Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Not Another Meme

I got tagged with another meme again. Ack. In the interest of fair play, and keeping my blog buddies happy, I accept these memes... Doesn't mean I like 'em or anything.

This one came from Liz Fenwick, one of my novel racing buddies. Thanks, Liz. This one looks useful and pertinent. So here goes:

1. Do you outline?
I'm assuming this question refers to pre-writing. (Because when I'm querying, I always have an outline just in case an agent asks for one.) Sometimes I outline and sometimes I don't. My current work - AWJ - is being written without one at the moment, but the farther I get into the story the more I see I'm going to need one.

2. Do you write straight through a book, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?
I write the book straight through. In the words of the Mad Hatter: "Start at the beginning and when you get to the end, stop." When I first read this question, though, I thought of writing straight through vs. writing a bit and then going back to edit before writing some more. I do that sometimes, and other times I write straight through without editing. Depends on the book and the mood.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?
I do a bit of both. I prefer writing it out on the computer, but sometimes when the squirms have me, I need to step away and write longhand. It always shakes out the squirms for me.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?
I prefer writing in third person, but I'm considering breaking loose of my comfort zone and trying a first person novel.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?
Again, this is a sometimes thing. Most often I prefer to have quiet - not always possible but preferable. Sometimes, though, when the scene is especially tense, I like to throw in a tape I made of heavy alternative. Something in the driving beat pushes me forward and gives me an edge.

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?
I never thought about it. I just sit down and think about the names for a while, pick a first name, try to find a last name that flows with it rhythmically, and Voila! they have a name.

7. When you're writing, do you ever imagine your book as a television show or movie?
I'm a child of the TV generation, so my imagination tends to play out like a scene in front of me. I can see my characters and the things they do, but only in a vague sort of way. If you asked me to draw any of them, I'd be hard-pressed to put together exact details, but I know them.

8. Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn't want him/her to do?
I don't think of my characters or my stories in those terms. Whatever they're doing and whoever they are, I must want it that way or it wouldn't happen. I'm the writer, and this isn't a democracy. I could see this happening on an unconscious level, but I try not to let my unconscious run the show.

9. Do you know how a book is going to end when you start it?
In a general way, I always know where I'm going when I start out. The path from the beginning to the end may not always be the one I planned, and I may end up revising my original destination somewhere along the way, but I like to keep the end in mind.

10. Where do you write?
Right here. :wink: Okay, okay. I write at my desk for the most part. Again, unless the squirms have got me, and then I'm over on the couch. On a particularly lovely day, I've written outside on the patio, but it's too distracting out there.

11. What do you do when you get writer's block?
I prefer to think of it as 'the squirms' - a term I read from Ayn Rand in either The Art of Fiction or The Art of Nonfiction. When they come along, I stop what I'm doing and I attack my writing from a different perspective. Sometimes this means a physical break from my usual - I go to the couch and write with a red pen. Sometimes this means a mental break - when I set my WIP aside and write shorts or poems for a while. When it's bad, I stop writing all together and read for a while. If it's really bad, I go play poker until I can't stand myself any more and I have to write before I explode.

12. What size increments do you write in (either in terms of word count, or as a percentage of the book as a whole)?
Depends. I write as long as I need to, and as many words as it takes, when I sit down to work. It varies widely. Sometimes I'll sit here for a couple hours and only manage a few hundred words. Sometimes I get the same couple of hours and crank out a couple thousand. Sometimes I'll do one scene and sometimes I do as many scenes as I have in my head. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how many scenes I have in my head, my hands won't let me type them all up before I end up with two chicken-claw looking things on the end of my arms.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?
My last project? Let's see... That one's not done. Neither is that one. So, if I had to count the number of drafts on my last ABSOLUTELY completed project, I'd have to say eight drafts. And those aren't counting the times I started over, edited while I was writing, or went back to fix something I just changed in the middle of the book (like my supporting character's first name).

14. Have you ever changed a character's name midway through a draft?
See above. I changed three minor characters' names midway through the book. I've never changed a main character's name, though.

15. Do you let anyone read your book while you're working on it, or do you wait until you've completed a draft before letting someone else see it?
No one sees my work until I feel like it's mostly finished. Not just a draft, but the final draft. Then they can look it over as I intended it, and as error-free as possible. Of course, they always manage to find something. ;o)

16. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft?
Not much of anything. I had planned to crack open a bottle of champagne when I finished the first draft of my first book, but *shrug* it never happened. Now, drafts are just drafts. I'll celebrate when I sign a contract to get them published.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?
For new words, only one at a time. I tried writing two WIPs at the same time and about drove myself batty. I usually have a WIP on the burner for during the week, and something to edit on the weekends. Right now, I'm writing a new book, and editing my third book, and re-editing my first book with my critique partner.

18. Do your books grow or shrink in revision?
They grow. When I'm in a groove, I tend to skip over description in dialogue, and whole connecting passages to get from one scene to the next. I have to go back and fill it all in, or it's like my words are fired from a machine-gun.

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?
I have one critique partner and several beta readers. I don't have any writing partners. I don't work well in groups when it comes to anything creative. Too many cooks spoil the soup, if you catch my drift.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?
Forgive my ignorance, but what's the difference?

I'm not tagging anyone else with this, but if you're a writer and you're interested in sharing the answers, have fun. Just don't forget to leave a comment for me, so I can read your responses, too.

1 comment:

liz fenwick said...

Fascinating.....i love the squirms:-)