Friday, January 9, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--January

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month she announces a new set of questions to answer about your characters so you can learn more about them.

This month's topic, though, is a special edition. Instead questions about our characters, the questions are about ourselves!


1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?

I've always considered myself a writer, because I've been writing for as long as I can remember. The earliest memory I have of myself writing an actual story was when I was five or six. I wrote a short story about a ball and a Frisbee who were best friends, but couldn't figure out a game they could both play since they didn't have hands. (Spoiler alert: They ended up racing each other. The Frisbee rolled and the ball bounced.)

But after watching a home video a while ago, I realized that I've been telling stories since before I could even read or write. They were very long-winded stories that didn't make a whole lot of sense, but they were stories all the same.

2. How/why did you start writing?

See #1. for "how." As for "why," I have no clue. I've always enjoyed it, and I haven't been able to stop since. There's not a single day that goes by when I don't write something, even if it's just a sentence.

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?

Being able to create something from nothing. A blank page can definitely be intimidating, but I like to look at it as magic and opportunity. All the books that have impacted our lives were once just that, a blank page. I love creating worlds and characters and all the things we love about reading with a few taps of the keyboard. It's amazing.

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Editing! Copyedits and tweaking sentences so they sound perfect aren't so bad, and sometimes it's even fun, but I dread the major edits: Plot holes, cutting characters, adding characters, changing the order of when things happen so they actually make sense. It's awful.

Also query letters and writing a synopsis. But who actually enjoys writing those?

5. Do you write best at night or day?

It all depends on the day. Usually I work on my big projects during the day. At night, I'll sometimes freewrite or scribble a few paragraphs of fan-fiction. It helps me wind down before bed, and usually gives me weird dreams. Weird dreams are fantastic for story ideas. ;)

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

This is where I spend the majority of the day. There is usually a mug of tea or hot chocolate within reach. The whiteboard currently has a list of projects I need to finish up, along with my business card.

This is the other side of the desk, where I keep all of my supplies. The bulletin board is for outlining and editing. There are also over a dozen folders crammed into that desktop organizer, each one filled with information about the book it's being used for.

My little TARDIS and Dalek figurines keep me company.

I like to keep my iPod by this paper so if I'm tempted to use it for anything not writing related, it's here to remind me.

I printed out the "Sherlock" design and taped it over an empty can for my pens. The picture frame in the background has two of my favorite inspirational quotes about writing.
7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?

Since I'm easily distracted, a long time. :P Some I've been working on for two years now, though inconsistently. If I'm really motivated and make myself get it done before working on anything else, maybe two months. It also depends on how long the book is. For example, I wrote little else when I was working on Flightless Birds, but since it's currently at 125,000 words (that's about 500 pages), it took me a full five months to get it done. (By the way, anyone up for being a beta reader for that one?)

8. How many projects do you work on at once?

Several. Right now I'm in the middle of six or seven books, all in different stages. It's good in some ways, because if I get bored with one I can work on the other, but that also means it takes me forever to get anything finished.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?

It depends on the book. Usually, for middle-grade, I go for happy. But with YA I might do a somewhere in between kind of ending. I don't want my books to make readers feel depressed after finishing them, but the endings also aren't perfectly wrapped up and tied with a bow. They're hopeful, but not exactly happy.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.

(Even though several books have influenced my writing journey, I'm only going to list the authors that have consistently delivered and inspired me time after time.)

J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, Bill Watterson, A.S. King, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Marissa Meyer.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?

Absolutely! If nobody reads my writing and gives me feedback on it, how am I going to get better? Usually I only send parts of my books for critique after I've done a few rounds of edits, but my best friend sometimes gets sneak peeks.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?

To be successful enough in my writing that I don't need another job, to inspire others to read and write, to make people smile or cry or think, to create characters that stay with people in the same way so many characters have stayed with me.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?

Figure out why I'm not writing. Then, if all else fails, I'd do something else that would engage me creatively. Maybe open a bookstore or do something with art. I also really like music, so it'd be really cool to work with artists on their music somehow. Maybe I'd work with animals, though not as a vet, probably something along the lines of working at a pet store.

14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?

Well I'll probably end up writing an adult book someday, but until I'm an adult and have read more adult fiction, I don't think I can do that yet. ;)

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

If we're talking about stories somebody else has written, Harry Potter, hands down. But if it's something I've written, that'd be the Fantasya series. I wrote the first two books when I was ten and eleven, and I remember having so much fun with it. I love creating the sort of world I wanted to live in, characters I would be friends with, a story I'd want to read. They both obviously need tons of work, but even if they don't go anywhere, those books are the first stories I ever felt like I'd worked magic with.

Linkup with "Paper Fury!" I want to read your posts!


Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination said...

A lot of your answers are so similar to mine. I also love how writing enables me to take a blank piece of paper and create something on it. I also think writing query letters isn't really much fun. It's kind of exciting, but it's also stressful because it has to be perfect. I've only written query letters for a magazine, but soon I'll be writing query letters to actual agents, which will be interesting. I love your writing space. It's so neat and organized. I think my endings are also mostly hopeful but not necessarily happily-ever-after.

Dr. Sus said...

I loved your answers! By the way, you are a brave soul to be so willing to allow others to read your work. That is something I need to work on. Oh, and those major edits? They get me too.

By the way, I found your blog throught he linkup and am glad to meet another homeschool writer!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and so far I love it! Your writing desk is awesome. Mine is so messy since I'm a messy and rather unorganized person. :P
I'd be interested in beta-reading Flightless Birds if you want... :)

The Magic Violinist said...

@Ana Totally agree with you about query letters. :P They're awful to write, but probably one of the most important things you need to learn how to write. Good luck to you with finding an agent!

Thanks! :) It didn't always used to be that way, though. Now that I have an entire room dedicated to writing, I'm more motivated to keep it clean.

