Or what I’ll tentatively/playfully call “Good Question,” “Good Blog Hopping” or “The Goodreads Connection” to continue the alphabet soup.
One of the fun things in reading the daily digests is in following the occasional ‘blog hops,’ either in creating new stories or sharing new works.
- What Am I Working On?
I’m currently working on a Camp National Novel Writing Month project (30,000 word goal), a collection of eclectic poetry for National Poetry Writing Month and a follow up to “Reflections on Water.” The latter is sorely overdue and forever undergoing revisions.
On the other desk, I have two Sketchbook Projects in progress, a few paints, stamps, song compositions and revisions on a fantasy novel that may (or may not) be divided into two or three parts.
- How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?
Regarding “Reflections on Water,” it is Valley focused, both in photography and original poems. That and a meaningful verse intermixed adds another reflective layer to the reading. I hope the follow up can match the same level of quiet enjoyment for the reader.
As for the fantasy collection, there are some rules/guidelines I follow within the genre, but more I make up as I create textured worlds and multi-dimensional characters, with many layers interweaving both.
- Why Do I Write What I Do?
I’m still looking for a logical answer to that. No, seriously, most of the poems I write are in other characters’ voices, so that’s a ‘layer’ I can hide behind. A recent poem I wrote was for a draft within a fan fiction mystery – a clue left by the murderer. When one of my beta readers reviewed it, they asked why the poem wasn’t extracted and put aside for possible publication elsewhere. I’m still stalling on an answer to that one.
With “Reflections,” it was a chance to take an earlier project and put it into a new format. Otherwise, it’s the characters who I listen to, who reveal more of themselves (and maybe a hint of my own histories) in their beliefs, actions and causes.
One obstacle to my writing is allowing too many projects to go on at once (see the response to answer one). So there are times when my mind spins hundreds of miles per hour, going from one story/character’s path to the next, or worse – jotting notes in the middle of night about something yet to be discovered. This is where writing a quick poem or short-short story might help in getting back on one track or another.
- How Does My Writing Process Work?
The smallest of things can spark the story, but it always begins with the characters. I can see them, hear them, get a general idea of who they are by how they dress, where they work, etc. What books and albums they have on their shelf can be telling (every character I have always has a book or two, or willing to vent/share their thoughts on the topics). Who I see can be inspired by actors and by people I know, to a small extent, and people I see, to a greater extent. This is where walks come in handy, along with opportunities for observing, be it on the bus or in the city or a coffee shop.
I alter between typing and long hand, never going anywhere without journal and pen. Seldom edit while I write since most of the first drafts are in my head. When I do begin the revision process – letting the story sit untouched for at least two months – I have to remind myself to use an ‘exacto knife’ more often than an ax when cutting things away. I’ve learned to keep a ‘clippings’ file or document to paste the discarded items into. Just because something didn’t fit one story doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a seedling to another.
I can write with or without an outline, or with stacks of sticky notes nearby. Most of the time I believe I know where the story or collection is going to go, but there tends to be a turn in the design (make that almost always) somewhere along the way.
Art, music, play and imagination can inspire stories for me, too. It’s a wonderful thing to be surrounded by such talented, artistic friends and family whom fuel my soul. Jackie’s illustration of a castle sparked the beginnings of “Escorting in Twilight.” Songs and verses shared by my friend Linda have helped shape “Reflections on Water.” The kind words of support from Mari are a blessing as well.
Being part of a writing group or co-op publishing group has many benefits – whether sharpening the saw on some skills, requesting a reader to review a rough draft, or enjoying each other’s editions to explore/read outside of the comfort zone.
Stay tuned for the reveal of the next writers on the blog hop!
Rachel Barnard is a Pacific Northwester from Florida who is always looking to work the changes in her life into a story, plot, or character. Find her writings here:
Link to Rachel’s blog/website: http://rachelauthorbarnard.com/blog/
Link to Rachel’s Amazon page:http://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Barnard/e/B00GGBQC9K
Link to Rachel’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21780269-ataxia-and-the-ravine-of-lost-dreams?from_search=true