I saw this post on DL Mayfield’s blog, which lead me to this really interesting new blog, and I decided to answer the questions, because I thought it would be a fun and easy post for a Thursday. I kind of got thrown into an abyss of self-reflection, though, which was somewhat disconcerting.
1. What are you working on?
I publish a blog post on days beginning with “T”. Apart from that, I have way too many projects at the moment, and don’t spend enough time on any of them. I’ll put them in their priority order. 1. A personal memoir. 2. An adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, set in Arnhem Land. 3. My Christian YA novel that I started in 2010, on which I have one more chapter to write (aarrrrrgghhhhh). 4. A family memoir about Asperger’s Syndrome.
Other projects that I won’t realistically get to in the next year (or two) are: the sequel to the YA novel and three other novels I’ve started. One is about a school leaver going on holidays with some uni students. Another is about an Arts student who rolls around avoiding studying and hanging out with her friend who is an artist but wants to be an accountant. The other one is about a 27-year-old Christian woman whom everyone is treating like an old maid. Oh, and I have another idea for a Christian non-fiction book, but I don’t know if I can count that because so far I haven’t written any of it on paper, I just mentally write it when I’m supposed to be doing other things.
Sigh. It makes me nostalgic to lay out my projects like this. They are like children that I have sent to boarding school; I’m so fond of them, but I don’t pay them any attention.
There is a part of me that is a bit worried about telling the internet my projects like this. Maybe someone is going to steal my ideas. But I’m placating myself by reasoning, A) even if someone stole these ideas, what they produced would be radically different to what I am going to make and B) writing is such freaking effort, at this point I can’t imagine why someone would bother stealing my ideas, because of all the work involved.
If you are dry of ideas, just comment and ask, I’ll give them for free. I’m an ideas tap this year; the pixie hasn’t left me alone. Not that I’m complaining. It’s just a little exhausting sometimes.
2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?
I don’t really have one ‘genre’, so I have to answer this question with reference to all the genres I work within.
(Christian) Young Adult fiction: I started writing the YA novel because when I was a teenager I was frustrated by the Christian novels I read. There was too much slut-shaming, not enough swearing. Not that swearing is awesome, just that in my world, sometimes Christians swore, and they didn’t in the novels I read. Plus all those stories were American, which is fine, but I wanted there to be something on the market that referred to Australian culture and places.
Asperger’s memoir: There is a small but fledging genre of memoirs about Asperger’s. Some of these are about individuals, some are about marriage in which one or both people have Asperger’s. As far as I know, there are no memoirs specifically about how Asperger’s affects family dynamics.
Pride and Prejudice adaptation: There are millions of these, but I doubt anyone’s set a P+P spin-off in Arnhem Land. If they have, I would love to read it. My interest in writing this is also related to how Yolngu and balanda use language. In books like Jane Eyre, the dialogue slips into French and there’s no translation. I am interested to explore that convention in an Aboriginal language context. So the linguist fangirl in me is meeting the Austen fangirl and having a ball.
‘Personal memoir’: I’m not really sure what genre the personal memoir I’m writing would fall under. I guess you could call it ‘personal memoir’, haha. Maybe Christian memoir. This project differs from others in the genre in that it explores which of the gender relations and expectations that we consider to be the “good Christian way” of doing things are actually based on the bible and Jesus and stuff, and how much of it is purely derived from the Christian subculture.
Oh dear. I thought this would be an easy thing to write for a Thursday blog, but shit’s getting real, and I am feeling uncomfortable, because I didn’t even know what that ‘personal memoir’ I’m writing was about until I wrote it just then.
My story about gender relations is like water in a fishbowl, in that it is everywhere but not often talked about. Having said that, maybe gender relations is something that people talk about all the time, so if you want to contradict me, please point me to where the discussions are taking place, whether in books, media, forum-type things or meatspace.
3. Why do you write what you do?
This relates to the second question. Most of what I write is filling what I perceive to be a gap. Someone long ago said to me that if you want to get published, you have to write something that is different enough that it hasn’t been done already, but not too different that people don’t know what to do with it.
I also “write what I know”. My goodness, I’m full of clichés. This is what I know about: Christian teenagers, Aspie family, living in Arnhem Land in a culture that weirdly reflects 19th century English, navigating feminism in a Christian subculture. All this stuff seems so disparate. And I worry that my blog is similarly disparate, that the things I write about vary too wildly to capture a loyal audience. But at the same time, it is more important for me to write out of my own experience than to create marketable work. No-one is paying me to write, so I am only going to do it if I’m interested in what I’m creating.
4. How does your writing process work?
A good writing day means I have written 1000 words. I just glanced at the word count of this blog post and realised I’ve tipped into four digits. So, win for today. I haven’t had a lot of good writing days lately. See previous blog posts about being sick and also travelling.
Apart from that, this is such a huge question that I don’t know how to answer it. I have addressed most of my writing process in this post.
1000 words might seem like a lot but I can smash that out in half an hour if I need to or if I’m super inspired. I fit it into whatever my everyday involves. I feel unsatisfied when I only write a small amount. When I sit down to write, I usually have one idea ready, which can carry me through the 1000 words. Either it’s a thought I want to expound on, or a scene that I have some idea of how it’s going to play out.
And then yeah I edit stuff and sometimes get other people to read it before I publish it. And now I am just talking about blog posts, because that’s all I ever publish. I have never got close to publishing one of my big projects. But that’s okay. I have to finish them first. One step at a time.