Monday, April 28, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour: How I Write

I was so excited when my friend Ilene Goldman asked me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour. I love to read how other writers work, and I love to discuss my own writing process.

For this tour, we were asked four questions. They, and my answers, follow.

1. What am I working on at the moment?

I'm finishing up my fifth novel, a historical set in Nebraska during World War II.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A lot of World War II fiction is set in Europe and deals with the Holocaust, the French Resistance, Occupied Europe, England, etc. There's not a lot of work set on the American Homefront (though Kristina McMorris is a notable exception as her American homefront novels are superb!). My work also deals with a rather unorthodox view of the war from the perspective of a German exile who comes to Nebraska and actually encounters prejudice against him for being German - even though he fled Hitler's regime. It's been a lot of fun to write (and also very challenging) because I have to look at World War II with a totally different perspective than I'm used to.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

I actually just answered this question pretty thoroughly on a new blog that I am a part of - Modern Belles of History. We are a group of historical fiction writers who focus on the time period from about 1890-1950. It's a time period that usually isn't thought of as being "historical", but we are aiming to change that! So check out why I write what I do.

4.  How does my writing process work?

Actually, I'm amazed my writing process works at all! It's incredibly messy. I usually have a scenario that comes to mind first instead of characters which may be somewhat backwards. But it works. I'll usually do a general outline, character sketches, plot points, etc., though I am by no means a writer who meticulously records each scene. That would destroy the creative process for me. Many times I find out important plot points just by the sheer act of writing and then I have to go back and rework the rest of my novel.

I've tried to fine-tune this process by trying out different methods, but it hasn't worked yet. So I've just come to the conclusion that I'm a "discovery" writer in that the plot, characters, theme, symbolism, etc. really comes together through the writing process itself. And when that happens...oh, it's heavenly.

Make sure and stop by the blogs of Elizabeth Foley and Rachel D. Muller next Monday, May 5, for their stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Getting Back on Track

Every once in awhile, we need to press the "RESET" button in our lives. Well, I'm having one of those moments. I've been far too lax in the eating department when it comes to chocolate. I used to limit myself to three pieces of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises a day. Now it's more like 9 or 10. Not good. The weight isn't dropping off anymore and I'd still like to lose another 10-15 pounds.

So. That means I've got to employ the will power again. I've got to quit saying, 'Oh, having lots of chocolate won't hurt a bit. As long as I eat right for my other meals, I'll be fine.' The thing is, it does make a difference, as does the little nibbles I have of hubby's treats (peanut M&Ms, cookies, etc.).

M&Ms - destroying diets since World War II. =)
I figure now is as good a time as any to get back on track, though perhaps it may be wiser to wait until after this week. My little brother is getting married and Thursday through Saturday are going to be very busy days with relatives coming to town (my 87-year-old grandma is staying with me! Yay!), wedding rehearsal, hair appointments, the wedding, the reception, etc. But I think I can still stick to my eating plan without veering too far out of control.

After this week, I don't have anything else scheduled on the horizon (save for a book signing in late May), so I plan to focus on the novel and finish it up. I don't have much left to write - maybe the last quarter of the book or so - and I've set myself a deadline of June 7 to be finished with it. I think it's quite doable.

Tonight, as I sit here in my living room and listen to the birds singing outside (we just had a wonderful thunderstorm with lots of rain earlier), I feel a sense of peace. I'm ready to hit the 'RESET' button and get back to better eating habits and exercise.

How about you? Have you ever felt the need to hit the 'RESET' button in your life?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Doing the Work

Having trouble sitting down and writing?

Here's a little trick.

Make yourself accountable to someone.

Last week, I had three separate writing sessions with a few of my friends. We made plans to meet online at 8 p.m. and write for an hour. Just knowing that I had to show up and write because people were counting on me to be there made all the difference in the world.

In other words, I used one of my strongest traits - responsibility - to my advantage. If I would have begged off the writing date, I would have felt guilty and also felt like I let down my friends. Since I had no desire to feel lousy, I showed up.

And I did the work.

Underwood Typewriter ©2011 Robert Moran

Sometimes, it really is that easy.

Will this work all the time? Probably not. But at this stage in the game, when my writing muse demands lots of chocolate and naps and time spent doing a whole lot of nothing, I've got to crack the whip. This strategy is just the thing I need to get those words down.

How do you "do the work" when your muse is being lazy?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

It's Getting Real

My publicist (how cool is it that I can say "my publicist"?) emailed me today and asked if I'd be available for a book signing in May.

That is rather surreal to think about.

Yet it's something I must think about, now that my book's release date is just around the corner. It's already for sale for the Nook on Barnes and and the paperback will be released April 15.

Ready or not, here it comes.

I'm ready. At least, I think I'm ready. I don't know that you're ever really "ready" for something like this. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep living one day at a time.

I haven't really thought about reviews yet - especially the bad ones. I'm sure there will be some. Maybe I should decide here and now not to read them. But I know I'll read them anyway. I'm too curious not to.

My biggest fear? That my book will be disappointing, that it won't live up to expectations.

I blogged about this phenomena earlier and for the most part, those feelings of angst have receded, but they're about to come roaring back to the forefront again when people actually have the book in hand and, y'know, read it. This book isn't fiction - it's fact. And getting those facts wrong scares me to death.

In the end, I'm only human, so I will just give it to God and let His shoulders bear the burden.

I do have to admit, though, that I get a big, goofy grin on my face when I think of holding my book in my hands. My author copies are scheduled to arrive this week. You can be sure I'll be taking pics and documenting that moment!

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance!