navigate the new waters of published author. Welcome, Pam. Please share your story with us.
My name is Pam Morris with a B. in the middle. I’ve written a
bunch of awful books that will forever stay nameless (except one, a young adult
novel about teen suicide called A Sinful
Bit of Nastiness) but finally published Smitten
Image last year with Crimson Romance. I was told years ago in a workshop
that for a writer to break into publishing they should start with genre
fiction. My critique gang write romances… I wrote a romance. Smitten Image is not typical, not
formula and perhaps not even genre fiction.
I had an idea of a lonely artist
painting nude men that would come to life to love her… yes, the Pygmalion story,
and started with a rough storyboard and a couple stock characters. For a few
chapters all went according to plan. Then the creative artist in me took over.
The characters morphed, the ideas mutated, the plot line twisted in on itself
again and again. I wrote myself into and back out of corners more than a few
times. Writing and story became secondary to the process of creating; taking
nothing and fashioning a work of expressive character, humor and whimsy.
your writing process? Do you outline? Let the muse lead you? Or something else?
character ideas and bizarre snippets of storyline cooking in my brain. I never
outline. I count highly on my muse, but she is as fickle as I am, and will too
often duck into a book someone else wrote or spin me around some other
distraction. The best description for how I write is I sketch, in words rather
than pencil, and pretty soon a picture develops. I flesh it out with more words
until there is shape, a direction and finally a storyline. It’s not a pretty
process, it’s very slow and labor intensive. I let no one else read it until
I’ve written and rewritten a chapter at least a dozen times.
was more difficult than others? One that you pondered whether or not to include
Image that included using magic were difficult. I researched but did not
want the magic defined by other sources. Because the magic holds aspects of
both dark and light, I needed humor in each scene but also a serious message or
theme and of course, some character movement and story advancement. And yes, I
pondered and took out one of my favorite scenes. Lily, the artist and
protagonist who paints men who come to life, paints a midget superhero just to
see if he too, comes alive. It was hilarious to write and evolved to the point
of ridiculousness… best idea ever to leave it out!
influence your writing? Do you have disagreements with them?
inside their heads, in their actions, in reactions to whatever they say or do.
And always they and I argue, mostly about what event or piece of dialogue is “in
character”. They like doing their thing with a broad brush stroke, i.e.
complete freedom to do whatever they want. I have to keep them inside the lines
of credibility. Even when I think it would be more fun not to.
process like? Do you enjoy it?
just for the fun of it. Often I will find a bit of information or an anecdote
that I’ll pick up later and formulate into something, an idea, a character
trait. I use research as a safety net because I write out on the high wire.
Which means I rarely use my research substantively for plot affirmation or
character definition. Writing futuristic and paranormal means the world is my
oyster. The science is important for me as a writer to know but it doesn’t have
to tie me down. At least until I write a space opera and have to decide to use
hyper-drive or dylithium crystals to power my Enterprise!
obsessiveness. Every word must work in phrasing or for nuance as if I was
William bloody Faulkner! Again, it’s as much a part of my creative process as
any other aspect of writing. I am a perfectionist, have terrible inferiority
anxiety and bad reviews send me to bed crying. As an artist I also tend to over
paint… and in watercolor that means the work is ruined. Learning balance is
part of the process too and I’m a firm believer that one gains way more knowledge
from mistakes and failure. I don’t have to like it though.
mind as you write? An overarching question? A theme? The last line of the book?
relationship in the forefront of my mind. In Smitten Image I did this by throwing Lily and Daniel together in
every way possible. They have a lot of scenes together and I liked that. The
overarching question while I’m writing is generally the single most deep rooted
flaw in each character. All they say and do must echo this flaw in some way,
usually not overtly. Plus I always have a few themes. They aren’t always tied
up neatly but that can sometimes work in favor of the plot. And I never know
what the last line of the book will be until I get there. But I like that.
writing that you favor over others, e.g. dialogue, exposition, description of a
scene, setting, or character, etc.? Is there one that is more difficult for
in quirky words and sayings and a character talking all high brow and then
suddenly switching to gutter speak… all that never makes it to the final draft,
of course. But writing almost exclusively in dialogue for a rough draft is
really, really fun and helps me establish character right away. And helps with
the evolution of characterization as well, at least in my own mind. I like
writing description way too much and always, always have to cut a bunch out. Writing
character is hard for me, I would rather they say and act than that I describe
them. In the rough draft stage I have to write character a lot so I won’t
forget some trait or flaw or action they did that will come back later to haunt
me. Then I find it hard to cut that description in case that characterization
hasn’t come through in narrative.
Bedrosian Born. The first book is titled Broken Eros. The story is set in futuristic New Chicago, like Smitten Image. So lots of magic, much
darker this time though. The main character is the heir to a matriarchal corporation
of succubae and incubi who run pleasure houses around the world. She is a
novitiate pleasure courtesan in training who wants out of the family high
priced call girl business and is willing to bring the royal and ancient
Bedrosian Hive down to do it. Her love
interest is a Rifter, a space jumping spy who accidentally gets caught up in
her fight while he is investigating a corporate conspiracy.
for inviting me to your musings. I totally loved the great questions you