Always with the Questions…

“What do you write?”

My husband and I were in a doctor’s appointment with a doctor who may potentially perform our son’s bone marrow transplant. He had asked me if I would be the primary caregiver while in the hospital. “Yes,” I reply. “I’m a stay at home mom and a writer.”

That’s when I got THE QUESTION.

I’ve gotten it over the years, so the reply has started to just roll off my tongue.

“Murder mysteries, book reviews, and the occasional sci-fi,” I say with a smile.

The doctor and transplant coordinator laugh, and the doctor says, “Well maybe while you are here, you will get an idea on something to write!”

Sadly, I thought later on as we left for the parking garage, he’s probably not far from the truth, especially given my propensity for hating doctors and hospitals in general, and this situation in particular. And, I tend to have a running list in my head of things that will be useful down the road where stories are concerned.

But, then, you never know where that one little detail may come in handly. So, it’s good to stay on your toes.

So, will a scenario with a murdered doctor in a children’s hospital come up in my writing? You never know… Most of the time, I don’t always know where my brain is headed. 🙂

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By the way, if you’re in the United States, don’t forget to vote tomorrow. And, if you’re a Republican, a new law passed by Congress gives you the right to vote twice, three times if you’re in Chicago. 😉 j/k

Until next time,

Liberty

How to Devour Books Without Really Trying

Anyone who knows me knows I go through phases where I do things. I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.

By Bob AuBuchon

In the last 10 years or so, my activities usually have a revolution over the course of a year or so which include intensive times of writing/editing, reading, and some sort of craft (primarily crochet, but sewing and candle making have taken that spot as well.)

I’m in a weird spot right now where I’m actively pursuing all three activities with almost equal vigor.

And, I have my friend Juliet to thank for that.

A couple months ago, probably the last time I was physically at my local critique group, Juliet as well as one of the other ladies asked if I’d read a certain author. I’m like, “Who?” I’d never heard of Craig Johnson. They were going on and on about the books, then the fact the books were being made into a TV show on cable and how well it was done.

Well, Juliet insisted I read the first book, The Cold Dish. I’d hoped to have it from my library before going out of town a couple weeks later. (Didn’t happen–apparently, they’re very popular right now, probably because of the TV show!) It took me about 4 – 6 weeks to get it…

… and I couldn’t put it, or its sequels down.

Really.

I’ve read the first 5 books of the series in the last 6 – 7 weeks, have yet to watch the TV show online (I don’t have a working TV for broadcast or cable, so only catch stuff on Hulu when it’s available). And, on top of that, I’ve started reading other books again. Like Robert B. Parker, Lisa Gardner, and I have a stack on my nightstand that includes Kathy Reichs and Diane Mott Davidson.

Going back to my opening statement, I get into grooves where I’m only pursuing one task. Writing and editing had really taken over my life for the first 5 – 6 months of the year. This usually means I won’t read any books whatsoever–not even writing help books–except review books for CCBR. The longest non-children’s item I may read is a news article or a lengthy blog.

But the last two months have been wonderful… I’ve been writing actively, and reading when I’m not writing, then about 2 weeks ago, added in a craft project–crocheting a cotton afghan for my son (it’s going to be a belated birthday present.)

All because of Craig Johnson.

And Juliet of course.

If you write, do you find you can do all of your other interests in close proximity with each other? Or, do you usually divide up your time whether intentionally or inadvertently so you write during the course of a few days/weeks/months and do other things in a different time frame?


Until next time,

P.S., are you on GoodReads? If so, feel free to connect with me! LS

The Creative Process


About once a month or so, my husband, after listening to me jabber on about one of my current projects, asks me, “So, what’s going on with the other book? The one you started submitting to agents?”

I usually reply along the lines of, “Not much. I need to do some rewrites. But, I’m trying to get the draft done on this other one first.”

This is usually grumbled about by my lovely husband, asking why I can’t finish one project before working on the other one. Mentions of making money at my craft are also stated. And while that would be nice, I realize that he is not a writer, so I try not to take his grumblings too seriously–he doesn’t understand the creative process, even after being around me for seven-plus years, during which I’ve written at least 3 whole novels and started at least 5 others.

His latest tirade (maybe too strong a word, but at the time, it usually seems that way!) led me to write this post.

Non-writers very, very rarely understand the processes we writers go through. They very rarely realize that the first draft is just that–the first in a process. Unless we’ve been writing for years and have been published numerous times, we can’t just whip up a draft and shoot it off to our agent-du-jour. It must go in the drawer (or for me, into the depths of my trusty flash drive) for a while before taking it up again to view the draft with fresh eyes and begin to perfect and tweak it.

And, even when we think we’ve got it done, we need to have another person review our work–whether that’s in the form of a critique partner/group, an editor, or agent. From that point, there may be further rewrites, even such things as chopping characters, adding scenes, deleting sub-plots, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

If only our friends and family understood half of what we go through. All they usually see is the finished product (sometimes not even that), and they can read that in a few hours. They don’t get the fact that we spend months, sometimes even years laboring over that work that takes them an afternoon or a day to read.

As I write this, I’m wrapping up the first draft of my science fiction project. While it’s been fun, and my normal process is to jump right into the initial rewrite, I’m actually looking forward to picking up my present-day mystery/romance and working on what I believe is the fifth draft. I lost count after number three, and it’s been a long time since I’ve spent any time on it–probably before the birth of my daughter last fall. With some luck by this time next year one or both of these projects will be well enough put together that I’ll be confident in sending them off to an agent or three again.

Then my husband will be happy. At least until I start the process over again.

Until next time,