The Battle Within: Writing About Writing and the Death of A Chain-Blog.

The Battle Within

My good friend, who is a multi-legit author, Carol Williams, who also writes on the blog Throwingupwords,  AND organizes this overwhelmingly good writers’ conference called WIFYR, asked me to do this author/writer “blog tour” thing for her, which is cool, although it turns out it’s actually an author/writerly blog chain letter thing. I love Carol, but I really hate chain letters, so I’m at war within myself now.

See, I did my first chain letter when I was in fourth grade.

Last night's sunset was so beautiful I just had to put the picture up.
Last night’s sunset was so beautiful I just had to put the picture up.

After hand-writing out five letters to pass along so that I could get more letters in the mail and not have the calamities of the world come crashing down on my head, I decided that I’d rather risk death than get hand cramp like that again. Besides, I didn’t get a single letter out of the whole business. Now here I am at 46 with a chain blog staring me in the face. I should also probably let you know my actual, real, name, since part of the point of this is helping writers connect with readers. My name is Heather Bullough. No books published yet, but look for me in a few years. 😉

I don’t want to drop the bowling ball on Carol’s foot, but this chain-blog just might die here. Nevertheless, I will answer the blog questions and I will post some links to the websites of other writers whose blogs I enjoy. They are under no obligation to act on this chain if they don’t want to. I didn’t ask if I could link to them, some of the writers I don’t even know. I just like to read what they write. So, how’s that? Take it or leave it. 🙂

Question 1: What are you working on right now?

I’ve actually been doing more blogging than work on any of my books lately. That demon procrastination has hit, where my brain wants to do anything but face the fear that I’m just a fraudulent, second-rate pen-pusher, but hey, I think I’ve finally found a pair of shoes that my feet are happy with, so that’s good. What I’m working on when I’m spitting in the face of procrastination is outlining(ish) and getting to know the characters in the YA  fantasy book I’m hoping to crank out  in November. The nice thing about the whole National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is that it not only gives me a deadline and goal, but it puts my family on notice too. “Help cook and wash dishes, or y’all are going to be eating a lot of frozen pizza off paper plates.” :-p Actually I’m really excited about this book because I’ve taken the time to plan and work through some of the background, setting, and characters ahead of time, so I have a better idea of what direction it will take, as compared to just writing willy-nilly and we’ll see what comes out.

Question 2: Why do you write what you do?

You see, these ideas keep popping into my head for books, and no one else writes them the way I imagine them. Also, I want to eventually publish books (that’s lofty, I’ll start with one), that when the reader finishes, they want to be a better person than they might have been before they started. I think that we need more books like that in today’s world.

Question 3: How does your writing process work?

First, I get a great idea. Then I forget it. Then I get another great idea. I forget that one too. Then I sit down and try to figure out a new great idea, but come up dry, so I just start writing random bad or mediocre ideas down until something half-decent or fun pops out at me.

Then I get a new page and start fiddling with the idea and what I could do with it. Then my 17 year-old son, Arctic Boy, comes home from school and I tell him I had a new idea for a book and run it by him and bounce plot ideas off the walls and ceiling, and he always thinks they are great and asks good questions and helps me see more good plot ideas. He’s actually genius with plot.

Then I start working out the structure of my plot and discovering the unique personalities of my characters and how they interact.

After all this, I write the rough draft, cry on my son’s shoulder when I get stuck, try not too pull out all my hair in the process, remember that writing is hard even for amazing people like Carol Williams, keep going, and then I celebrate!

Then revision. That’s the hardest part for me, but I’m learning a lot in the process. 😉

Here are some blogs by my favorite writer friends and other people:

Erynn Mangum is one of my favorite writers, because I just love how she uses humor. She also incorporates her Christian faith in her writing without being heavy-handed about it. She doesn’t know me from Eve, but I LOVE her books. Her Lauren Holbrook series helped me laugh during a very difficult and painful time in my life. I think that her books might have been part of the reason I decided to do my first NaNoWrimo.

My friend, Sue Burton has breezed in and out of my life for many years, and now I have latched on to her as one of my best friends. She just seems to get me, and we have a way of being a sort of energy-idea generator for each other. She is one of the most creative

and artistic people I know and I love her blog, no matter what she writes about.

The Goose Girl book is on the floor next to my be. Reading it again!
The Goose Girl book is on the floor next to my be. Reading it again!

When I grow up, I want to be Shannon Hale. I love her fantasy fairy-tale style. It’s been a while since I read her books, but the emotion of them has just stuck somewhere deep in me. Also, I like her blog. She also doesn’t know me from Eve, but her books are dear friends of mine.

winner-winner, veggie dinner 🙂

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