ultimately it's about getting started, getting something on the page - be that paper or screen (I tend to type, as I type FAST) - and just diving in.
I always carry a notepad and pen with me, and keep these by my bed too for writing down ideas and dreams. Microsoft OneNote is useful for organising thoughts and ideas, but for writing, I just use basic Word.
I successfully completed NaNoWriMo (writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November) two years running, in 2011 and 2012, and found it very freeing to just do it, just WRITE, rather than worrying - procrastinating - by planning the details and doing research. Interestingly however, the two 'novels' I wrote for NaNoWriMo are not either of the pieces that I am working on just now. It was an experiment, a challenge, and it helps to overcome the perceived barriers of starting to write.
As a general rule, I don't particularly enjoy research either. I like to write about feelings, sensations, thoughts, reactions, experiences, and leave the factual stuff to those who excel at it. That probably makes me sound really lazy - I do like to make sure I have got things correct - but research doesn't come naturally. It's why my second career plan of being a journalist never panned out. My first career plan was to be a writer.
And now I pass the baton to writer and blogger Vikki Gemmell who will continue the blog tour next Monday (31st March).
Vikki enjoys writing short stories, flash fiction, poetry and novels. She has work published in the anthology An Earthless Melting Pot, The Bohemyth Literary Journal, The Puffin Review, Postcard Shorts, Flash Flood Journal and Multi-story.com. She is currently working on a Young Adult novel.
Vikki blogs about observations of life at Through the Looking Glass.