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codename-mnemonic asked:

1, 2, 4, 8-10, 19, 21, 23-25.

First off, Thanks Alee for just giving me a FEW… ((smh))

    • 01:When did you first start writing?

    I first started writing, I guess, between 3rd and 5th grade. I started out writing poems because they were easy and short, but then I started writing in a journal and short stories in Jr. High. But before all that, I used to create stories not with words but pictures. I started out drawing comics and cartoons. I loved to read since 1st grade and just liked to throw myself into stories. My brother and I used to record audio dramas on my little Fisher-Price tape recorder when I was about 12 or 13.

      • 02:What was your favorite book growing up?

      I don’t know if I had one favorite book growing up. I was always at the library. I liked any book that could teach me something or transport me somewhere else. My favorite book series though, that was the Hardy Boys Casefiles. I have read nearly every one of those and still own most of them. I’ve read them multiple times. My brother and I used to go down to the library and find 5 each of the Casefile books that we hadn’t read yet and then spend all day reading each one and then tossing the finished books onto the other’s bed. By the time the weekend was over, we had each read all 10.

        • 04:Have you ever thrown a book across the room?

        No, I can’t say that I have. Not that I haven’t wanted to, but because I’m too afraid of the destruction to the book or the wall or some piece of furniture it might cause.

          • 08:What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?

          I’ve gotten several pieces of good feedback/advice. I can’t quite remember who, but what follows are the ones that have impacted my writing the most.

          “Read what you write, out loud.”

          There’s just something about reading something out loud that helps you catch mistakes and helps you to figure out how to get things to flow better. It becomes instantly apparent that what you are writing doesn’t sound natural.

          “Write what the Character feels, not what direction you want to go. Throw things in their path that change the way they feel and direct them the way you want them to go. Don’t force your character into a direction they don’t want to go without a reason. If you have no idea what the character feels, you obviously don’t know them well enough.”

          This one I heard from the point of view of a director, directing actors. Treat each character as an actor that you play. You have a mostly developed character with thoughts and emotions and patterns. Hearing this, I realized that I wasn’t supposed to write the characters, but make them react to the world. That made the action and drama and conflict that I wrote more genuine and less forced.

          “You have this many pages to write, nothing more. Cut it down.”

          This came from a college professor. He gave me the assignment of writing a report, two pages long. I told him, full of pride, that I can write more than that. He turned and said; don’t write any more than two pages and no less than a page and a half. I told him; I’m a writer, I can’t help it. And he told me, in his wisdom, that being a writer meant sometimes writing into very definite limits. Turns out, I learned two important lessons from that. First, I learned that limits inspire creativity not stifle it. Second, I learned that brevity means that you end up keeping only what really matters. I learned to cut the fat and more creatively say what I wanted to say.

            • 09:What’s the worst piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?

            Honestly, the worst piece of feedback ever was from my mom (bless her heart) and a lot of others. It’s always worded different each time, but it basically boils down to “Oh, wow, this is the best thing I’ve ever read.” Now that’s not to say that I don’t like positive feedback. It’s just not that helpful, at least not that type of positive feedback. Empty vague praise doesn’t tell a writer anything. You liked it? Tell me why. Tell me what. What was it that hooked you? Or on the other side, where did I lose you? What turned you off? Be specific.

              • 10:What’s your biggest writer pet-peeve?

              Two big things immediately spring to mind when I think of pet-peeves. First is the concept of turning the character evil for no apparent reason. Superman gets hit with Red-K, a character is brainwashed or possessed. If there is a character that straddles the line, that’s fine. There has to be lead up. But when you use some “thing” to temporarily change a character evil, it just aggravates me. I hate the concept of shocking temporary change. No repercussions, no lasting reference to the incident. It’s only played for shock value. Particularly in possession, when a character acts similar to themselves but in an evil manner, when they are possessed by another entity.

