Typewriter - Once upon a timeHappy Monday! I’ve been invited to join the “My Writing Process” blog tour by the wise and witty Lynne Cantwell, an author with a background in journalism and a compelling interest in Native American cultures, mythology, and knitting cool things that look like star maps. If you don’t know Lynne, you should. Please visit her website to learn more about her and her books.

Okay, I like to do these blog thingies once in a while. They’re fun. But lately I’m three steps behind and a half a buck short, so by the time I get to them, everyone already has a dance partner and I’m left standing next to the bleachers, a cup of lukewarm punch in my hand, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Especially that kid who used to hide in the back of the room in third grade and read Harriet the Spy while chewing her hair. Oh, wait. I was that kid.

So I’ll answer the questions. Authors, feel free to answer them on your own blog. Or don’t. That’s the awesome power of having a piece of Internet real estate. Even if you lease it from WordBloggy or wherever.

1) What am I working on?

Right now I’m working on a sequel to my contemporary novel Don’t Tell Anyone. I wanted to explore what happens next in the lives of these characters. Plus, many readers contacted me and suggested that Charlie (Estelle’s younger son and Liza’s brother-in-law/best friend) needs his own book. I asked him, and he vehemently agreed with me, as long as Liza came along for the ride. Then he bugged me to add a Frank Sinatra station to my Pandora list and said I should keep some good single malt in the house. I did the former, but not the latter. That stuff’s expensive. So the adventures we began in The Picture of Cool, just released, will continue in this next novel.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure. My genre borders are kind of wiggly, from women’s fiction to contemporary to romantic with a touch of suspense. I do like focusing on character development and dialogue, though. Most reviewers have mentioned that my characters feel like real people.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always been drawn to character-driven fiction and maybe that’s one reason why it appeals to me so much as a writer. Humans are fascinating and so beautifully flawed and idiosyncratic. I think I write to try to better understand why we do what we do.

4) How does your writing process work?

A lot of writers I’ve spoken with about this say that they see the scenes in their heads and write down the details, sometimes getting so much that they have to pare it down later. I hear the characters first. I hear the dialogue and write that. Often this results in first drafts that are more like screenplays and need to be fleshed out in subsequent drafts. I try to run with the first draft all the way to the end without editing, even though the plot doesn’t always make sense and the scenes might be out of chronological order. That’s why Anne Lamott calls them “shitty first drafts.” My goal is to get the story out and then start shaping it in the second draft. Imagine Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze clinched together working on the potter’s wheel in Ghost. Yeah. It’s just like that in my writing room. Except without Demi Moore.

If you’re a writer, what are you working on? Readers, what’s your reading process like? One at a time, or a book for every mood?