Letters to/from/about/inspired by:
LAST ONE LAST ONE
08: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?
Oh, geez, that’s hard. I get fabulous feedback on a regular basis… But I think my writing professor during my senior year gave me some of the best feedback: Use more details. Be specific.
You can get away with a lot if you are detailed about it.
09: What’s the worst piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?
Possibly a comment on my WIP about how having my female characters masked made it impossible for the commenter to sympathize with them. Meh.
10: What’s your biggest writer pet-peeve?
I know I should say something like, “[Obscure grammar rule]!” But actually it’s formatting. If someone’s manuscript/book isn’t formatted correctly—with paragraph indentations and punctuation clearly presented (none of this: “He said ,. ‘Wow ‘!”)—it’s like nails scraping behind my eyeballs.
11: What’s your favorite book cover?
At the moment I’m having a love affair with Tribute, but my cover fangirling accumulates new obsessions every time I go in a book shop.
15: What would you say has inspired you the most?
In broad terms: My dad reading to me when I was a kid. I learned to love literature at a very young age because of the hours he spent reading to us.
Specifically for WIP Illuminate: The origins of tango, seeing illuminated manuscripts at the British library, Muslim culture, growing up as a Navy kid, and Venice.
39: What’s the weirdest story idea you’ve ever had?
Weird as in bizarre? Hm… Honestly probably the really strange self-fanfiction of my youth, where friends and I would throw all our characters in a pot and have them take strange adventures. (My character Siarl was afraid of slugs? I think? For some reason?)
Runner-up might be Raven King, where King Arthur in immortal-raven-form wound up at my college and then got transformed back into a person and had to adjust to modern living but then also there was a descendant of Merlin and much chaos ensued.
04: Have you ever thrown a book across the room?
I would have thrown Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom across the room except that it would’ve probably put a hole through my wall.
I have also thrown books at roaches.
… Actually Freedom would’ve made a great roach squasher… Maybe I should’ve kept it.
13: What’s your favorite writing quote?
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
- C.S. Lewis
19: Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?
Computer. Sometimes I still write longhand, but arthritis has made it less fun.
37: What’s your oldest WIP?
The Fountain’s Edge, I guess? I don’t know if that’s still a work-in-progress since I’m not sure I’ll pick it up again. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and there is a lot of mythology and an evil uncle and the male MC gets beat up by the female RI, which is fun.
44: What’s the weirdest character concept you’ve ever come up with?
Probably the Hugh Dancy, blood-magic wielding antagonist of my current WIP. He’s so cute!
18: How do you feel about love triangles?
Basically the same way the characters feel: Conflicted. I appreciate when a love triangle is pulled off well because relationships don’t exist in a vacuum, and sometimes a love triangle can spice up the trope of first-guy/girl-in-the-book-is-the-one-MC-will-end-up-with. But when done poorly, love triangles can be an infuriating shortcut to tension.
(I also get very tired of wishy-washy love stuff very, very fast—but that’s more my personality than a thoughtful comment.)
28: Which do you find hardest: the beginning, the middle, or the end?
The beginning is the most fun to write for me, but the hardest to edit into shape. The end is the hardest to draft, but often the most fun to edit.
41: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline?
I revisit the outline. Normally if a character deviates, I can somehow make their left turn work in the story. For instance, midway through my WIP a character announced that he has PTSD. I had no inkling of this before, but it worked so well with what needed to happen that I let him have his way. (However, when he said he wanted a sidekick monkey, my reply was a firm, “No.”)