C O S T
C: Who is your favorite character of your own? Who is your favorite character created by somebody else? Why?
My own is subject to my whims and attentions a good deal, but Liz Zalman has been and still is high on my list, and the other one who’s been consistent is probably Brian Brock. My favorite character created by someone else is probably Danny Saunders from The Chosen by Chaim Potok, but you can’t really have Danny without Reuven and I love Reuven so. (I actually liked Reuven best the first time I read the book when I was a teen. Now it’s Danny. Ugh these two.)
O: What motivates you to write?
Writing is how I explore and express and cope. So if I didn’t write, I’d lose a lot of that. But, what motivates me to write stories is just wanting to read a story like the one I’m writing but not finding any. It’s what got me started, it’s what keeps me going.
S: Would you let a stranger off the streets read your first drafts?
It would be easier in some ways because I don’t know them from fucking Adam. And I’m kind of an awful cheat because I do stupid amounts of pre-writing and so I’m told I have very polish first drafts. Actually, true story, the last two of my English Comp II papers were basically first drafts. And they got 99% which is crazy as shit and annoying as fuck but there you have it. So yeah, I would, even if you’d have to pry it from my DEAD COLD HANDS.
T: What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Why?
Doesn’t everyone love pre-writing research/brainstorming best? I feel like that’s what everyone is going to say. It’s very exciting to be coming up with ideas. I think aside from that, I really love revisions when it gets to the point where it’s all coming together. You’ve gotten rid of deadweight, the idea is becoming something elegant. I fucking love the feeling of that all coming together. That’s probably the high I chase the most.
I’m writing my ~goals~ thing for this college application and I need to cut this paragraph but I like it way too much to delete it forever so here you go
One of my favorite past times is watching how fictional stories play a part in politics. This past year, there was an article on Cracked.com called, “6 Bizzare Factors That Predict Every Presidential Election.” Factor #1 was a theory that the Oscar winner from the previous year would predict whether or not the incumbent won. If, against all odds, the good guy won in the end, then the incumbent would win reelection. They support the theory well, and it was proved true again this election. This is art imitating life to the point that you can predict life by the art. It’s the power of stories.
ps see the article here.
I find myself in the rare position of wanting to write and not knowing what I want to write!
orange violet brown
orange: What do you do when you’re inspired? Do you scream eureka, write the idea down in a notebook, what?
Try to remember it long enough to make a post about it on my writing blog. But if it’s going to be a while before I get to my computer, I’ll text it to myself or scribble it down or something. The only problem I have with writing it down on paper is that I always forget what notebook it’s in/lose the piece of paper.
There’s definitely screaming though.
Sudden inspiration almost never leads to immediate writing though, beyond getting down the barebones of the idea. I am big on pre-writing in my head, so I’ll play a scene out a lot in my head first or I’ll chew over a book idea for months.
violet: Describe your work habits. Do you eat? Do you need music? Are you messy or organized? Do you keep a notebook? How long can you work at a time? etc.
already answered brown so let’s do…
indigo: picture of your workspace
Technically, I have this awesome writing desk…
but honestly, I always write on my bed.
blue: What are some of your favorite ways to characterize, add detail, design, establish a settling, or otherwise elaborate on the piece? are you fond of world-building, or does that pose a problem for you?
When it comes to characterization, I’m big into figuring out their personality and thought processes and showing who they are through their different approaches to problems. I have friends who have more visual approaches (so I can tell you exactly what they look like) or work hard to give them distinctive voices in the dialogue. I like all these things, but they aren’t the first way I think about how to portray a character.
When it comes to settings, I like to pick places I’ve been or else read a lot about. I mostly have stories set in this modern day world, so I creep around a lot on google maps to be accurate, eff if I know why though.
