Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog Hop: #MyWritingProcess

Here's a thing I've never done before. I was tagged into this blog hop by C. Stuart Hardwick, one of the writers of Tides of Possibility and the Co-editor of my current project, Tides of Impossibility. Anyone following the #MyWritingProcess tag will find these questions familiar. For the rest of you, hopefully you enjoy the insight!


#MyWritingProcess: What are you working on now?

Kyle: Today, I came out to the cafe to write a short story that will be going in the back of a friend's novel. It's a bit of a deviation for me because the sci-fi element is super slight and it focuses on the romance between the two lead characters. So, yeah, I'm writing something sappy and trying to resist the thousands of ideas on how to turn it into a tragedy.

Other than that, I'm still reading through submissions to Tides of Imposibility (here I'm resisting the urge to rush the work. Slow and steady gets it done right), waiting on beta readers to get back to me about my fantasy novel manuscript, and trying to find time to get together with my collaborator on another project. For me, writing is all about time management, which is unfortunately not a talent of mine. Never any shortage of projects to work on, just a shortage of time to spend on them.

#MyWritingProcess: How does your work differ from others in the genre?

Kyle: I can go from romance to horror in about five words, and if I want, I'll try to juggle them. This is kind of a difficult question, but let me answer it this way: I don't apologize for the things I write. I do not write gently. I write violently. I write ruthlessly. One of the things I love about prose is that I control what my readers see, what they look at, and how long they have to stare at it. My stories often force my readers to look at things they wouldn't choose to look at, and to look at it very closely for a long time, and to notice things about it that they might not have seen on their own.

I'm disappointed by writing that leaves things out because they're too graphic or extreme or awkward or difficult to write. I don't do that. Things that other writers would avoid or set off-screen, I'll make pivotal. I'll push the reader right up against it.

This comes in to play a lot in predictable ways, such as gore during violent scenes. But it comes out a lot in the romance and beauty as well. I don't shy away from mixing beauty and ugliness, because that's what people are. I'll write a beautiful person covered in blood and vomit, and they'll still be beautiful underneath it. The world is like that. I might go from writing the most violent thing in the world in one paragraph to writing the most romantic thing in the next, without losing any of the violence. Often I'll make my readers trudge through entrails to get to the beauty, and sometimes the beauty isn't what you're expecting. But it's there, covered in the ugliness, no less beautiful because of it.

The typewriter save points in Resident Evil are about to make perfect sense.

#MyWritingProcess: Why do you write what you do?

Kyle: I don't know. I just write and this is how it comes out. Ernest Hemingway said "There is nothing writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." And that's exactly what I do. I poke holes in my fingertips and this is what bleeds out: strong hate, strong love, hideous things I can barely stand to look at, and beautiful things I'm left struggling to capture. More than writing what I feel, I write what I am, and sometimes a bit of the world around me slips in.

In the metaphor where prose is blood, this is what my target audience looks like.

#MyWritingProcess: How does your writing progress work?

Kyle: Lists. You'd think somebody who writes based off of feeling and instinct wouldn't plan their work a whole lot, but I outline meticulously. I have layers and layers of outlines before I begin. I have to start with a name for the project, names for the characters, character sketches, a plot outline, knowing exactly where scene-breaks are going to be and how many of them are going to be there. In addition to outlining what scenes I need to write, I outline the very innards of the scene. I make check-lists of points I need to hit in every passage, plan how many words I want to spend on each point, and keep these lists available as I write.

I do this because I need to feel so deeply when I write. Because I can't stop bleeding once I've begun. I get all the thinking out of the way up front, because I'm going to lose the ability to think as soon as I begin. I'm going to hit the 'play' button on whatever music helps me feel (often posting it to twitter as a proclamation that the bloodletting has begun) and then I'm going to feel deeply. The descriptions and flow will take care of themselves; they'll come from the emotions and the immersion. I'm not going to follow my lists. I'm going to go over my word-limits. I'm going to overwrite every single line.

Then, when  get my brain back later, I'll rewrite it into something coherent, keeping the emotion, pulling it back under control, and making it marketable.

See, I'm the statue on the left. And the three-headed monster in the middle is Amazon. How's that for a monomyth?


And, done. I'd like to thank Stuart for tagging me into this, and you can read his answers back here. They're far more coherent and interesting than my answers. As for who I' tagging next?... Nobody! I'm sorry, readers, but I was the last in the chain of people to get asked, and everyone I've poked about it has declined or already been poked. Keep following the tag, though, as I'm sure I'm not the only link on the chain! If any of my writing friends wants to volunteer, I'll edit a link in here, but for now, the hop is mired at this point.