Seven Things About My Writing Life

By Kristy McCaffrey

 

I recently came across an old post on Facebook from a few years back in which my author friends were challenging one another to reveal seven things about their writing life. And since I’ve been a bit brain dead lately from promoting my latest release, I thought I’d regurgitate my response into a blog post. Reuse and recycle, as my husband likes to say.

  1.  An early spark of interest in writing occurred when I was young and read Mary Stewart’s King Arthur Trilogy. I remember wondering how in the world she came up with her dialogue.

  1.  My first real writing happened in high school. I penned fan fiction in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern universe (I’m not related to her, unfortunately). I had one of my Pern stories published in a fanzine. I was so very excited. I have to give a shout-out to my mom because she helped me to write it.

  1.  My first published novel was also the first full-length book I ever wrote (The Wren). Yep, I had no rejection letters. (I have some now.) I was with a small press run by a wonderful woman who gave me a break, but the editor she assigned did very little editing and I was too green to do anything about it. I’ve since cleaned up that early version, although it’s still not my most polished book. But it’s one of my favorites, teaching me much about plot, character, and writing from the heart.

  1.  Why I started out writing westerns is a mystery to me because it’s so dang hard. I know nothing about guns or horses, and history was never my favorite subject in school. However, I’m anal about research and always do quite a bit for each project.

  

  1.  My writing routine has changed over the years, but one constant remains—writing a story is like riding a rollercoaster with my eyes closed. I hang on and hope I’m good enough to get to the end.

  1.  I figure out most of my story problems when I first wake up. My husband thinks I’m a late sleeper, but I’ve usually been awake for a while before heading to the kitchen. (Hubby and I both work from home.)

  1.  I tend to see stories in symbols. (I view everyday life this way, too.) I’m always looking for archetypal moments in a tale, times when there’s a double-meaning in a scene, or a larger picture than what the details convey. This isn’t a fast process, and I’ve frequently come up short when trying to finish a work quickly. I’ve always felt that writers are, in essence, healers. A good story can patch up a weary soul.

Time to get back on the rollercoaster…

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