As you see from my scant recent musings, blogging hasn’t exactly been at the top of my “to-do’s” lately. I like to blog, though—really, I do. It affords the opportunity to share my opinions, talk about my interests, hone my craft—you know, write when I don’t really have much to say—but as you also know, it’s quite time-consuming. I’ve simply had too many other boats in the water, if you will, and have had to make some sacrifices to stay afloat. I’ve cut blogging back to about once a month, but truthfully, I miss it. I miss you folks.
So when my good buddy, Gus Sanchez, asked if I would hop aboard the Blog Train, even though I’d pretty much quit with the hops, I gladly bought an E-ticket just to get back into the swing of things. If you’ve not been to Gus’s site, you’ve been missing out. That guy is truly an undiscovered master of the craft, and I look forward to the day I see his name atop the bestseller list if not just to say, “Hey Gus, can I borrow a few bucks?” Follow the link to his blog and get to know this man. You won’t be sorry.
And now, for the questions:
What are you working on now?
I’m a persnickety writer. I’ll start something, get a good ten thousand words into it and say, “Meh…what was I thinking?” I never scrap anything, though. Instead, I stick it with all the other IN PROGRESS pieces and start something shiny and new. So right now, my last WIP, “When Panda Smiled,” is on hold. It’s a delightful story, don’t get me wrong, but has some snags that will take some time to work through.
Meanwhile, an excitingly different idea came along that really has me juiced. It’s a suspense piece, a genre in which I’ve never dabbled, but man, has it been fun plotting and outlining. Drawing from my experience as a caregiver, its working title is “Caregiver,” and tells the story of a son taking care of his mother, but that’s where the similarities end. In a shocking turn of events, we find the man isn’t exactly who he appears to be. If all turns out as planned, the reader will be in for the ride of their life. That’s enough about that…don’t want to give too much away…but it will make for a nice debut novel.
And, as always, I’ve been working on short stories and articles for submission to various publications, waiting for word that something has been published.
How does your work differ from others of the genre?
Seeing as though I don’t allow myself to be pigeon-holed into a specific genre, that’s exactly how it differs. I write the stories that come to me, plain and simple. If, let’s say, “Caregiver” were to be my first published piece, and if, let’s continue with that dream, it were a smashing success, and if the novel that followed were a family drama such as “When Panda Smiled” and my editor or whomever said, “We want another suspense,” well, they’d be on the edge of their seats until the drama publishes unless another suspense story cropped up. The waiting would be their desired suspense. I simply can’t write what doesn’t come to me. I’m not formulaic.
Why do I write what I do?
Because the stories won’t leave me alone until I do. They haunt me. “Let me out.” And little by little, even over the course of years, I unfasten the many locks of the gate until they’re free.
How does your writing process work?
Process? Ha! Other than swigging boatloads of coffee and smoking a warehouse of cigarettes, I don’t have one. Well, I guess I do. I get an idea. Usually with that idea comes many possibilities. I toss aside my first thought. I toss my second. I toss my third, fourth, and fifth. It’s with the sixth or seventh possibility the story can travel that I dig into the page.
Why do I do that? To be different. I figure, if the storyline is one of my first ideas, then it’s too predictable…too commonplace—anybody can and probably will write it or something similar. Working on an obscure aspect of the main idea almost guarantees originality. So I follow that path in my storytelling. Always. And it usually makes for good story.
Now for the others who are boarding the Blog Train, and will post their answers on their blogs next Monday, June 23. I’m supposed to tag three, but like I said, my blogging has been atrocious lately. I asked over a dozen people, however, all had already taken a ride a few weeks ago! But one guy, Rus VanWestervelt, missed the train (thank goodness!) and has gladly agreed to hop aboard.
If you haven’t heard of Rus, he’s an English teacher from Baltimore and one of the finest “LifeStory Architects” around, receiving his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. One of his latest posts, “To Holland: When Daffodils Bloom,” showcases his strengths in both creative nonfiction (memoir) and creative writing (poetry). I never say, “This is someone you need to know” unless it’s true. Get to know this guy. Period.
ML Swift is a writer of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction, although he dabbles in many genres.
An Alzheimer’s caregiver for the past ten years, he has published several articles on The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, the largest online website catering to that community, and plans to write a novel about his experience in caregiving.
He resides in Florida with his dogs, Rameses and Buster, attempting to reclaim his side of the bed.