Seven (Random) Things About My Writing Life

There has been a meme going around Facebook, and I got tagged. You are supposed to share seven things about your writing life. At the time, I was actually too busy writing to think about it, but then I got curious. So this is what I came up with, pretty much on the fly.

1. I’m envious of those who write to playlists, soundtracks, and symphonies. I wrote one book to Tchaikovsky and Borodin, but since then, prefer silence. So I can hear my characters speak. On the other hand, after years of subbing, I can write anywhere. Yes, I can tune you right out.
2. As you may know, I was born with a book in one hand and a passport in the other. I always had my nose in a book, when I wasn’t memorizing a script, or delivering someone’s lines on-stage. I didn’t study writing in college, but did develop the ability to plant my butt in the chair and focus for six or eight hours. Also to make connections between seemingly disconnected ideas and worlds. After that, I spent many years living many lives.
3. I began writing scripts with my husband, often plotting on 3 x 5 cards, each card a beat, or scene. I learned to make the motivation fit the needs of the story, artificial but practical. A good skill, just in case. Along with dialogue, writing tight.
4. At the same time, I was writing travel articles and discovered that my strength is in setting. This helped when I turned to narrative writing, learning to paint a scene.
5. In my work, setting often comes first and research is the best part, the open-ended freedom of it all. I used to take notes on paper, then laptop, then iPad. Now I love Notes on my phone—which thank you, gods of the Mac, also show up on my computer.
6. I write to see what I think. It’s like sculpting in clay. Shaping the words, reshaping them, waiting to see what is revealed. Very physical. Arduous. (I just spent a week on a three-page chapter.) My goal is for my work to look tight and effortless, but don’t be fooled. There is blood, sweat, and tears in every paragraph.

7. I have three novels I’ve been working on, one for over twenty years. I’ve made a commitment to give birth to them within the next two years. And then, who knows? Maybe I’ll be freed of this writing curse, but I doubt it.
Read more about my writing life here:

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