I'm bored. Time for some self-aggrandizing navel-gazing.
1. How often do you write and how do you feel about your output?
There have been periods where due to fanfic bunnies, ficathons, gift-fics, memes and challenges, I had the stuff just pouring out and it was a challenge to wait until my usual Sunday night to post. Now that I’m trying to limit myself to the NOVEL and a select few fics, I’m not writing as much as I’d like. I’m also going to blame my various internet obsessions. Except for drabbles, I generally only do long spates of writing when I can take myself away from the computer. At this point that means sitting at the bar at the Mint. So last week, I had three or four good writing days because I was on vacation and went to the Mint a lot.
2. Where does your inspiration come from? Where do you get your ideas?
Original fic comes out of pain. I wrote my first novel because I was rejected by a piano player and I decided to kill him. I wrote my second novel because one of my clients was pissing me off and I decided to kill her. Get the picture? (Yes, we see.)
Fanfic comes from a need to fill in the gaps, to subvert canon that I find unnacceptable, or from specific prompts/requests.
3. What are the first things you write? Dialogue? Sex? Something else?
I write in my head before I write on paper. So I spend days with various bits percolating in my head, especially when I’m running/working out, or when I’m going to sleep/waking up. I don’t got to paper until I have the whole thing planned out in my head including a lot of the dialogue and at least the shape of the plot. Once I start writing on paper (or computer) I go from beginning to end. I’m not one of those people who can write a story out of order.
4. How have you improved this past six months/year?
I’ve improved in the last five years, the period of time I’ve been on LJ writing fanfic, first in House MD and then in other fandoms. I owe it all to my betas, especially my alpha-beta, beta_goddess. The way she pushes me to get past the clichés and facile characterizations and really think through every word has made me 100 times the writer I was when we started.
The main development in the last six months/year has a been a real tightening up of those tendencies. I’m even less tolerant of any phrase in my own writing which smacks of over-use.
5. Why do you write?
I want to tell stories and I want validation for it. I doubt I would have come back to fanfic if I didn’t see other people getting comments. I wouldn’t be trying to write another novel if I hadn’t sold that first one and created the expectation in myself that I am someone who can write and make money doing it.
6. Do you go through highs and lows? What are the triggers?
There is that rush when it’s all working really well and I can completely see and hear the characters or when the characters take over and give me a scene that I didn’t know I needed to write, or some awesome bit of dialogue comes into my mind.
The lows are the comment whore melt-downs when I’ve cast my bread on the waters only to receive deafening silence. It’s not fun and it’s not pretty.
7. Do people in RL know you write slash?
My husband does. My mom, although she doesn’t know what my current fandoms are. Some of my karaoke cronies are privy.
8. Where do you write?
At the Mint is my favorite place. Sometimes I can push off the distractions, including the work I’m actually supposed to be doing and crank out something on the office computer. I also do some good work on longer BART rides.
The single hardest thing for me to do is just open my laptop at home and buckle down and write.
9. Does music help or hinder?
Well if I’m at the Mint, then there’s constant music which I can either focus on or filter out. I often have songs that provide titles or images for the fic, but I don’t necessarily need to be listening to the music to do the writing.
10. What are your props?
My notebook. Which is why is so self-destructive and traumatic when I lose it, which being a flake does happen from time to time. I’m still convinced my NOVEL will never be as good as it would have been if I hadn’t lost my black kitty in a hoody notebook last October.
11. How seriously do you take your writing/ the writing process?
Seriously enough to want it to be as good as possible, hence my obsession with having it beta-ed. Seriously enough that I feel by the time it goes out there it does deserve comments and that’s why I get so frustrated when it doesn’t happen.
12. What are your strengths?
Humor, dialogue, characterization.
13. What are your weaknesses?
Action sequences. I’m not great at describing people doing things.
14. If you beta, what do you get out of it?
The chance to help another writer achieve their vision without getting bogged down in cliché, word repetition, OOC-ness etc. I’m a tough beta and some writers have run off screaming into the night rather than being able to listen to what I’m saying. I especially like helping writers who work in unpopular OTPs, because if the knock against the pairing is that all the writing is bad, we need to fight back by having awesome writing for that pairing without easy to attack errors.
