Writer extraordinaire Evan Kingston has invited me to take place in the #MyWritingProcess Blog Hop. Check out Evan's blog/website here. I've only met Evan once, but he seems like a fine, upstanding young fellow and very committed to the writing path in all its treacherous windings. His newest work is SLASH "a metafictional erotic thriller/comedic murder mystery/romantic slasher to be published in seven episodes throughout 2014."
So here are the questions I have been tasked to answer:
1) What am I working on?
I'm currently working on a novel titled The Town Built in Darkness. Set in both 1857-77 and the present, it'll be my most ambitious work yet. Of course, ambition doesn't always lead to success, but I'm about 270 pages into it at the moment and I'm liking what's happening. The past sections concern the almost mythological founding/development of an alpine foothills town called Sawford and the present sections follow the Webb family as they move to Sawford and undergo various trails.
I'm also about to start working with FLUX Books on a young adult novel I've recently sold to them called The Firebug of Balrog County.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Here's a question I got in a blog interview with Eric Beetner recently:
"You write cross-genre hybrids. What are your influences for that stuff? You seem to be operating in your own little world. "
I'm proud to have received that question and happy to be writing in my own little world. I've been equally influenced by genre and literary works and my own work attempts to blend the great strengths of both and while adding a darkly comic/philosophic Oppegaard twist to it all. I try to break new ground with every single novel, which has gotten more challenging as I've dug into my fifteenth novel.
3) Why do I write what I write?
Because I'm weird. Because I often enjoy the world I can create in my head more than the real world around me. Because I want to add to the creative stream as best I can. Because it's one of the few things I'm exceptionally good at.
4) How does your writing process work?
I primarily write novels, with only three or four short stories popping up a year, tops. I'm always searching for a cool idea that I can play with over the course of an entire novel, something that speaks to me and I think I can take and run with. Getting that idea can be hard sometimes and sometimes not so hard. I can spend months torturing myself to come up with something or a good idea might pop into my head a week after the previous novel has been sent to my agent. Once I have an idea that seems to have legs, I begin writing immediately and start roughing out a plot outline. The outline is vague at first but hopefully by halfway through the first draft I have it detailed down to one sentence describing each chapters and I've envisioned the novel's ending. For me the rough draft of a novel is always a delicate balance between leaving yourself room for the story to veer unexpectedly while holding a rough map in your mind of where you want it headed. Much like a good cross country road trip, I suppose.
Once I've got that rough draft done, I take a breath and start editing the next day. My second draft usually happens on Word because the document is still so rough a pen and paper edit would be ridiculous. However the 3rd draft is usually a pen and paper edit and from there I alternate between computer drafts and paper drafts-each format has its own advantages and I believe anyone who edits wholly on a computer is editing with one hand tied behind their back.
Finally, I'd like to add that writing one novel is an insane proposition and I can only wonder what writing 15 of them by the age of 34 says about me.
Ok, I've tagged Jeff Smieding and Satish Jayaraj to carry on this #MyWritingProcess Blog Hop.
Throughout the past ten years, Jeff Smieding has been a rocker, a roller, and an aspiring writer. He’s been heavily involved in the Twin Cities live performance scene, from playing bass in local bands Kentucky Gag Order and Belles Of Skin City, to reading original literature with The Lit 6 Project, Electric Arc Radio, Talking Image Connections, and the Riot Act Reading Series. In
that time, Smieding also managed to garner for himself a Master of Fine
Arts degree in Creative Writing from Hamline University, in Saint Paul,
MN, to go along with his BA in English from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
His debut novel, And In Their Passing, A Darkness, is a dark fantasy fairy tale in the style of the Brothers Grimm, has been published by Red Sofa Literary.