Ask Me Anything! (….About Writing)

As I mentioned last week, there’s a direct correlation between my motivation to write and talking about writing. If I’m not writing, I don’t really feel like talking about it. And if I’m not talking about it, I feel less enthused to write.

Some writers can create perfect novels in total secret, without ever needing to tell a soul, and good on them. Other writers like to tell everyone about that novel they’ve been working on for 15 years, yet they talk more than they actually write! But I’m not the type who talks about writing much in “real life.” Most of my recently made friends probably have no idea I’m a writer at all. I might have thrown into conversation, “I’m working on a novel” once, but that’s about it. And when asked about what I’m writing, I usually just wave my hand and say that it’s some fantasy thing about mythology.

Really, the only support system I have are my friends Alyssa and Greg, my immediate family members, and you guys. Alyssa and Greg are both college students – one of them is even a grad student – so I try not to bother them about my writing too much during their semesters. I seldom talk to my family, and my mom’s side are mostly just cheerleaders who will be excited about anything I do. I can see their eyes glaze when I start to get into the meta stuff.

As much as Dad is weird and I disagree with him a lot, he’s one of the more interesting people to chat about my stories with. If nothing else, he does offer a….different view of things. But Dad is a jettsetter business type who’s always in some different time zone, so he’s not an easy person to get in touch with. I called him last week for his birthday and we talked a bit about Paradisa, and just that one conversation got me jazzed enough to finish a chapter.

I don’t think it’s necessarily the pressure or influence of other people that “encourages” me to get my butt in a chair, but rather the joy I have in revisiting my ideas aloud. I was born from fandom, so I love meta and essays on character and talking about chemistry and shipping and weird details and all that stuff that means LOVE went into a fictional work. Conversing with other people forces me to explain my thought processes, and appreciate what I’ve got brewing. Otherwise, it just sits in the back of my head and…I sometimes forget why I care. Or I could have conversations with myself, which….I do anyway, sometimes, but the mirror doesn’t offer great feedback :P

So, fellow writers, readers, followers – I implore you to ask me anything about writing. It can be about my works in progress, previous work, future work, or just writing in general. Hopefully this will force me to dig up all those ideas and all that potential and all that excitement I have for my stuff, and it’ll offer me a permanent place I can revisit anytime the wheels get stuck ;)

You could also ask me anything about anything on top of that, ha, but I can’t promise you’ll like the answer!

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12 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything! (….About Writing)

  1. I tremendously enjoy your post and topics and yet we work so differently. Until my book released, no one knew I was writing-aside from my husband. He’s not a reader and definitely not the kind I can discuss romance with, so I hadn’t even shared anything with him. Sitting back now, I see the advantages of sharing, in both sparking creativity and also later down the road when it comes to marketing. I’m trying to be more open to this. Thanks again for another great topic!

    • My SO is not much of a reader either. He’s great to bounce ideas off of, but I care too much about our relationship to bog him down with my writing thoughts all the time :P He seemed kind of indifferent to his beta read of Paradisa, so meh. I think I use him more in the planning stages now.

      I understand it can be hard to share. You worry that people will think it’s dumb, or that people think you’re wasting time, or that people think you’re deluded/concieted/whatever for daring to talk about your writing. At least, those are things that I worry about sometimes. I kind of assume that no one really *cares* about my writing unless I already *know* they care, so I don’t want to bore them. But it’s soooo important to have people we CAN rely on, and who DO care. It’s a great motivator, and good for feedback too!

  2. I rarely talk to anyone about my writing. Mostly I do the same thing you do – wave my hand and say something vague. However, I can definitely see the benefits of sharing, and your post has highlighted many of these. Thank you for sharing!

    Here’s my question for you: How much pre-planning goes into your writing? How detailed are your outlines/character sketches?

    • Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog! I like that most of us are writers here and we can relate to each other. I don’t mind putting my thoughts about writing out here, for people to take or leave.

      Fun question! I am a total plotter. I do a lot of planning, but perhaps not as much as you’d suspect.

