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Tell Me The Truth And I’ll Tell You The Truth

January 16, 2010

(Ben Lee, “Gamble Everything For Love”)

I’ve always found questionnaires and surveys strangely appealing. Maybe it’s similar to my love of things in list form–it soothes me to see information neatly enumerated. So when I spotted this writerly Q&A over at From The Desk Of A Writer, I couldn’t resist. (Playing in my head are my mother’s warnings about not writing a self-indulgent blog. Forgive this brief lapse, Mom–surveys are fun!)

What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
Last thing–the latest section of my current book’s Chapter 2. First thing–my typewritten masterpiece about a family of ducks with rhyming names, circa 1992.

Write poetry?
Not nearly as often as I used to, but yes.

Angsty poetry?
That’s what high school was all about–though I do hope I’ve gotten better since then.

Favorite genre of writing?
Depends when you ask me. Given my current project, I’d have to say adventure/fantasy is winning for the moment.

Most annoying character you’ve ever created?
Mortimer Finley, in my book-in-a-week The Hiddens. He was so useless I finally had to bring him to an abrupt end by vampire bite.

Do you type or write by hand?
Type, unless inspiration strikes when I’m away from my computer. I often can’t keep up with my own thoughts when I work by hand.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
Probably my poem “The Broken Places,” about a writer hearing of Hemingway’s suicide.

What’s everyone else’s favorite thing that you’ve written?
My dad is adorably fond of Ginger The Pig, my dorky rhyming children’s book.

What character have you created that is most like yourself?
Garrity (my current MC) and I share a lot of beliefs and ways of operating, but she’s also quite different from me in many respects.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?
A lot of them just show up and announce themselves, which I’m constantly surprised by and grateful for. Others I more specifically craft based on all kinds of information, including my real life characters.

Do you favor happy endings?
Not necessarily, though I do like there to at least be some hope.

Does music help you write?
Often. I’m rapidly becoming addicted to Immediate Music–thanks to Breanne for the great recommendation! Sometimes, though, silence or easily tune-out-able background noise is better for concentration.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the questions!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2010 2:31 am

    Oooh! Fun!

    What’s the last thing you wrote?
    The beginnings of a post about Jersey Shore. I didn’t get to finish it. Before that, a few brief paragraphs about the movie Nim’s Island.

    What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
    I doubt they’re the earliest things I have, but I have a crate full of journals from high school.

    Write poetry?
    No, never have. Can’t stand the stuff.

    Angsty poetry?
    No.

    Favorite genre of writing?
    Not a genre, but I most enjoy writing dialogue.

    Most annoying character you’ve ever created?
    The only one I can think of would be the main characters’ kid in The Book I’ve been working on. He’s loud and obnoxious and sort of ADD and he’s a big troublemaker. I can’t stand writing him and wish I hadn’t, but I need him for nefarious purposes.

    Do you type or write by hand?
    Both.

    What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
    I wrote an essay for a theater class in college about how much I hated the play Buried Child by Sam Shepard. I knew the professor really liked the play, and all I had to do was write one page and answer certain questions about it, but I absolutely couldn’t do it. I sat up all night trying to answer the questions in a reasonable and measured manner, and I just couldn’t do it. So I just said, “fuck it” and wrote two pages about how awful it was and how much I hated it, and I was sort of witty in answering the questions and just wrote in my own voice. I was so nervous about turning it in, because I didn’t really do the assignment properly and I probably insulted the professor by slamming his favorite play so brutally. But I had to turn it in – I had nothing else. When I got to class the following week, the day he was handing the papers out, it turned out that he loved my paper and ended up reading it aloud to the class. He laughed at all the right spots (as did the rest of the class) and read it in just the perfect pace and voice and it was great. I was so surprised and proud and embarrassed and thrilled all at the same time. Unfortunately the paper is lost forever to a crashed laptop, and five years later it’s probably not as brilliant as I remember it being, but it’s still my favorite thing I’ve ever written.

    What’s everyone else’s favorite thing that you’ve written?
    I wrote a short story in high school for our little writer’s club about a ventriloquist’s dummy that we found in our attic when we moved into our house. My mom still asks me about it. I thought it was sort of dumb and hokey. Don’t know what happened to it. I’d be mortified if it ever turned up.

    What character have you created that is most like yourself?
    Well, they’re sort of all me. The more I write of them the more they turn into me. Different sides and versions of me, of course, but me nonetheless.

    Where do you get ideas for your characters?
    The less important characters just seem to appear out of thin air as I’m writing them, which is fun. They seem to have a life of their own. The more important characters come from more careful planning about their backgrounds and personalities and how They Must Be in order for them to be realistic in their worlds and stories. (Same answer as yours, I guess.)

    Do you favor happy endings?
    Yes, but I also favor realistic endings. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive, though, do they?

    Does music help you write?
    Only when I’m not actually writing. I need silence when I’m doing actual work. I do some of my best thinking about things while driving around listening to music, though.

  2. jschancellor permalink
    January 17, 2010 6:59 pm

    I wasn’t going to respond, but hell—I’m bored, why not?

    What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?
    —Last thing I wrote was a scene from A Thief of Nightshade. The first thing I wrote that I still have is a short story that garnered the Young Georgia Writer’s Award. I was eight years old. It’s positively awful…

    Write poetry?
    —Nope. Not anymore. I did in college, but haven’t since. Which also answers the angsty poetry question.

    Favorite genre of writing?
    —Fantasy, preferably of the epic variety.

    Most annoying character you’ve ever created?
    —That’s a hard one. Probably Aiden, from the Fable series. He’s craven, selfish and utterly indispensable. I tried killing him off twice before I realized he wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. *groan*

    Do you type or write by hand?
    —Oh wow, type. I read somewhere the other day where an author hand wrote ALL of her first drafts. I can’t fathom that. The first three books of Fable combined are well over 390,000 or so words. Now, I do keep notebooks that I’ll jot down little things here and there, collect photos or tidbits. But as far as prose is concerned, I always type.

    What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
    —As much as I love Nightshade and Icarus, Fable still has my heart. I wrote the first chapter ten years before I was mature enough and educated enough to really begin a serious go at the rough draft. It was all born out of a dream I’d had five years before THAT. So, in essence, that world has been in existence since I was ten years old…long time to have those characters hanging around. I still have those hand written pages. I’ll never forget sitting down on a circular ottoman in my parent’s den, a piano bench in front of me, and penning those first few scenes.

    What’s everyone else’s favorite thing that you’ve written?
    —I honestly don’t know.

    What character have you created that is most like yourself?
    —Hmmm, that’s up for grim debate. Some would say the vampire assassin Jessica Slate, from Icarus. Some would say Ariana from Fable. I think in all truth that there is a little bit of me in all of my characters, even the bad guys.

    Where do you get ideas for your characters?
    —You’ll have to read my blog for that. There is a whole post dedicated to it @ Welcome to the Asylum

    Do you favor happy endings?
    —Yeah, I do. However, I’m also very, very fond of serious plot twists and surprises, so I think it’s only fair after what I put a reader through.

    Does music help you write?
    —I rarely ever write without it.

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