Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Use GIFs to Describe My Writing Process (and to describe a lot of other things)

I'm a month late, but Cait's Beautiful People questions for July looked like so much fun to answer, I knew I had to do them eventually. Plus, gifs were involved, and I can never resist that.

1. How do you decide which project to work on?

Decisions? Yeah, no, not great at that when it comes to writing. If I ever try to make a logical decision, I end up opening fourteen documents, scanning through them to see what I'd written before, spending the next half hour weighing the pros and cons of working on the different projects, and ultimately not working on any of them.

That being said, it's usually best if I have a deadline set for something. The pressure of a piece having to be done by a certain date helps me work faster. And if I'm really excited about something, I'll drop everything else to work on that right away while I still have the inspiration.
2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

A long time. A really long time. I'm great at starting things; the first 5,000 words of any novel is the easiest thing I will ever write. But actually finishing something? Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

It also depends on whether or not "finishing a project" means finishing the first draft or polishing a draft to perfection. A first draft of a novel for me might take a few months to a year, but edits take forever, mostly because I hate editing with a passion. Almost as much as Lorelai Gilmore hates decaf coffee.
3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

I feel like I don't have an exact routine for anything. Whatever works for me in the moment is the best way to go about it, especially since my schedule changes so often, I hardly ever write at the same time each day. But something that does tend to stay the same is my need for the right amount of noise. Sometimes I like total silence, sometimes I want a certain playlist, sometimes I need something more along the lines of ambient noise. Once I have that down, I can get started.
4. What time of day do you write best?

See my answer to the above question. I'm not sure I notice a huge difference when I write, but I do tend to like the way my brain works really late at night and soon after I wake up in the morning. 

5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

I'd like to think my dialogue is similar to Rainbow Rowell's, and lately my first person narrative seems to sound like Becky Albertalli's, but I admire the both of them so much, it could just be wish fulfillment.
6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I honestly can't remember when or why I started writing. I just really liked it. It was fun and once I found out people did it for a living, I knew that's what I wanted to do. I haven't stopped. Sometimes there are short stretches when I don't feel like writing or everything I write seems like garbage, but it doesn't last long, because if I stop writing for too long, I start to get a little twitchy.

7. What is the hardest thing you've written?

It's funny how in the moment, some things seem so difficult, and then when I try to look back and remember what was the hardest, nothing comes to mind. The middle of any project is when the temptation to give up is the strongest. Endings are also really hard because I want to get it just right, and I never want to say goodbye to my characters. Also, anytime you get nervous about someone reading something you've written, it tends to be some of the best stuff you've written.
    8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

    Adult fiction? Mostly cause, duh, I'm not an adult. Maybe memoir stuff, too. I keep a pretty regular journal, but to write good non-fiction pieces, I think it's probably best to get some distance from the memories. Then you can see what still sticks out and focus on that, the most important and memorable bits. And you can connect those memories with your older and wiser interpretation of them.

    9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

    I couldn't be happier with how productive I've been in this sense. Not even halfway through the year, I completed all of my writing-related 2017 goals.

    -Finish "Writer's Camp." Check! It's a full-length movie script that will probably just collect figurative dust in my documents, but I'm still happy I wrote it. It was tons of fun and helped me learn a lot about screenwriting

    -Do more screenwriting. Done, and I loved every second of it. I wrote two spec scripts, one for "Castle" and one for "New Girl," as part of an application to a Warner Bros. internship experience. I knew there was like a 1% chance of me actually getting it, especially since it was geared for adults, but I still wanted to try. I did not get in, but writing the scripts was fun.

    -Finish editing Beneath the Moon and Stars. Finally. I started writing this book toward the end of 2013 and I think I've finished up the final touches as of last month or so. Now I just have to find an agent for it.

    -Finish Terrible Things. Finished! It's by far the longest fan-fiction series I've ever written. The story stands on its own enough that I could probably make a few changes so it reads as a normal fiction piece, too.

