Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Writer's MeMe

Picked this up from Liana Brooks. I'm Neutral Good, Liana, but I still don't feel guilty stealing this.

What’s the last thing you wrote?
A supernatural romance novella called Dark Waters about some angry merfolk going to war over the overfishing and polluting of the oceans.

Was it any good?
How can you ask me that? I'm a writer. One second I think it's genius and the next I think it's crap.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
Hmmm. It would take some digging but I still have a short story about horses that I wrote in second grade. I looooooove me some horse fiction.

Write poetry?
Not often, and then only 'doggerel verse' because it entertains me. I'm related to some honest-to-God poets (published, etc.) so it's possible there is an overexposure issue involved here.

Angsty poetry?
Once in a blue moon. So I guess maybe I'm due come New Year's Eve...

Favorite genre of writing?
Speculative fiction. Space ships, creatures of the night, talking swords - love it all.

Most fun character you ever wrote?
Fun for you or fun for me? The crowd favorite is probably Captain Dave Paris, the brilliant but irresponsible leader of the Strange Crew.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?
Mark the Markanian. But he was written to be the most annoying creature in the galaxy.

How often do you get writer’s block?
All. The. Time.

How do you fix it?
Just write something because, as the saying goes, you can fix a crappy page. You can't fix a blank page.

Write fan fiction?
Used to, specifically Star Trek. Threatened to write some Colbert Fan Fiction on my personal blog and am still the #2 Google hit for that search term (used to be #1). Since about 25% of the hits on my blog are for "Ghost Hunters fan fiction" I suppose I should get around to writing some (all I've done is question why anyone would want to read any of it). To me fanfic is harmless entertainment.

Do you type or write by hand?
Mostly type these days, but probably do more longhand than most. I keep notebooks everywhere and might just write up a plot outline or end up writing out pages of scenes and dialog because the notebook was handy when I had the idea. Seriously. Notebooks. Everywhere.

Do you save everything you write?
Yes. I save lots of other things, too.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Yes. Nothing is ever dead. Although some things are undead.

What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written?
The start (first three chapters) to a story about an invalid who creates a virtual reality so that he gets a chance to live before he dies. (Virtuality)

What’s everyone else’s favorite thing that you’ve written?
Probably the USS Bob short stories (aforementioned Star Trek fanfic). They're funny. But people usually like whatever I've got in the hopper. The only complaints are if I haven't finished something.

What’s your favorite setting for your characters?
That sounds like a good question, but it isn't. Depends on the characters, depends on the needs of the story. Hell, depends on my mood. I'm comfortable in the future, in the past, in distant galaxies, in the city, in the country. Whatever. Dark Waters primarily takes place on small boats and in the open ocean. Virtuality includes a scene where the air is Jell-O (the programmers need some way to entertain themselves). So my favorite setting is the one that reveals the characters.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Probably mystery. I love mystery, grew up on Agatha Christie, have an addiction to Michael Connelly's novels, and pretty much soak up all the written and televised mystery and crime fiction I can find. But I just don't think I can write it worth a flip. Otherwise I wouldn't rule anything out.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Five primary, but plenty of other stuff in the hopper.

Do you want to write for a living?
As Newt would say, "Affirmative."

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?
Written? Yes. Been published? Ohhhh... no. Haven't submitted anything in about twenty years though, so it's time to try again.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Nope! Is that required?

Ever written something in script or play format?
Yes, I love screenwriting and playwriting. I'm as happy with a script or play as I am with prose. Don't know why, have always been that way. I blame Oscar Wilde.

What are your five favorite words?
1. Curious
2. Lyrical
3. Avant-garde
4. Novel
5. Sweet

(Subject to change at any moment.)

What character that you’ve written most resembles yourself?
Huh. Well, I've got to be in there somewhere... I would say that all the characters have various aspects. Usually I see thematic similarities rather than a specific resemblence. Oh, duh. One of the characters in the USS Bob stories is based on a teen me. Sort of. That's where I got the Commander part of my name. So, uh, that one. Commander Sue London, First Officer, Science Officer and All Around Fun Chick. Wrote that character before I realized that most science would go right over my head.

Where do you get ideas for your other characters?
They spring from my head fully formed, like Venus.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Sometimes. If anything I write ever disturbs you then I probably dreamed it first. My subconscious is much creepier and more violent than my waking thoughts.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
Wow, interesting question. I want the best ending for the story (yes, it depends!), but I'm usually drawn to happy ending stories. But one of the examples I used here, Virtuality? That's totally a sad ending. So yeah, it depends.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Always, but that doesn't mean it helps.

Does music help you write?
Yes, much more often than it used to. I've started building playlists for different projects and that helps me to switch gears and focus.

Quote something you’ve written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
“I like my scars. They give me a sense of personal history.” ~ Kyzar, The Far Side of Utopia

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank You

Thanksgiving seems like a great time to thank you, the reader, for stopping by and checking out what's posted here. Bless you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day Two!