@Dr. Sus Ha ha, thanks. ;) Thankfully, that's something that's never worried me too much. My critique partners and blogging friends are awesome and super supportive, so I know they're not going to tear it down. I suggest letting one person that you trust read it at a time so you can gradually warm up to letting people read what you've written.

Nice to meet you! :) I'll have to check out your post.

@katy024 He he, I used to be extremely disorganized. My desk was atrocious. Sometimes I'd come down in the morning and find that my piles of stuff had completely buried my keyboard.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou! :D I will definitely be contacting you.

Cait @ Paper Fury said...

Aw you are such an awesome dedicated writer!! TRULY! You are amazing and I take my hat off to you. ;-) I can go months and months without writing and I don't even mind. *gulps* I wonder if this makes me a bad or not very invested writer sometimes?
Ugh. Queries and synopsises are evil.
6 or 7 projects?! WOW. I can only work on 1 at a time xD

The Magic Violinist said...

@Cait Aww, thanks. :) Not at all! You have to do what works best for you, ultimately. If going months at a time without writing is the best way to recharge your batteries, go for it. You can also write for a week straight and get like 60,000 words done, and that's not exactly a small feat.

They. Are. The. Worst.

Yeah, I'm trying to be more focused with my writing. XD It's not working.

Taylor Lynn said...

Ooh, this is fun, I love to hear about other people's writing processes! I also love seeing other people's desk/work spaces, so I'm glad you shared pictures of yours. :)

And I like your answer for your favorite part of writing; it's an outlook I'd like to make more of an effort to keep in MY writing life, haha. Also, hurrah for J.K. Rowling!

Anyway, this was fun to read and I'm glad you shared!

Rachel W. said...

I love this!! Your writing space is SO CUTE AND AWESOME AND I LOVE IT A LOT. And hahaha high-five, fellow Whovian. And fellow homeschooler, hey! :D And I LOVE BLANK PAGES! YOU'RE RIGHT THEY ARE SO MAGICAL AND FULL OF POSSIBILITIES!!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Taylor Lynn Thanks! :) I'm totally in love with the space. I spend hours in there each day.

J.K. Rowling is the best! Nothing will ever top Harry Potter for me.

I'm glad you commented! :) Can we expect a post from you soon? *hint hint*

@Rachel W. Well hello there fellow homeschooled Whovian! *high-fives back*

I know there are days when it's the most intimidating thing ever and you can't imagine how you will ever be able to fill it up, but I just love it. :)

Ashana Lian said...

Hi! I found you from the link-up, which I'll get round to at some point...
First of all, your background is so pretty! =D Can I just say, your Ball & Frisbee story is ADORABLE. I would love that as a children's picture book. That 'You Should Be Writing' poster made me crack up laughing. I need one of those.

Great post, I wish you luck with your writing. Oh by the way, it's interesting that a lot of YA writers influenced your journey. Are you aiming to be a YA writer?

Sarah Faulkner said...

Confession, I actually love writing query letters! If I'm thinking about starting a new writing project, the first thing I do is write a query letter to see if I can concisely communicate the story idea, and to see if it looks interesting even in the short version.
But I am right there with you on major edits and revision! So awful! Where do you start? What if you miss something? What f you change something so drastically that you have to rewrite the rest of the story? Yeah, Macro edits, I hate them!

~Sarah Faulkner

Adriana Gabrielle said...

I found your link through the linkup!

I am LOVING the writing space! (I spy the Doctor!) My room is full of Doctor Who stuffs! I had about 5 posters as well, but water damaged them all *sobs* and I also see Sherlock! Wooh! I feel like we can be best friend now! Haha :P

and Wooh! I'm not the only one who does several projects at once! That makes me happy!

~Adriana G.

Samantha Smith said...

I am seriously loving your writing space! I love all your Doctor Who figurines and papers as well.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Ashana Lian

Thank you! It jumped out at me right away when I set up my blog and I haven't changed it since.

Ha ha, I guess it would make a pretty good picture book. It would need a lot of work, though. ;) I was not too fond of commas back then.

IT'S SO HELPFUL. Whenever I turn around to mess with my iPod or do something that would distract me, he's standing there giving me a stern look.

I think for the most part, yes. I do like writing MG, and eventually I'll probably attempt an adult novel or two, but YA is what I love. It's so much fun.

@Sarah Faulkner

Huh, I'd never thought about writing a query letter before writing the book. I'm going to try that! Maybe it'll be easier. :P

I KNOW. I like to tack up everything that needs cutting or work on my bulletin board so I can look at it all at once. It helps. Sort of.

@Adriana Gabrielle

Thanks! I love it, too. Like a lot.

Oh no! That's so sad. :(

Lots of Sherlock fangirling over here. ;) My Pinterest is full of Sherlock pins. Over the course of a year I've been introduced to the joy/pain that is SuperWhoLock.

Ha ha, definitely not the only person. I'm easily distracted by new projects. It's the "Ooh, shiny!" curse of being a writer.

@Samantha Smith

Thank you! :) It's a great space for creativity of all kinds.

Boquinha said...

I love the Frisbee and the Ball story! You should totally make that into a children's book. What are you waiting for? Very Mo Willems. Do you remember writing stories where we'd fold a paper in half, put stickers everywhere and then draw in the rest and write a story about the picture? We're so clever.

It's fun to sit here, read your posts, ask you questions out loud (I GET TO LIVE WITH YOU!) and then comment anyway. :P

I didn't know that your "You Should Be Writing" sign is where you put your iPod - great idea!

#15 - beautiful answer!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha That probably would make a good picture book.

Ha, yes! I loved making those. They made next to no sense, but they were fun.

He he, that is pretty cool. ;)

It actually really helps!