I only watched part of the Grammy Awards last night, but it doesn’t matter! Today I got this lovely blog award from the kind and generous Anne Tedeton. Anne and I met on Twitter as cohorts in #AgentMatch, and I’m so glad we did. (Congratulations, Anne, I’ve been avoiding these things successfully for years, but I cave now!)
Here are the rules of the game:
1. What band has influenced your writing most?
Just one? I’m an old rock & roll girl from way back, when I used to have ties to the industry. I wrote my first (not very good) novel to a soundtrack of R.E.M., but I’m not sure they’ve had the biggest influence on my writing. I spent most of my adult life (so far!) in the Pacific northwest, so I’m tempted to claim Nirvana because Kurt Cobain wrote most of his lyrics at the last minute. That’s not the right fit either. I guess I’m going to go with my first inclination, Bob Dylan. He’s not a band all by himself, but he’s the one who taught me that stories can be told well in any medium. All we need is the heart to tell them.
2. Do you use symbols in your work?
Symbols… not so much. Symbolism? A bit. I was an English Literature major and never met a James Joyce story I couldn’t read for the symbolism. Some of that stuck with me. I try to be a little less oblique about it, and only use that kind of thing if my protagonist is the type of person who’d be aware of them. I hope this answers your question, Anne.
3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m in love with flying by the seat of my pants. Any time I think I know where a story’s going to go, it takes a left turn anyway. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some sort of plot in mind, though. I usually either know where the story will end (or think I do), or something very important about my characters that I need to explore and let progress. It’s my strong preference that the characters lead the way. Organic writing is a lot more fun for me than forced, although the pieces I’ve sold have all been plotted. Maybe I ought to learn from that!
4. If you could meet your worst villain, what would you do?
Probably buy them a drink and make them talk to me. I like finding out what makes people tick.
5. What’s your favorite genre to write in?
Ugh, I always get sidelined by a tendency to write upmarket or literary fiction. I can’t write to a formula to save my life; they seem so stale and contrived. No wonder I had such a hard time describing my genre at first! Literary’s a hard sell, I know. This year for NaNoWriMo I sat down with the absolute intention of writing something marketable. I’m not sure I succeeded – I’m in revisions with it now trying to make it meet a few different sets of expectations.
6. Are you heavier on dialog or description?
That depends on the story, entirely! I have a YA soft sci-fi that’s absolutely filled with description and world-building. I have a contemporary romance that’s absolutely filled with dialog. Help me, Obi-Wan, I can’t answer. I strive for balance between the two.
7. Do filler words drive you nuts?
Ask my critique partners. YES.
8. Tell us about your most memorable character.
I had to ask for help on this one. My first reader says it’s January, a 17-year-old martial artist from the future. She’s pretty kick-ass, not just because she’s great at karate, but because she’s outspoken, can hold her own against both males and females, knows what she wants, has a ton of drive, doesn’t let setbacks stand in her way, and yet has an inner core of kindness that she reveals to those who deserve to see it. Look for her in the next query round, I’m revising her manuscript right now!
9. Do you have a writing ritual?
Yes! Wake up, clean the kitchen, and write. I’m not sure why, but I can’t write if my kitchen is a mess and with two young adults in the house, it’s always a mess.
10. Which is more important: style, or accessibility?
Yes. Both, but I have to go with accessibility. We can argue things like JK Rowling’s liberal use of adverbs all we want, but if her writing wasn’t beautiful and wide-open and easy to digest, no one would care about an Expelliarmus spell or whether or not Harry deserved to defeat the Hungarian Horntail. I can say similar things about my favorite YA writer, Diana Wynne Jones: her writing is so accessible that the style — which is also quite beautiful — disappears into the background.
11. What’s a genre you’d love to explore in the future?
All of them. As I mentioned earlier, I have trouble conforming to any genre’s formula. I’m intrigued by fantasy, but don’t have the patience to write it. Maybe I ought to work on that!
11 Random Facts about me:
- My high school English teacher told me I couldn’t write as well as my older sister. It took me years after hearing that to pick up a pen (or keyboard) and write my own fiction. Shame on him.
- I was the shyest kid growing up. No one believes that now.
- I was a technical writer for a long time, and have always wanted to write a piece of erotica in tech manual format. Chapter 1. Before You Begin…
- I don’t know if I’ll ever stop considering myself an Oregonian, even though I love California and find it beautiful. Yes, everyone in Portland is just like the cast of Portlandia! I’ll vouch for that. What do you mean you don’t know where your vegetables were grown?
- Even though I’m a dog person at heart, I am that crazy cat lady your parents warned you about.
- When I’m not near the ocean, I die a little inside.
- Until I moved to CA, I was a licensed massage therapist.
- I love editing, so long as it’s for other people. I hear I make a damn fine critique partner.
- Sing it with me: I’m a native New Yorker. I was born in midtown Manhattan.
- Last time I was in London, I watched a Japanese boy band film a music video on Westminster Bridge.
- Even the Sorting Hat says I’m a Gryffindor.
With regards to that last random fact, I have to say I believe rules were made to be at least bent, if not outright ignored. I’m only tagging 3 people, but if you’re not @jules1278, @LianaMir1, or @lil_lobass and would like to spread the wealth around, here are 11 questions for you:
1. What motivates you, deep down in your heart?
2. What are your three favorite books, and why?
3. If money was no object and you could live anywhere in the world, where would you pick?
4. Tea or coffee?
5. What’s your go-to soundtrack when you write?
6. You’re finally on the shuttle to Mars, but only get to watch one movie over and over until you get there. Which one do you want as your travel companion?
7. How many languages do you speak? What are they?
8. Fill in the blank: In my perfect world, .
9. What’s your sun sign?
10. Do you have a favorite social media platform? What is it and why do you like it?
11. If you have siblings, where do you stand in the pecking order?
As you were. ♥