Interviewing Myself about Writing

The kids are playing with a friend right now, and I’m writing at her table, but I’m a little psyc’d out about writing on my novel just now.

Because I’m so close to the end? Because this is the more baseless section I’m having to create from scratch?

Whatever the reason, I’ve told myself I’ll be able to do it in my next “real” writing session, in my normal writing-space, with my peach white tea and the kids asleep. Everything seems to work then; my brain’s just used to that drill.

For the balance, while I have time to write meaningless ramble, here’s a meme that no one would ever ask me to do, but is entertaining for me. And, as I keep pointing out, that’s what this blog is for.

The Writer’s Meme

What’s the last thing you wrote?
The beginning of Chapter 15 of The Lindorm and his Lady (that title’s sort of a take-off on Beauty and the Beast is that weird?). My beginnings in these later sections have been discouragingly slow, but I remind myself just getting it down is the first step.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have? A piece I “worked on” while in 5th or 6th grade and actually typed up the beginning of in 8th grade. No digital copy, just a print-out of “No Puppies Aloud.” Yes, I noticed the mis-spelling before submitting it to my teacher, but I didn’t change it because I thought it would be clever to keep it this way– since part of the reason no dogs were allowed was their noise.

Can’t remember what my teacher thought.

Favorite genre of writing? Fantasy. Less initial research required. Doesn’t stay that way, of course, but it doesn’t get in the way of writing the way is does in, say, non-fiction.

Most fun character you ever wrote? I don’t know about most fun, but I’m really enjoying Runa, who’s a totally cerebral person—very Spock-ish to the point that the “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” line is actually true of her.

Most annoying character you ever wrote? Cecillia in L&L before I matured her a little to make her less ditzy/oblivious.

Best plot you ever wrote?
So far my plots come from folk tales, so I can’t feel like I created any of them.

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote? Absolutely the one where the captain of the guard risks his life and reputation to rescue his queen and finds out it was his sweetheart he saved.

How often do you get writer’s block? Less than I’ve heard other people talk about it.

Maybe that’s because I write less. Or up till now I’ve had so many things to write about there was always something I could make word-count on.

Now that my focus in narrowing (coming to the end) I am finding harder to write what I’m “supposed” to write about.

How do you fix it? Resign myself to a crappy first-draft, change POV, and/or set an appointment with “the perfect environment” at least once.

Write fan fiction? Nope.

Do you type or write by hand? I prefer word-processing because I am constantly switching things around. I did a lot by hand the week Jay kept the computers put away. Still haven’t finished transcribing/integrating what I created then. ( Hmmm, I should go back and see how it was…)

Essentially handwriting is like a rehearsal for telling a story. I do it as if it were real, then keep what I like and mature the rest.

Do you save everything you write? Pretty much. Even the stuff I find doesn’t fit my novel I put it a “Cut-bits” document.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Just being the kind of person I am (a floater of sorts) I’m never convinced I have “left something behind.” So when I return to it I can’t know if I abandoned it in the first place.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written? It depends how I feel when I’m working.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will? Spy, action/adventure. I write that hoping to eat these words, really, because I have a fabulous idea for a great series, but it’s a genre that (seems to) require so much planning that I’m not sure I could pull it off.

How many writing projects are you working on right now? Actively, two: this blog and The Lindorm and his Lady. “Subconsciously” the rest of the L&L story, my Shadow Swan novel, and a couple folktale-based picture books.

What are your five favorite words? Clear Expectations.  Assume The Best.

Only the most practical way to keep the peace.

What character that you’ve written most resembles you? I think it’s impossible not to have some of me in every character, so I’ll say the three main ladies of L&L spread many of my quirks among them: Runa, Linnea and Princess Cecillia.  I won’t outline how.  Be nice if you read the book.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Shadow Swan grew almost wholly out of a scene from a dream I had in the summer of ’05. I was able to write at once after waking and It’s barely changed; still titled chapter 1– though it’s in the middle of the manuscript now– and feels very dream-like.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Yes, but if I’m on a roll and my v-button skips (something that’s been happening more and more lately) or some other thing goes wrong, I usually don’t know because I stare through my hands as I write.

Does music help you write? Yes. I have playlists on YouTube for each of my major characters. If you look/listen,don’t read into the videos at all; I just grabbed songs as I discovered them.

How do people react when they find out you write? Some think it’s only natural, while other seem to be (silently) begging, Please don’t tell me more than I want to know.

Quote something you’ve written. The first thing to pop into your mind. This I almost included earlier when I mentioned the scene I wrote from a dream.

Sherizalli swallowed hard as she stepped into the dimming courtyard. She could feel someone behind her in the growing darkness, and wished she knew why she had come. There were two tall pillars on the far end of the enclosed space, and she thought she could see something shadowy moving between them. Or was it just beyond them?

She crouched in the gloom, putting a hand out to steady herself, and squinted toward the shape. It was some kind of four legged animal. With hooves. She could just barely hear the infrequent clops on the stone paved floor.

The presence behind her moved slowly, uncertainly. She felt the hem of a long robe skim the hand that supported her, and she sucked in a breath, willing herself not to cry out. The soft fabric brushed by, and Sherizalli felt as though a viper had passed. She saw the outline stepping down shallow stairs she had not yet noticed.

This entry was posted in Writing.

4 thoughts on “Interviewing Myself about Writing

  1. I love the idea of playlists for each individual character! For Stand-In Groom, it was pretty much the same for both Anne and George, because they listened to the same kind of music and had the same singer as their favorite. But now I’m writing two characters who like different kinds of music–she likes Jazz and Blues, he likes Southern Gospel/Barbershop and classic Country. Great idea! I’ll have to steal it and work on some playlists for both of them.

  2. LOTS of Backstreet Boys on those playlists, Amy. Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely and Shape of My Heart are great songs though, so I can’t complain too much. Their latest cd was surprisingly solid as well, I just don’t really care for the majority of their really old stuff.

    Your final excerpt is one of the most interesting I’ve come across jumping from blog to blog on these things. I might just have a thing for mysterious animals though, and I’m guessing the majority of that story isn’t actually about that. It’s a neat mood regardless.

    I must admit that Sherizalli is a really odd character name, but that’s coming from a guy who exerts an unbelievable amount of laziness in character naming until I have a particular reason or motivation to name the characters something unique (otherwise, first male is always John, first female is always Rachel and similarly common names follow). Is there some history to that name Sherizalli? It sounds made up or compacted from various words.

  3. Don’t know much about current BSB stuff, but only the poor saps have BSB songs.

    That was mean. Only the fellows who actually go through what the songs sing about have the songs in their lists. It’s a reasonable clue that things will not go well for those with BSB songs…

    Sherizalli comes from a mis-hearing of Scheherazade in the Genie’s song in Disney’s Aladdin. I liked it enough to use it on a new doll when I was 13, so I never forgot it; then it was perfect for my psedo-Arabian princess in this story. (Shadow Swan is based on a Russian epic poem meeting Arabian Nights.)

    The mysterious animal is actually a key plot-point, but you’re right that it doesn’t last long.

    Sherizalli can change into a swan. Absolutely the coolest. The rest of this segment (the part I wrote right after the dream) details how.

    I have to not think about it too much when I’m at a sticking point on my current work, because I could get sucked over instead of staying focused (and I’m so close!).

  4. I agree about returning to things “abandoned” – I don’t think I ever abandon a writing idea entirely. Somewhere in my mind I have every intention of finishing almost everything I’ve ever started, even if I haven’t worked on it in a while.

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