Saturday, January 9, 2010

A writer's meme

   A writer’s meme I stole from The bookshelf muse who probably stole it from someone else that’s also great, but not nearly as cool. And, by stole, I mean borrowed with the intent to back-link. I don't typically do these, but I thought this one was interesting.
What’s the last thing you wrote?
    An editorial piece and a column for each of the six papers I am managing editor over. I just finished another chapter in the thriller/mystery I am writing — working title, "Paws for Silence." Technically, the last thing I wrote was this.
Was it any good?
    The editorial content is ALWAYS good. After all, my opinion is always right about whatever the subject is. Who would dare argue that point?! All joking aside, I think the editorials I have written lately have been better than average, and my columns have been good. Paws for Silence is some of the best fiction I have written, and it will be interesting to see how it is received when it hits the shelves.
What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
    I still have some pretty dark poetry I wrote during a particularly rough spot in my life. Some was written as a release, some just to get a handle on a certain emotion and some were written as lyrics for song. I think this will fall into the next couple of questions.
Write poetry?
   Poetry, like the pumpkin pie that slowly cools and the whipped cream that slowly melts, there poetry sits, waiting, poised for it's place among or forms of the written narrative.
Angsty poetry? 
   Didn't I cover this a couple questions ago?
Favourite genre of writing?
    What I would choose might largely depend on my mood. When writing for daily, weekly or monthly non-fiction publication, I would probably choose a column or a feature. For fiction, I would usually choose mystery, thriller, SF, fantasy or YA.
Most fun character you ever wrote?
   Villains are always fun though, aren’t they?  The kind of person you love to hate and hate to love is always fun writing. You can take so many liberties with them. The other fun character is the main character in Paws for Silence, Dallas Townsend. I really plan on running him through the ringer in books after this one, so knowing what is coming makes writing him now fun. Most annoying character you ever wrote?
    I once wrote a character who had many character traits I personally despise. It made the character so annoying to me that I stopped writing his storyline, and eventually rewrote everything so he didn't exist at all.
How often do you get writer’s block?
    Surprisingly rarely. Most of the time I have a specific goal in mind when I sit down to write, whether it be for the paper, a magazine of a book. Now, for the blog? We'll have to wait and see.
How do you fix it?
    Various ways seem to work best. From reading news sites to surfing youtube. One sure-fire way to get rid of teh block — when writing about dogs — is just to watch mine or go out and play with them for a few minutes.
Write fan fiction?
    Never really saw the point of it.
Do you type or write by hand?
    Type. If one isn't handy, I'll pull out my recorder and get the idea into it. Failing that I may text an idea to my e-mail or write it on a napkin.
Do you save everything you write?
    Not with the intention of saving it. Though I can pull you anything I've written for the past decade off one of our external harddrives.
Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
   It depends on why I abandoned the idea. If I abandoned because the idea turned to nothing, then it stays as nothing. If left because it was written poorly, I may go back and try to rescue with editing and revision. I may not revive an idea at all, but merely nibble at it, stealing little chunks here and there to make them fit scenes I am working on now.
What’s your favourite thing that you’ve written?
   There area couple or particularly strong columns I have written that tend to be on my list of favorites. For fiction, any thing I am currently working on — as it should be, or why work on it? My children's book, "Who's Feet Are Those" still ranks among my favorites.
What’s everyone else’s favourite thing that you’ve written?
   I get a lot of letters to the editor when I write about a "touchy" local topic. Other than that, Who's Feet seemed to get a lot of attention. Stores still re-order it, so I guess that's a good sign.
What’s your favourite setting for your characters?
   I tend to globe hop, though the bulk most of my stories take place in the U.S.
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
How many writing projects are you working on right now?
   Always working on a couple of columns and editorials. Usually working on a feature or two, and currently on three novels and a script for a four-part comic book.
Do you want to write for a living?
   You mean more thn I already do? Geez, that would be a lot of writing...
Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?
   All the time. It is where the majority of the small pittance I call pay comes from.
Have you ever won an award for your writing?
   Yep, lots. In regional newspaper association contests and Associated Press contests. In addition I have won numerous awards from other literary bodies.
Ever written something in script or play format?
   Funny this question should come up as I am currently working on a four-part comic book. Comics are written in script format.
What are your five favourite words?
   The ones I put down on the page and get paid for. Whatever those words may be, they are my favorite.
What character that you’ve written most resembles yourself?
   I would venture that there is a part of an author in every character they write. Whether the charter be "good" or "bad" most writers can identify with at least a portion of that character's character and personality.
Where do you get ideas for your other characters?
   Most of my primary characters I work up a whole bio on. And, I do mean a bio, like their life's story. I need to know as much about them and why they do what they do as I do about myself and any other real people I know. A lot of my secondary characters come about out of need, though I still write a bio on them so I can have basic information and understand why they do what they do. Any others from that point arrive without much fanfare and are primarily utilitarian. The lady on the bus whose knee-high stockings have dropped to her ankles, wearing an old overcoat and clutching a small paper bag of groceries might not need a lot of background as a main character may only take a cursory glance at her. BUT then again, that lady might make another appearance later, so having a working knowledge of her background and character traits becomes important.
Do you ever write based on your dreams?
   Editorialy, no. There have been scenes in my fiction that have been loosely based on a dream I might have had.
Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
   All three have their place. I can't say I favor one over the other, unless of course we are talking about stories about rescue dogs. I ALWAYS want a happy ending there. It doesn't always happen, but I always prefer it.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
   Sometimes, but it depends on the setting. I rely heavily on spellcheck, and editing.
Does music help you write?
   Music helps with most things in life. I like having a soundtrack to go with the things I do. Music sometimes helps me set a tone for a scene I am trying to get down. When writing editorial copy, I like music, but it doesn't have much of an influence.
Quote something you’ve written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
   Besides the question above or one of the other questions here? How about an excerpt from Paws for Silence:
   Shopping. Shopping was something she did instinctively. Like a mother whale that instinctively stays with her calf on a northern migration, the trout that swims upstream or the bear that hibernates in the winter, shopping was part of her DNA. A sale at Macy’s or Lord and Taylor sometimes had a stronger pull on her than that of self preservation. Scores of women flocking to the shoe department to square off like gladiators in the arena over the last pair of black patent leather Jimmy Choo Mary Janes in size 7, or black ostrich leather with black lace, silver hardware and a crescent cap toe from Christian Louboutin, were battles she had long been pat of — and in many instances had come out triumphant, clutching her prize much like Spartacus may have held his weapon high in the air.

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