A few years ago I participated in a Writing Process Blog Tour. This was during a particularly crappy part of my life, when I was not very happy with myself, or anything in general.
I recently rediscovered that blog post. First, I had to chuckle at myself and my verbosity (:/). Second, I had to marvel and feel grateful that so much has changed since I made that post.
To that end, I thought I would (re)write this post now, just to see how much has changed, and for the better.
- What am I working on?
I am writing both a collection of short stories, Love Like Salt, and a composite novel tentatively titled Flesh of Mine. My priority goes to the composite novel right now, simply because the structure of it demands more attention and nurturing.
Love Like Salt is a collection of short stories about trans men, from varying walks of life, and their experiences, particularly their romantic and sexual relationships.
Flesh of Mine follows the family of Michael, a man diagnosed with terminal cancer, as they grapple with his impending death, and then, with grieving him. The blurb I have for the story is as follows:
Their lives weren’t supposed to change, but when Michael is diagnosed with terminal cancer, his family erupts into communal and private chaos. His husband, Cal, veers wildly between his absolute devotion and his fears of the unknowns. As Michael succumbs to the effects of his illness, Kate, Michael and Cal’s seventeen year old daughter, tries to be the bedrock for her family that her parents can’t be. And Erika, Michael’s older sister, finds herself evaluating her life and relationships, especially as her relationship with Cal becomes increasingly intimate.
- How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My work is almost exclusively about queer people.
My work is also different because of my voice. It’s feverish, heady, and always on the very edge of control, just waiting to descend into chaos.
Structurally my work is different simply because I exploit first person (present and past) to a degree I haven’t seen much of. I’ve written and write multiple narrators, from an old man telling a yarn to a teenager who wants to be tough as hell. I cultivate the individual voices of each of my narrators — which is difficult — but ultimately very rewarding for me. I enjoy seeing how I can make each character sound different, and make each voice distinct.
I tend to warp time. I don’t do it to dick around with my readers, but because, realistically, people don’t lead linear lives. We swing and sway so easily between our pasts and the present. We don’t truly tell linear stories about themselves and those we love.
- Why do I write what I do?
My writing is best suited for the domestic, the quiet and intimate. My most successful writing has always been focused around hearth and home, and romantic and sexual relationships. I’m fascinated with intimacy and how human relationships work — and don’t. And I want to write people in love, and falling in love, who fuck, and laugh, who love each other something terrible, who bicker and make up, who do sweet soft things for one another just because they love each other. It’s nice to write people loving each other.
- How does your writing process work?
I get an idea and I sit on it for awhile. If it stays, I write it.
Since I write primarily short fiction, things get done rather quickly. My turnaround is about two weeks to a month per story, depending on the length and complexity of the piece, and how much fixing up it needs.
I do three drafts plus edits/revisions. First draft is the crap draft, which exists to exist. Second and third drafts are about pruning things back, moving stuff around, and fleshing things out. Subsequent drafts are more about revision — tinkering with things.
After that, I start sending the story out in hopes that it gets published.
I used to belong to writing groups to give me feedback, and have critique partners look at my work. I’ve since realized that critique groups or partners usually hinder, rather than help, my work. I am quite comfortable with my own capacity to see my work’s strengths and weaknesses. When there are faults, I am very confident with my ability to fix those faults.