In the mind of a Writer

Archive for November, 2009

My Writing Style Questionaire

My Writing Style

Questions snagged from Faye L. Booth

1. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter?” I try to be a plotter. I usually find guiding my stories so much easier if I write outlines and I plot it. There are times where I just free write and see what comes up. So I would have to say 95% of the time I have some kind of character profile or outline. However I would free write poetry and short stories. As I write, create, and then rewrite: I have noticed my stories usually take a life of their own, and twists naturally develop.

2. Detailed character sketches or “their character will be revealed to me as I write”? 90% of the time I have a character sketch for many of my characters. However if I am just free writing, then I just allow the character to develop on their own. I also feel when the plot twists we get to see how the character reacts to the conflict and such and that also explains a lot of the character.
I have been told I can read some people very easily—I sometimes watch people—watch people interacting, to see and hear their reaction—it help makes my character seem more real.

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? When I write things, ideas, outlines, and notes on characters, I know that some things are going to happen in end, but not everything. For example: Joe and Kelly walked into the eerie cemetery, but I might add that they rushed out, because they saw what they thought was a ghost. Later I might add that they were brave, because they were dared to go into the cemetery in the first place or that they were ghost haunting. (I believe you can learn even more with extra sentence or two with the character that I might not even have mention about them in their sketches or outlines. . .) In reality the orb they saw was really a head light.
I usually know the main idea, but details usually come when I write the story itself. I really discover more of my characters even after I finish the story. . . If I write correctly, my characters really come alive.

4. Books on plotting – useful or harmful?
I see the world like a buffet of information and inspiration: I take things a little at a time, try it and see if I like it or if it works for me. When I find a book like “Write your first draft in 30 Days” I’ll look through it and see what works for me and what doesn’t. I try to research all options very openly as these authors might only write nonfiction as I understand there is a difference writing fiction vs. non fiction. I take what I can as I realize those books are really a dime a dozen.

5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work? I procrastinate and can easily get distracted so there are time where I have to force myself to sit down and write. However if I am inspired or so many idea stuffed in my little mind there also times where you cannot get me to stop writing.

6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time? I can write for minutes, hours, and even days if I am truly inspired enough. There are always new ideas and theme floating in my head just waiting for that great moment to come out. There are times when I write for many days straight and then I get completely burnt out. I need to figure out a solution where I am write so much every day, so I can productive everyday and not just on the days that I write.

7. Are you a morning or afternoon writer? I am more of a very late evening, very early morning writer. My best time for writing is between 10pm to 4am or 5am depends on the day. That is usually when I gain true inspiration, especially with working on my writings of paranormal and the occult. I usually sleep from 5am to 11am or noon, and from noon to 6 is my errand time. . . grocery shopping, e-mail check, paying bills, regular shopping etc, and 6pm to 8pm I work on dinner, enjoy TV etc and then I settle down and work on reading, writing and catching on the Internet after 8pm. I know those who have a job are probably jealous. . . I have had problems with dealing with people after college for some reason so this schedule still allows me to be a little social and still get stuff done.

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? I have to have some kind of noise or music in the background, even if it is just a boring TV show. I can write anywhere, except I don’t write much in the library, because I think it is too quiet. I write the best in the middle of noise, chaos, and stress. It is hard for me to focus when all I heard is silence. (I don’t even sleep in silence that well.)
I love to write in the middle of chaos or stress as many times writing is a release and an escape. It allows me to create my own world where anything goes (I can so to speak “play god” as I release my reality sometimes on my world of writing.

9. Computer or longhand? (Or typewriter?) 90% of the time I write everything out longhand, and 75% of my longhand is written in a cursive writing that only I can really read which is good, because it would be hard to steal my ideas. I usually write in longhand and then type it up on the computer. It was the way I was taught in school. I will add more detail as I type it up, and then I will edit several times over. . . However many short stories and poems are written directly on the computer.
I like writing longhand as I can take a pen and notebook anywhere with me and I write my ideas the moment that I get them. The other thing is my brain works too fast for me to get the idea out with a typewriter or computer, the fast things I have is a pen. The only thing I worry about is arthritis or carpal tunnel.

