I connected with Patrice this summer through the internet, and she has been a delightful friend. Her ideas are fresh, and today she joins us to talk about her journey towards publication.
1. When did you start writing?
When I was a wee one…lol. I suppose that’s when almost every writer started writing but it’s true. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting in my bed writing, I used to write everything: angry letters to my parents (only sent two of those…bad idea), freewrites and diary entries to help myself cope with life, my parents divorce etc.. Oh and I used to write stories than were inspired by books I had read that i thought weren’t adequate enough. It was actually just this summer that I finally wrote a full manuscript and what I would call an original piece.
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?
Haha, love this! So technically I’m a pantser. I believe in 100% organic writing, my writer’s blocks come from me thinking too much. Writing has always been a very natural thing for me so i don’t like to complicate it with charts etc… The way I see it is that I began writing by just writing no one told me I had to chart things out, (I’m sure you can only imagine how much my English teachers loved me 😉 ) so why now that I’m a “real writer” should I do those things. Well, organic writing only goes so far. Organic writing or being a pantser can take me through a whole novel if I let it however when it comes to the revision process I have to plan things out so that I know where I want to go with it.
3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
So like I said previously I’m technically or about 90% pantser. I begin with an idea or a memory, for example and Jen can partially attest to this, my current WIP CONFESSIONS OF A PRE-TEEN WITCH, started with me nearly walking into the men’s bathroom. After it happened I recalled that the last time it happened was in third grade so I tweeted about it (cause I thought it was funny) and Jen responded saying to use it as a story idea. Then I was driving home and the idea hit me and I came to a full stop at a red light (yes it was exhilarating). I imagined what would happen if the whole third grade had seen me walking into the boys bathroom and if you know how elementary kids are, that would have led to me being the laughing stock of the grade…forever. And so a story was born.
After the initial idea or memory I begin to write, I write until I cannot write anymore then I stop and evaluate. I ask myself do I like the story, is the character lovable, what’s its intrinsic value (to me) and after I have a rough idea of the answers to those questions I come up with a title. I have to have a title, with another one of my WIPs, THE OTHERWORLDLY CHRONICLES, I wrote the beginning and after that I was struck for weeks until I came up with a title, so yes…it’s very necessary. Other than that I just write, and I try not to think too much (or at all) while I’m writing. When I’m finished I read through it, if it needs more I outline what I’m about to add so that I make sure it makes sense with the rest of the book.
Currently I’m trying my hand at the one-step revision process, and I’m loving it…it’s really helping me to get to the heart of my manuscript’s needed revisions and edits.
Also I don’t write with music, which is something that I’ve heard a lot of writer’s say they need. I like and I need 100% silence, sure I can write well without it but to really be in my zone I need to hear the echoing of my laptops keys across the room.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?
To be honest I really can’t say for sure. I’m a really big fan of “the classics” and I love tearing apart novels (figuratively) and finding rhetorical devices especially figurative language. I suppose I’ve grown to love Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s writing as well as Homer’s so there’s definitely allusions, figurative language and such in my writing. I also am a huge fan of Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling, but especially Rick Riordan, the way he weaves stories is amazing. And lastly I did theater throughout middle and high school and still love it now so when I write I imagine everything as a huge scene, one big story. Showing and not telling is something I really try to work on in my revisions because in theater you want to show how you feel instead of just telling it and it’s the same way with writing.
5. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
Visit my writer’s site patricecaldwell.com. On it I will have summaries of all my manuscripts as well as excerpts ad characterization exercises from them. (**Sidenote: If you’re really interested in keeping up to date with my work check back every couple days because I often change things in the excerpts or summaries of my manuscripts as I’m writing, editing & revising.**) My big project, my baby BLOOD OF ISIS is in its final revision and editing process so I’m getting ready to send it off to the world of slush piles. This moment, querying, is really important so I don’t want to rush it but at the same time, I need to let it go into the world, only then will I truly know if it’s ready.
Also I have this goal or rather pledge where I have to complete a new novel every three months (like I said I’m 90% pantser)…so I just started CONFESSIONS… this month which means it will be done by November (just in time for NaNoWriMo!!!). So at the very least if you’re interested in my work check back every three months for new stuff 🙂
6. Any tips for new writers?
Just Write…THE END. And honestly I’m not joking and I mean it in the nicest most loving way possible. I have all kinds of posts about the importance of accepting your role/claiming the title of writer and just writing that you can view at my blog, whimsicallyours.com (I also review books and interview authors on here). But it is so important for new writers to write, trust me when I say I know how tempting it is to research the industry, follow the trends…however it took me a while to realize this but you have nothing to offer if you don’t have a completed manuscript or short story or whatever. What kind of writer doesn’t write…yeah, exactly. And this is not just the pantser in me talking it’s the planner too. Because once you start writing (everyday) you will soon (and by soon I mean quickly) realize whether or not you’re cut out for it. Being a writer isn’t easy, you have to have deadlines it’s crazy. I might not be a published writer but I write for my college’s newspaper regularly, and I know all about writing deadlines. So take being a writer as a career (even if you’re not sure you want it to be) and just write, you never know where it might take you 🙂
7. Any questions for old writers?
What’s your writing process like and how have you seen it change?