The intrepid Bob Evenhouse asked me to participate in a blog hop discussion of my writing process. In addition to being a true hockey fanatic (with missing teeth to prove it), Bob is one of the founders of Jot and a fellow Weakling. He writes high fantasy when he isn’t busy being an amazing husband and father and employee and stuff. Thanks for asking me to do this, Bob!
I’m working on a story that started as flash fiction and ballooned into something else. It involves two primary point-of-view characters, an old folks home, a nurse, a wizard, and a dragon that can control the weather. I had trouble fitting the idea into less than 1,000 words, so it is currently in the realm of short story. The plot is something like Don Quixote meets Lord of the Rings with a splash of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest mixed in for flavor.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not entirely sure that you can classify flash fiction as a genre, because flash stories can represent any genre. But since the majority of my writing falls into the Young Adult Speculative Fiction genre, I’ll say that I enjoy inserting humor along with my plot twists. So many popular YA spec fiction books are deadly serious (The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.). I find myself drawn to writers who can blend humor into their fantastic worlds (Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, Kurt Vonnegut), so I try to do that on the lesser scale of flash fiction.
Why do I write what I do?
The first stories I wrote, back when I started considering myself a writer, were incredibly short. They ran along the lines of Aesop’s fables, but most lacked the characteristic moral. I really enjoyed those stories because they fit well with my sense of humor and attention span. I’ve attempted a handful of novel-length works since then, but while the ideas are there, none of those stories are finished. By writing flash fiction, I can take a story from conception to final edit in a much more reasonable time.
How does your writing process work?
Most of the time, a story’s genesis lies in a twist to the world around me. It’s like when you are half-listening to someone and you mishear some key detail. Where most people shrug off the nonsense as nonsense, my brain likes to craft a story to justify what I heard. I ask, “What situation would require this thing to be true?” and then I explore the thought.
At other times, a story will start with a character that presents himself (or herself) to me. I keep a list of character ideas handy and experiment with introducing them to each other. Occasionally, a story will arise from the inherent struggles within the character mix.
I would like to thank Bob Evenhouse for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop. It is always helpful to think through why and how I do what I do (just in case I’m doing it wrong).