Guest Post: Laurel Saville on Her Writing Process

As part of the Writing Process Blog Tour, which I took part in recently, I’m delighted to host Laurel Saville who talks here today about her own approach to writing. So here goes:

What am I working on?

I am currently writing a novel set in the Adirondack mountains of Upstate NY, near where I used to live and spent plenty of hours hiking. Like Henry and Rachel, it involves the clashes of family, class and culture, but this book is contemporary, not historical. It also explores some of the different ways people have of relating to our natural world, and involves a commune and a kidnapped child.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write in different genres, and what I hope is distinctive about my work is simply what we call the “voice.” This is a combination of personal style, sensibility and craft that come together to make a story that is unique in that it could only have come from me and been told the way I wrote it.

Henry and Rachel

Recently released: Henry and Rachel.

When I was a young girl, books were a safe place to escape the chaos of my home life, an opportunity to explore other people’s and my own imagination, and a profound way to develop empathy for the people and characters I read about. I suppose I write because I hope my work will do the same for others. But more simply, I write because I can’t seem to help myself. Ideas, characters, stories just appear in my mind as I go about my business of life and I have to write them down. I see people and things out in the world, and my empathetic response is to imagine their stories or make up stories for them. I guess it’s part of the way I make sense of what I see.

How does your writing process work?

Something — an image, idea, phrase, comment, remark — resonates with me and gets stuck in a kind of mental feedback loop that grows on every spin through my brain until I’m writing it down. Then I write all over the place, scenes, snippets of dialog, notes, character descriptions, chapters, etc., until I have a big mess, at which time I go through and try to string it all together, cut out what’s not working, and create a credible narrative arc. Then it’s edit, edit, edit for clarity, vivid scenes, crisp dialog, flow and all those other things that writers care about to give readers a memorable experience.

Laurie SavilleVisit Laurel’s website here!

Laurel Saville is an award-winning author of numerous books, articles, essays, and short fiction. Her work has appeared in the LA Times Magazine, The Bark,, The Bennington Review, Ellipses, House Beautiful, POL/Oxygen, Room, Seven Days, and other publications. She holds an MFA from The Bennington Writer’s Seminars and lives and writes near Seattle. She is also a corporate communications consultant, and has taught at the College of St. Rose and Western Connecticut State University.

Her memoir of her mother’s colorful life in the midst of LA’s arts and hippie heyday and her tragic decline to a murdered street person, Unraveling Anne, won the memoir category of the Indie Book Awards and was a runner-up to the Grand Prize winner at the Hollywood Book Festival.

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