Monday, July 07, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

This is a blog post relay that I was invited to join by Carol Gorman, the lovely wife of a guy named Ed Gorman, whom we all know and love and who would surely tell you that he was tremendously lucky to meet Carol.  Carol's an award-winning writer of books for young people.  She is, as I know for a fact, much less reclusive than Ed and can occasionally be seen in public.  I'm supposed to answer four questions before handing off to someone else, so here goes:

What am I working on?  I just turned in the manuscript of Between the Living and the Dead, a Sheriff Dan Rhodes novel that should come out in August of 2015 if all goes according to plan.  So I'm in between major projects.  I'm still writing, though.  I've written a blog post for Something is Going to Happen, the blog of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and it should appear soon.  I've started on my next "Blog Bytes" column for the magazine, a column that was begun by the aforementioned Ed Gorman, who handed it off to me six or seven years ago.  I'm about to start my "Short and Sweet" column for Mystery Scene, and I've begun a chapter for a volume of the continuing saga of Wolf Creek. This is an interesting series which contains some collaborative novels, and the story I'm working on will be a part of one of those.  Once all the writers turn in their chapters, based on an outline provided by Troy Smith, Troy will whip them into shape, and the Western Fictioneers will publish the novel.  The series has been very successful.  Check it out.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  Well, it's by me.  Every writer's different, so even if I'm writing a mystery or a western or something else, my work isn't going to be like anyone else's.  My little quirks and obsessions are going to show up, no matter how I try to conceal them.  

Why do I write what I do?  I like writing a lot of different things.  I've written mostly crime fiction, but I've also written a lot of westerns, many of them under pen names that will likely never be uncovered; men's adventure novels, also under pen names; horror fiction, also under a pen name, but I can tell you that one of the (Jack MacLane; nobody will ever uncover the other one); books for young people; and many, many essays and reviews.  Oh, and the columns I mentioned above.  So I guess you could say I write what I want to.  I just like to write.

How does my writing process work?  I usually come up with a vague idea and then a first sentence.  Then I start writing.  I didn't know I was supposed to plan anything when I started out.  I thought I was just supposed to tell a story, so that's what I do.  Once I get started, the story usually becomes more clear to me, and by the time I'm halfway through the book, I know it all.  As for the actual writing, I worked full time for many years, so I wrote at night.  I'd set a goal of a certain number of pages, and when I got that many written, I'd stop, even if I was in the middle of a sentence.  I still write at night.  Can't break the habit.

I've invited James Reasoner and Livia Washburn to answer these same questions next week.  You all know that James is the author of approximately 7500 books, under more names than I can keep up with.  You can click on the link above and go to his website, where you'll get some idea.  Livia hasn't written as many books as James has, but she's written a lot of them.  Her website will tell you more, so take a look.  Both James and Livia have written in just about every genre there is.  They may even have invented a few.


Robert Lopresti said...

Speaking of your column in Mystery Scene, thanks for the kind words about my story "The Accessory." Much appreciated.


Carol G said...

Thanks, Bill, for joining the Blog Tour! It's interesting to see how other writers answer these questions. Your answer to how your books are different from other writers is perfect! :)