Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Writing Process

First I would like to thank Carol Fragale Brill for inviting me to join this blog hop, with a focus on the topic of the writing process. 

Carol is the author of two novels, PEACE BY PIECE and CAPE MAYBE, an Amazon Women's Fiction Bestseller. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her fiction received recognition from Poets and Writers and was a reader’s favorite for The Best of Philadelphia Stories. Her works have also appeared in Wide Array, New York Journal of Books, the Press of Atlantic City, and various online e-zines and business journals. You can find her at these links: Amazon, Facebook, Blog, Goodreads, New York Journal of Books.

Here is what Carol asked me to tell you about:
What am I working on? 

I find great delight in producing my newest novel, Rise to Power, in an audiobook edition (in addition to its bestseller kindle edition and the print edition.) I am working with David George, a man of many talents, who is an independent film director and the narrator for this book. His voice is truly magnificent in all its nuances, which makes the story spring to life. 

Take a listen:

If your browser wouldn't play it, try this

In parallel to this I am designing the audiobook cover. For the audio cover I selected one of my watercolors for a backdrop, over which I positioned the head of Bernini's David. I love the dynamic expression, the effort it imparts both physically and mentally. This, to me, is the essence of this wonderfully complex character. Set against the tension between cool and warm colors, intense and loose pigments, here is an ambitious man trying to figure out how to take charge of his life, and how to make a mark on history.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

In Rise to Power, I am exploring the biblical story of David, but not with religious reverence. Rather, I am interested in the drama of his life. His is a struggle we can all feel inside us. Can he find an inner balance between conflicting drives: his ambition for the crown, his determination to survive the conflict with Saul, and his longing for purity, for a touch of the divine, as expressed so lyrically in his psalms and music?
David is famous for bringing his kingdom from the brink of annihilation to a prosperous age, a renaissance. With all his gifts, he is indeed a renaissance man. This is his story as you have never heard it before: from the king himself, telling the unofficial version, the one he never allowed his court scribes to recount. In his mind, history is written to praise the victorious—but at the last stretch of his illustrious life, he feels an irresistible urge to tell the truth. In the first volume of the series, David gives you a fascinating account of his early years, culminating with a tribal coronation. Rooted in ancient lore, his is a surprisingly modern memoir.
Why do I write what I do?

This may seem strange to you, but my characters demand of me that I write what they think, feel, and sense. They spring to life from my ink, and I have to chase them around with my pen, capturing their thoughts as fast as I can.

How does my writing process work? 

In any task you undertake, you often hear the advice: start at the beginning, continue down the middle, and finish at the end. Writing is no different. Problem is, as you advance diligently down that path, you may find–to your surprise–that you are getting better, more proficient at your craft. Suddenly the opening of this chapter sounds so much catchier than the previous one; and the ending more powerful. You must constantly re-evaluate and rework previous chapters. So in my opinion, the process of writing is cyclical. By the time I completed the last chapter of my novel, Apart From Love, I knew I had to discard–or at least, rewrite and restructure–the first chapter.

This, then, is the first page of the first chapter, in which Ben is about to return–reluctantly–to his childhood home, and to a contentious relationship with his father:
“About a year ago I sifted through the contents of my suitcase, and was just about to discard a letter, which my father had written to me some time ago. Almost by accident my eye caught the line, I have no one to blame for all this but myself, which I had never noticed before, because it was written in an odd way, as if it were a secret code, almost: upside down, in the bottom margin of the page, with barely a space to allow any breathing.

The words left some impression in my memory. I almost wished he were next to me, so I could not only listen to him, but also record his voice saying that.

I imagined him back home, leaning over his desk, scrawling each letter with the finest of his pens with great care, as if focusing through a thick magnifying glass. The writing was truly minute, as if he had hated giving away even the slightest hint to a riddle I should have been able to solve on my own. I detested him for that. And so, thinking him unable to open his heart to me, I could never bring myself to write back. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake.
Even so, I am only too happy to agree with him: the blame for what happened in our family is his. Entirely his. If not for his actions ten years ago, I would never have run away to Firenze, to Rome, to Tel Aviv. And if not for his actions a couple of weeks ago, this frantic call for me to come back and see him would never have been made.
And so I find myself standing here, on the threshold of where I grew up, feeling utterly awkward. I knock, and a stranger opens the door. The first thing that comes to mind: what is she doing here? The second thing: she is young, much too young for him. The third: her hair. Red.”
The blog hop continues next week with these wonderful authors:

Bathsheba Dailey is a single mother of three beautiful girls, she has just recently graduated business school. She is a lover of the outdoors, hunting, fishing or just listening to the water sing me the enchanting songs of life. She has suffered abuse since the age of five but has not let it destroy the person she was meant to be. She believes that we all make our mistakes and learn from them in out own way and/or time. Writing is what keeps her sanity. You can find her at Amazon, Facebook and Twitter.

Ia Uaro was a published author at 17 and used the proceeds to help fund her university studies, during which time she was active in aero-modelling, martial arts, mountaineering, speleology... and studied petroleum seismology among her music-playing friends. After her graduation she worked with French, Norwegian and American geophysical companies, besides being a volunteer translator. In Sydney since 1995, She is now a mum who does several kinds of volunteer work, assesses manuscripts, reviews books, interviews authors and writes real-life socio fiction. You can find her at Sydney’s Song and at her website.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Uvi, I enjoyed learning more about your writing process. I so agree that "the process of writing is cyclical"
    I was often told not to edit as I went along, to just write a sloppy first draft and go back later. That didn't work for me. I circle back over and over and it helps me stay in the story and keep it moving forward. Every writing must find what works for them. carol

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    1. Hi Carol! With my process, there is barely a gap between writing and editing, just like you, and who cares about that advice, lol... Since every word carries a lot of weight, I go back all the time and refine things.

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  2. That cyclical comment got me too. So very true!

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    1. Thank you Sheila! That's how it works for both of us.

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  3. Your comment that your characters drive the story, and you chase them around is so true. For me it means asking myself, what would this person do? Often it's not as conscious as that, but that listening for the answer is always there. It's a gift of writing that it allows us this experience.

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    1. Exactly, listening for that answer is what propels the story in all its twists and turns... Thank you mceyes!

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