Though my blog here has been online for a while now, I’m still relatively new at the idea of blogging with any regularity. This I am attempting to remedy. Initially I began my blog just to fling my scribblings out into the infinite void in the hopes that somewhere reader’s eyes would pass over them. Little did I know that there is a world of friends and potential friends out there in the blogsphere (is that a word?). To that end, to lead this sometimes social inept to dip a toe into this wide blog world, a dear friend of mine Noelle Granger at Saylingaway (http://saylingaway.wordpress.com) sent me these blog hop questions. Silly me, I didn’t know what a blog hop was, and quickly learned that it is a short list of questions you answer and then send on to other bloggers as well. Sort of a truth and dare game, as in ‘I dare you to tell the truth about yourself.’ My initial thought was that of Mark Twain, i.e. that ‘Truth is the most precious thing we have so let us economize it.’ But in respect to Noelle, I hereby ignore Twain and answer the questions with truth … mainly.
1. What am I working on at the moment?
I am working on a number of things (my brain being one of the more chaotic places in the universe crammed full of more things than I can keep up with) but the primary project is a new book. This is not a follow up of The Fir Fish Flea and Beagle Club, though I am playing with the idea of a couple of prequel novellas based upon both Cyrus Connor and Sabastian. The present work is a romantic comedic mystery set in a coastal town of North Carolina involving a veteran assault correspondent returned from WWII, a delightful gal he’s desperately trying to avoid falling in love with (to no avail) and her magical Great Dane. I do plan for this work to be somewhat shorter than Beagle Club and hence more marketable, but also lighter in tone and more of a spirit of fun. Stay tuned for possible postings here to test the waters.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Beagle Club is multi-genre, both adult and young adult literary period fiction and addresses something I believe not specifically addressed before, that of young men going from the world of their mothers into the world of their fathers. It is coming of age, of finding out not only just how strong you are, but of what you will do or not do, of knowing where your internal boundaries are, what your values are and why and what love means. This is not to say it’s a heavy tome filled with philosophy, for it is told in accessible language, it’s a quick read and has light-hearted moments, but it is a serious work.
3. Why do I write what I do?
There is no easy answer to that. The characters appear in my head and move around and talk of their own volition. I find that when I try to move the chess pieces around my characters rebel by not talking to me. I have to let them walk and talk the way they want to or they don’t come out and play. My short stories have gone all over the place, from literary flash fiction published in Litsnack to The Fur, Fish, Flea and Beagle Club, to LBGT fiction published in literary collections of the Geneva Writers’ Group and The Main Street Rag. My mind is a mystery even to me, hell, especially to me.
4. How does my writing process work?
There’s no easy answer to this one either, other than to say I have to strike a balance between outlining and letting the characters do what they want. There was an old writing buddy of mine who wrote so clean he had trouble filling in any details at all; he’d come up with all sorts of plot structure but needed help filling in characters so they wouldn’t be cardboard stick figures. I’m exactly the opposite. I have a tangled garden that is just filled to the brim with details, characters, situations galore. My process is to lean back with a legal pad and fountain pen, watch the movie in my head and just write everything I see and hear. The hard part comes when I have to prune away what is unnecessary. Do I really need to tell the reader that Little Jonnie’s shoelaces are bright orange? Only if it’s germaine to the story and illustrates his relationship with his girlfriend who insists that something that they wear must match and that is the least obvious thing he can do so his friends don’t make fun of him. There must be a reason a detail is left in and in the process of sifting is where you decide what story it is you want to tell. The old adage says that the devil is in the details, but so are the angels of magic.
I’m sending this blog hop to a couple of wonderful folks whose writing I admire:
Elizabeth Hein, at scribblinginthestorageroom.wordpress.com
Marcus Ferrar, at mferrar.wordpress.com
Please check them out, they are well worth it.