TRAVEL THERE: SORT OF ANYWAY – A BLOG HOP
Welcome to my first blog hop! I’m tossing in an extra post to participate.
DFW Writers’ Conference
At DFW Writers’ Conference I reconnected with Tui Snider, travel blogger and author extrodinaire. I loved her book, Unexpected Texas, and I bet you will, too, especially if you live here in the DFW Metroplex. The other day she invited me to join in a blog hop. The blogging part was easy, but the hopping part has been something new. Thanks for inviting me, Tui. Next Monday I will post links to the folks who will be picking up the basket and blog-hopping on down the line.
Now, I know most of my readers are in the traveling game, not the writing game, but I do get questions from time to time about how I manage to sit down at the computer and make stories come out, so I thought you might forgive me for this digression. Here’s my answers to the “Writing Process Blog Hop.”
What am I working on?
Oh I wish I had a sexy answer for that one, but most of what I’m doing now is pretty boring. I write travel and lifestyle articles for Yahoo Voices and I’m researching other freelance outlets. I keep my blog going and I’ve been writing a lot of query letters, too. But most of what I’m working on right now is editing – and that’s not the fun part.
The first novel, in what I hope will be my series, is pretty much ready for an agent, when I get one, but I’ve got a first draft of the follow-up done and it needs work. Then there’s a couple of short stories (at least I think they’re short stories) that I’ve been dabbling with. One is about King Arthur. I love it, but my critique group doesn’t. The other is a travel memoir with a twist. If I ever get it twisted to my satisfaction, I may self-publish it.
An important part of writing is networking and that’s the part I didn’t have time for when I was so involved in care-giving. So a good portion of everyday is spent in the digital world, making new friends and finding new connections – hence the blog hop.
How does my work differ from others of the genre?
And here-in lies a part of the problem. I don’t exactly have a genre, beyond general fiction. My protagonist’s kids railroad him into moving into an opulent retirement center for “active senior citizens,” but life there is not what the kids or their dad expected it would be and the results are hysterical. Why oh why couldn’t I just write YA fantasy and romance?
Why do I write what I do?
Well, in part, I’ve always had a soft heart for senior citizens. The idea for a story about “active senior living” came to me for a short story I wrote for a college professor. I got high marks and great comments for it and even though I tried to move on, the characters wouldn’t let me go – especially Tom Masters, the protagonist. After graduation, I wrote the story he demanded I tell – but then I had my own senior citizen encounter – three times over.
During that period, I wished someone else had already launched my genre, because I was looking for something to read with some connection to my life, but didn’t want some dreary non-fiction or a self-help book. Oh, there’s Water for Elephants, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and a few others, all of which I gobbled up, but for the most part, when you’re knee deep in elder care there’s little out there to help you keep your sense of humor.
Another reason I can’t let Tom Masters down is that while I was providing loving care for my family members, I talked to a lot of other senior citizens and their care-givers. I was told over and over again that these folks wished my book would come out, because they could identify with very little of the other stuff that was popular today. So I’ve kept at it.
If my dreams came true, there would be a series about Tom Masters and then offshoot stories about his fellow residents at Earlywood (my fictional retirement resort) and the folks who live in Mount Pleasant (the name of the town I’ve created). I could happily spend the rest of my life writing about them and I think there’s a market for them. I just have to find an agent who agrees with me.
How does my writing process work?
That’s according to what I’m writing. The blog, free-lance articles and travel memoir are easy. If anything in my education resonated with me, it was Wordworth’s description of a poet, in Lyrical Ballads, as someone who observes things and then writes about them in such a way that readers can experience them, perhaps even more strongly than the reader would experience it first hand. (My paraphrase.) Even while I’m experiencing something, I’m already beginning to understand how I’ll share it with others and that perspective is usually something other people would never have connected to it. I can’t tell you how many folks have told me that reading something I wrote was more fun than their actual experience.
Fiction is a little different. I hate to sound crazy, but my characters nag me into writing about them. Some idea flits through my mind and I hardly even notice it. It’s just a quick picture, like a snapshot. I go on with life and some character out of the snapshot starts having a dialog with me. It’s crazy stuff, like knowing what they’d order in a restaurant, what movie they’d want to see or what kind of car they drive. Then the dialog becomes more like stalking. Everywhere I go, they go with me. Tom Masters is more real to me than some people I actually talk to on a daily basis. Yes, it’s weird, but that’s the only way I can describe it.
Back to Reality
So that’s it. Thanks for enduring my blog hop.