I was contacted recently by Colleen Halverson and asked to share some information about my current work in progress. Well okay, recently, might be incorrect. She actually contacted me over two weeks ago and I’m finally getting to it. She asked some great questions and I really had to think about the questions.
Okay, you got me. That’s not the actual reason either although her questions are really good. In truth, I was in the middle of trying to write a novel in November. This is an experience I blogged about last year. I promised myself that I wouldn’t work on anything else until I finished. Now I finally have some time to discuss what I’m working on.
Describe your current WIP.
I just finished the first draft of a road trip story called Starling’s Flight. In this story a college student reluctantly travels across the country to rejoin her family’s bluegrass band in time for a Fourth of July concert. As she travels, she wrestles with how to tell her father she no longer wants to pursue a career in music. She encounters plenty of colorful and sometimes dangerous characters along the way.
Who is your favorite character in your WIP and why?
I think it is my main character, Starling. She is tough and determined but hasn’t quite figured out how to be completely on her own. One thing I like is that she’s used to traveling and adapting to unusual situations. She’s also good at putting on a front and hiding her emotions. Sometimes a little too good. Not to mention, she plays the mandolin. How cool is that?
What’s the hardest challenge you had to face with your WIP?
One of the biggest challenges is making the travel believable. In the story she gets stranded and must find her way across the country using a variety of means sort of like Planes Trains and Automobiles. The problem is that cellphones and other modern conveniences make it harder to experience these kinds of problems. If your car breaks down you can always just call someone. If you’re lost you can just use Google Maps. That’s great in real life but it causes problems in stories. I had to find plausible ways for her to move from one place to another in the way she did. We’ll see if I pulled it off.
What aspects of your WIP are you most proud of and why?
It’s a little early to tell what exactly I will be proud of in this story. Hopefully it will be creating a strong, realistic main character that readers can relate to and cheer for.
If you write to music, what do you like to listen to as you write? What would be on the soundtrack to your WIP?
For this story the soundtrack would be bluegrass, obviously, which is not that much different than what I usually listen to. Most of the time you will find bluegrass, folk, or old “tear in your beer” country on my iPod. I do add in a healthy dose of celtic music as well. Pretty much anything with a fiddle is okay with me. If somebody is leaving somebody then that’s even better.
What’s your earliest memory of writing and creating stories?
The earliest writing I can remember is in elementary school. I was one of those kids who went over the page limit whenever we had a creative writing assignment. I remember one time our teacher gave us an assignment to write a fantasy story. I think I was the only one who actually wrote a fantasy story and it was too long. I still remember the story though.
What is one thing you think non-writers don’t understand about writing?
How slow publishing moves and how hard it is to get published. It takes a long time to find an agent, then it takes a long time to get books sold to publishers. Everything just moves slowly and sometimes it feels like not at all.
What is your greatest strength in writing? What is your weakness?
I think my greatest strength is my dialogue. I feel like I write witty banter fairly well although the readers will be the ultimate judge. My greatest weakness is probably lack of variety. I have several crutch words
What do you love most about your villain?
In this story there are several villains. She meets multiple people on who journey that get in her way. I suppose her biggest obstacle though, is herself. She must come up with the courage not only to survive unusual situations, but to finally step out on her own. She must make her own future.
What sorts of themes tend to recur within your writing? Why is that do you think?
One theme is travel. Most of the stories, actually all of them, involve traveling of some kind. My favorite stories tend to involve journeys. Give me an epic quest or a treasure hunt. I guess I like the “life is a journey” metaphor so it finds its way into my writing. The other common feature seems to be a focus on the Midwest. I grew up there so I that makes sense. I like to find people and places that don’t always make it into stories. I’m all about the middle of nowhere.
This is what I’ve been working on this fall. I’d like to thank Colleen for asking me these questions. You can find her website here if you’d like to know more about her writing.