Now, I usually don’t respond to the never ending Facebook tag/challenge things that float around because I think “lame” or I’m just crazy busy writing. But this one by the amazingly talented Bellora Quinn caught my attention and I just finished a draft so I have a bit of time to ponder. I’ve decided to turn this into a blog post, because I haven’t done one of those in a while. Astonishing how much time writing three books at once can take.
Okay, here it goes, Seven Things about Me as a Writer (in no particular order)
- I have dyslexia, which makes writing, well in my case, spelling a real bitch. Before word-processing came along the task of just getting words on a page was a monumental challenge. There wasn’t a lot of effort left for creative content. When I gush about the Scrivener software making my writing possible there is no exaggeration there at all. That $40 changed my life. Word is okay, and I use it for the revision/editing stage, but to get the first drafts done–to do the actual storytelling, it all happens in the Scriv!
- I am an extreme pantster. In addition to the learning disability, I didn’t write for over thirty years because I truly believed that you had to have an outline before you started and the first draft had to be really good. I’m not saying that there aren’t teachers out there or writing books that teach the pantsting or discovery writing as a real method, but every teacher I had insisted on outlines. Every book on writing I ever bought had chapters and chapters on outlining, plotting and writing pages and pages of character background before you ever started your book. Nothing wrong with that, but my brain doesn’t work that way. And for some reason, I really bought into the idea that there was a right way to write and a wrong way. Finally, a friend told me, you know, you can just start writing. It will come to you as you need it. And it did. Character development and world building happens on the fly. It is so fun to learn the story as I’m typing.
- I write the stories I wanted to read but could never find. I’m sure this is true for all writers. For me this has a lot to do with growing up in a time when there wasn’t anyone like me (gay male) in fiction. It never made any sense to me that the hero and his sidekick didn’t end up together. This especially confused me when the female characters were so poorly written. I mean why were they there? And I refuse to believe the whole King Author thing wasn’t really supposed to be a love story between Author and Lancelot. But I’m queer that way.
- I have a problem with the passive voice. I blame this on seminary. My writing improved in sem, but it was all theological BS kind of writing. But I am now grounded in classical fantasy. (Ducks the stones being tossed at me. Occupational hazard for someone named Stephen.)
- Commas mystify me. I get them right about 65% of the time. These are the ones that have to do with the pacing and clarity of a sentence to indicate how it would sound spoken. The rest of the time, their usage just mystifies me. I think it’s voodoo, meaning no disrespect to the spiritual practice, because I respect folk’s spirituality much more than I respect the vagaries of the Chicago Manual of Style. Who died and made them Grammar Gods?
- My Bennett Bay stories are love letters to Florida. When we’re in love we tend to see our love interest in an idealized light. Bennett Bay is the Florida I hold in my heart. The old Florida I heard about from family members. The one I remember from my youth and the one I wish it could be. And, of course, I throw in dragons and faeries, because I can.
- And lastly, the most surprising thing about my writing, is people from all around the world have read my stories and liked them. This goes back to number one. I had pretty low self-esteem around my written verbal skills growing up. English class was always the hardest for me. I have a small fan base, but I have one. I’m thankful that I live in a time where there is technology that can help me get my stories down. Technology to distribute and publish the stories. And, most importantly, friends that help me clean them up and make them presentable. Trust me, that’s no easy task.
So there you go, seven things about my writing. Comments? Tag, you’re it.