A gathering place for readers, writers, and other advocates for a more just world

“The author Marta Merajver-Kurlat http://www.martamerajver.com.ar/marta/index.php/blogroll), author of Just Toss the Ashes and Living with Stress among others, invited me to participate in this blog hop tour and answer these four questions about my writing process.”


What am I working on?

 I am writing a sequel to my first novel, Pieces of You, which will be set exclusively in the future; whereas, Pieces’ protagonist, Mark, time-traveled from past experiences to the near future to the beyond. The title of my new novel, Battle of Jericho 2035, gives ample detail about the  plot. Using the example of how Joshua and his army won the battle of Jericho in a Biblical story, they did not knock the wars of the city down by force. They just marched around it (as commanded by God) and the walls fell flat on the seventh day, after  the 13th march.

In my Battle novel, the masses of people on Earth are controlled by a world council of super rich led by the leadership of one bank, nicknamed CandyLand. The people’s rations have been cut to the level of near starvation due to a malfunctioning space elevator. CandyLand’s director has ties to an unscrupulous group, while insurgents among the people are linked to Mark and his team of supernatural beings. There is sacrificial love as in the first novel, but the actors are not the same and the decisions could affect millions, not just Mark’s loved ones.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

It’s easier forstanding on a book me to offer similarities. I’d like to think my current work has some things in common with C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, especially the first book, Out of the Silent Planet.  As one of that book’s reviewers stated, “The most compelling points are the simple conclusions Lewis comes to about human nature and the corrupt world we live in.”

Science fiction is defined by readwritethink.org (a website that offers teaching resources) as “often about technology of the future detailing partially true theories of science. (If  it bends to the  unbelievable, it is labeled fantasy). The plot creates situations different from those of both the present day and the known past. Science fiction texts also include a human element, explaining what effect new discoveries, happenings and scientific developments will have on us in the future.” My story fits this criteria but injects social justice issues, typical of some but not all SciFi writers.


        3)            Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always loved science fiction best, maybe because it demands a creative flair, and maybe because it manifests possibilities within our impossible dreams.

I do believe it’s possible to write into being a different world, at least from the perspective that we can envision what it will look and act like. My hope is that my narratives will inspire readers to join with other dreamers and together become the architects of at least the foundations of this new world.

 Although I can’t explain why, I don’t believe I could ever write strictly to entertain. And although nonfiction—especially business and academic writing—has been my domain for most of my life,  those genres aren’t appropriate for my current writing goals. People read non-fiction to learn more of what interests them, not to have their beliefs and prejudices disturbed. While reading fiction, we absorb new information but in a more subtle and very effective way, by imagining ourselves there.

How does your writing process work?

 Not very effectively! Many of my colleagues have formulas that others applaud and often try to replicate. You won’t get that from me… I’m still working on “finding my voice,” on finding that place within myself where confidence, creativity, and competence merge.

 I don’t write regularly, in fact I seem to subconsciously (or deliberately) restrain the  urge to write. Some of that is my fear of failure—while acknowledging that not trying is a certain path to failure. The rest I chalk up to perfectionism. A former communications professor said something that has stayed with me all these years. It succinctly describes the problem with perfectionism: “you cannot be a participant and observer, too.” Too often I choose the observer role and then wonder why I can’t loosen control over my thinking to let in the light (of insight).

 I’m still searching for that precious place about which a Zen master told Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones: “If you go deep enough in writing, it will take you everyplace.” So instead of telling you how my writing process works, I will state unequivocally how I know my writing process should (maybe will?) work—actually it’s taken from Natalie—“..and though death is howling at our backs and life is roaring at our faces, we can just begin to write, simply begin to write what we have to say.”


Joyce’s first novel, completed in August of 2012, was a response to a loss that made her ask some deep questions. Pieces of You, about a mystical journey that will make the protagonist capable of the sacrifice love asks of him, is available through amazon.com. Her author page: http://www.amazon.com/Joyce-Elferdink/e/B008ZTCRUY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0  includes a book trailer. A sequel will be published later this year.*     

I am inviting Lori Foroozandeh to join our Blog Hop Tour next week. Information about her horrendous experiences in an Iranian POW camp as told in her book can be found here:

http://www.loris-song.com/ (WEBSITE)
http://lorissong.com/ (BLOG)
https://twitter.com/Loris_Song (TWITTER)
https://www.facebook.com/lforoozandeh#!/lforoozandeh (FB)
http://www.amazon.com/Lori-Foroozandeh/e/B002NSC2DU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 (AMAZON)

Comments on: "My Writing Process: a stop on a blog hop tour" (19)

  1. Joyce you did an awesome job and I look forward to the handing off of the torch on Sunday 🙂 I’ve shared this with every site I could except facebook which I’m having problems with. Thank you again.


    • Dear Lori,

      I’m sure you’ll find this blog hop tour as revitalizing and rewarding as I have! Evidently, colleagues who leave comments are the best kind of people!

