I wanted to finish up the Q/A section of my website with several of the questions from the Kracht Klub, the literary posse that surrounds Liz Kracht, my fabulous agent.
Q) Do you use an outline when you write?
A) I have tried, but I find outlines to be very restricting and detrimental to my writing. I work best when I have a general idea what I want to do, and let things develop from there. For example, with Absolution, I knew I wanted to make the MC a Jesuit priest, and put him in a situation for which he was totally unprepared--by both disposition and training. Once I discovered the way to do this, the book essentially wrote itself, proving, as my friend Albie Cullen has always maintained, that "a good thesis writes itself."
Q) Do you listen to music as you write? Is there a particular sound track you like?
A)I do most of my writing in public places. Bars, eateries and coffee houses are my favorite settings; half of my book was written in Sugar and Spice, the world's best pancakery, in Mendon, VT. I find the vibrant atmosphere of these spots to be very stimulating--and I am a sucker for free internet. When I do write at home I absolutely listen to music: Dave Matthews is my top choice, followed closely by U2 and The Counting Crows.
Q) Do you know the conclusion when you begin writing?
A) No, definitely not. I think the not knowing lends suspense to the prose. And, in the few circumstances I have had to rewrite a scene to fit into a narrow plot window, I have had a hard time with the constraints. It is much easier for me to start with a basic premise or character and let things go from there. The problem with this approach is what I call floundering (name speaks for itself). But there is a cure for floundering, namely editing, and then more editing, followed by even more editing.
Q) How do you know when a rough draft is no longer rough?
A) It is my experience that you can not ever be truly done with a draft. No matter how many times you comb over it and remove the nits, there is always at least one or two more nits to remove. That said, at some point you have to pull the trigger and hit send--and there is no formula for this determination. I go with my gut: when the cymbal clashing of my intestines no longer sounds like The Flight of the Valkyries, I am ready.
That is a wrap on the Q/A, and my author bio will be the next post. I so appreciated all the help from the Kracht Klub on this post!