It’s been awhile, hasn’t it lovelies? Things have gotten crazier at work, so I’ve been away from things more often than not and, again, I’m making a “no promises” stab at coming back to the blog and my reviews. To kick that off, I’ve got a guest post for you from the author of Iron Shinto regarding her writing and her experiences with metaphysics and how the two connect.
How has your experience with the metaphysical affected your writing?
When I was five, I was visited by a vision. I’ll never forget it, I was running down the stairs and the entity, a girl with dark hair, stopped me in my tracks. The spirit said that I would go through a deeply challenging time in my life, but would resurface, later in life, with unimaginable joy and fulfillment. That vision stayed with me. In middle school, I would sit quietly at my desk adding up the years to figure out exactly when my life would turn around.
And then I forgot. I got busy, my work and the stress of family life took over and I was completely overwhelmed and in desperate need of a vacation. My husband, daughter and I decided to go to Hawaii.
When the plane landed in Honolulu, I remember feeling the difference in the atmosphere as I disembarked. The air made me somehow, remember that there was a part of me that knew…something…what was it?
Never mind, I was in Hawaii it was time to see the sights! So, I sped off to see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and then headed home for an afternoon nap before an evening luau. As I drifted toward sleep, I heard my name being called. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful young woman with dark hair, who said her name was Moaahuulikkiaaakea’o Haanaapeekuluueehuehakipuunahe’e—Moa for short.
And then I remembered.
Forgetfulness can feel like holding a beach ball underwater. The ongoing effort can be draining over time and when the memory surfaces it brings with it, a tremendous relief.
When I write from this “remembering” place, I find I am relaxed and open, which is always a great place from which to write.
Tell us about your writing process.
Every day is different. Sometimes words pour out faster than I can write or when I’m not near a computer so I have to grab a grocery receipt and quickly squeeze in all the juiciness that comes forth. Other times, I space out the writing and sit in a busy cafe listening to snippets of stranger’s conversations.
One thing is consistent. I do not judge myself, my writing or my process. If I do, I stop and give myself time to let that go. Then I begin again and pick up where I left off.
The stories come in, in waves of loveliness, or shards of anger, or slippery plots that I have to chase around and around to find my path. Whatever my course, I stick with it, I can edit later and I only edit after I let it all out–every last bit.
After I’ve done all of the above, I write a loose outline. It doesn’t include numbers and I’m the only one who knows what it means. Parts are in my head, parts are on receipts, tucked in the depths of my purse or in my computer, labeled with the story, date and version.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes both! My favorite part of writing is having a conversation with my characters. In fact, early in the process of writing “Iron Shinto,” I hit a wall with my main character, Mina. My incredibly wise editor, Rebecca Gummere, suggested I chat with her. That event broke open the story in a way I never could have created, had I done it any other way.
Here’s what I did:
I wrote out the questions ahead of time and made an appointment with my character, just as I would with anyone I know. Then, when it came time, I sat in a private place and had a visit with Mina.
I asked the questions and waited for the answers. Sometimes they came in right away, other times I had to relax and let the answer come. A few times, I had to stop and say, “How can I tell if I’m making this all up?” and my answer was simple, “I can’t.”
But, as I chronicled my conversation, made note of all the directions, nuances, twists or straight-always, I noticed that I felt “in the flow.” I kept these conversations up and would even have the occasional disagreement with Mina.
In the end, I knew I had to let the self-editing, judging and critic go and allow my character to tell me about her journey.
What advice would you give other writers?
Persistence is everything. When you feel low, do a search on how many times famous writers were rejected. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeline L’Engle was rejected 29 times before it was published. Or read inspirational books by authors who have weathered the storm, “Bird by Bird,” by Anne Lamott is a good one.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
With the Moa Series, I had no doubt that I wanted to publish these books. I needed to have complete control over the layout (to highlight the incredible illustrations by Sydney Shiu), the cover as well as the marketing and distribution. Best of all, I get all the royalties and no one owns the rights to my book, but me. Things have gone better than I could have possibly imagined!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Books and book publishing are alive and well! However, the way they will be purchased, read and distributed is a whole different story.
Whatever changes occur in the publishing world and new technologies that pop up, I know I will continue to write and read and I am absolutely others will too.
About Tricia Stewart Shiu
Tricia Stewart Shiu is an award-winning screenwriter, author and playwright, but her passion lies in creating mystical stories. Her latest series, The Moa Books, which includes “Moa,” “The Statue of Ku” and “The Iron Shinto,” were, by far, her favorite to write.
Iron Shinto (ISBN: 978-0-9840020-8-5, 2013 Human Being Publishing, 208 Pages, Available on Amazon in Paperback, $12.95 and for $6.99 on Kindle 978-0-9840020-6-1 or on the author’s website http://humanbeingcompany.com/
Media Contact: For a review copy of Iron Shinto, or to schedule an interview with Tricia Stewart Shiu, please contact Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, 734-667-2090, Cell: 248-705-2214 or firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.book-marketing-expert.com