This blog post is in response to two recent questions, one posted in the comments section of this blog and one messaged to me on my facebook page. In reality, these are both variations of questions I’ve gotten since publishing my first book The Boy from Willow Bend. The answers continue to evolve as I continue to learn. What I decided to do, though, and I hope the questioners and others who may come after are prepared to do some reading, is to share some of what I’ve said in the past over various blog musings and interviews because collectively, it’s as complete an answer as I can give to questions that really aren’t as simple as they seem. Besides, why re-invent the wheel.
First, the questions,
- “Would love to hear more about your writing process…are you one of those fiction writers who uses strict outlines and knows the plot from the get go or do you discover the story as you write?”
- “I have started to give the whole publishing idea some serious thought. What I would like to know is where do I start? How do I start? How did you get started? Any guidance or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Second, the answers,
The Waiting Game or the Scraps of Things is a blog posting that touches on my discovery of how Musical Youth, a 2014 Burt award finalist and forthcoming book, came to be. In it can be found, I think, some insights to how I write/my process.
This one can be filed under dialogue notes; it’s titled, it begins with listening.
While we’re on the subject of dialogue, check out this one as well.
This one, It all comes back to Story, is very stream of consciousness and is about as close as you’ll get to watching my brain connect and tie threads together as part of the creative process.
This one, a report from a writing workshop, may provide some insights on how those connections are made during the writing process as well.
In this one I begin to talk about the tension between writing and publishing.
In this interview with Trini writer Danielle Boodoo Fortune, I de-construct, or attempt to, aspects of my writing or writing process.
This is me musing on that place where writing begins, the imagination.
And this on how imagining led to my first children’s picture book.
In There is No Spoon, a presentation I did in Guadeloupe at the Caribbean Congress of Writers, I talk about the use of actual spaces in my fiction and, specifically, Oh Gad! and the short story Amelia at Devil’s Bridge featured in Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean. By so doing, I believe, I talk a bit about process; so I’ll just rest that one here as well.
Included in these ‘5 Questions’ is advice to writers, such as it is.
Always a Work in Progress is a bit about a story’s journey and a bit about mine as a writer.
But I hate Rules – self-explanatory.
In this interview with the British Council ahead of participating in the Aye Write! Festival in Scotland, I talk about writing, inspiration to writing dialogue.
Author N’Tyse touched on both my writing and publishing journey in this interview.
This Susumba interview covers some of the same territory.
This Frugal Feminista interview talks a bit about Oh Gad! and a lot more about the realities of publishing.
This interview with Bajan writer Sandra Sealy explores publishing and writing as well.
This is an interview specifically on how I became a writer.
This interview with online magazine Your Style one of the first interviews I did after Oh Gad! came out. My Style It too speaks about the journey.
Some years ago, some students interviewed me about my writing. Don’t think they went easy on me. As with other interviews, they challenged me to think about what I do, why I do it, and how I’m able to do it. Which is interesting because I’d rather be writing than talking about writing.
All of the above notwithstanding, I really believe you’ve got to do what works for you. No two journeys are the same. And I’ve never been one for routine, myself, so at every stage of the journey, I’m re-learning and experimenting and discovering, and that’s just how I like it.
Hope this helps.
Post Note: I also encourage any one specifically interested in writing practice to search ‘workshop’ over at Wadadli Pen and put those into practice, or find some other something like Leone Ross’ 10 Day Challenge t0 help you not only get inspired but practice, good writing takes practice. If you’re ready to publish and are looking for ‘opportunities’ search for that on the Wadadli Pen blog as well – I keep adding workshops, markets, publishers, and other opportunities of interest to writers.