Friday, March 19, 2010

Some Q&A About Me and My Writing

WriterKristy over at A Romantic Enters the World did this survey, and I loved her answers so much, I thought I’d do one of my own. So here’s a little about me and my writing history.

1) What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

I just finished MIRRORPASS about a month ago, but I think the last thing I wrote was a chapter in a time travel story which is still percolating.

UPDATE: I lie. The most recent thing I wrote is a scene for MIRRORPASS that got lost somehow during the first draft, to my everlasting regret and frustration. And I finally rewrote it! Go me!

First two things I ever wrote were a hymn-style poem and a short story about a girl and her puppy. I kept them both, for school records. Now they make me smile.

2) Write poetry?

Occasionally I will, but it’s not something I was ever good at. Maybe good isn’t the right word—I never seemed to write “correct” poetry. I simply don’t understand the kind that seems to get published. So I write my own form, and whether it’s good or not, who can say? J

3) Angsty poetry?

Yes. I used to try and express the issues of my home life in a way that was both serious and poignant…and well…it was really just angst.

4) Favorite genre of writing?

Speculative fiction for young adults. Fiction is, you know, the bomb. The speculative part can be confusing—I don’t mean SF and fantasy; I mean contemporary fiction with a SF twist. And I love it to bits.

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

You know what? I don’t think I’ve ever written a truly annoying character, unless they were a villain, in which case they were annoying just because they were badguys. But there was this one lady in a novel I wrote about a runaway, who was a kind of secondary villain; she kept popping up in annoying places and saying annoying things, and basically twisting kinks in the otherwise simple goals of my protag. They hated each other. It was great.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?

That’s a hard one. My favorite plot used to be for a story called THE MESSENGERS, where a girl inherits one of five rings that allow her to stop time. She discovers that there’s a terrible disease about to ravage the earth, but the original owners of the ring are waiting to be summoned through time to come save humanity by the five ring-bearers.

It was a very complicated plot. I loved it to pieces. Now, though, I’d have to say MIRRORPASS has my favorite plot. It’s such an intense ride. You never know how things are going to turn out, which I love.

7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

I’m having trouble answering this one. I know I’ve created twists before, tons of them, but I can’t think of one that sounds good out of context. Here’s the weirdest, best one I can think of: a young creature trying to understand it’s identity discovers that not only is it human, but it will one day grow up to become the scientist who created it. (That’s courtesy of SHATTERBOX)

8 ) How often do you get writer’s block?

True writers block, when I can’t write and I can’t figure out why, doesn’t happen to me often. Usually it’s when I’ve been pushing things too hard or don’t know my story well enough. But I often get tired of writing, and give myself lots of downtime to brainstorm and recharge. I used to be quite a taskmaster and I had to make myself take these breaks.

9) Write fan fiction?

I used to, some. I think if I ever wrote fanfiction again it would be for those movies that were so cool, but just didn’t explore things like I’d hoped—like Starman, Waterworld, Next. Or TV shows! How I would love to change TV shows.

10) Do you type or write by hand?

Funny story. I used to write a lot by hand. I typed chicken-peck, and thought it was the slowest thing in the world. But I’ve always held a pencil wrong so my hand would cramp up after a paragraph or two. When I got my first big story idea, I transferred it to the computer after a few pages, and I got so engrossed in the story that I forced myself to learn how to type fast. Nowadays, I never write stories on paper.

11) Do you save everything you write?

A lot. Not everything, but a lot. I have a whole trunk folder for story ideas from three, four years ago, and another trunk folder for all the stories I’ve ever finished. Periodically I go through and delete some of the oldest stuff.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

Yes. Usually, I abandon something because either it didn’t have enough substance to be worth writing, or it had the substance, and I just approached it wrong. So both cases tend to get stuffed back in file bin and are allowed to percolate in case I ever regain interest. One sad thing is I’ve never successfully returned to an old story idea.

13) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

That used to be MEMOIR OF A WEAPON, but now I have to say the honor goes to MIRRORPASS.

14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?

Probably MIRRORPASS, but it’s hard to say. I know a lot of people loved TOUCHING THE BLOOD, and they keep asking about it. Someday...I promise...

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Only one, TOUCHING THE BLOOD, and it’s unfinished. It’s a cosmic love story about two teenagers with the ability to travel between alternate realities, at the loss of their memory. Whole chunks of their relationship keep getting wiped away by the traveling.

This idea keeps going through reincarnations, and one day, I hope to hit on the right combination…

16) What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

For a long time, I had this fetish with placing my stories in DC. But I don’t really have a favorite setting now, unless hospitals/labs/government holding facilities count as a setting…

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Well, I’m slowly doing MIRRORPASS edits. Other than that, I have no projects at all.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

A couple minor contests. Never really won a reward. I got nominated for an award, though.

19) What are your five favorite words?

Echolocation, tendrils, opalescent, lichen, cacophony.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Clara, from MEMOIR OF A WEAPON. She’s kind of like a snapshot of myself at fifteen; a bit awkward, unsure of herself, a loner at school, feeling at odds with her family. She was pretty normal. When things got rough, though, she was very loyal and resourceful and could keep going when other people gave up.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

Usually, my characters come linked at birth to a premise. What if humanity became immortal and hated it—and one mortal girl had a chance to change things? What if a boy had seizures that were actually trips through time? I immediately have a kind of core idea about who the character is based on what I think the story will be like.

The only character I ever based off a real person was Meredith, this woman inspired by my grandmother. My grandma is The Cool Grandma. In the story, Meredith is a rough-spoken old widow (not like my grandma at all!) but she has this knowingness, this understanding, that my grandma has. Meredith is one of my favorite supporting characters ever.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

All the time! I have this habit of continuing dreams I liked by brainstorming the rest of the story after I wake up. This leads to a lot of neat premises. Half my stories probably came from dreams this way. TOUCHING THE BLOOD did. Early inspiration for MIRRORPASS did. MEMOIR OF A WEAPON definitely did.

23) Do you favor happy endings?

In novels, yes. In short stories…well, for some reason, my short stories always seem to kill the MC’s. I have no idea why, because I passionately hate a bad ending. I do everything I can in my novels to make the ending as powerful and triumphant and climactic as I can, and they always end happy. Except in my short stories. Where people die. Sorry!

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yeah, but it doesn’t get in my way as much as it used to. I write in these whirlwinds, trying to get everything as clean as in that moment when I pound out the sentence. I like clean first drafts, but I don’t nit-pick over every word.

25) Does music help you write?

Sometimes, like when the music really inspires the scene I’m writing. I’ll create a spontaneous soundtrack and play it in a loop for two hours. But otherwise, I can’t listen to music while writing. Instead I make soundtracks and listen to them while I brainstorm. When the soundtrack starts to fill up, I know I’m getting a handle on my story.

26) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in your head.

I’m not going to lie, nothing popped in my head for a long time. But here was my best try at a spontaneous pick, from MIRRORPASS:

Aria lay on the recliner. It was night somewhere. Headlights touched the pale wallpaper, then dipped toward the corner, silently flickering away. The rented room was already familiar to her, with it’s shadows and dust motes, pale striped walls, blank entertainment hub.

This was the third room. The third day. Samma carried her in when the world was still dark. He carried her out when the night crept through her tears. Aria didn’t care, didn’t talk, didn’t think. She slept. The pillow was wet in her dreams, and her soul was heavy, like a stone. She couldn’t get away from it. She couldn’t…get away.

What about you, oh awesome readers? Let me hear your responses to these questions!

Truly and always,

-Creative A

1 comment:

Jen said...

It was awesome getting to know you a little better!!!

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