Also a constant reminder of what to look out for in my own writing and how much we all need betas.
15. What do you write? Aus, crack, PWP, threesomes, crossovers etc
I’d say my main genre is angst/smut. Even when there’s a “happy” ending, it’s usually implied that it’s a temporary situation. This may be a matter of self-selection, as I’m drawn toward pairings that I feel are inherently doomed to pain, such as House/Wilson and Jack/Owen. If the sex is hot and the emotions are painful, I’m there.
I’ll also take on “impossible pairings” and crossovers just for the hell of it.
16. Which fic have you written that felt like bungee-jumping – you really had to feel the fear and jump?
Two recent examples:
The Wilson Code, because it involved House and Wilson’s brother, who is a schizophrenic, so I was dealing with a slew of potential squicks, while still needing to stay true to my essential vision of House and Wilson.
It Had To Be You
One of my Yuletide fics, not so much because I had any qualms about writing Casablanca itself, but because of the racial issues. I wrote from Sam’s POV and I was terrified of committing some kind of race!fail.
17. How do you feel about comments?
I want them, I need them, I love them.
18. Do you give other writers feed-back? Why/why not?
I try to, although I generally won’t tell them if I had to abandon ship within the first few paragraphs due to my fluff allergy or a pairing hate-on.
If I loved the fic whole-heartedly, I’ll leave something gushy and flaily while trying to make a helpful, cogent point as well.
If there are things I like, but think the fic otherwise flawed, I might leave a “split decision” or “damning with faint praise” comment.
If it’s a fic where I like it, but I think the writer would disagree with the reasons I do, I’ll still tell them. This may be considered passive-aggressive and has led to intereting comment conversations.
If there’s an egregious type or canon-glitch in a fic I really like, I might send a PM so as not to embarrass the writer in their comment thread.
And if I love the pairing or the idea, but think the writer really, really needs a beta, I might put on the cape and send a PM offering my services.
19. What is the indicator for you that your fic was a success/worked?
There are some fics that I’m proud of where the comment total doesn’t reflect my own assessment, but it’s hard to keep up that self-esteem without the validation, so generally, I gotta go by the “reviews” and the “box office.”
20. Do you write in the genre you like reading the most, ie crack, AU, angst etc?
Yup. I’m not interesting in writing fluff anymore than I am in reading it.
21. Do you write a straight through draft or is your first attempt bits and pieces?
Straight through, although as I said before, that’s after a lot of mental preparation which does take place in bits and pieces.
22. What is it about this fandom that is eating your brain?
Well the current novel is basically my re-telling of the of a ship-war I’m involved in as well as the saga of my LJ Divorce. You hurt me? You die or have your personal foibles exposed and eviscerated for public consumption. It’s good to be a writer.
House MD is mostly offering places to subvert their attempts to tell me that House and Wilson are either totally straight or a happily married gay couple, when it’s obvious that they are a miserable couple of bastards who love each other and will always end up hurting each other. And that House is at the very least already in emotional relapse whether they show him taking Vicodin or not.
I don’t have too much to work with in Torchwood right now, since
23. Is this your first time, or are you a serial monogamist with fandoms?
I was in Star Trek/Sci-fi fandom in the 70’s and 80’s back when the Zines were paper and you had to wait months to get any feedback via actual snail mail.
I came to LJ because of House in 2005, and mostly wrote Housefic for the first six months, however I think if you take a look at my tags you can see such how round-heeled I really am for both fandoms and pairings.
24. Do you do drabbles, comment fic, challenges with deadlines – and how do you get on with these?
I love drabbles. I just did the Icon Drabble Meme (still open for requests) and I was able to crank them out. I think I have a gift for find the snapshot in a prompt and bringing it to life.
Not crazy about comment fic. I like to have control of my fics and I find the format and the word limits frustrating.
Deadlines…I’ve never missed one, and I think they’re good for forcing me to get something done. In fact, I almost wish I was better at imposing arbitrary deadlines on myself for the original work.
25. Anything else?
Comments and concrit are welcome.