On the writing process
I am a process junkie. I'll read every word I can find from individual writers and their various processes, even if I don't particularly like the writer's work. I'll also read about artists and their creative processes; also musicians, cartoonists, chefs, architects -- if you create something, I want to know about how you do it.
Possibly all that reading on process has led me to alter my own processes dozens of times. Sometimes I write my first draft in longhand on a legal pad. Sometimes a spiral bound. I've written a first draft on a laptop, an iPad, a desktop computer and an Alpha Smart Neo. Sometimes I invest certain pens with totemic significance. I will occasionally outline extensively before writing but sometimes I don't see the structure until I write fifty pages or so. I've begun editing my first drafts immediately after typing "The End" and others I've edited after they sat in a drawer for months. I sometimes don't finish what I start, I sometimes blow up what I've started. I've rewritten a single chapter 13 times and once I wrote one that I did not change a single word of (my editor was not as impressed as I was). I've written in a caffeine fueled passion at 2 a.m. and I've taken an hour to write one sentence when first sitting down at my desk. I like to write in my home office, but I've done decent work in fast food restaurants, libraries, the allergists', and especially airports and airplanes.
With so much of my process in flux, I realize that only two things remain constant:
1. Discipline: I write every day. I'll do it wherever, whenever, and however I can. I'd rather write than do almost anything, so that helps me be disciplined. It doesn't matter if what I'm writing at the time is unusable garbage, what matters is the writing itself, the process.
2. Love: I love writing. I love the scratch of pen on paper, the tap of my fingers on keys (I can't type; I'm sort of a two finger, one thumb writer. My fingers strike the keys with force, like I'm trying to stab out an infestation particularly chitinous bugs), and I love story. I'm a writer who loves both writing and having written. This isn't to say that every single moment is pure ecstasy; writing can be frustrating. It can break your heart, 1000 times and more.
But love is like that.
(Note: For the fellow process junkies out there, I wrote Break My Heart 1,000 Times in longhand, with a blue fine line pen of totemic significance. Much of it was written in airports and airplanes while drinking iced coffee and listening to a playlist called "Blast" on my iPod. Then I wrote an outline, and then I typed the second, more structurally sound draft, which went into the desktop computer in the sunroom office at my last house. Then it sat in a drawer. For a loooong time. When I printed it out I also made a cover for it, which is something I do for all my manuscripts-in-progress. The cover, for no discernible reason, was a photograph of a pheasant running through my backyard. Pheasants are not native to Southeastern Connecticut, I'm told, so this one was likely released in time for hunting season from a breeding farm a good twenty miles away. You can see the photo if you look in the archives of my website, www.danielwaters.com. I had exceptional editorial guidance first from my agent, Al Zuckerman, and then my editor Catherine Onder. Hayley Wagreich helped me with final touches and helped me fix some continuity errors I'd made. I did my last edit pass with purple ink, but the pen I used had no totemic significance. It was just a cool pen. It is my most fervent wish that this note will help you in your own artistic endeavors, but I don't see how it possibly could).
Thanks Daniel for stopping by! Now, for the giveaway. Thanks to Authors on the Web, I have one (1) copy of Break My Heart 1,000 Times to to give away to one lucky winner. The giveaway is open to US/Canada. I'm going to try Rafflecopter out for the first time, so please you the following Rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway:
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Author: Daniel Waters
Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren’t disappearing -- they’re gaining power.
When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica’s high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he’s haunted by the possibility that she’s waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he’s wrong, what’s the harm in creating one more ghost?
From critically acclaimed Generation Dead author Daniel Waters, comes a delectably creepy and suspenseful thriller. Break My Heart 1,000 Times will leave readers with the chills. Or is that a ghost reading over the page?