10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One? 7 times out of 10 I know what will happen in the end before I even touch chapter one. Some stories I even start with the middle and work my way to both the beginning and the end. I usually outline my longer stories so I usually know the basic idea on how it will end. The thing is endings are always the trickiest thing to me: I have the hardest time ending my writings. It is difficult for me to say “good bye” whether it be to another human or to my writings. The thing is I usually know the basic idea of how I want a story to end: it just taking the step and ending it.

11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?
I really do not feel what is selling in the market inspire or influence me in any way. I am not a person who keeps up with trends: I cannot afford to keep up with the changing fads. I will admit I am writing a vampire series, but that is not because “Twilight “ is out and all over the media. (Actually I am not into the books, movies or anything that is even trying to grab a fast buck with the wannabe childish vampire crap. Vampires suck blood: they are dark, seductive, and malevolence: not dancing in the sun, sparkling. They can also have sex in many of the stories . . . the older vampires can be in the sun, but that is only because they are the “ancients.”) I was working on my books and storyline and idea before I even knew that the movies were coming out. I also never even heard of the books until the movies came out. The authors and creators that influence me are Stephen King (but I am less wordy); Anne Rice (I like her older works); Agentha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Edgar Allen Poe.

12. Editing – love it or hate it? I love the creating process, but I hate the editing process. I understand you need to edit your story, but reading your story and looking for errors gets very boring to me. It is also very hard for me to catch my own errors as I usually know what I am talking about. . . I know my story, so when I am reading I am skip over something, because I think is right in my head. When I editing my own work I can be very frustrated and indecisive, because I am not sure what to cut or add. I am not always sure if I go overboard in scenes or if I am not adding enough to conflict.
However I do agree with Stephen King when he said “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right — as right as you can, anyway — it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.” Basically you write version A (draft one) for yourself and Version B (Draft 2) for everyone else. . . I always believe that version A is different that version B or you didn’t edit at all.

Bonus questions: I either was asked these questions or I heard them somewhere.

13. Why do you want to write?
I have always been a storyteller. I even believe that in a past live I was traveling with the gypsies telling stories at every bon fire. I even used to tell my younger brother stories, and even know they still want to hear my stories as they are getting bigger than me.
I have been writing for over 10 years: short stories, poetry, scripts and now I am working on novels, and I feel each has a piece of me in them. I want to give the world pieces of me. I would entertain the world with my words. I would to write the words that other people cannot figure out for themselves.
There is just something about creating your own world and characters with your words. . . I love expressing my world, and conflicts in my stories. . . I feel like an artist with words. . . I also love expressing myself in my poetry. . . I love the idea of creating my own world, universes and characters to share with the world.

14. Do you want to publish your work? Why? I want to publish my works, my wiring, because I want to share my written expression with the word. I want to the world to escape their lives for while and get pulled into my worlds. I want them to laugh and cry with characters they feel they can relate to. I want to inspire people to want to pick up a book and turn a page just to see what was next.
I think reality is boring. Please do not get wrong, I love my family and friends, and there support. . . As humans we live each day as we go to work, come home do our chores, and maybe have some fun on the weekends and vacations . . . it is always the same hoping to do something bigger and better. Writing my books is creating a world that is bigger and better . . . in my world anything could happen: maybe elephant talk, maybe we fly, maybe we are living in a bubble or on a cloud . . . who knows all is possible.

15. Do like to write alone or do you like to work with other? Why? I really do not work will others, and I very protective of my ideas. Aaron Sorkin said “Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.” I do not want other stealing my ideas when I feel so confident in them. There are ideas when I am brainstorming with others that I will freely give away. (However if I ever give you an idea, please just give me enough credit that I helped you out. . . I don’t usually ask for money just acknowledgement.)
I will admit I gain inspiration from everything and everywhere.
However when it actually comes to the actually story writing I usually work alone. If I am stuck or unconfident about my work I will ask my mom, boyfriend or another trusted friends for help and advice. The thing is sometimes other people working with me on my big project will distort my worlds and characters I create especially if we do not see eye to eye. It also sometimes hard for me to read someone else’s work while working on mine as I sometimes mesh their style into my own and again it becomes distorted. (This is usually only during the creating process.)
The thing is when I am editing the process is completely different. I get my version A copy-righted and get as much help as I can get. . . (Note: there is a really cheap and easy way to keep a simplified way to copy-right work. You’ll have to message me for it.)