From the Science Fiction-ish Mind of Teresa Cypher
June 13, 2014
I RECENTLY TAGGED Teresa Cypher to write a “Paying it Forward” post, describing her approach to the writing game. In the post, she was asked to answer four questions: What am I working on? How does my work differ from others of its genre? Why do I write what I write? How does my writing process work?
Here are her thoughts:
Writing. I live it, breathe it, love it. And although I love the job I do forty-plus hours a week outside the home, it can’t hold a candle to writing. Currently, the biggest part of my writing focus is spent on my work in progress, working title “Tayden.”
Mostly at the editing stage, I share it weekly, eight little old sentences at a time on Weekend Writing Warriors . That’s where I ran into Chip. If you read Chip’s post, you know how he feels about genre. And I completely agree. I suspect that although the number of books written in tightly defined genres might be static, it’s more likely that it’s falling while the number of books blurring the lines between genres, or creating sub-genres, is skyrocketing. Tayden fits into the latter description: a blurry-line book.
It’s scifi-ish, dystopian-ish, and fantasy-ish. I think that along with entertaining us, there’s something to be learned from everything we read. Some scifi/fantasy writers create incredible alien creatures and cultures that don’t resemble humans and their behaviors. Mine tend to have very human qualities in spite of the skin they’re in.
My stories all lean heavily on human elements, dynamics, human nature. And the reason is that although I’m capable of writing about life forms vastly different than humans, it’s far easier to learn from a story if we can relate to the conflict, the trials, and the emotions that the fictional characters experience. I’ve infused the story of Tayden with the theme of intolerance.
Setting it on another world with beings other than humans is my attempt to subtly draw a parallel between intolerance, bullying, and discrimination there in the fictional world, and here in the living, breathing, world. But, my main goal is to entertain, otherwise it might as well be a textbook, right?
Pantser by nature when I write, I know how the story starts, and I know how it ends. I know the basic arc, but everything else is dictated by my characters when they begin to interact. I know it feels real to me when they start talking to each other, so I hope it feels real to the readers.
This does create a lot more work in the editing process. I wrote Tayden three years ago, and am still rewriting scenes in it. I work with a crit partner who edits each of his chapters before he moves on to write the next. I envy that. I try.
It’s difficult to fight my nature. Maybe part of it just comes down to this: I’m on a journey to be published, learning as I go. I write. I edit. I’m fortunate to have met so many great writers along the way.
The destination is there, and I’ll make it. But I can’t discount how much joy I’m getting from the journey. I think that covers the questions, plus.