One thing I've now learned is what a s.l.o.w. writer that I am. We went to a writers workshop today and last night my husband sat down and cranked out about 4,000 words. I have just now managed to wobble over 3,400 on my race to 50,000. Yes, that's right, I've only now crossed the second hurdle. The one I should have been jumping on November 2nd.

Irony? He doesn't really care about being a writer. And before you ask, yes. It was a good 4,000 words.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Yea! Day One!

To get ready for NaNoWriMo I faithfully calculated how many words were necessary to write each day in order to arrive at 50,000 by the end of the month. It's about 1,700. Having finally hit that number it is, by logic, only my first day in NaNoWriMo. Its like starting on a walk and having to say, "No, really, we're going up THAT mountain?"

Oh boy...

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Off to a blazing start with two paragraphs. About one tenth of the target words for the day. November is going to a long month. Will need to request time off from work...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Once More Into the Breach, My Friends: NaNoWriMo 2009

Not particularly well known for finishing writing projects, I have a similar track record with NaNoWriMo. I sign up, I write a few pages, I say, "eh, whatever" and never move forward.


I proclaim to you, my friends, that this year I will write the freaking 50,000 words. I've started plotting and will do the outline soon.

Keep me honest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Score Another One for Art

Remember when I said that although I'm a better writer than artist I've earned more money with art? Last week I volunteered to do face painting at a small (tiny) local carnival and everyone went ga-ga. There were many recommendations that I work the kids party circuit and try to get into fairs. Having checked out the competition online I would say that I'm around the middle of the pack in quality and could definitely improve with practice. The best part was that it was loads of fun. I only did cheek art and probably spent about five to ten minutes on each one. The idea that I could get paid for that entertains me.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Reading (Writing?) Rainbow

Reading Justine Larbalestier's post Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't I have to say... wow. Really? In case you don't feel like clicking on the link, the basic point of the essay is that writers perhaps could/should include more ethnic diversity in their writing but if/when they try to do so they are likely to encounter a response from someone of that ethnic background who thinks they didn't get it right.

I'm not here to say that JL is right or wrong. My only feedback for anyone worried about this topic is - develop a more diverse group of friends and then you will accidentally write diversity. Because at heart all writers always write what they know, and trying to do something else will just make you sound forced. If you don't already have friends of color and varying sexual orientations then, seriously, get out more.

That's not to say that you can't write a character from a wildly different background than your own. But it's a good bet that if you decided to write about oh, say, a kid from northern Russia when you're from northern Virginia (USA), that you would spend a good deal of time researching that background and you would come to love that character. Love in the sense of opening your soul to blend with the information from your research and having it become part of you. Then your character will be pure and you will know it. You will know that you didn't set out to offend anyone (should they get offended), you just told the story that your young hero whispered to you.

My favorite quote from the comments is Karen David's stance that a character's race is "just a strand in their identity." That's just the thing, you see. A strand. Inherent in the design of the cloth. That's what my diverse friends are like. How about yours?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Today's Thought

My enthusiasm has been ground to a fine powder that, when mixed with my tears of despair, is used to caulk the crumbling foundation of our management structure.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Any Excuse

I was going over some of my old performance justifications (that's where I write up how I think I did for the year at work) and they demonstrate that I will use any opportunity for a creative writing exercise. This is an excerpt of what I had to say the year I took over a new team:

A metaphor I would use was that I thought I was going to sail a boat. I prepared to sail a boat - studied my sheets, knew my port from my starboard, knew my spring from my neap tides. I was all ready; even though I knew that part of the challenge was that I would be going into the situation blindfolded. Then I got there and it turned out we weren’t sailing. Blindfolded, I wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into. We were definitely still on land, I could hear a lot of animals around (and it was a little smelly), and the place where I was perched was a bit precarious. I figured out that this wasn’t a sailboat that I could captain, but where was I? Up on a cow pony and we were out herding in the rough country. Well, dang, I know how to do this (maybe not well, but I know the basics). So once I got that figured out everything started to go a lot smoother. I stopped shouting “Cast off!” at the cattle, stopped demanding that the cowboys hoist a mainsheet… basically stopped acting like an inappropriate idiot.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Capitalizing on Talents

If you were to ask me I would say that I was a better writer than artist. But it occurred to me today that of the two it has only been art where I've made real cashy money. Part of it may be that because I don't perceive myself as a real artist I am willing to use what small (really, I mean small) talent I have in whatever capacity it serves me. I've mostly done contract craft and textile work. It's not like I've made a LOT of money from art - certainly I've made much, much more selling my soul to The Man - but I've at least made some.

I find that interesting.

It's arguable that I get money from The Man for my writing (all those white papers...), but I think that we can all agree that business reports are to writing what bathroom stall doodles are to art. Can't we? I hope we can agree to that.

I have other talents. Many of them unknown to me until I accidentally tried them out. Some I make money from and others I don't.

What do you consider to be your talents? Do you use them in your work? Do you make money from them? Are you averse to making money from your greatest talents?

(Cross-posted from TTGSiMH because this is my, uh, writing blog...)