      I do outline a story FULLY before writing it. Every scene, every chapter. It usually amounts to a 10,000-20,000 word outline. I don’t start until my plot is clean, my three acts line up neatly, and I have an good climax – one where both internal and external plotlines peak at the same time. I also have a good idea of how long the SERIES will be, and where other books will take my characters. I have a detailed idea of what happens in Book 2 of Paradisa, and a loose idea of what happens in Book 3. I know it will be a trilogy, and I know where all my characters will be on the last page of the series.

      But world building and character get less detail in advance. I know who my main players are and how I plan to develop them over the story (their arc). But their voice, little details, and deep history are thrown in later. My protagonist Connor did not get tattoos until this current draft (5) of Paradisa.

      I am also terrible at imagining settings before I visit them in the story. I’ll have a good grasp on the world’s mechanics and mythology, but a terrible idea of the physical aspects/layout. I play a little loose with the mechanics, because I know I’ll need to bend them to fit the story as it unfolds. I’ve had to change a few world-building elements in Paradisa because later drafts wanted to do stuff that the rules of my universe wouldn’t allow. *nod*

      And even though I’m a plotter, and even though I’m working on a fantasy book, I rarely plan for stuff I won’t encounter or need. I won’t write an outline of how the land of Avalon functions in Paradisa – who is the king, how their political structure is organized, etc etc – because my characters never go to Avalon. They meet a person FROM Avalon, but I don’t need to know the entire history of her people in order to build HER. Likewise, I don’t fill out character sheets for my protagonists that ask what their favorite colors, foods, etc are. I only need to know traits that affect how I write them and where I take them.

      I also won’t bother developing an actual language for my non-human characters. I’m not a linguist. I’m not Tolkien. Rather than having someone say “Chych ranga marki!” and then ‘translating,’ I just say they’re “speaking Sancti.”

      Thanks for letting me sound off a bit :P How do you approach the planning process?

      • Thank you for your detailed reply! That’s really helpful, actually. I’m not sure how I approach the planning process… In the past I’d just sit down and start writing, but I never got past the first few chapters that way. Now I’m trying out the snowflake method (see my most recent post) and that’s working a little better so far. I hope that eventually I’ll come up with a solution that works-long term, so I can actually finish a novel.

      • Oh, the Snowflake method! I quite like that too. It’s very similar to what I do naturally. I don’t follow it step by step, but the basic gist of it – starting with a concept and expanding each piece – works well.

        I had a similar struggle when I was younger, about not getting past a few chapters without an outline. I still had that issue the first time I attempted NaNo without an outline. An outline is a great way to get out all that creative energy without worrying about the voice.

    • Heard of it, but I don’t use it! I’ve looked into a few writing programs, and I’ve also downloaded a few free programs/trials, but I just never end up using them. I enjoy Celtix for my film planning, but I use good old fashioned Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and composition books for the writing.

      Still, the discounts we get for NaNo every year do interest me. Maybe I’ll actually try out one of those programs this year. What are some of the benefits of Scrivener to you?

      • I don’t even know where to begin. I guess it’s the ability to have everything there in one file–my scenes, outline, character descriptions, setting descriptions, etc. Plus, it lets you import websites and other research materials along with photographs (e.g., what your characters might look like). And it’s labeling system is great. I can label each scene by the POV character, the setting, etc. Really great program. Everything pertaining to my book all in one place. There’s even a split-screen option so I can be looking at two things at once (e.g., my draft and my outline).

      • Oh, I would LOVE having a split screen with the draft and the outline. That would be the biggest advantage for me. As far as keeping everything in one place, I do occasionally use OneNote to make a sort of “wiki” for my book. But being able to import websites and taking it a few steps further would be nice.

        I’ll check it out!

  3. Reblogged this on Dannie Marsden and commented:
    I totally relate to this. When my SO tells people that I’m a writer, it always throws me. I also find it refreshing to be able to speak to other authors about story-lines and plot-twists. I love the different thoughts about my characters that they see that I forget about. Thanks for reminding me to do this more often!

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