As far as world-building goes, I loooove culture building, but when it comes to the physical aspects or linguistic aspects and world-building, I feel less comfortable and like I’m stealing from others or forcing it. So thinking about how the culture dictates how my characters act is a huge fascination to me and is easily my favorite part, but figuring out new plant names or something is my idea of hell.
brown: what does it take for you to honestly be proud of something?
So long as I feel like I communicated my emotions well, I’m proud of my work. Failing to convey my message is when I feel most like a failure. The compliments I’ve received about my writing which mean the most to me were all congratulating me on saying what I wanted to say in an effective manner.
how do you get inspiration for writing? like...you get different ideas, but how do you decide which ones to write about/which ones will make better stories?
Oooo, creative process! Okay, so I basically go like this.
My creative process goes on from their into story development, but you seem interested in what’s happening around step three.
I have A LOT of stories in a whole bunch of different places in the creative process and/or completion. It kind of sounds like you also have my problem of having a few too many story ideas to choose from. In the end, it’s just a matter of which story speaks to me most.
What speaks to me most about a story changes from story to story. Most of the time it’s a persistent character who won’t shut the fuck up until I get out their story, and sometimes it’s a cool concept or writing technique I just can’t get out of my head. In the end, I think the most important factor to choosing what you want to write about out of all your ideas is pinpointing which one excites and challenges you the most. If YOU care about the story, you’re going to have an easier time convincing other people to care about it too.
Now, I do tend to have characters before concepts, but not always. A recent example of a story idea I had that developed from a concept rather than a character is my werewolf story I started for the June session of Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d been reading a lot of fiction with werewolves and one night I looked up at the almost full moon and was like, “Gosh, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have this force you can’t control completely interrupting your life once a month and making you not feel like yourself.” And then I headdesked a lot because HELLO, A WOMAN WITH A PERIOD OVER HERE. HOW COULD I POSSIBLY SYMPATHIZE WITH A MONTHLY CYCLE?? So once I got over what an idiot I was, I became intrigued by the parallels between werewolves and women. THEN, thanks to the internet, I learned all about Hyenas and W O W was that some fuel for thought. So lots of things about the hierarchy of Hyena packs and sex and biology got smashed with my women/werewolf parallels and I ended up with a story that I’m finding endlessly fascinating to write.
Now, during the time period in which I was beginning to come up with that story, I was also playing around with the idea of a story that involves dreams and merpeople and a guy in a coma, a story that involves a brother and sister trying to start an inner-city after-school music program, and a story that involves book smuggling renegades at the end of the world. These are all stories I hope to pursue someday, but I didn’t write them now because they aren’t what interest me the most at this moment. None of them are asking questions I’m dying to answer, or feel prepared to answer. The first one in particular is one that I feel I’m not a mature enough writer to tackle at this point. (side note: I have this feeling my next story is going to be super meta omfg my brain is being so weird lately and toying with the construction of stories)
So, when I have several ideas and I’m not sure which to pursue, I give them a test drive. I almost always end up writing a scene or two when I have a story idea in addition to writing down all the concept/plot/characters I have on it so far. Most of the time, I can tell from that scene I write how soon I’m going to want to move on that idea.
I mean, hell, sometimes I don’t even have to get that far. Just two days ago I sat in the bathtub and wrote a whole bandom/Harry Potter story in my head, loved it immensely, wrote down the barebones so I could give myself a smile and a refresher the next time I run across that piece of paper, and then let it go. Sometimes an idea is just passing through. Catch and release.
Okay, hopefully I’ve managed to answer your question somewhere in this mess. Thank you so much for asking and thank you especially for your patience with me getting around to replying to it. (Figuring out class schedules is stressful and time consuming!)
My response to the responses to the writing thoughts post from last night woo!
Hey, so I actually had writer thoughts and questions today that I’d like some opinions on from all you lovely people if you’d care to take a stroll under the cut. I will seriously love you forever.
(I’m only gonna be rude and post one huge block of text on my dash tonight yaaay consideration)
reblogging for the morning crowd