Thursday, December 17, 2009

26 Things You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask...

I've been tagged by Shannon!

Which basically means that I don't have to come up with a blog topic for today, but instead get to answer a bunch of writing-related questions that you probably don't care about the answers to, but I'm going to pretend like you do anyway.

Here we go!

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote you still have?
I'm going to cheat a bit on this one because I want everyone to read the awesome 12 Days of Christmas (Jessica Darling/Marcus Flutie style) song that my book club friends and I co-wrote today. Admittedly, you won't get it if you haven't read the books, but we thought it was full of win, and since we wrote it today...that's the last thing I wrote, hehe. The last thing that I wrote on my own was a review of a bar called A Taste for Wine.

As far as the first thing I wrote that I still I think I have some of my old journals lying around somewhere, but I've been trying to find them to make some more retroposts and I can't seem to locate them anywhere. I'd love to find my Ortho the Giant story, the first short story I wrote on a computer, which told the tale of a lonely giant who didn't have any friends because he smelled bad, but I'm sure that the only copy I ever had was lost long ago. It's too bad I didn't think about filing all those things away.

2. Write poetry?
No. It would be a disaster if I did. Sometimes I'll write goofy rhymes, but it's not poetry. I wrote songs for awhile, but they were all pretty awful (just like my guitar-playing skills).

3. Angsty poetry?
It's the best kind! But I don't write that, either.

4. Favorite genre of writing?
Does this mean to read or to write? I'm not sure I've landed on a favorite genre to write, but so far the YA thing seems to be working very well for me. I love YA novels, especially fantasy and (the day I realized this I went OMG!) sci-fi (but light sci-fi, like The Hunger Games, not like Star Trek), but I tend to gravitate quite a bit to YA. I think I do best writing what I enjoy reading, because I'm going to have to read the thing so much in revisions that I need to LOVE what I'm writing and be super excited about it, so if I don't write in the genre I love to read, then I'll pretty much be miserable.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?
Easily Isla, from my WIP. This isn't why she's annoying, but she wears coordinating blue eye shadow, lipstick, and nail polish. I just think that speaks to her character.

6. Best plot you've ever created?
Hands down, my WIP. I had to write a summary for my conference in January, and I literally got so excited when I was re-reading the summary that I couldn't wait to read the novel. Now if only I could finish it...

7. Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
Yeah, like I'd give THAT up. Sorry. But I'll gladly give you the names of the agents I'm querying (once I start) so you can write to them and tell them how badly you want my book to get published, then I can talk about the twist. It's no Scabbers, but it's pretty awesome. I also have an idea for another project, which will probably be my next one, which has an EPIC twist, but I haven't figured out the rest of the details. (Reading this answer on Shannon's blog made me very curious about her WIP, I have to admit!)

8. How often do you get writer's block?
This really depends on how you define writer's block. (Haha, that's exactly how Shannon started!) Sometimes I'll skip a day or two of writing, just because I know I need to think rather than write, but once my story is in front of me, I just type. I don't really worry about how neat and clean it sounds until revisions, when a ton of stuff gets cut, added in, and cleaned up. The first draft is such a hot mess it's not even funny.

9. Write fan fiction?
No. And I've tried to read it, but I just...can't. The only thing I could see myself getting into would be the James Potter series, but even that feels....wrong.

10. Do you type or write by hand? 
I carry a little notebook with me for when I get story ideas or plot bunnies for my WIP, but any actual writing goes on my laptop. Once I finish the first draft, I also create posterboards with character pictures and personality traits, any maps or spacing arrangements that need to be explained, and just random pictures that convey the feeling of my work. It helps a lot in revisions to keep continuity.

11. Do you save everything you write?
Now I do, but I didn't always, and I wish I had. I would love to have some of the stories I wrote in elementary school (so I could share them with you, of course!)

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
I haven't yet. I think for me I'll try to make it work, and if I can't, I can't. I don't get too upset, and I can't recall anything I've given up on (and there hasn't been much) that I really wish I could have made work.

13. What's your favorite thing you've written? 
Currently, chapter 14 of my WIP. It hasn't even been edited yet, and I know it needs a lot of work, but I learned so much from it. It's actually out right now on a chapter swap, so hopefully my critiquer loves it as much as I do. But there is a LOT going on, emotionally, and some action, and it was a complete drain on me when I was done. My husband was sitting next to me when I was writing it and he was afraid I was going to cry. I had never written anything that challenged me so much, so that's why it's my favorite.

14. What's everyone else's favorite story you've ever written?
Since not very many people have read my WIP (though all of that feedback has been pretty positive), I think it would have to be this one-act play I wrote in high school. It was a class assignment, but then everyone picked people to read their first scene outloud. People liked mine so much they asked me to give them the rest when it was finished. I was going to enter it into this state competition, but the computer in the drama lab crashed and I lost the whole thing. I was pretty upset about it at the time.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen romance?
Not really. There have been some romantic elements in my stories, but it's never been all about the romance. I do have an idea for a story like that, though, but it's one or two projects away. (And if my current WIP gets picked up, it will be a series, so that will delay it even further.)

WOW this is a lot of questions! Time for a hotness break!

Mmmm, sexy. I have a thing for Quidditch players.
OK, back to the questions.

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?
I really like to put characters in the future, or in places that don't actually exist, because then I can make up my own rules and it doesn't matter if I don't get everything "right," because there is no "right." If I set something in a real location, it will definitely be somewhere I'm familiar with (Florida, Richmond, Perugia, etc.)

