Borrowed from the inestimable, ever awesome fairmer1. Are you a "pantser" or a "plotter?"
Plotter, no question. I've never been a pantser, not really. I have to know where I'm going, at least vaguely, or it doesn't work for me.
That said, I don't plot in terribly great detail. I outline the basic chain of events and let the details surprise me. It's like drawing a map that gives me room to take the scenic route or take a different exit. I plan the destination and certain must-have rest stops, but the rest comes as I travel.2. Detailed character sketches or "their character will be revealed to me as a I write"?
Mostly it's revealed as I write. I only know a few things like gender, name, race, and vague physical characteristics. I pants it with characters. I have a theory wherein plot and character work best when they are opposite and complimentary. If the plot is well planned, let the characters surprise you. If the characters are planned, let the plot fall into place.
Either way, it's about mastering the art of planned spontaneity. Some things should be written in stone, and some should come out of the blue. If nothing is planned, it gets confusing and tangled. If nothing is a surprise to me, I doubt it will surprise a 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?
See above. I consider these things to be part and parcel of character or the plot, depending. 4. Books on plotting – useful or harmful?
Any book about any aspect of writing can be useful or harmful depending on who's reading it. Any writing advice must be taken as just that, advice. I don't tend to read a lot of "how to" books these days, but I do pay close attention when other writers (especially professional ones) speak about their processes. I don't take those things to be strict how-to guides, but rather helpful suggestions that might enhance my own process.
You have to learn to pick and choose and digest any kind of writing advice. Keep what's useful, comforting, or good. Throw out the rest. 5. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?
Both. Some days I dread the keyboard and every single word is a struggle. Some days I can't type fast enough to keep up with all the things in my head. I let myself procrastinate a little sometimes. For me, being too strictly disciplinarian with myself just makes things worse. So I'll let myself take twenty minutes to go do the dishes or check my email. But I make sure that I'm getting a minimum amount of work done regularly.
I set a goal and say, "I'm getting 1000 words minimum done today" or "I'm finishing chapter 6 today". I can allot that time any way I want. I can do it in one sitting if I'm feeling up to it. I can write two hundred words at a go and then piss off to do something else if I'm feeling distracted. But by hook or crook, I'm making 1000 new words appear on the screen. 6. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?
See the above answer. It varies daily. On my current project, Soul Machines
, this week has been full of ups and downs. On Monday, I wrote precisely four paragraphs. On Tuesday, I eked out - in several small parcels of writing - a very scant 1200 words for it. Yesterday, for no good reason, my brain turned up to eleven and in four hours (broken up for breaks, chores, and other things) I had 8,500 words. Today's been, so far, a 5,000 word day.
Friday could be a 10,000 word day or I could decide to fuck it all and curl up on the couch and watch TV and forget I have any writing to do. IDEK. 7. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?
Mid-mornings to early afternoons because my schedule works out that way. 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?
I write with music because complete silence is weird for me, but generally I tune out that music unless I'm using it to make my mind get into a certain mood for a scene that requires it.
I don't like writing in public places except - weirdly enough - airports or on airplanes. Being trapped for three to six hours, thousands of feet in the air, gets the juices flowing. Probably because I have shit all to do otherwise and even getting up to use the bathroom more than once or twice is right out. You have to write because there's nothing else. 9. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)
Almost exclusively computer unless circumstances force me to do otherwise. When away from my computer, I carry a notebook. I do my best work when transcribing, because I can flash edit as I type and insert things I've thought of in retrospect. I get frustrated with my terrible handwriting, though. 10. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One?
Yes, more or less. I might not know the precise last sentence, but I know where the story ends. 11. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?
Only in that it influences the books I buy and read, which do inevitably influence my writing.
Do I say, "Ooh, boy wizards are hot this year! Better start making up a magical fantasy school!". No, never.
It makes neither practical nor fiscal sense given what I know about how the publishing industry works. Marketability is a tricky. Writing based what is selling right now is, essentially, trying to fit in. Fitting in is a marketing strategy that sound smart to people who are scared and very tight fisted with money. It isn't. It's quite foolish. However counterintuitive it sounds, fitting in is death. You need
to stand out.
Furthermore, writing based on to-the-minute market trends is impractical. Given the publishing world's collective time lag, most books you're reading are nearly two years old by the time they hit shelves.
You can start penning that Boy Wizard novel, but by the time you've written, edited, revised, rewritten and re-edited it? The Boy Wizard trend is dead and zombies, pirates, and cats who talk are the Cool New Thing.
It comes down to this: write the best book you can and promote the sweet, lovely hell out of it. You're better off starting a trend than following one. 12. Editing – love it or hate it?
As with everything in this meme: both. Depends on what I'm doing. I suck at copyediting though, because I can't spot my own typos and missing words for beans.