              Second, I hate the concept that has captured people’s imagination lately. Whether it be a vampire or werewolf, demon or monster, they take something scary and make it your friend, particularly the concept of falling in love with the monster. Beauty and the beast was nice and that actually taught a lesson about not judging by outward appearance, but nowadays we think it’s cool to have a vampire be your friend or lover. Im not saying it never works for me, but the frequency with which it appears is too much. It’s supposed to be a good thing that a girl wants to be with a monster despite everyone saying (even the monster most times) that it’s a bad idea.

              In both instances, it’s the problem of ‘Where are the heroes?’ Where are the good guys? Have we really become bored of the good, moral heroes? The problem is that we have equated good with nice. I have this picture on my computer of a knight in armor with a sword in one hand and a broken pole in another. He’s battered and his robes are torn. Underneath the image, it says, Lawful Good doesn’t mean lawful nice. Where has the image of the Fiercely Moral Warrior gone? The guy or girl who will stand up for what is right, and by stand up, I mean, punching evil in the face. Stop trying to pass evil things off as good and stop making good, boring. Not everyone has to be an anti-hero. Batman is not an anti-hero. He is dark and brooding and he has struggles but he also has a strict moral code. He stands for justice. No one cares about justice and what’s right anymore, which is crazy in a world so full of injustice.

                • 19:Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?

                It really depends. I like to write fiction on a computer because I write stories like I draw, and I draw like someone would sculpt. It starts with a wireframe and then I build and add and subtract as needed. I just need the ability to change things and move things around.

                When I’m journaling, I prefer longhand. Longhand is just easier for free flowing thought. And there is something about the tactile sensation and feedback from the paper through the pen to my hand that inspires me and really helps me channel my emotions onto the paper. I feel the freedom to just think on paper, to think it out loud with just myself.

                  • 21:Do you outline?

                  Sometimes. Outlining can be helpful when you know where you’re going overall. It helps with pacing and for fleshing out your world. Though, I’m just starting to realize the point of writing without just for discovery purposes. So, yes and no. Both approaches are valid and for entirely different purposes.

                    • 23:What’s your favorite & least favorite part of making characters?

                    My favorite part is pretty much all of it. I love to create cool unique and diverse characters. I love creating a backstory, their motives, their fears and hopes, their moral code.

                    My least favorite is naming them. Mostly this is because it stresses me out because I really want to get it right. A name defines a person and I take great pains to match the perfect name with a character. Sometimes, horrible names can ruin a good character. And plus, I just hate using generic names.

                      • 24:What’s your favorite & least favorite part of plotting?

                      My favorite part is when it all comes together. When I’m planning something out and something clicks and I see the why for all the other stuff that came before. There comes that tipping point when a story takes on a life of its own and the cells start dividing on their own.

                      My least favorite is trying to reach that point before it happens. Trying to find a reason for why this crazy stuff I want to happen would happen. The part where finding what the story for these characters I’ve created is painstaking and you’ve got to come up with all this stuff and the task just looks so huge.

                        • 25:What advice would you give to young writers?

                        It doesn’t have to be perfect. That has hindered me so much. I don’t want to do anything until I have the concept perfect in my head. I don’t want to put it out there until I’ve made it look as clean and perfect as possible. This writing sounds like a 5th grader, I’m trashing it. It just doesn’t have to be perfectly put together to go ahead. The perfectionist inside of us limits us so often. And so we just sit and stare at blank screens or go off and play a game or watch a show to get inspired, until we find a hook. Or sometimes we are just too scared to face the work, the daunting task ahead. Why would I be the one person to get published out of the hundred or thousand who try? The thing is, you could end up being the biggest artist, writer, musician the world has ever known but you have counted yourself out. You have to have hope. Believe in yourself. Lie if you have to. Ignore your flaws and press on. After all, it’s just you in front of that screen, hovering over that keyboard, over that drawing pad, holding a pencil, or clutching that instrument. It’s just you. Overlook your flaws for now. Convince yourself that you can do this. Believe in the ‘what if’. A lot of us write, draw or make music about more fantastic things than this, but you being a success COULD actually happen. It is possible. And even if not, maybe your definition of success is off. Do you want to make the world happy or do you want to get this thing out of you that’s boring a hole in your imagination? Do you want to feel the release, the relief, the pleasure of creating something, of having a vision and then making that vision a reality?


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