      I look forward to reading (and sharing) your answers.


  2. Reblogged this on Lori's Song and commented:
    This is Joyce who is doing a BLOG HOP TOUR, if anyone would like to be involved let us know. I will post my answers on Sunday 🙂


  3. Joyce, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your writing process. You are talented much success is in your future.


    • Thank you, Cynthia! I’ll take your prediction as one of those fortunes in the Chinese cookies, the kind that don’t sound universal. (Even though I don’t adhere to astrology, I figure our Maker can speak through papers in cookies and certainly through talented peers!) Blessings on your published storytelling and those to come!


  4. Yes. Just yes. I understand the procrastination and the desire to tell a story that explores other realities that have solved many of the problems our world faces. Keep at it. We want to read your next.


    • Dear Delinda, I hope you’ll give some honest feedback when I start sharing chapters. It’s so much more useful coming from those of you who understand the intent and also feel the pressure that comes with attempting to fulfill our purpose. Kudos to you for doing just that!


  5. Thanks for the inside peek at the real Joyce! Those of us who know your writing have no doubt that you are one talented lady. I was anxious to read this interview to hear what you had to say and you did not disappoint. You may be humble and perhaps even modest, but that does not detract one iota from your immense talent and the perfectionism you strive for and ultmately achieve.


    • I’m speechless! Since I couldn’t think of anything to say for the interview other than the truth, I was forced to resort to others more qualified to give direction on the process (like Natalie Goldberg). Thank you VERY much for being satisfied with exploration and honesty!


  6. Thanks, Joyce, for your insight into what makes you as a writer tick. The Blog Hop has been very helpful as each writer reveals his or her writing process. It amazes me how different and yet the same we are in how we move our ideas from thought to finished writing. In the middle of reading your book, going as slowly as I can to prolong the pleasure, I can see how excellent an author you are!


    • Sal, your description of the reading process (for my book) has stolen my heart!

      It is a gift of more than words when colleagues (who are in some ways competition) are as supportive as you and others in this group. As is often written, writing can be a lonely process, filled with the terrors of the dark, with insecurity and sacrifice; therefore, a kindred spirit delivering a kind word is a gift sweeter than wine (even sweeter than my favorite dark chocolate salted caramels!). Bless you!


  7. Joyce…

    I know all too well the fear of failure you speak of. I think it is more prevalent and in your face, when writing from your imagination, rather than your memories. At least that is my current experience. Perfectionism is great once the end product is completed, but can be crippling when moving through the writing process.
    You have a voice and a talent with words. You just need to stop and listen to it…



    • Dear Sister Taylor, I fully agree that imaginative writing is more risky in some ways (although you took a huge risk in writing of your true experience with sexual abuse). It’s somehow easier to deal with these issues–whether perfectionism or even abuse–when others understand. Thank you!


  8. Thank you, Joyce. As a fellow writer of speculative fiction, I found this particularly interesting. My own belief is that the technology of the future, though entertaining to read and write about, is not especially important: what matters is what we do with it; and that is true in the present and was also true in the past. I wonder, Joyce, are you optimistic about the future?


    • Dear Bryan, you asked a thoughtful question (I love to ask those, too, but find them a little more challenging to answer). I believe the direction of the U.S. economy will continue with fewer and fewer people controlling more and more of the resources. We, the people, have allowed this transition for too long by our limited engagement in the political process. But I require hope, and my hope is that some triggering event will bring enough people together to bring about more just systems. (That is also the premise of my next book.)

      What gives you, Bryan and others, an optimistic (or not) outlook for the next 20 to 30 years?


  9. Joyce, I love what you have to say about fiction writing having the ability to challenge people’s belief system without being offensive. Like film, fiction books allow people to step into other people’s shoes without having to keep them. As a non-fiction writer with a message, I have thought of trying a fiction piece for that reason and you have inspired me.

    I too will be looking for your sequel to “Pieces of You”. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.


    • Martha, hooray for you for considering another writing format that may achieve your goals! It has not been easy to move from the perfection required in a more business or academic style to the mimicking of real life dialogue expected in fiction, but anything done for the right reasons will succeed…eventually. I promise to read and give you an honest review when your fiction is published.


  10. Dear Joyce, it’s great news to learn that you’re working on the sequel to Pieces of You, an excellent and original novel that is a pleasure to read. Your straightforward way of talking about your writing process should be a lesson to many. It is the writer who is totally honest with herself and makes no bones about it that will achieve perfect honesty in her writing. And what we most want, I guess, is to be believed. Thank you for an exciting tour into your approach to writing!


    • Very dear Marta, When a person as honest and gifted as you says nice things about my writing, I savor the compliments–and take them seriously. I guess that is a good analogy to authors being honest in their writing; the trust it produces makes readers more likely to take the message seriously, maybe even savor its effect on themselves.


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