Saturday, 26 September 2009

When I'm not Twittering...

The wonderful ”K V Taylor is twiddling her thumbs having finished the first draft of The Resurrectionists and thus evolved the below meme.

1. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter?”
Both. For short stories, I normally go on a wild ride and have no idea where they’re going to end up. A couple of times I’ve known the entire plot before writing the first word, and I’m still not certain which method I prefer. For novels, I try to plot the book out chapter by chapter. I never stick to the plan but at least I feel I have some sort of skeleton. Of course, sometimes boys with freckles turn up in a subsequent draft and I’m left scratching my head.

2. Detailed character sketches or “their character will be revealed to me as I write”?
My character sketches are sketchy. They tend to reveal themselves to me as I write. In this, Cate must improve. I want a play list like Katie has, and the skill of Natalie L. Sin, her characters always jump out from the page.*

*Now there’s a scary thought.


3. Do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing?
I’m ignoring short stories in answer to this because of the whole flying by my pants thing. I know most of my characters goals and motivations before I start working on a book, and I know some of their conflicts. Things change of course, things always change.

4. Books on plotting – useful or harmful?
I’ve only ever read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’. Isn’t that naughty? I should have a whole shelf of plotting books, but I don’t. *A dozen agents/editors put up their hands and say, ‘We noticed’.*

Sometimes, I think all the advice you absorb on the net can be harmful, especially when you hit the editing stage. Don’t get me wrong, my writing has improved 500% since I started interacting with other writers/editors and I hope to continue learning, but I often go into panic mode when I read an editor complaining about grammar/the use of certain words/plotting. I end up trawling back to page one of my current WIP fixing all their dislikes (even though I won’t be submitting the piece to that particular market). Then of course, I pick up a book and find it full of all the things editors would prefer you didn’t do. I suppose I’m trying to say, while I’m grateful for the advice, I need to realise you can’t please all of the editors all of the time. We all have different likes and dislikes.


5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?
Do I really need to answer this question? I’m sure a quick scroll through my blog will reveal I’m a serial procrastinator. I do get that itch though. Normally when it’s impossible for me to do any writing. *Bangs head on desk*. I have to sit my butt down in front of the laptop and make myself write – I do love it (just in case you think it’s some awful chore), but I’m always convinced there’s something more pressing I should be doing – like twittering. I’ve put a note up above my desk that reads…

The person who just got a book deal didn’t spend all day twittering.

I put it up earlier this week and it seems to be inspiring my butt to stay in the chair. Of course, a part of my brain is screaming, ‘Yes they did, I read their tweets’.


6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?
Both. Of a weekend, I normally spend at least one day writing for about four or five hours without any internet interruptions. After that though, my resolve starts to weaken. I’m wearing my carpet out wheeling between the laptop and the PC.

7. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?
Again, both. I don’t have a particular time of day where I’m more committed or creative, I don’t write at night, but that’s because I will have already spent the morning, afternoon, and part of the evening on the computer. Thinking back to question 5 – night time is when I usually get the urge to write. Maybe my day is upside down.

8. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?
Sometimes I need silence, especially when I’m dealing with a tricky scene. I can write with noise in the background though. I write at work and it’s chaos there (note to boss: only when I’ve done all my work and the only other option is to stare into space). I never play music when I’m writing – maybe that’s something I’ll try this weekend.

9. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)
Computer, computer, computer. The words always seem to flow better when I’m staring at a white screen. They look more complete.

10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?
I prefer it when I do. I’ve started too many projects where the end has just fizzled out – I hate that. My current WIP went off plan, but I still managed to keep most of the original ending.

11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?
Nope.

12. Editing – love it or hate it?
Love it until unexpected boys with freckles turn up.

6 comments:

Jamie Eyberg said...

Fantastic post. I love the inner workings of other writers.

Aaron Polson said...

Re #6: Either that, or they landed a book deal with their tweets. (Um, http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/deals/soft_skull_buys_novel_off_twitter_131124.asp)

I'm so doing this when I get home (at the in-laws this weekend.)

K.C. Shaw said...

Wait, did you say you spent FIVE hours without the internet, writing, or did I read that wrong? Five hours without the internet and I think I'd explode.

katey said...

I seriously love the freckled boy. When they are THAT insistent, you know it's going to lead to serious awesome.

...for short stories, I normally go on a wild ride
I've done this once or twice, and I always end up unsure where to send it. But sometimes I come back a few months later and bam. I should try it more often.

I often go into panic mode when I read an editor complaining about grammar/the use of certain words/plotting...
Preach it. Holy god, I do this all the time. The first time it happened I nearly threw away an entire novel-- until someone else read it and said, "Um, this is awesome." Phew.

Maybe my day is upside down.
That would explain a lot. And is also completely awesome.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I forgot about this meme! Now I'm all itchy to do it : )

Cate Gardner said...

Jamie, me too (in a non-bloody way).

Aaron, now that's no help to me at all. ;)

Kate, only on Sunday's.

Katey, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who goes into panic mode.

Natalie, woot!