Another blog hop, this time from Alexis Hunter. This is a convenient way to keep up with the blog and survive Story a Day.
Blog Hop: What are you working on right now?
Me: I’m on the fourth day of Story a Day in May, which is exactly what the name says. You have to write a rough draft of a story every day in the month of May. It’s my second year, and I might even make it through this time. I only got 12 last year before I couldn’t go on, but I’m better prepared this time around.
Blog Hop: How does it differ from other works in its genre?
Me: Because it’s going to be a mix. I can’t answer for any one piece, but I will say that last year’s experience and the connections I’ve made by workshopping with other writers has expanded my horizons and allowed me to play a little more with the boundaries, to read and to write things that I might not have before. I’m venturing a bit into speculative fiction, magical realism, genres that I didn’t know a lot about before sharing with these other writers.
Blog Hop: What experiences have influenced you?
Me: My own life, stories that people tell me, random things I see during the many hours a day I spend on the bus. I also like TV shows like Taboo, Hoarders, My Strange Obsession, etc., for looking at lives that are very different from my own.
Blog Hop: Why do you write what you do?
Me: Psychology, mostly. I love getting into these characters’ heads. I saw a story on a man who froze his leg off in dry ice because his image of himself was that of an amputee. That inspired a story about a man who does it to his hand, and then meets a woman who has also modified her body in a shocking manner. I wrote it as a love story, though. I didn’t want to make a joke out of them, because I know those characters as two people trying to find themselves in the world as we all do. Some do it by collecting storage shelters full of discount knick-knacks, others by carrying around plaster saints, yet others by snacking on dryer sheets. Then there’s sex, religion/philosophy, mind altering substances, and that’s all interesting as well.
Blog Hop: How does your writing process work?
Me: Always under some kind of time pressure. On Scribophile, I’m a member of several groups with monthly goals that I have to reach by a certain date. For Story a Day, I have to write a rough draft of one story every day during the month of May. If I don’t make myself accountable to others, I don’t get things done. I have to report progress every day. I didn’t make it through last year, and on day 12 I had to admit defeat. This year, I’m going to finish with my head high, not my tail between my legs.
Blog Hop: What is the hardest part about writing?
Me: Revision. I try to get it as close to possible in rough draft, but then the critiques come in, and people point out awkward language or weak plot points, so I groan and drag myself back in. Also, different people have distinct opinions on how to fix it, so I have to go point by point, and then wait for more crits to see if I get a better response. It’s the most tedious part, but the truth is that getting it right the first time is rare. Faulkner did it with , but I’m no Faulkner.
Blog Hop: What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?
Me: Understand poetry. I read very little, mostly because I don’t get a lot of it. I love music and song lyrics, but I almost never read poetry and can only name a couple of poems that really move me. I’d like to increase my awareness of it, maybe write a little, in hopes that it will help my prose.
Blog Hop: Who are the authors you most admire?
Me: Kurt Vonnegut, because his novels and stories seem so pessimistic, but I suspect it was a cover for optimism. And Stephen King, because he works so damned hard and keeps to a daily work schedule.
Blog Hop: Who are new authors to watch out for?
Me: Scott Warrender is a favorite of mine. When I first started writing a few years ago, I came across his stories on Scribophile and thought, “I want to write stories like these.” ED Martin is another I try to keep up with. She’s got a book coming out later this year, I believe. Alexis Hunter is the odd one out here, since she writes a lot of dark fantasy/horror, or whatever it’s called, and a few years ago I wouldn’t have been interested in that, but she convinced me, and has had some influence in my own branching out into darker possibilities in my writing.
Blog Hop: What scares you?
Me: Spiders. Size and actual danger don’t matter. I can’t have them in the house, and usually ask others to kill them for me.
Clowns. I don’t see what’s so funny or joy-inspiring. They nauseate me, and that’s not hyperbole. My stomach turns when I see one, and they’re very popular here in Mexico. Some even perform on the bus, and it makes me very uncomfortable.
God bless you if you made it through that rambling mess.
I’m tagging another emerging author, Katie Stephens. I know she’s busy with Story a Day, too, but I hope she can find the time to talk to us.
Next week, I’ll post a few excerpts from Story a Day in May, and perhaps you can tell me if this little experiment is working.