Many thanks to Debbie for tagging me on her blog.
T. D. Harvey’s Writing Process
So first, let me tell you a little about me. I am a British dark fiction author. My writing spans many genres, but always errs on the darker side. I have been published in two anthologies, Flash It!, an un-themed flash fiction anthology and Shades of Fear, fear themed short stories. I also have several stories appearing in anthologies this year, including Writers’ Anarchy III: Heroes and Villains, a multi-genre themed anthology; Sins of the Past, a collection of historical horror shorts; An Anthology of Pants, a fun anthology with a pants (trousers) theme; and Anything Goes, an un-themed and multi-genre anthology. I juggle my writing with a full-time Business Analyst career, looking after my two cats and three fish tanks, growing my own fruit and veg and managing a chronic pain condition. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon US, Amazon UK and WordPress.
What are you working on?
I have a very full schedule! Paper Dragons and Shadow Demons, book one of my Hidden Realm trilogy, is the story of a young girl with a vivid imagination who thinks she is being stalked by the monster that hides under her bed. Not all is as it seems and she receives help from the most incredible place. The novel is in the middle of a rewrite and edit before wending its way to my editor. I hope to publish by the end of this year. I am also in the process of writing the first draft of the second story in my Hidden Realm trilogy. Children of the Hidden Realm begins with the ending of Paper Dragons, but I won’t tell you much about it just yet.
I am organising two rather different anthologies. The first is a fun, multi-genre anthology with the theme of pants (or trousers for us Brits). There are some fantastic authors involved and we hope to publish this Summer. The second anthology is a charity publication to raise awareness and funds for Fibromyalgia research. As a sufferer myself, this project is very close to my heart. The writers are all sufferers, giving accounts of their own lives with this difficult chronic illness. We hope to publish by the end of the year.
I am also involved in Anything Goes, an anthology and writers’ project where the writers co-edit, working together to produce the final anthology. The unthemed, multi-genre anthology has fantastic stories from around the globe and I am very proud to be a part of it.
Finally, I am writing and editing short stories for submission to several more anthologies. Well, got to keep busy.
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
My work tends to centre around my life experiences in some way. Whether that is literal, as in Paper Dragons and Shadow Demons, or not so literal, as in Harvest (my Anything Goes story set in a simpler, yet more dangerous time and place), there is usually a piece of me in there. I write about what frightens me, and simply put, no-one perceives the world quite in the way I do.
Why do you write what you do?
When I was a child, I was the first of my friends to have my own television. It was the eighties, and a fairly new concept. One night I woke and decided to break the biggest rule, never turn the TV on after bed time. This was a big deal for me, because I was a goody two shoes. It must have been pretty early because the TV stations closed down at night back then. A black and white horror movie, Dracula, was playing. I can still remember how terrified I was. I had never seen anything like it before and I remember being too afraid to look away. I was also too afraid to approach the TV to turn it off. I had visions of Dracula thrusting out from the screen and grabbing my hand.
Ever since that night, I have loved to be scared. I consume horror movies and novels at an alarming rate. It is probably unsurprising that when I write, most of my stories involve the darker side of my imagination. My characters often struggle to survive my stories, something I rarely plan. I write about what scares me, and I like to explore the darkness in humanity and the world we live in.
My ideas come from everywhere. I can be driving to work and a song on the radio will trigger a story idea that forces me to pull over and jot it down in one of my many note books. I have written stories and song lyrics in dreams, that I frantically write down when I wake up. I make sure I have note books and pens everywhere, to ensure I can note any new ideas. It’s great to have such a fertile imagination.
How does your writing process work?
I am a discovery writer, or pantster-meaning writing by the seat of one’s pants. I don’t plan or outline. I simply sit at my laptop and write. When I was writing Paper Dragons and Shadow Demons, I found that I was reading the words as they appeared on the screen. It seemed I was switching off my conscious brain and allowing my subconscious to do the work. It was a bizarre experience, but something I have become used to.
I have tried planning and outlining. I have also tried actively thinking about what I’m writing. Both things cause the story to disappear or falter. I simply cannot write consciously.
I am limited in the time I have to write. Living with chronic illness means making many sacrifices and deals. To enable me to work full time, I need to rest at the weekends and in the evenings. To enable me to write, I need to give up another activity to enable me to have the energy and health to do so. I think this means I have not built myself any of those writers’ rituals, like needing a specific pen or silence, for example. Instead, I can write anywhere, at any time as long as I am well enough to do so. Often, I will be using my laptop on the sofa, next to my partner as he watches television or listens to music. I usually write at my desk at work, in a busy and noisy open office, during my lunch break. If I don’t have a computer, I’ll use whatever pen and paper I can find.
However, when I edit, I require total silence. I need to be left alone to concentrate. I think this is because I am finally using my conscious brain, and that means I am much more easily distracted. It takes much more of my strength and health to edit too, and I need to make specific time to do it. I find editing difficult because of this. And of course, it’s much less fun than switching off and seeing what my subconscious can come up with.
Next up on the tour: The wonderful Ted Atoka
People say that I’m a writer. They’re not speaking the truth. ’m really a full-time observer who chronicles what he sees. I retired from my brick and mortar job and the business world, around 2000. My retirement didn’t mark the beginning of a career in writing. However it simply helped me segue into one of my most favored pastimes. Now I spend most hours of each day at my computer. I write about people, places, and things that I’m familiar with (many of which, my readers feel, are manufactured in my imagination.) When away from the keyboard, you’ll find me outdoors, caring for a parcel of land that Wifey and I call paradise. In between book writing, I enjoy adding material to my blog, and to my web site at http://tedatoka.weebly.com/
. You can find Ted on his blog