I am participating in a Blog Hop. Like a friend and fellow writer said, it’s a bit like a pyramid scheme. Indeed, but why not. I was asked to answer four questions and then link to three other writers. I am still waiting to hear from one of them.
1) What am I working on?
I have several projects going on at the same time. I am currently working on one I am temporarily calling, Air Conditioning is ruining America. Last year, I went out for a walk. It was pretty warm and no one was outside. I remember when I was a kid, people all sat on their porches and waved to the neighbors. I thought, air conditioning is ruining America. In the book, I’ve found lots of ways that air conditioning is making life difficult for my characters. I’m normally a slow writer, but this thing has been flying along.
I also am working on a sequel to my novel Aunt Two Lips. I have titled it, The Flip Flop Murders. I sit near the lunch room on the end of a row. People walk by at a rapid pace. The noise, the noise. I take out my aggressions by killing off people who are annoying. Okay, I write about killing people off. I couldn’t hurt a fly. Okay, I could kill a fly, but never a harm a human being.
I am adding lots of great things to the story. Since, I just had a bout of thyroid cancer, I figured the only thing worse would be if I had little kids. My protagonist has little kids. In writing, you have to keep raising the stakes.
As my writer’s group always says, “Nobody wants to read about the happy people of the happy village.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think in terms of women’s fiction, I do not have just humorous quirky moments, but long laugh out scenes that endear the characters to the reader. So, often even my antagonists have their own little fan clubs amongst my writer’s group and beta readers.
In my book, The Mermaid Queen. One of the men in my writers group always ended every critique personally, or in notes with “I like Freddie!”
Even my bad guys, are likeable to some extent.
3) Why do I write what I do?
My family is funny. My dad was the funniest person I have ever known. A couple of years ago, I was asked to give a seminar on how to write funny material. I had to study it, and that process helped me to understand how to do it. I learned why something works when something else doesn’t.
For instance, I looked at comedy teams like Abbott and Costello, and Martin and Lewis. Most comedy teams have a straight man. The straight man is usually not the favorite, but without the straight man it doesn’t work. It dawned on me, you need a straight man, like the protagonist. There aren’t any vampires, mermaids, or flying dragons, but if the protagonist can relay the amazing things they see to the reader, who isn’t a vampire, mermaid or flying dragon then you have drama and/or humor.
4) How does your writing process work?
There are so many ways to take this. I’m a pantser. I usually have an idea where my story is going to go, but I don’t have a huge outline. Sometimes, I get in to trouble, because I don’t know where to go. A critique can help you see something clearer. In Air Conditioning is Ruining America, the protagonist’s father is illiterate. He has a line where he tells his son, “If God wants you to be a doctor, then I guess I better accommodate him.”
I got a critique that said, accommodate is a big word for a man who is illiterate. It’s a fair criticism, but I really liked that line. So, I had the character learn it earlier in the book. That also gave me the ending. When, the father comes to the end of his life, he says practically the same thing, “If the Lord is calling me home, then, I guess I better accommodate him.”
I love the father in this story. He really is my dad in so many ways.
Here are three author friends of mine who agreed to participate in the Blog Hop. Hope you hop on over to their blogs and or websites.
James McGowan lives in Nebraska and works as an analyst for a major firm. While writing is his passion, he also likes getting out of the house to play Ultimate Frisbee in a casual league during the warmer months. He’s always up for a game of pitch with friends too. James collects comic books and enjoys their adaptations to other media. He’s a member of the Nebraska Writers Workshop and the Nebraska Writers Guild.
His short story, “Sleep Talker”, appeared in the August 2007 issue of Sounds of the Night and the June 2008 issue of Aoife s Kiss, both through Sam’s Dot Publishing. His short story, “Seeds”, received Honorable Mention in the Genre Short Story category of the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. His short story, “Escape Velocity”, appeared in the 2011 Omaha Contagion Outbreak Convention program.
His novel, “Repenter”, is currently available as an ebook on Amazon, iTunes, Nook, Kobo, and many others. “Repenter: The Hidden Chapters” is coming soon for free on Amazon. The next novels in the series, “The Brigands” and “The New Players”, are also coming soon.
Here is a link to his website.
The wife of a submariner, Kim has lived in eight states over the last twenty years. She used her background in Drama (a B.F.A. from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s Degree from Regent University) to stay relatively sane throughout all those moves, performing in various plays and musicals, including a one-person show about women in the Bible. In 2004, the Navy transferred her family to Omaha, Nebraska, a perfectly logical move that never made sense to her mother. An avid reader, Kim has written novels in several genres, including Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Fiction and Young Adult Fantasy. Kim’s story Winter Trees was a semi-finalist in the Christian Writer’s Guild’s 2010 Operation First Novel contest. Her non-fiction Inspirational and humor stories have appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Vista and online at www.thechristianpulse.com Please visit www.kimstokely.com to read a story, find out about upcoming performances, or find links to her books. She’d be grateful if you’d “like” her author page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/kimstokelyauthor.
Janet Syas Nitsick is the author of best of year book, Seasons of the Soul; five-star, inspiring-historical romance, Lockets and Lanterns; and newly-released anthology, Bride by Arrangement, which ranked in the top 100 in the Western Romance division. The anthology includes two novellas – one written by Ruth Ann Nordin, The Purchased Bride, and the other by Janet Syas Nitsick, She Came by Train.
Janet’s short story, “The Silver Lining,” placed 10th in the 79th Writer’s Digest Writing Competition in the mainstream/literary short story category in 2010. Read it on the Nook or Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/42833.
Janet is the daughter of late Nebraska State Sen. George Syas who served 26 years in the Unicameral, became dean of the legislature and won such awards as the Omaha Public Schools School Bell Award and has a wildlife area named after him -The George Syas Wildlife Management Area in Genoa, Neb. Janet is a former journalist and language arts teacher. She writes non-fiction and fiction, consisting of literary and general short stories and historical romance.