Friday, August 26, 2011

Writers are often thought of as wordsmiths. We experiment with words.  We change, delete, substitute, alter and embellish words. If infamous doesn’t do the job in a sentence, maybe villainous would or how about ill-famed ? It’s a good thing the English language is flexible! The basic wisdom learned from writer’s workshops is ‘you shouldn’t stop to revise’, but many authors have their own marked idiosyncrasies.  I’m committed to overwriting as I go. I could be labeled a quintessential experimenter because I continually go back to the pages I’ve written and tweak, change, delete words and reconstruct sentences. Admittedly, it slows my writing but that’s my style and it grows from what to leave in and what to take out. “Start over until it sings” could be my by-line.

Author Elizabeth Lowe says ‘Voice is the writer’s fingerprint.’ Much of my voice and style is inspired by past experiences – family, people I’ve met, journey’s I’ve taken. I try to establish my voice through my characters. When people learn that I was the youngest of nine sisters and four brothers, their eyebrows lift. “Ten girls!” they say, “There’s your book. There has to be a story in that family.”

Actually, there is something from my maternal great grandmother in the first book of my contemporary Maine Shore Chronicles series. In Finding Fiona, the character, Tanté Margaret’s grandmér Hetty is prescient, a seer, and healer. In French she was called a  Guèirsseur. There is a Scot in the time travel twist of Finding Fiona’s plot and if grandmér Hetty had been Scottish, she would have been called a ban-lichiche. Perhaps you can tell that I love to find foreign words that fit into my story line. My readers have told me they like the ethnic characters found in the Chronicles series, and especially they appreciate the French and Gaelic phrases sprinkled through the dialog.  Book Two, Moonglade takes up where Finding Fiona left off. It is a blend of mystery and romance with the same regional flavor and strong family dynamics.

Chronicles series Book Three, Promise Keeper will be released from the publisher, Five Star/Cengage on  October 21st.  It explores the bonds of family and the resiliency of the human spirit. Danger and intrigue foil protagonist Paul Fontaine’s search for a stolen painting and the woman who donated it to his gallery. Tanté Margaret continues as a secondary character- but a very important one- she is the Promise Keeper in Book Three. My readers’ favorite ( so they tell me)  continuing character in the series is Tanté  Margaret, the  reluctant clairvoyant.  

Tanté finally has a book of her own in my current work in progress. She is a woman of faith and her point that her gift is from God is one that I could also make. I feel that my writing has been a gift from God. I’ll close with a paraphrased quote of Eric Liddell shared by my friend and fellow author, Sharon Irvin – “When I write I feel God’s pleasure”.  In French, I would say moi aussi. Me too!


Jacqueline Seewald said...

As an only child who wished for a brother or sister, I envy you your large family! As a writer, my method is a little different. My first draft is rough. Then I put on my editor's hat and go back to the beginning and start going critically over what I've written, correcting errors of all kinds. I do work from an outline initially though. But I find I need to go through a number of revisions before I'm satisfied with a novel. It's a long process.

Anonymous said...

I love the "start over until it sings"! Thank you, and thanks for some good things to think about in the writing process.

Mary F. Schoenecker Writes said...

Hi Jacqueline,
Thanks for my N0.1comment. Writing does take long. Research for my first book took 5 years and then another 2 to write it & actually get a publsiher.

Brenda Hill said...

Writing is a long process for me as well. I've also heard, "Write now, revise later," but that doesn't work for me. I cannot concentrate on the next chapter, the next paragraph, or even the next sentence until I feel that certain relief that what I've just written matches the rhythm in my head. You'd think I wouldn't have much editing to do afterward, but no matter how many times I may go over something, worrying about it, sweating over a phrase, I still change it all over again in the editing process after it's all down.

With Full Malice, my thriller with 5 Star to be released in March 2912, had two editors, and each editor found errors. And each time I looked at my work and wondered what on earth I was thinking when I wrote it.

So yes, for me, writing is a long process. But it's also something I have to do. I can't not do it. But oh, the satisfaction I feel when I see a just-released book, or my joy when I can actually hold it. There's nothing quite like it, except perhaps giving birth.

But with books you don't have to change diapers.

Joyce Elson Moore said...

Hi Mary: REally enjoyed reading your blog post, and a little about your books. I used to write slowly, re-reading each line, but have changed my writing style, and now I go through first draft pretty uickly, never looking back, making my daily goal. I look forward to going back, to the fun of editing, of choosing the right word, and my novels always expand from first draft, so if I want 80K, I know I'll get it if first draft is about 60. Heck, whatever works, right?
Looking forward to your next post.