Selena Chambers

Writer. Surrealist grrl.

Baby is a major part--or rather, she makes herself a major part--of my process.

Baby is a major (or rather, she makes herself) part of my process.

My friend J. T. Glover tagged me in a literary meme/chain mail/blog tour thing going around called the Writing Process Blog Tour. I really enjoyed his responses, which can be read here. In it he coins the term “anti-bildungsroman,” discusses his affinity for place in his work, and unpredictability of the writing process over all.  Before I take a stab at it myself, I want to tag New North Country Girl, who is one of my favorite bloggers of all time. I’m looking forward to her take on these questions.

Right, so….

1) What am I working on?

Taking tasting notes for Vintage Scenes #2.

Taking tasting notes for Vintage Scenes #2.

Short stories. Most currently I’ve been working on Vintage Scenes, a series of light vignettes focusing on specific bottles of wine.  I’ve only written two so far, but I am hoping to write one for each issue of MUNGBEING magazine, which is closing its doors next year. The latest, “VINTAGE SCENES #2: 2010 Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Spätlese” takes place in Bavaria and can be tasted here.

I am really enjoying writing these stories. My wonderful editor Mark Givens is giving me free-reign to do whatever I want with each story, as long as it integrates the bi-monthly theme, and it has been refreshing to indulge in and switch through various modes of storytelling outside of my normal weird stuff.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve been at this long enough to respond to a question like this.

Hmmm…well, I first had to ask myself what is my genre? I think there is a common misconception from my involvement with previous Steampunk projects that I only work within that genre, but I think I am mostly a horror girl, or maybe a weirdie. Even my steampunk stories are more Gothic and weird than science fiction or fantasy. I don’t like fetishizing or explaining things away–I like for there to be poetry. I don’t think I am alone in that, so I’m unsure that makes me differ from the genre, but that is what I strive for and so surely that ends up becoming something of a distinctive feature. That, and I mostly write about women and things I find personally scary about womanhood like childbirth and chemicals. I have a few stories in forthcoming anthologies like THE DARKE PHANTASTIQUE and STARRY WISDOM LIBRARY that express that mode more than what is out there currently.

And then there are the Vintage Scenes which have nothing to do with any of the above…so…maybe my work is different because it has serious marketing label commitment issues.

An image from when I was writing "Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley's Frankenstein." Shows how I would cut-up, throw away, and re-arrange my penultimate drafts.

An image from when I was writing “Wandering Spirits: Traveling Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Shows how I would cut-up, throw away, and re-arrange my penultimate drafts.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Why not?

If I am writing about something, it is because it interests me; if it doesn’t, I don’t.

4) How does my writing process work?

Very slowly, with a lot of research and a lot of editing.  In most cases, I end up putting a piece through at least ten drafts, the first few being handwritten, typed, then scribbled all over again, and which makes the prospect of novel-writing kind of terrifying.

My favorite part of my process is where I feel like I have everything down, but perhaps it is not arranged as well or tightly as it should be, and I start cutting the entire thing up into paragraph and sentence-sized puzzle pieces. Everything usually ends up fitting quite well after that.

Thanks, Tzara, Burroughs, and my mom (who actually was the first of the three to teach me about cutting things up, and who finalized her dissertation in this tape and scissors manner) for showing me the way.

2 thoughts on “The Writing Process Blog Tour: Wherein below ye will find a cat, wine, fountain pens, and scissors.

  1. jtglover says:

    So thoughtful, and a really interesting window into what you do. That cut-up photo is great!

    …maybe my work is different because it has serious marketing label commitment issues.

    Testify. Also to the discussion in the previously paragraph about Gothic, horror, and weird. Seeing you say this out loud is fodder for thought. Thank you for writing about your process!

  2. Thank you so much, John! I’m a little worried maybe, like, my slip is showing or something. Thanks, again, for tagging me.

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