Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, The Writing Life

The Four Questions

Why is this post different from all other posts…? 😛

Today, I was invited by published author and blogger, Claire Banschbach, to answer four questions on writing and then invite three others to do the same.  Thank you so much, Claire, for this opportunity – I feel honored. 🙂

 What am I working on?

At present, I’m working on a collection of short stories and story scraps for Camp NaNoWriMo and a time-travel story (which amazingly, has nothing to do with Doctor Who or Back to the Future :D) called Adventures with my Time-Traveling Uncle.  I’m also thinking of working on a story about spies, but I think it would be wise for me to make some room on my plate of projects before I focus on that full-time.

How is my work different from others of its genre?

In general, I try to keep my writings appropriate for readers of all ages, even if I’m writing for young readers to begin with.  While the story itself might go completely over the head of a kindergartener, if they opened one of my books to any page, they won’t be exposed to any “bad words.”  Frankly, I’m not impressed by some of the contents that publishers are allowing into middle grade and YA fiction.  Some people, it seems, are putting inappropriate content in young people’s’ books for shock factor, to “help” kids by exposing them to things their parents may be sheltering them from indefinitely (often for good reason), or because their publishers require it.

Why do I write what I do?

I write the things I wish were already written, partly to entertain myself, and partly to put in my two cents towards making the world, with concentration on the world of literature, a better place.  It isn’t enough that I recycle cans and bottles every week to make this world a better place.  As Miss Banschbach said in her own answer, “I … want to write stories that I would feel comfortable letting my younger siblings read and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to a younger audience. I think that’s something we’re lacking in this day and age.”  I agree with that sentiment completely.  I write what I do to improve the variety of books targeted at young people; in the process, I’m writing the kind of books I enjoy, clean books.

 How does my writing process work?

When I first think of an idea, I’ll usually daydream about it for awhile, playing with it and expanding it out in different hypothetical situations.  Once I have some material I like, I’ll either start outlining the story around it, or I’ll freewrite based on a few “fixed points” that I want to include, making up the rest as I go along.  The outlining phase tends to happen in my head, where I’m relying solely on memory (and that’s not always so reliable), because I haven’t yet developed a neat way to outline my stories on paper.  While I know how to outline essays just fine, the thought of using that system on something ten times bigger seems daunting to me.  Alternatively, if I need to get the general storyline on physical paper, I’ll write a long, Wikipedia-style synopsis of my story and work with that. 😛

When it comes to the medium I write on/with/in, I find I’m partial to using a word processor.   I like playing with cool fonts for things like Chapter Titles or excerpts of characters’ handwriting.  (I really tortured my readers with Dr. Adams’ Very Horrible penmanship in Secrets in Seaport, didn’t I?)  In that sense, my manuscripts tend to be very “graphic.”

I used to write my stories in notebooks, but when I did that and then started transcribing the words onto the computer, a) I couldn’t read my handwriting, and b) I’d subconsciously go into editor-mode and start making changes right then and there.  Why the heck did I write that?  If I wrote it this way, it’ll sound better.  But if I do that, then how do I tie in that later plot point?  I know, I’ll just scrap that entirely and do this instead….

Pretty much, the story that went into the electronic document tended to end up dramatically different from the one in my notebook from a certain point on.

I rarely type my manuscripts in the “proper” format one uses when submitting to a publisher.  Since I intend self-publish, the onus of making the pages look visually pleasing will inevitably be on me.  And since I’m interested in graphics artistry, it’s a part of preparing the book that I really enjoy. 🙂

 

Thank you again, Claire, for inviting me to take part in this activity.  It’s been loads of fun!  Now, I shall invite three more writers/bloggers to participate:

  • Becky Laine – blogger, seamstress, ABBA fan, and published author
  • Faith Johnson – blogger, poet, and novelist
  • Hannah Song -blogger, writer, and fellow founder of the Figgies in the TARDIS

I think that’s what bloggers mean when they say “I’ve been tagged,” and proceed to answer a set of questions.  In that case, tag, you’re it! 😉

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