Blog Hop – Writing Process Interview

by Doc Coleman on May 15, 2014 · 0 comments

in Writing

I have been tagged in a Blog Hop interview about my writing process.  I was tagged by my former Galley Table cohort, Jeff Hite. This is part of a blog hop meme that has been bouncing around for a while. If you’re interested in who’s been tagged, feel free to follow the link to Jeff’s site and follow the trail backwards. There are quite a number of interesting writers back along the trail.

29124_1275716546750_1645050837_691915_866971_nBut, you’re here with me. And we’ve got an interview to do. So, let’s get on with that.

Jeff: You seem to be a very regimented person. I might be wrong about that, but how does that translate into your writing process? Where do you fall on the seat of your pants / outlining scale?

Doc: “Regimented”. That’s a new one. I’ve never considered myself to be very structured, and it took a long time for me to realize that I have my own brand of discipline. I guess regimented is right in its own way. As far as my writing goes, I’m still pretty much a pantser. I do minimal outlining. More a matter of putting signposts along the plot line. From there I just sit down at the keyboard, write, and see where it takes me. Usually I hit my signposts, but as I go I get new ideas and the story takes on new twists and turns. Sometimes the story takes on a new direction.

Jeff: A lot of writers get the question, where does your inspiration come from, which is a pretty meaningless question if you ask me. But on the other side of the coin is the question what inspires you to write? For example, do you hear the stories in your head, and feel the need to get them out.

Doc: My inspiration comes from just about everything. I take things and turn them upside down or inside out. I get some neat idea, but when I get something really interesting, that gets me writing. Sometimes it starts with a scene or a line of text. Other times it is a setting or a character.

I’ll play with different ideas and come up with something that needs to be explored more. The Adventures of Crackle & Bang came out of the idea that the Victorian era never ended because Queen Victoria never died. What effect does an immoral ruler have on the rest of the world? Some people will worship her as a goddess. How does that upset the world political scene? What if she doesn’t like change? What happens to the world’s scientists if they can’t publish their discoveries? What if mad science really works? At that point, I had a world that was diverse and interesting enough that I can write endless stories. The forces that are holding society together are also the ones that are creating the parts that want to tear it apart. Danger! Intrigue! Adventure!

The Enchanted Lands trilogy grew from the simple idea that magic and madness go hand in hand because using magic actually changes your brain. From there, it went from a story of modern mages to involve underhill, fairies, wizards, and dragons.

Jeff: When do you find time to write, and when you are writing what does it look like? Do you have a certain time and place you have to be, are their any other requirements for when you are writing, quiet, music, special pen, pre-writing warm-ups?

Doc: Most of the time when I’m writing I’ve got my laptop out on a TV tray in the living room and I’m writing while watching TV or listening to music or podcasts. I can’t write in total quiet. Something else has to be going on. But I don’t have any traditions. I will write just about anywhere. I’ve written on my phone while carpooling to work, and on my iPad while using a bluetooth keyboard while on road trips. Obviously, someone else is driving when I’m writing in vehicles, but I’m pretty flexible generally.

Jeff: Have you had a mentor in your writing process? And if so, how has he or she influenced your writing? If not, can you point to something in your life that has most influenced your writing, and can you share that with us?

Doc: I haven’t really had a mentor, but I’ve had a lot of influences on my writing. Hanging out with a bunch of writers and podcasters will do that. I started writing because of hearing people talk about the 10,000 hour rule: that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to master a new skill. That idea got me thinking that if I was ever wanted to be a writer, I needed to get started now. So, I started writing, just to see if I was any good. The Every Photo Tells… podcast by Katherina and Mick Bordet got me started writing fiction. There have been a lot of other contributors. Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing podcast has been a big influence. Chris Lester’s Metamor City, and Tee Morris’ Billibub Baddings stories set the bar for storytelling. And being able to talk about writing each week on Galley Table.

Jeff: You have written short stories and novels, you have done voice work and produced podcasts on your own. from all of that, what would you say was the greatest take away for your creative process?

Doc: The story is the thing. It doesn’t matter what you need to do as long as it furthers the progress of the story. If that means that I write a scene to set the tone for my story and then cut that scene for the final story, so be it. If you have to write yourself into a dead end to figure out a better way to structure the story, and end up throwing away thousands upon thousands of words, so be it. Those words aren’t wasted. They’re a necessary step to finding the right words for your story.

Jeff: Do you have any other things about your writing process that you would like to share with us?

Doc: You really have to develop your own writing process. As your writing evolves, your writing process will evolve too. Don’t be afraid to try playing around with your process. Even if you think you’ve got it figured out, you may find something that works better for you.

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