30 Sep 2009

Some Questions (and Answers) on The Writing Process

Seen this on a few other blogs and thought I'd have a go...

1. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter?”

I always attempt to plot before I start writing, but not too much – not so that the story or characters lose the ability to surprise me. Still, I do like to feel in control, even during the first draft.

2. Detailed character sketches or “their character will be revealed to me as a I write”?

I usually have at least a sketch, yes. The basics. And one or two unique aspects that could make him/her more interesting to the reader.

3. Do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing?

I think it's a good idea to know such things before you start writing, yes. Motivations, definitely. Conflicts, not so much; they tend to suggest themselves along the way. Basically, I like to know as much as I am comfortable knowing – enough to be able to begin with confidence, or at least to fool myself into believing I'm ready to rock and roll.

4. Books on plotting – useful or harmful?

Just plotting? Or writing advice books in general? They're never short of interesting, in my experience, but I don't study them, more allow my sub-conscious to absorb what it thinks is useful and discard the rest.

5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

Procrastinator. I don't sit down to write regularly enough, I've always said that. Too easily drawn toward 'easier' distractions. That said, the itch always drags me back - eventually.

6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?

I need at least an hour's writing time as it sometimes takes me twenty, thirty minutes just to warm up. I can't scribble a sentence here, a paragraph there, it just isn't me. Notes, yes, but not draft. Two hour sessions work best for me, and after a nine hour workday (mostly spent on a computer) that's about as much as I can stand.

7. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?

I prefer morning or late-night - the quiet times of the day.

8. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

Complete silence would be nice but is hard to find. Quiet is fine though. Non-public setting.

9. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

PC. At work I'll scribble notes on slips of paper, but I always, always write the story itself on computer.

10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?

Not always. I try not to panic if I don't; most of the time I find the ending emerges organically during the writing of the first draft. I'd say eighty percent of the time I know the ending or have already written the final paragraphs long before I get there.

11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

No. But I do write what I like to read.

12. Editing – love it or hate it?

Love it and hate it. Editing is a vital part of the process, but while first drafts are about creation editing is about polishing that creation until it shines as brightly as it can. By the umpteenth read-through or revision it's easy to feel...restless, keen to move on to something new. But the extra effort always makes the end result worthwhile. And publishable.


Danielle Ferries said...

Those awful distractions, I have them too.

Cate Gardner said...

I often need time to warm up too. I hate it when I only have half an hour and it takes me twenty-five mintues to get going.

Aaron Polson said...

Procrastination is such an attractive alternative.

(shakes fist at procrastination)

Brian G Ross said...

I can't say that I have really spent too much time thinkin' about how I go about doin' it. The words either come or they don't. One day it's a free-flowin' river; the next, it's a ploddin' glacier.

Is that a little too simplistic? Probably.