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Are we counting work stuff? If yes, about six, with five or so more assigned. But as far as fiction that's just for me in my "free" time, just the one! I try to focus on one project unless something awesome comes up, like a great short story contest or something.

18. Have you ever won any awards for your writing?
The Pulitizer.


You don't believe me?

....You're lame.

OK, I haven't won any awards, but I've been published in a travel anthology where they had to choose from several submissions, and the magazine where I work full-time has a pretty good chance of winning some B2B awards we entered this year. So I'll keep you posted.

19. What are your five favorite words? 
Awkward, awesome, juxtaposition, clusterfuck, schadenfreude

It should be noted that I don't actually have favorite words. I just picked five that came to mind, without saying the obvious (Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!)

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?
A girl named Jenn, from a book that I've created all the pieces for but haven't started (because my current WIP took a hold of my brain and wouldn't let go). She's pretty much exactly like me, I kind of just...modeled her after myself once I started to notice the similarities. And even though I haven't put her on paper yet, she has been created, because I have extensive background info, character analysis, etc. Other than that, I try to keep my characters pretty different from me.

21. Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
Ugh, this is so boring, but generally they're born out of necessity. That's not to say that my stories aren't character-driven, but I almost always come up with the plot first, then think about who I would need or want to tell the story. So, for my WIP, I imagined the world, then thought, "who would be the best person to tell this story?" Then I thought about who she would need around her to make everything happen (and of course the person who helps her is male, because I wanted there to be a little bit of romance). But then sometimes characters just show up as I'm writing, and I don't even intend them to be big or important, and all of a sudden they're stealing the scene!

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams? 
No, or at least I haven't yet. I don't think I've ever dreamt anything cool enough to be a story, because I usually dream about my real life or about books I'm reading (and writing that would be plagerism) or what I'm writing. Plus since I sleep about four or five hours a night, my body doesn't really like to waste time on dreaming.

23. Do you favor happy endings?
This is tough to answer. I want the ending to be true to the story, which sometimes means it can't be happy. I think there is always some happiness, but there is definitely always some sadness, too. The key is finding the right balance.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
Spelling, no. I can't spell to save my life...if spell check didn't exist, there is no way I could be an editor. (I can usually tell when something is wrong, I just can't always tell you how to spell it correctly). But I'm huge on grammar, and even during NaNo when they tell you to ignore it I went back and fixed things that were wrong.

25. Does music help you write?
No. I prefer to write without music. I love music, and I love to sing, so I would get distracted and want to sing along. I do OK with music without lyrics, though. For sad scenes I like Explosions in the Sky.

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.
I thought about copping out and positng something from a review or a journalism article, but that would be lame. So here's something from what I submitted to my writer's conference. It's just something small, but since I referenced Isla earlier, here's the scene where we first meet her. This has only been through one round of edits, so it's still a little rough (there's even an adverb, eek! But I love the alliteration so I haven't gotten rid of it yet.)...*ducks and runs for cover*

The allocation room was so dismally dark and dreary that I was simultaneously dreading spending any time here at all and thankful that I would only be stuck here for one month. There was not a single window along the slimy, filthy walls. Bare light rods hung from the ceiling, illuminating five computer work stations located around the room. Save for these spotlights above the work stations, the entire room was dark. Three of the computers had someone busy at work in front of them; the other two were empty. I was just about to approach the closest one when I heard footsteps from my right.

“You must be our new recruit!” a friendly, high-pitched voice called out.

“Uh, right. I’m Kaia.”

“Well, hiya Kaia! I’m Isla, head of allocation! Welcome to your new home!” And she flung her arms around me, like an old friend greeting someone she hadn’t seen in years.

This woman was entirely too chipper for someone who worked in such a dank place all night. Isla had short, jet black hair that was cut in a spiky style many women would loathe to have. Like most of the inhabitants of Satera, her skin had a smooth olive color, and her eyes were a shade of brown. She wore bright blue lipstick, which made her lips look like a tiny marble when she pursed them together. Her copious amounts of eye shadow matched her lipstick perfectly.

Whew! Jeez, I thought those questions would never end! That was the longest game of 20 26 questions ever! But I hope you had fun reading (if you even stuck around that long!)

And now, to tag my choices...only one of whom I've told I'll be tagging, so they are under no obligation to answer this ridiculous list of questions.

1. Frankie! (I think now you have to answer every question three times as thoughtfully)
2. Marybeth Poppins! (That's what you get for saying right in the comments that you hadn't been tagged!)
3. Shannon O'Donnell! (Because I would love to read her answers since she's working on kid's books!) 



  1. LOL! 3 times as thoughtfully? What are you doing to me, Woman?

    Ok first of all--I am SERIOUSLY impressed with your writing sample and I really want to read like, anything you write-so go get published already!!! I'm a fan!!!

  2. Oh,, thanks? All this time I've been reading all these "tagged" entries and enjoying them, but I've also been thinking it looks like a lot of work. Guess I'll find out, huh?! ;-)

    I don't think mine will be anywhere near as well done as yours. :)

  3. Excellent snippet! Very vivid! How great to learn so much about you (and the hotness gem. Loved it!) Good luck with your novel! I love YA!

  4. Heather, I wanted to congratulate you on another One-Minute Writing of the Day win, for your response to the 12/10 prompt! Congrats!

    -C. Beth
    The One-Minute Writer


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