My Writing Process Blog Tour

I was invited along on a blog tour ride by my writer friend Mari Collier, who was raised in Iowa and yet isn’t dull at all. Thanks for the extra work, Mari – sheesh. But anyone who writes SF, historical fiction, and humor is worth the effort. She now lives in California, yet isn’t strange at all.

Unfortunately, due to finalizing the details on The No-Campfire Girls and life in general, I haven’t had the time to get this out, and today I realized I hadn’t recruited anyone to follow it. Instead, I picked a few blogs from among writer friends and highlighted them at the end of this, but I didn’t find anyone to answer the questions themselves, and I hope some of you will take up the reins and continue this on.

1.       What Am I Working On?

A sandwich, at the moment. Oh, you mean writing? We’re finishing the setup for my second self-published effort, The No-Campfire Girls, a YA humor/adventure set in a girl’s summer camp. Why self-published? Because a portion of the proceeds from the book’s sale will go toward Camp Latonka, the Girl’s Scout camp my wife attended and then worked at.
            I’m waiting to see the cover art of The Notorious Ian Grant, which Whiskey Creek Press is publishing in October. Meanwhile, I’m plugging away at a book of my columns and Beowulf: In Harm’s Way, a SF story that pokes a little fun at the space opera genre. I have a million ideas in a dozen genres, all in varying degrees of development, and just need more time.

2.       How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

Which genre? Well, I tend to inject more humor into my works—the world needs more humor—but not in a mocking or parody way. I take my situations lightly, and my characters seriously. It’s as if Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams had a baby, and … who knows? I never pried into their personal lives.

3.       Why Do I Write What I Do?

Why not? But basically I write what I like to read, which is how it should be with all writers. I love science fiction, and I like a good romance that’s infused with humor, and I’m always up for some intelligent action, if you can picture that.

4.       How Does My Writing Process Work?

I start by thinking, which is far too lacking in today’s society. What if? What then? Routine chores are a perfect time for that: Mowing the lawn, showering, home maintenance, first aid after home maintenance … that’s where I work out the ideas in my head.
Then I do an outline; I have a whole box full of unfinished manuscripts to show I’ll never be a successful pantser. By the way, when I was a kid “pantser” meant a whole different thing. My outlines are devoid of Roman numerals, and full of side notes, parenthesis (I’m famous for my parenthesis), and the occasional exclamation point as an idea hits me. It’s just a scribbled narrative, really, and subject to change at any time—I just need a road map with a destination, and nothing keeps me from exploring a side road as long as the destination is in mind.
Beside that are detailed character outlines, and often other research material. I know what my characters want, need, what they’re afraid of, what they like for lunch, their hobbies, political outlooks or lack thereof—and although many of those details never make it to the story, they makes the characters real for me. Which is why they often go running off onto those side roads I mentioned, surprising me as much as the reader.
Then I write. That’s the fun part. Give me a place to sit and enough room to break out my laptop, and there’s my office. Except the bathtub—there are logistical problems to writing in the bathtub.
And, although I go back and read through the previous day’s work at every writing session, my stories are always in for five or six polishings before anyone else sees them, because that’s how I roll. And if you’ve ever tried to roll while revising, you know it’s a challenge.

            Here are a few other blogs from friends of mine, more or less at random but chosen from Blogspot because I’m lazy:

            William Kendall has that rare ability to make you laugh even if you’re a fan of what he’s making fun of. He likes winter and hates musicals, but nobody’s perfect.

            Kelly Hashway writes speculative fiction, or so I speculate, and has already done the tour—no guilt trip here for her.

            Rosanne Dingli is a writer of rich writing who also writes about writing, right?
Say it three times fast … take a chance.

            Yes, I cheated on this assignment to a degree, but I just finished proofreading my new book proof and now I’m sending off for another proof to prove I’m ready to publish. As you can probably tell by the last couple of paragraphs, I’m also very tired.


  1. I admit, I like to write what I enjoy reading as well. Thanks, Mark!

  2. I'll admit I have a skewed way of looking at the world, but really my life is quite dull. Work is something ingrained into a person from Iowa, which is why I like to see others work. I'll have to check out the other bloggers. You're wise to write what you like to read.

    1. I think most writers are that way -- I know I am. Sometimes I think the more interesting our writing is, the more dull we are in real life. After all, it's not a spectator sport!

  3. Thank you for this mention, Mark - no matter how tired you were! You've made me realize I haven't updated my blog for a while, so look out for some new stuff soon.

    1. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with everything, even our own blogs.

  4. Mark, you made some good choices--I don't know Kelly, but I'm familiar with Rosanne, who's an exceptionally talented author, and William's my partner in crime, so I'm more than acquainted with his wicked sense of humor!