"My Writing Process" blog tour
This blog tour is like a chain letter of writerly navel-gazing: the lovely Katie Young pinged me to participate, and I'm going to pass you on another writer at the end! 1) What am I working on?
I'm in Sherlock Holmes mode right now, so I haven't actually worked on anything ~original~ since this summer. But that's okay! Sherlock Holmes is my happy place, and queer pastiche is a legitimate writing genre. :D
I just finished posting my latest shnovel-length piece, Feel the Tide Turning, as a charity fic for my friend Ruth. She donated to the Help Syria campaign and I wrote her a Holmes/Watson retirement era romance and casefic. It's ~19,000 words, and can be read here.
But that doesn't really count as working on anymore, since I finished it last night. I do have a racy RPF threesome fic that I'm hoping to post next week if I can get through the cunnilingus scene at a reasonable pace. I think it's going to be longer than I planned for.
The next longer fic I have on the docket is a Holmes/Watson AU (alternate universe) in which Sherlock Holmes is a renowned Shakespearean actor, and Watson, newly returned from war, falls head over heels for him after a play. Then they solve a murder and have sex. I have to round out the details, obviously, but I'm terribly excited about it. Holmes in stage make-up! A budding relationship buoyed up by crimefighting! It's basically their origin story, but with extra drama.
Haha get it. Drama. Because they're backstage.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Writing Holmes/Watson fic is kind of funny, because there are basically two domains in the Holmes fanfic/pastiche genre. There are the srs bzns published-for-money pastiche writers like Nicholas Meyer, Caleb Carr, Laurie R. King, Lyndsay Faye, and others (and don't get me wrong, I fucking love Sherlock Holmes pastiche/fic by these writers (especially Lyndsay; you should read her books right now just because)), and then there are the Holmes fans who write slash fanfiction on the internet for free.
I spent a weekend with the Baker Street Irregulars in January this year, shying away from really introducing myself as a canon slash fic writer, because they were about 50% old white men who might not appreciate the queer Holmes/Watson romance that I live and breathe. On the other hand, I'd really like some day to be able to actually publish-for-money-and-renown a Holmes pastiche or pastiche collection that included a Holmes/Watson romance as sort of an incidental fact within the story. So I'd like to join the world of the serious (and, as a result, respected) Holmes pastiche writers, but I'm not going there without my consulting husbands.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I got into fanfiction in 2002, but that's another story. Sherlock Holmes found me in 2010, give or take, with the Ritchie movies and the BBC show. I went backwards and read the Strand canon, and it was that fandom that really caught me as a place to write. First, there's the historical element, which I adore. Victorian London is so romantic, and troubled, and messy, and atmospheric, and I can't get enough of it. It has a lot of problems, but Sherlock Holmes is trying to solve some of them. As a gay romance writer, I find the love and affection between Holmes and Watson irresistible. The closeness of their friendship is not exactly unusual, especially in the Victorian era of romantic friendship and homosocial segregation, but it's not difficult to see their relationship tipping over into something more. The repercussions of that are myriad, ranging from fear of imprisonment to anxiety over losing a friend to awkward breakfast conversations, but my favorite one is where they admit a mutual attraction and fall, relieved and overjoyed, into bed, and thence into a sort of a marriage. They're epic. Forever husbands.
The crime-solving isn't bad either! 4) How does your writing process work?
A lot of what I write, fic and otherwise, comes from a place of What If? What if Holmes were a Shakespearean actor? What if Watson made money as a smut model right after he moved in with Holmes (oh yes)? What if Watson had a daughter when Holmes returned from the hiatus? What if a male school teacher from Boston fell in love with a farm boy from the Dakotas? What if a superhero's love interest was his own sidekick? What if I could get people to read Ultimate Frisbee fic?
The process, then, is figuring out how my characters got to where they are, and where they're headed from there. I'm trying to work more from outlines these days, planning ahead, but a lot of things I'll just set loose and see what happens. I set up loose guidelines, high points to hit along the way, but a lot of what I do is exploratory.
Obvious that gets polished and logicked and finessed before I post it on the internet (mostly), but I love letting my lads run free and seeing what they want. I write Holmes and Watson a little differently every time: sometimes Holmes is very comfortably gay, and has lots of things to teach Watson about the ways to love a man; sometimes he's more reticent, emotionally closed-off, and needs to be coaxed out gently; sometimes Watson is the one doing the pining and the courting, sometimes Holmes. They lead me, and I am happy to be lead.
More concretely, I work two day jobs on alternate ends of the week, and my days off are not next to one another. This makes finding time to get chores done a little wonky, but I always make room for writing. Often I'll leave the house to write, because I find the change of scenery and the definite end-time helps to get the brain waves moving. If I'm writing a sex scene, though, the home-office is better for me. I can't write about dicks in public. I can't do it.
Sometimes I find a song that I'll listen to on repeat for an hour or more, as a kind of hypnosis. I stop actually hearing the song and start just living in the music. For Holmes fic in particular, I find listening to albums of Sarasate and other classical violinists and composers to be appropriately, thematically, stimulating. Sometimes I listen to the Nutcracker ballet all the way through. Whatever it is, it needs to fade into the background, but also block out external distractions.
Up next on the tour! Bran Mydwynter is a great friend of mine and a stellar writer, and I think you'll enjoy what he has to offer.
Bran Mydwynter likes creativity. He likes art. He likes making things, and the way you know this is by asking him about his work and his hobbies, both of which overlap at critical junctures. His art portfolio can be found at http://mydwynterstudios.com. He rather fancies dead languages and the punk aesthetic, the victory of the underdog, and the particular talent of geeks and nerds to find something and love it to distraction. He has art from ancient cultures tattooed on his skin. http://mydwynter.com/