My Facebook writing friend, Ina Roy Faderman, invited me on this tour. She’s one of several great women I’ve met in the past few years in a virtual writing group. It’s wonderful when a friendship progresses from the group page to a personal page. I’ve learned a lot from her and my world is larger with her in it. She’s on my list of CA people to visit personally on my West Coast Book Signing Tour. It will happen!
Ina writes poetry and short stories and has been published in journals several times. Poetry is something I don’t aspire too. I find it too difficult to condense my thoughts. But then I find it difficult to keep my novels below 120,000 words!
Here’s Ina’s official bio: Ina Roy-Faderman was born in Lincoln, Nebraska to Bengali parents. She studied creative writing and began publishing her work while completing her MD at Stanford University and starting a PhD at UC Berkeley. Her poems and short stories about our bodily selves have appeared or will appear in Pif Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, CladeSong, and Danny Shot’s Long Shot Magazine. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she writes, teaches medical ethics and philosophy of biology for Oregon State University, tries to herd her unruly family, and drinks a lot of coffee.
Ina’s FB posts often feature her pets and their tendency to impede her writing progress.
So, this blog tour is about our writing processes. Each author has her or his own way of getting their story onto paper. Here’s mine–well, at question number 4.
1) What am I working on? First of all, I write women’s fiction novels. Currently, I’m working on three projects. I can never just work on one! The first is book 2 of my Lilyland Trilogy, Places Bright and Dark. (Book 1 is Another Place on the Planet. (See side panel.) I’m in the (hopefully) final revision stage. Which means I’m going through from beginning to end looking for words to cut/change, sentences that could stand to be rewritten or deleted, typos, things like that, in preparation to self-publish. Publication target is my mid-September, if not sooner.
I’m also rewriting book 3, as yet untitled. Which means taming the first draft. And, for the 3rd project, I’m critiquing the first novel by an author I met on Goodreads who was looking for a beta reader. It’s an interesting challenge.
Oh, and I’m currently searching for photos for the cover of Places Bright and Dark, because I design my own covers. And I’m promoting Another Place on the Planet. An indie author is always promoting.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? Hmm…I guess the biggest is the faith element, because my faith is important to me. So far, I’ve been compelled to have my main characters be Christians who, besides all the other issues I invent for them, also suffer from a crisis in faith. Which is pretty common, at least for me, when going through a major life upheavals. Some Christians I know never seem to question God or the foundational core of their belief system. My characters do, and like me, they don’t get simple answers. In fact, they often get bigger challenges, bigger questions. It’s an interesting way for me to explore my faith walk.
My Christian characters are far from perfect–they swear and fornicate, give in to their addictions and weaknesses, they grow, fall away, come back and try again, each time experiencing a little more of God’s love and grace than the last.
I have a feeling this difference might keep me off the bestseller list. I can’t imagine a regular of Christian publisher will ever pick up Lilyland. So be it. But i”m open…
3) Why do I write what I do? I write the stories I want to read. Always write the story you want to read, because you will read it so very many times until it goes on its next journey.
4) How does my writing process work? Ha ha. Sometimes I wonder what process? I’m a panster, meaning, I never prepare an outline or plot before I begin. My very first (unpublished) novel, I sat down without a clue to the character, or anything. I had a vague idea about commitment and marriage. In fact, having been told a writer needs an outline before she begins kept me from beginning for many years.
For Lilyland, my process has been knowing my beginning and ending. For book one, I jumped in with the main character from my very first novel. I messed around for a few years, going with different points of view, even with both Lily and Charlie as narrators at one point. Then I finally settled on the main plot points. I let the characters tell me their story, let them tell me who they are. I absolutely love that part of the process. Sometimes I have to adjust them to keep things from rambling too much, but I’m getting better at recognizing plot bunnies that will steer me off track.
Pantsing for me can lead to many extra piles of material, especially at the beginning, so it can make revisions a bear. There were many extraneous characters and scenes I had to cut. The novels I’ve started since then–four others, I think–are more concise. I still pants, but I understand the process better. But, I’m trying to complete this trilogy so I haven’t finished anything else to see if that is actually true.
Lilyland, being about film directors, involved much research about how movies are made. So while doing the messing around I did (which developed the characters in my mind) I read everything I could get my hands on about filmmaking. And as a result, I have a deeper appreciation and knowledge of film.
My routine changes itself around, depending in what I’m working on. Sometimes it’s best for me to edit in the morning when my mind is fresh, although currently, I’m using that time for creating the new material for book 3. Sometimes for a while, that process happens best late in the day. Since I don’t have a day job right now, I don’t have to force it and can do what feels best at a given time of day. I’ve never been one who feels the need for a schedule. But I do write everyday.
A writer, as any artist, has to be true to what drives her and how that wants to flow out of her in her chosen medium. How we do things may differ, but we share the same goal: engage our audience, to move their hearts and minds.
Next on the tour are:
Kelly Krisbacher-details to follow
Previous writers include:
Thank you for this great tour, Theresa. And extra kudos for really having your characters wrestle with their faith – I always think the hardest thing about believing (in whatever form one believes) is that moment of wrestling, but that’s also where we’re closest to God. Can’t wait to see what you write next!
Great tour Theresa…your books sound fascinating and you sound very prolific (not to mention energetic!). Glad I stopped by (I’m a friend of Ina’s and knew she’d steer me to someone interesting…)
Terrific tour post, Theresa. I’m so glad I stopped by and got a chance to get meet you and discover your writing journey. This is a genre I haven’t taken a serious stab at. Then again, there’s always next year. I’ll be popping in occasionally to see how you’re coming along in your writing experience from now on. You look to be doing really well. Kudos, girl.