Writing Meme 2

So, I saw one of these on the LJ of someone I follow, and decided to copy it. Please feel free to borrow.

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

Hmm . . . This is a pretty tough question. I love both the writing projects I’ve worked with, although the second is seriously in need of a good working over to make sure that all the details are right. That being said, I really love the first writing project I’ve done, namely because it’s set in a place I know well, and it’s with characters I know and love so well. Things are never too dark, but they’re never too happy either, it’s a place of balance, and things ultimately end up okay for everyone involved, despite the various levels of angst everyone deals with.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

I have a lot, and there’s a pretty good balance between males and females. In the “Back to Roots” and “Uprooted” universe, there are probably a good thirty characters who play major or minor roles, and probably more who are just mentioned. In the Nowhere to Hide universe, there are far fewer characters, but a better balance I feel between men and women.

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

For the Roots universe, I’ve had those characters in my head for ages, so their names were just ingrained in my brain. For the Nowhere to Hide universe, I had a few names picked out, and the others were chosen on my favorite baby name website, which sorts names by gender, and then letter, and has just about anything you can call somebody short or making something up. Which I sometimes do as well . . .

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

My first story was actually Nowhere to Hide in a very different incarnation. It was an almost exact transcription of the story in my head, and since that’s long and complicated, it didn’t work out so well, and probably would’ve ended up being 1000 pages or something. Then it became a fantasy story that failed, and now it’s in the stages of an alternate reality light kind of thing. I like the latest incarnation the best, but it needs a lot of fixing.

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about youngest and oldest in terms of when you created them?

Naomi Williams is the youngest character who’s made an appearance in a story, and the grandparents in the Roots universe are probably the oldest. In terms of creation, Anna Foster has been in my head since I was ten, and the characters from NtH are the newest ones in the batch.

6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

I do most of my writing during the mid afternoon at home, and during the night at school. Usually I sit on my couch at school, or my chair in the family room at home. And I always, always use a computer.

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

My ability to listen to music depends on how stuck I am. If I’m stuck while writing without it, then I turn some on. If I’m chugging along fine, I don’t bother with it. It varies. However, tons of characters have their own songs. A few examples are:
Anna Foster: “Stupid” by Sarah McLachlan.
Jason Vilnas: “Sick Cycle Carousel” by Lifehouse
Naomi Williams: “Angels” by Within Temptation
James Knox: “All Over You” by the Spill Canvas.
There are lots more than that too.

8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

Favorite genre to write: realistic fiction.
Favorite genre to read: realistic fiction, fantasy, certain dystopian sci-fi, and historical fiction.

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

I largely create characters for stories out of convenience. I need someone to fill a function, and I create them to fill it. However, the more important characters kind of come to life while the story is still developing in my head, and the more I write about them, the more personality they take on. It’s fun to see them go from being two dimensional to three dimensional.

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Weird situations . . . Well, Paul is in bed with a girl when her boyfriend returns. Jason’s entire dubious past is revealed in front of his girlfriend and her entire family. Naomi kills her boyfriend in his own apartment. James is sitting in a bar listening to his coworkers talk about him. There are plenty.

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?
My favorite character to write at the moment would have to be James. For some reason I get inside his head pretty well. Least favorite is Slash. I always feel like he sounds comic book villian-y, when in reality, he’s just supposed to be an asshole.

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it
you’d like to share?

I did the best job of world building in the Roots universe. There wasn’t much to do because it was realistic fiction, but I feel like I got the gist of the cousins’ lives down better than I did with NtH. There’s still a lot of work to do on that one.

13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?
Huh. No idea.

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

I have a lovely drawing a friend did me of what a recording studio looks like. Other than that, I’m relying on real places, so I just go from memory and maps, and websites.

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

J.K.Rowling, hands down. She took this little idea and made it big, while working and being a single mom. Totally give her props.

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how far are you willing to go in your writing? 😉

I write romantic relationships all the time, and short of writing honest to goodness porn, I’ll do just about anything in terms of length with the characters.

17. Favorite protagonist and why!

Anna Foster. She’s a sweetheart, but she knows what she wants and she’ll stand up for herself if need be.

18. Favorite antagonist and why!

Derrick. Not a total prick, but he certainly made things interesting for the boys in the band, and a few of the girls in another band until he got his head on straight and learned he didn’t need to be an asshole all the time.

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

The character of James Knox was originally a minor character, who decided he wanted half a say in the book. Plus, he’s had a fascinating life, and a really interesting look at the main character. How can I not love that?

20. What are your favorite character interactions to write?

I like scenes between two or more characters with a lot of smoldering tension in the room. (Doesn’t have to be sexual tension, although that certainly ups the ante. But yeah, tension-filled scenes are so much fun to write.

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

I guess you could say that the parents in the Roots universe have kids, but their kids are grown. Paul and Joe in my head universe have children though, but they’re almost too little to write.

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

I had an AU version of the NtH universe in which James accidentally gets Naomi pregnant. Not going to stay in the final draft, but it certainly made things interesting when I was trying to figure out how they would handle it.

23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

For all three steps, ages. From planning to writing to completion, shorter than it used to. Before we were talking years. Now we’re talking months. The last one I did, the first book in the NtH universe was done being written in five months.

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

I’m willing to kill my character, but I don’t like doing it if the universe doesn’t call for it. That being said, the NtH universe demands for a lot of people to die, and I have no problems doing it to further the plot or out of necessity. The most interesting way I’ve killed someone was to drop a piano on their head in the extras.

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

Nope. Can’t say they do.

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

I don’t draw my characters because I can’t draw. I would love to have a friend draw them, but she’s awfully busy and I’d feel bad asking.

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Appearances play almost no role unless they’re important. Jason’s burn scars, important. Jason’s stature, not so much.

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

I’ve written Jason and James who both have physical disabilities. Jason can’t use his left hand all that well because of burns, and the majority of his upper body is burned, and James has facial deformities because of an attack he was caught in.

29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I think about writing literally all the time. It’s why I get so much done. And I’ve come across things IRL all the time. I’ve seen perfect character models of both Kaden and Marie. Really scary.

30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

Anyone who wants to do this can. You’re all great!

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