Friday, April 4, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour


My wonderful writerly friend Nicole, see her blog here, invited me to participate in this tour. I’ve been writing for a long time, but my blog is still very young so please check out what I’m working on! Also, if anyone is interested in participating in this blog tour, please let me know and I’ll be sure to put a link to your blog here!

1) What am I working on?
I'm honestly finding it hard to find the time to write lately, but I do have many things in process. My historical fiction novel, The Constricting Corset, is complete and edited and waiting to be sent out to additional agents. It is based on the life of Judy Garland, but fictionalized as it isn't a biography and is written in first person. The next in this series, which is about 20 pages at this point, is another historical fiction novel based on Kim Novak. Less people know about her, but her face was a hot topic after the last Academy Awards. This has proven to be a different kind of challenge as there isn't nearly as much information swirling around in the world as there is about Judy. I'm finding it harder to transition into her head. Then I also have a partially completed short story collection that I'm going to call, Tales of the Cemetery, which includes ghosts and zombies and such. There's also a started Siren novel and a partial dragon novel. I’m kind of all over the place.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
In terms of the historical fiction, my work is different as it focuses on the life of one celebrity. It is similar to Joyce Carol Oates' novel, Blonde, about Marilyn Monroe, but her novel is written in third person and admittedly some facts are changed. 

A lot of historical fiction seems to revolve around events instead of people. As I mentioned, mine just revolves around a single person. I also use as much research as I can get my hands on: movies, articles, websites, imdb.com, interviews, etc. While it’s not a biography, I want it to be as true as possible.

3) Why do I write what I do?
 When I started with Judy, I decided to write about her because most people only know two things about her: that she was Dorothy and that she died from a drug overdose. I wanted something that would show more of her than those things and incorporate trivia from her movies as well. It’s also my hope that it will introduce new generations to her movies.

With Kim, I have a similar goal, but what first drew me to her specifically is when I found out about her relationship with Sammy Davis Jr., which was a huge deal at the time. There’s some mystery and possible mob involvement surrounding the breakup so that’s something that I’m excited to explore. But I also want people to watch her movies.

 In terms of the cemetery stuff, I grew up mowing one, which I’ve learned is kind of a weird and interesting thing...especially seeing as I have many relatives buried there. Ghost stories intrigue me so I thought that would be interesting for me and probably creep myself out in the process too.

In terms of the siren and the dragon stories. I grew up loving mermaids and it seemed like a fun idea for a fantasy series. And dragons are just cool. I saw a license plate once which inspired that one as it said “Ice Dragon” on it and I thought, what a cool idea.

4) How does my writing process work?
Whether it be a novel or a short story, I always start with one scene that comes to me. With Judy, it was a scene of her drinking and at a concert where she was to forget her song lyrics. Come to think of it, that's no longer even in the book and now I wonder if I should put it back. With Kim, it's a scene between her and Frank Sinatra where he tells her she can't keep seeing Sammy Davis Jr. With the siren, a sailor she was trying to kill saves her life and with the dragon, the main character goes into a blacksmith’s shop where he sells black market dragon eggs.

I write the one scene and then I start really researching and getting things together before I write other scenes. The wealth of information about Judy both helped and made things difficult as I would write something and then find out later that I had to change it.  I learned with Kim to try to do at least most of the research first, though it’s sometimes hard to stop just writing. 

I tend to write dialogue first and then go back and fill in the rest of the scene. The rest of it sometimes proves difficult. This is especially true when trying to describe the studio setting without having been in one.With Judy, my writing group read things as I went along so that helped with the editing process. Then I printed it and line-edited and then read through it twice more. I also didn't put in chapter breaks until the editing process.

Then I start the querying.. which I'm still working on. Sent it out to a couple agents who rejected it and now figuring what to do next.