    -Do the first round of edits for Ms. Holmes. This one was only difficult in the sense that I cringed with every page I turned. Oh how young and deluded I was. It still needs a ton of work to even be legible.

    10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or gifs!

    (You know me. I have no respect for rules when it comes to things such as limiting my gif usage. There will be more than three. A lot more. But they're all in order and make for a pretty entertaining representation of how writing a novel usually goes for me.)



    What authors do you think you're similar to? What's the hardest thing you've ever written? Leave a comment!


    Lara Liz said...

    OH, those GIFs were absolutely exceptional, Kate. I now absolutely understand all of your blogging process, so thank you.

    Also, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who takes absolutely for-blooming-ever to write anything. I think my problem must be more severe than yours, since I've never actually finished anything fictional other than a tiny, tiny handful of short stories, but at least other people struggle too.

    HANG ON, YOU FINISHED EDITS FOR MOON AND STARS!? Please, please let me read it as soon as possible, I'm so excited to see how it's turned out. I'm liking the sounds of Ms. Holmes, too.

    The Magic Violinist said...


    Thank you! xD It was by far my favorite part of the post.

    Oh no, you're one of many. I don't know how some people crank out like seven books a year. I'm sure I could train myself to do it, but I definitely couldn't accomplish that now. Finishing anything is a great feat!

    I DIIIIID. Absolutely you can read it. You'd be the perfect reader for it!

    Jimmy said...

    Oh man that least string of gifs were hilarious. Thank you for giving me a good laugh here at work! Just for the record, the older I get, the more of a morning person I've become. I learn and think better in the morning. I remember being a kid and finding it odd how early my grandparents would get up when there was no need to, and now I'm just as bad if not worse.

    The Magic Violinist said...


    Thanks! I had tons of fun putting it together.

    Ha, maybe there's hope for me, then. Sometimes it's nice to get up a little early and get a bunch of writing done before anyone else wakes up.

    Ivyclad Ideas said...

    Relatable. :')
    For some reason, I seem to write best between 10am and 11am. Do you know which time slot in more or less unavailable every day of my life? That one!

    The Magic Violinist said...


    Isn't it? ;)

    That's how it always ends up! The most inconvenient time is the best time to write.

    Cait @ Paper Fury said...

    omg I LOVE your gif outline of your writing process there. I relate to a lot of those gifs very very hard.😂😂 And omg edits are so hard right? Especially when it's an old manuscript. Actually I was reading a POLISHED manuscript the other day and going "what the heck did I even mean here" and it'd been through actual professional edits. So. Maybe we writers are meaner on ourselves than others but like??? Writing is so hard??? Help.😂

    (That's really cool that you tried for that internship anyway! I hope you land something amazing like that one day!)

    The Magic Violinist said...


    Thanks! xD It didn't take me long at all to find the right gifs, because as soon as I saw one, I knew it fit exactly how I needed it to.

    Gah, that's the worst! I expect to hate 90% of everything in a first draft, but a polished draft? It can be very disheartening. Then again, like you said, we're way harder on ourselves than we ought to be.

    Thank you! :)

    Boquinha said...

    What kind of editing do you hate? If it's the grammatical minutiae, I'm happy to help! :)

    You are lucky that you have such great brain power at BOTH early morning and late at night. It seems like people usually have one or the other.

    I love your answer for #8. That's a beautiful way to look at it.

    And on your goals - WOW! Was that due to Daddy being laid up for two months?

    That cat! That dog! And so much Nick. :)

    The Magic Violinist said...


    Ha, that's actually the part I don't mind. Reworking sentences is a piece of cake. It's when I have to add or delete scenes or move scenes around entirely that things start to get complicated and aggravating.

    I know! The tricky part is I can't always stay up super late and get up early the next day. ;)


    No, I actually completed all of those goals by mid to late May! Which was nice, because between iStage and the surgery and all of my camps, I didn't have time to get much of anything else done.

    I love Nick gifs.