Erin Schneider, who writes beautiful, humorous, emotional contemporary fiction, tagged me in a writing process tour. Erin's the co-captain of the YA Buccaneers, and an incredibly talented up-and-coming writer (and an absolutely beautiful person, to boot!), and you can find her here.
What am I working on?
Final revisions for CONVICTION, and three other projects I'm juggling! About Asian-Americans, quantum entanglement, the 1970s, a kidnapping, a cult--my mind is all over the place!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write literary contemporary realistic fiction, with conflicts grounded in the real world, and generally focusing on complicated, gray-area relational dynamics and moral crises. The thing that gets me into a story and drives it from then on is the voice; I have to fully inhabit a character in order to get anywhere. I like nuance and difficult choices and characters who aren't either good or bad, but somewhere in between. And I am fascinated by characters' (often skewed) moral codes.
Why do I write what I do?
When I was younger I used to see the world in very black and white terms, mostly because of how I'd been raised. But there was always something in me that wanted to understand where people were coming from even if they did terrible things, and especially if they felt inaccessible to me, or lived some kind of different life. I guess I write what I do as part of a lifelong quest to try to understand other people, to imagine into lives and minds and hearts much different from my own, and to present these complex, complicated people--who can't be understood in black and white terms--fully to other readers.
How does my writing process work?
I don't think I've ever written two projects the same way. Mostly, lots and lots of stress-eating. Also, Twitter support groups. I write awful first drafts and then read through and try to find the heart of the real story for the characters, and then I do whatever I can to bring that story out. I write a lot of backstory for the characters that never makes it into my drafts. I try with each draft to have ratcheted up what's at stake for everyone. I write hunched over on my bed (staring at the window--at, not out, since I have no curtains and we put up this alpaca blanket my bff brought back from his trip to Machu Picchu and I'm too lazy to ever take it down even when I wish I could see the outside world and anyway I like the way it looks when the light comes through it), which I'm sure I'll pay for someday.
Up next! I'm tagging:
-Anna-Marie McLemore (who'll be posting at the Fearless Fifteeners blog), an almost-local writer friend who's thoughtful and funny and incredibly talented and whose debut THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS is one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. I wish I were exaggerating, because then maybe the book wouldn't have totally wrecked me and rendered me completely unable to write the way it did, and-
-Sabaa Tahir, a local writer friend (hurray!) who's one of my new favorite parts of living in the Bay Area, and whose debut AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is promising to take the publishing world and Hollywood by storm next year; if the beginning is any indication of the rest of the book, this is one amazing novel.