Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Why Do I Write

Downtown Raleighwood
August, 2014

Van Waffle is a friend from my LiveJournal days, one who I met through his photography and his comments left on other photographers' blogs I was also following.  I admire his writing path and his dedication to his craft.  He's earned his successes.

A few weeks ago he emailed to ask if I'd mind being tagged in a "Why Do I Write?" entry that he'd been tagged in by a mutual friend.  Sure, why not?

What am I working on?
The Book.  Still.

It's a Victorian Fantasy about a former chimney thief and his eccentric employer's attempts at recovering an escaped clockwork Pteranodon.  It is currently in the (seemingly never-ending) revisions stage.

How does my writing differ from others in this genre?
I find this question a bit disingenuous.  Everyone's writing differs from others in their genre, providing you're writing with an authentic voice.

As well, everyone's writing is built upon their experiences in life, the books they've read, the TV and films they've watched, the stories they've heard from family and friends... These are unique to the person.

Why do I write what I do?
I love children's literature.  I loved reading it as a kid, was reintroduced to it when I was an Elementary School Librarian, and have continued to read it long after I left that job.  I enjoy the imaginative storytelling.  I also like the lack of politicals, sex, violence, car chases, etc., that so much of adult fiction seems to entail.

As well, the stories that come to me feature children as the protagonists.

How does my writing process work?

Well, there's writing and there's revisions.

Before I start writing a new story, I need to have that story outlined in my head, from start to finish.  This gives me plenty of time to spend with the characters in my head, testing their reactions, learning their likes and dislikes, their idiosyncrasies.  I see how they respond to the plot elements and tweak things as needed.  By the end of that process, I have a pretty clear idea of the book in my head and can start committing it to paper/pixels.

I think most of my Draft Zero writing happens on a keyboard.  It's easier in that it allows me to keep up with the ideas in my head.  Almost all of my revisions happen with pen and paper -- preferably a fountain pen.

As for revisions, it depends on how long they've been going on.  When I'm first revising a new story I'll take some time to consider my options and play around with the changes until they fit in my mind.  Then I get to work on making them happen.

With the never-ending series of revisions, it's a bit different.  I tend to avoid doing them as long as I can until the pent-up writing builds to a point where it's just easier to write than to not write.  I will happily not write for months.  Eventually, though, I find myself getting depressed, angry, and miserable. A dark guilt starts to overshadow just about everything.  Finally, I throw up my hands in surrender and say, "Fine, I'll go back to the #%^& revisions again!"

-- Tom