My writing process: A Blog Tour
I’d like to say thank you to Kelly O’Dell Stanley for inviting me into the blog tour group. It’s her picture on the right, and you won’t believe it, but according to her bio, her oldest kid is 20. That’s twenty years…not months…(tell us your secret, Kelly)
Kelly’s book, The Art of Praying Upside Down, will be released by Tyndale Momentum in May 2015. The book is about the many ways non-artists can apply artistic concepts and perspectives to prayer, and in doing so, learn to see prayer (and God’s ways of answering) in a new light.
The idea resonates with me. For too long the world of art and that of Christianity have been at odds…but that topic is for another blog.
On to the questions about the writing process…
1) What am I working on now?
Right now I am working on the edits for my next historical fiction novel. It will be released by WhiteFire late this year, and is about a Swedish family that emigrated to the United States in 1880. I started this novel after finding a transcript of a family member’s childhood memories about the religious persecution they faced in Sweden and their resulting move to Wisconsin. The novel took on a life of its own, but many of the events in the novel were taken from that transcript.
I am also working on the sequel to Soul Painter. If you liked the creepier aspects of Soul Painter, you will love the setting for this novel: an asylum for the insane, 1891, outskirts of Chicago, blizzard…you get the picture. Needless to say, the research for this one has been fun.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Soul Painter stands out because it is published by a publisher that specializes in Inspirational fiction, even though I never intended it to be “Inspirational Fiction.” But the novel is set in the late 1800s, and it begins in a warehouse across the street from a cathedral, so it made sense for some of my characters to be Christian.
When I completed the novel I was in a strange place. I feared it was “too Christian” for the secular market, and “too secular” for the Christian market (for now, we won’t even talk about how sad that statement is). I am happy to report that there are many readers (in both markets) who appreciate the realistic approach this novel takes. Kelly O’Dell Stanley has a wonderful discussion about this topic in her blog review of Soul Painter.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Simply put, I write what I write because I want to. I love telling stories, and I love the process of discovery. There were many afternoons where I couldn’t wait to get home to write so I could find out what was going to happen to Miriam or John or Ione. I worry about my characters. I cry when they do, laugh when they do, and sometimes they really surprise me.
4) How does my writing process work?
It begins slowly. I started the sequel to Soul Painter at least 6 months ago, and I am only a few chapters into it. This is not due to any reason other than I am now in my thinking phase, where I write things in my notebooks, do research, and give my characters time to become whole people in my mind.
When I am ready, I try to write 1000 words per day. With kids and everything else, I feel 1000 words is manageable. It is also enough to make me feel like I am making progress, but not so much that I forget which character had what eye color. Typically I start by revising the previous day’s 1000 words, and then do the writing for that day.
Next Monday watch for Dabney Hedegard’s blog. She will let us know what she is working on and all about her process.
Besides also looking impossibly young and gorgeous, Dabney Hedegard is a wife, mother, and professional patient. Here is her short description of her non-fiction book, When God Intervenes.
“I could tell you that at age 25 the doctor discovered a football-sized tumor in my chest.
I could also tell you my greater fear of uncertainty grew in my belly, inches below my mass: a six week old baby.
But what you need to know, what you really need to focus on is that life sometimes isn’t in the living. It’s in the surviving. That’s where our eyes readjust to the truths surrounding our circumstances.
10 years and four near-death experiences later, I figured out that life isn’t so much about me. It’s about what He wants to do through me.
This story is about an ordinary girl in search of hope.”