When Jayne Hyatt invited me to this blog hop, I was delighted to participate. You see, I love opportunities to promote other authors I know as well as to give readers some insight into how I come to write the books and stories I write. “Who is this Jayne of whom Elyse speaks?” you may asking yourself.
Jayne Hyatt is a lifelong bookworm who comes from a long line of storytellers and book lovers. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado, writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. One reviewer recently described her debut novel, Looking for the Good Life, as “a story of friendship, family (the good and bad) mystery, adventure, love and romance all rolled up tight into a wonderful vacation for its readers.” She is busy working on several projects, one of which is a sequel to Looking for the Good Life.
Now that you know a bit about Jayne, I’m certain you can understand why I was interested in being included in this blog hop!
Now the way this blog hop works is that I have to answer four questions that have to do with my writing and my writing process. And so with no further ado, I am diving into the four questions put to me.
1. What am I working on?
I just completed the final draft for my next short story collection, “Fireflies And Front Porches.” However, when I write, I don’t have just one manuscript on the go. Currently, I am working on:
a. the next Missy Barrett Adventure story for young readers;
b. the next Missy Barrett Conversation story for fans who are more than young readers;
c. the revision of my next novel, “Knick Knack Paddywhack” which is slated for release in early 2015; and
d. short stories for the third short story collection slated for release next summer.
And, of course, I write for all my blogs including weekly blog articles on the Missy Barrett blog, and more frequent blog articles on my other blogs including the Elyse Bruce blog (where we play “Who Said That?” twice a week and learn more about Indigenous issues on Fridays with the “Idle No More” series of articles.
My three most recent books are:
a. “Indians Live In Tipis” from the Missy Barrett Conversations series published August 28, 2014;
b. “End Of The Innocence” (a psychological thriller) published July 25, 2014; and
c. “The Secret Ingredient” from the Missy Barrett Adventures series published June 30, 2014.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I suppose that unlike most authors, I don’t stick to one genre. I write children’s books. I write young adult books. I write fiction. I write resource books. I write psychological thrillers. However, the one thing that is common to every genre in which I write is that I get inside the mindset of every character (with the exception of resource books which have no characters) regardless of what I’m writing.
When I write, it’s not enough to write the what and the when and the where. I have to write about the who so the who becomes as real to the reader as if the who was a real person, and doesn’t languish about the story in a two-dimensional state. I have to write about the why because without understanding the character’s motivation, the rest of the story sits on shaky ground. And lastly, the how matters: how do they think, how do they perceive things, how do they react.
When one or more of those six aspects aren’t properly addressed in a story, readers begin to doubt the veracity of the character. They begin to question the merits of the story being told. And ultimately, they begin to doubt the conclusion of the story and the lesson or lessons therein.
3. Why do I write what I write?
As I have said to many high school, college, and university students (yes, I’m available for workshops, seminars, and teaching college and university courses), more important than asking why you write what you write, ask yourself this question: Who am I writing for?
When you write, you must write for yourself, and no one else.
That sounds selfish and contrary to the concept of success, but it isn’t because when a reader reads, he reads for himself or herself, and no one else.
When an author gives a reading, it isn’t for the author; it’s for the listener, who listens for himself or herself, and no one else.
To answer the question, “Why do I write what I write?” I must say: I write what I write because it’s what I want to write at the time. It’s what I am passionate about taking apart and piecing back together again. It’s what interests me, and drives me to ask questions … what, when, where, who, why, how?
And that, in a nutshell, is why I write what I write.
4. How does my writing process work?
I’m a disciplined writer, and have been for years.
Whether I’m writing something literary or I’m composing or arranging something musical, discipline has been the key. While I don’t set aside a specific number of hours each day to write, I do set aside time every day to write.
If I’m struggling with my writing, I will set it aside in favor of other writing or songwriting or composing or arranging. I might even set everything aside to focus on something that’s writing related … such as illustrations for a book.
What I mean by writing related is that sometimes the best exercises to kick start creativity are those that are mundane by definition. One of my favorite exercises over the years has been what I call the “One Plus Fifty” exercise.
How this works is that I take a blank page and a pen, and write the first word that comes to mind at the top of the page. I then draw a straight line down the middle of the page. On the left hand side are positive words that relate to the word on the top of the page, while on the right hand side are negative words that relate to the word on the top of the page.
The goal of this exercise is to come up with exactly fifty words that relate to the word on the top of the page.
It may sound easy to you, but I can guarantee you that by the time you reach your fortieth word, you’ll be struggling to find words that fit the criteria.
The reason exercises like this are important are because they force you to really THINK about the word on the top of the page. It forces you to consider all aspects of that word on the top of the page. It forces you to see that word from different perspectives. And in the end, you have fifty words you can use instead of the word on the top of the page, which adds variety to your writing.
Simply slip the page (in alphabetical order, for easy referencing) into a file folder, and call it a day because really, writing isn’t always about the story; sometimes writing is about the new experiences that are as a result of wanting to write.
I also own a number of dictionaries in different languages (including a Latin dictionary, a Cree dictionary, a few Spanish dictionaries, and a few French dictionaries, believe it or not) as well as in English. Language is an intriguing beast regardless of what language you speak, and that is most likely the reason I also own and author the Idiomation blog.
And I read … A LOT!
My writing process may seem complicated and labor intensive to some, however it’s important to understand that creating is my passion, and so it’s not complicated or labor intensive to me. Anything worth having is worth putting effort into, and because having stories written and songs composed and illustrations painted and more is what I consider worth having, it’s always worth the effort put into all of them.
Extra Cool Stuff
What makes this blog hop so much fun is that I get to invite other authors to answer the same four questions next week on their blog! You’ll want to check these three out, so bookmark this blog entry and make sure you click through to their blogs next week to learn all about what makes them tick as authors.
STANLEY S. THORNTON
I was born in 1954. I began writing poetry at the age of 12. I grew up an avid sci-fi fan: The Blob, War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, the Godzilla movies series, among my favorites. I wrote my first book in 2010. I wrote my first fantasy novel in 2013 and the second book in the series in 2014.
He Walks with Dragons stems from a simple assumption. Since nearly every civilization ever on the face of the earth has had legends of dragons, they must have existed. He Walks with Dragons is about how those dragons interacted and influenced mankind, through a human, Draig, who was trained from a young age to be a dragonrider. It is his life, seen through his eyes, told in his own words. Draig continues his adventures in the second book, The Staff and the Orb. In the first book, Draig is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for dragonkind. In the second book he is asked to make the ultimate sacrifice for mankind, but will he once again make that sacrifice?
Stanley’s blog can be found at stanleythorntonbooks.com.
ALLISON M. COSGROVE
Allison Cosgrove was born and raised in a suburb of Toronto, Ontario. A married mother of three daughters, she runs her own business by day and creates her own worlds by night. She enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters hiking in the woods or sitting by the fire reading a good book. She has had the love of reading and writing detective mysteries from the age of twelve but it has only been since the birth of her youngest that she has gotten serious about crafting some of her own works for others to enjoy. She credits her family and friends with being the driving force that has given her the strength to breathe life into her books.
Allison’s blog can be found at www.stanbrookshire.com.
Don’t forget to check out Jayne Hyatt this week as well as Stanley and Allison on their blogs next Monday! And feel free to leave comments in the Comments Section below!
UPDATE (6:30 PM EST): You can read more about Stanley’s most recent book as well as his writing process by visiting his blog at http://stanleythorntonbooks.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/elyse-invited-me-to-a-blog-hop/.
UPDATE (6:30 PM EST): Allison M. Cosgrove has not posted a blog hop article on her website.