Writing Tag – My Writing Process

Hemingway slogan about writingMy Writing Process is a series of blog posts in which authors ‘tag’ each other to answer some questions about their work. Matt Potter asked me to take part, along with Paul Combs.

About Matt Potter

Matt Potter is an Australian writer born and based in Adelaide, who keeps part of his pysche in Berlin.  He is the founding editor of Pure Slush.  Matt has also been nominated for the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll’s Best Magazine / e-zine Editor.

What am I working on?

I am working on my last 4 stories for Pure Slush’s 2014 A Year in Stories. This multi-volume anthology contains serialized work from 31 authors, each writing on a particular day of the month. My day is the 18th and my stories are set in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania, where I am proud to live.

Check out Gloria Garfunkel’s interview of me if you’re interested in more detail.

I am also rewriting a novel I started more than a decade ago about a post-apocalyptic California populated by Inuit descendents. The working title is Blood of Brothers, but that will no doubt change.

In addition, I’ve started putting together world building background for a YA novel that I’m collaborating on with Heather Nelson. She’s an amazing writer.

Finally, I’m beginning to assemble a new collection of flash fiction to cover stories I’ve published (and a few new) since Glass Animals came out last year.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I straddle that line between literary and speculative fiction, and typically include an undercurrent of the fantastic in my realism and of realism in my fantastic. That’s not rare these days, but people seem to find my work distinctive all the same.

My favorite reaction so far is:

“In this gravity-defying display of mostly flash pieces, Ramey leaps and dances over the domestic and the surreal, the mundane and the magical. He seamlessly weaves a crazy-quilt of characters who – despite being a little lost and befuddled by the world – have moments of chandelier insight into their own human hearts.” – Lori Jakiela, author of The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious, Miss New York Has Everything and Spot the Terrorist.

 Why do I write what I do?

I write what I write because I want to have an impact on some future person in the way that reading the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov impacted me when I was a troubled teenager. That book opened my mind and changed me forever. I want to pay that forward in some small way.

How does my writing process work?

My writing process used to be a pooh fight between belligerent monkeys. Snuffling grunts and steel bar rattling and pacing around the chair by the computer until I finally either force myself to sit there, or give in to myself and sit there. Then it was the blank screen. Type a line, delete it, type a line, cut it, type a line, backspace. And finally, I’d “hear’ a line that passed the smell test, and the train would chug out of the station, and I’d lose track of time until the scene played out.

Since I found flash fiction and Show Me Your Lits, it’s gotten a lot easier. With a 90 minute time limit, I didn’t have time for monkeys and it was pretty much full steam ahead. Didn’t matter if it felt like crap, I had to finish, right? Funny thing about that was that the more I finished, the more I found that even the crap wasn’t so bad, really. A little cleaning up, a little Fabreze and I could hang most of it on my wall. Over time, the process got easier to the point that I’m no longer so resistant to starting something new even away from that ticking clock. Plus, I’m more confident of the value of my work. While I know I have miles to go, I can acknowledge that I’ve come a few miles already. And that’s important.

That said, editing is still much easier.

I have tagged Jamie Lackey and Gay Degani for the next round.

Jamie Lackey grew up in Stoneboro, PA and now lives in Pittsburgh with her wonderful and talented husband, Paul Stefko, and their cat, Zuko. She writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories, is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and read submissions for Clarkesworld Magazine from 2008 through 2013.  She worked as an assistant editor for the Triangulation Annual Anthology Series from 2008-2010, and was one of the magazine’s coeditors in 2011.   She’s also an assistant editor at Electric Velocipede.

Gay Degani has a substantial list of published fiction both on-line and in print, including three stories nominated for Pushcart consideration, and won the 11th Annual Glass Woman Prize for her flash piece, “Something about L.A.” Her collection of short fiction, Pomegranate Stories, is available at Amazon and other online retailers, and she is currently a staff editor at Smokelong Quarterly.


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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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