The lovely Rebecca Audra Smith has asked me to respond to her blog tour about writing with my own thoughts. Last week I was lucky enough to perform at Loose Muse, an open mic night for women writers, and Rosie Garland said something which really stuck with me. She told us all that there is someone out there who loves our writing, and it may just be that we haven’t found them yet. I hope Becca knows that she’s found that person right here, and I’m going to send this blog out in the hopes it will find the person who will love my work too.
1) What am I working on?
Too many things. I’m about to start editing my novel-in-progress, and I’m working on various bits and pieces of poetry and short stories. I’m supposed to be working on a script too, but it’s getting further and further away from me.
The novel is a speculative story that centres around a young woman discovering the dark history of her tribe, and her parents. I still have vague hopes of self-publishing it later this year, though I need to really pull my socks up if I want to make that happen.
After a lovely little flush of success with the short story chapbooks I made last summer, I’m planning a few more, both fiction and poetry. I have a few different themes in mind for the poetry; really, I almost have enough to just throw a few out there, but I hold back because I’m not quite sure, and it seems like so much work. I need to stop making excuses not to do it.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Tricky – does it differ? I suppose in terms of short fiction, I differ as I am repelled by the ‘shock twist’ format that is so often wrung out of flash fiction and very short format stories. I’ve read one too many of these; they’re ten a penny and difficult to pull off, so I steer away and lean instead to more lyrical, solipsistic writing. My writing is deeply personal and, I hope, emotionally true. To me, this is one of the most important things in writing and in what I choose to read, and I’d much rather win over a reader with an emotionally engaging account of a character’s life, than with a clever trick of story structure.
As for poetry – I guess I’m still looking for that, but I think my poetry runs very much in a narrative vein. I’m still finding my voice, particularly in terms of performance, but going along and listening and reading at open mic nights is giving me a really good sense of voice, and courage to find the weirdness.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Narrative is deeply important to me. Whether it’s a book, a game or a movie, the story has to work well for me to really engage with it. I don’t get much from the drape of beautiful writing unless it’s sculpted around an interesting shape. It’s like a beautifully wrapped present that turns out to be an empty box, or something you already have or just don’t want.
So, I try to write engaging characters and stories that spin out of the various shades of people I am. I write women, and men who respect them, and parents who’ve done wrong to their children but want to make amends. I write about the things that interest and excite me in the world, and the things that make my heart clench like a fist.
4) How does your writing process work?
After years of cajoling and bullying myself, I try to do what every good writer needs to do. I sit down and write until I have something that I can beat into shape. Then I beat it into shape. Then I write some more.
I’d love to hear your own thoughts on these things, and please take the time to stop by Anna Percy’s blog, who was also tagged by Rebecca Audra.
Cat Lumb is a writer based in Manchester, currently working on her first novel(s).
Louise Gibney self-published her first novel and is working on another; she regularly writes for MK Pulse magazine.
Naomi Racz is primarily a nature writer of creative nonfiction from Manchester, now living in Amsterdam.
MG Mason writes sci-fi and fantasy and shades of genres in between; he is a freelance writer with two self-published books on kindle.
Of course, if you’re not on this list and you want to take part, just go for it! And please link back when you do, I’d love to read 😀