1. Do you write fiction or non-fiction? Or both?
I work as a technical writer, so depending where we are in the development process, I’m either writing fiction or non-fiction. Trust me on that.
I also write the (very) occasional article and the sometimes short story. Oh, yeah. And the books (fiction). I guess I write those too.
2. Do you keep a journal or a writing notebook?
Yes and yes. I have various paper notebooks and computer files. I just downloaded Inspiration so I can manage the research I’m doing for a possible historical/historical YA novel.
3. If you write fiction, 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? Do you find books on plotting useful or harmful?
I do a lot of prep work and I like to have a “road map” for where I’m going. For novels, I also do extensive character “memoirs.” They’re not interviews, they’re not biographies/sketches, because I write the in first person. I don’t know what else to call them.
The one writing craft book I recommend without reservation (as my writing friends know) is Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass.
Despite all this, I’m totally open to changing things on the fly. I once threw out 7,000 words because I realized I was going in the wrong direction.
4. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?
I procrastinate when something is wrong. Either I’m not approaching a scene correctly or I need some time to “walk around” a scene/topic before I tackle it. I used to freak when I did this; now I know it’s simply part of my process. Although, sometimes, I still freak. Just ask Darcy.
5. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?
Yes and yes. It depends on how much time I have.
6. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?
I can work either time, but I like to do things and mull things over in the mornings, then write in the early afternoon.
7. 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 can write with kids/cartoons howling in the background, with one exception. That’s when I have the master manuscript on one half of the screen, Darcy’s edited version on the other half, and the markups from our editor in a document holder. Then, all bets are off.
8. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)
Yes and yes. Depends on my mood.
9. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One? Or do you let the story evolve as you write?
In general. See above where I say I have a road map. This, too, can change.
10. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?
Thing is, books coming out right now were bought anywhere from 12 to even up to 24 months ago. I do keep an eye on Publisher’s Marketplace, but then, I’m publishing news junkie, so what can I say.
And of course, the deals that come through on Publishers Marketplace are just those people feel like reporting. Still, you can glean things from there, like how next year, it will be the Summer of the Zombie in YA and so on.
11. Editing/Revision – love it or hate it?
I’m not sure how Darcy feels after our editing experience with Geek Girl’s Guide, but I still love it. I love have that second, third, twelfth chance to get it right.