In this blog post, I attempt to provide some insight into the creative process that is writing for me, as part of the “My Writing Process” blog hop. Thanks to my fellow writer, the creative and fun Lise Horton for “tagging” me and allowing me to participate in this fun blog tour. Feel free to comment in my writing process or ask me a question using the comments section at the end of this post.
What am I working on?
I don’t move from one project to another. That is, I don’t write for the sake of writing, writing the next book, writing to support myself. After I finish each book, I’m convinced I’ll never write again, sure that I’ve said everything I have to say, sure I have no words left. But I’ve found this isn’t true. I’ve learned that after each book, I simply need to take time to settle, to lay fallow, while the next book takes root in my soul and grows and matures enough to produce fruit, which I pick and which becomes the next book.
That said, I recently started on what may be my next book. It is not a sequel but it picks up with the next generation from What Binds Us—the story of Matthew and Thomas Edward’s adopted son, Micah.
How does my work differ from others of the genre?
To be truthful, I don’t consider myself a genre writer. I write books; I tell stories, hopefully in a beautiful way. Others have categorized my writing for me. That genre happens to be Gay romance, or the more common term, m/m romance. I prefer the term gay romance but that’s another conversation. Anyway…I believe that my work pushes the limits on m/m romance. Romance, love if you will , is at the center of my books, but it is not the only topic covered. I try to explore love in all its forms. My characters may be in love but they don’t live in a romantic bubble; they have jobs and obligations and parents—same as we real living people do.
In his review of Unbroken, Ulysses Grant of Prism Book Alliance wrote: “If one thinks about it, Larry Benjamin’s fictional memoir, Unbroken, has all the ingredients of m/m romance; but it is unlike any other work in this genre I’ve ever read. If one accepts the notion that there is a barrier between m/m fiction and gay literature, Unbroken surely breaks through that barrier.” (Read the review.)
I like to think he is correct, that I have broken through that barrier.
How does my writing process work?
To say I have a process is probably an overstatement. I write when I have something to write about. Once I’m writing the process is pretty chaotic. I work a day job so I write when I can. Typically in the middle of the night, at lunch, in my car stuck in traffic. That’s how I wrote Unbroken, that’s how I wrote Damaged Angels. I also write by hand—in ink or pencil—in composition notebooks. But I also write on scraps of paper, napkins—whatever is at hand when inspiration strikes and I must get the words down quickly, quickly before I lose them. Later, more settled, I transcribe my notes into my computer. I also don’t write sequentially so at some point, I have to go back and organize in sequence which often requires writing “bridge” words to tie everything together.
I don’t write from an outline, rather I shape the story generally and create the characters then let them tell me their story. In Unbroken, Jose’s sister, Maritza, was meant to be a minor character. She showed up then went away. But she kept pestering me. When I started to listen, she “told” me the most extraordinary story. I got up at 2 a.m. and wrote down everything she’d told me and she became a major part of the story line.
Why do I write what I do?
The simplest answer is because I have to. That is, characters come to me and press their lips against the delicate shell of my ear and pour their stories into it until, full, my ears spill their stories onto my hands, my hands onto paper.
On a conscious level, I write what I do because more than anything, I want to give voice to the voiceless; I hope to tell my story, which is the story of thousands like me. I want to educate those who have no clue what it is like to be me: always alien, always outside. And for those like me, always outside, always alien, to share their stories, our stories to remind them—especially the youngest and most vulnerable among us—that we are not alone, that we will be loved, are worthwhile and have a place in the world.
I write because I can, because I am the Sissy Triumphant.
Next week, check out:
Nico Rosso—he writes dark, sexy paranormal romance, and thinks of books as your backstage pass into the world of demons, rock-stars, and Muses.
Visit him at: http://nicorosso.com
Deb McGowan—she writes character-driven fiction, going wherever the story leads, covering life, love, relationships - the whole shazam. Deb teaches social sciences to undergraduate students, writes novels, and runs Beaten Track Publishing, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!
Visit Deb at: www.debbiemcgowan.co.uk