My Writing Process
What am I working on?
I’m writing a novel titled, Shadows. It is a different take on classic vampires with it’s own mythology. Character-driven, and I hope, both more thoughtful and entertaining than many of the vampire stories out there.
I am grateful for having a wonderful critique group that keeps me honest and my writing sharp. To my delight, their most recent feedback has encouraged me to begin seeking literary agents. It is a milestone to celebrate!
Meanwhile, my Scrivener binder teems with short stories (or stubs of short story ideas) and prose that I write while not writing the novel.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It would take a whole novel to explain. Ha!
Over the years, I have read scores of vampire stories. I’ve enjoyed six or so. The mediocre ones were uninspired, derivative, forgettable. These days, vampires seem to be either tragic heartthrobs or zombie-like monsters. My story neither romanticizes them, nor casts them as mindless killers.
I set out to analyze what is a vampire and what would happen when a character became one. What does one gain, what does one lose?
Why do I write what I do?
Since high school, vampires have fascinated me. For a long while, I did not know why. I never posed as one, nor have I ever been into dark things. Putting my finger on it, I would say vampires are us. They are excellent literary devices to explore human nature. They exaggerate our virtues and vices. They are both attractive and repulsive. I think most stories of the genre miss opportunities for thematic exploration and that’s what I delve into with my characters.
My short stories are another matter. I write things that make me laugh. I tend to like the absurd and the off-beat. Karen Russell’s stories in Vampires in the Lemon Grove are of that vein.
How does my writing process work?
I write both long hand with Sarasa gel pens (great flow and vivid colors) and in Scrivener software. I write best at night and often go to a local diner, as they are open quite late, where I consume bottomless coffee I don’t like (I feel the need to have something inexpensive while taking up space).
While writing, I listen to music, often movie scores and lately a band called Devotchka.
I do not outline. I like to allow the characters to drive. I believe great stories occur when characters collide.
I often start new scenes with dialog and tags, little else. That forms the skeleton. I then layer on narrative and exposition in revisions.
When I have enough to share, or when I need input, I bring my work to my critique group. They are reliable for precise and constructive criticism.
Next Week on the Blog Tour
While researching her manuscript, Kristi Tuck Austin waded New York City sewers, ran from trains, and slid through a water pipe to the Harlem River. She celebrated Thanksgiving 2013 in the Paris catacombs, hiking, crawling, wading (again), and dining by candlelight.
In her daily life, which is dry and aboveground, she is the 2014 chair of James River Writers, a non-profit literary organization in Richmond, Virginia. Check out her website to learn more about her and her writing.
Dougald L. “Doug” Blue III started writing when he was about eight with a biography of Alexander the Great researched and borderline-plagiarized from National Geographic magazine and a book his dad gave him. At twelve, he wrote, set type and printed his own neighborhood newspaper, making a killing at five cents a copy.
His adult career began as a copyboy, intern, and city-desk reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch during the golden years of newspapers. That was followed by some 35 years in corporate communications, and then his own business, today working as a writer, editor, and publicist. He blogs – generally on writing and publishing issues – at DougaldBlue.com.
Libby Hall currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, although she grew up in Southern Maryland and lived for five years in Bermuda. She divides her time between writing, teaching pre-school, and tormenting her teenagers.
Libby’s humorous blog about being a southern, suburban mom is the perfect forum for maintaining her mental health; her teaching and non-fiction work maintain her spending habits (frugal); and two Southern Fiction novels lurk in the background, waiting for publication and/or completion, and keeping the dream alive.
You can visit her blog at subourbonmom.wordpress.com.