Kristen Stone tagged me last week…
1. What are you working on?
I am collaborating with Kristen Stone on a project! Hush-hush. Also working on a new short story that is a departure for me in sincerely working with scifi conventions. Currently have two warring novel projects and will soon decide which one to focus my energies on after I finish up my main summer project, which is editing the next volume of The &NOW Awards: The Best Innovative Writing. Proofs going out to contributors this week! (fingers crossed)
2. How does your work differ from others’ in the same genre?
Tough question, not entirely applicable to my work, as I’m more of a genre floater than a resident of any genre community. Uhhhh. I guess in the genre of “innovative fiction” I use form to tackle queer and feminist issues, that is, using form to interrogate power and agency from a queer/feminist perspective. And in the genre of “LGBT lit” my fiction is less about LGBTQ representation and more about enacting queerness through form, language, intensity.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I typically use fiction as a way to work through competing and seemingly contradictory ideas, things I’m personally or intellectually struggling with. To be real, I also write to express ugly feelings in ways that make me feel like interesting and likable. Third and most righteously, I write to put new narratives into the world, flipping scripts and exploring experiences and relationships and identities that don’t get much play in literary fiction.
4. How does your writing process work?
I make lists and am a diligent reviser. Well, let me back up. I start a story by putting words on a page, and if a voice comes, then I’m off. Sometimes I can incorporate whatever ideas I’ve been thinking about into the voice, sometimes I let the voice (via syntax) take me away — “Swamp Cycle” was like that. Sometimes I start with concept, not voice, and then it’s harder to break into the story, but - WORTH THE WAIT! The Sweet Valley CYOA was like that — I was excited by the idea of mashing together these two oppositionally gendered YA genres but for numerous drafts couldn’t settle on a voice or tone — tried satire for a while, but really, SVT doesn’t need to be satired! It was much more fun to play it straight, and let the comedy come from the CYOA.
Throughout this process I maintain an ongoing, subject-to-change action plan that helps me feel less overwhelmed and incapacitated if the writing isn’t necessarily easy. This often includes a reading list — mostly made up of relevant theory and criticism to bolster my thinking about the piece, sometimes other fiction that might provide structural models. I also create a document for journaling about the story and my aims with it. So for each in-process piece I will have a few different different files going as I’m writing and revising. If/when I get to this point I create a new file folder for the piece, a very exciting stage! that solidifies the story’s status as in-progress/coming-together (as opposed to germ/brainstorm). And then with each substantial revision, usually involving printing out and revising, reconceiving by hand, I rename the file so I have a record of the work I’ve done and can revert to older versions if I find myself going way off track. Those are the mundane details. I find it’s best for me to spend an hour or two on a story per day and work over time, until I can devote some full days to it — poke, poke, binge.
Who’s on deck? I tag Jami Sailor, Christine Shan Shan Hou, and Brooke Wonders.