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Writing survey

Thanks to clawfoot and other friends for passing on this survey.

What's the last thing you wrote?:
At all: updates to a technical manual for hospital software.
Fiction: rewrites of a couple of scenes in Mysterious Paris.

Was it any good?:
The technical manual: yes.
Mysterious Paris: One scene is probably OK, but the other needs a lot more work.

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?:
A poem I dictated to my mother before I learned the mechanics of writing. I think I was about 4 at the time.


Was it any good?:
It's probably charming for something a 4-year-old would write. Which means it's pretty bad by adult standards.

Write poetry?:
Yes, but now my poetry is limited to meeting invites I send out to my writing team at work. It's not very good, but it sometimes makes them laugh.

Angsty poetry?:
Occasionally. Many years ago.

Favorite genre of writing?:
Ever since I first started doing nanowrimo, I love writing novels. I don't like to pigeon-hole myself into a particular genre, but have a tendency towards science fiction and/or mystery.

Most fun character you ever wrote?:
There's a minor character in Mysterious Paris who seems a bit rough, except that he wears a Care Bear pin. If I write a series with the main characters, I'll probably bring him back as a more major character in the third novel.

Most annoying character you ever wrote?:
Manon, the protagonist of Mysterious Paris is somewhat annoying at the start of the novel. I'll have to see how I can fix that, as my one reader has told me that she wants to slap her.

Best plot you ever wrote?:
Mysterious Paris has my most organized plot, as I did some serious planning before starting to write. But I'm still fond of the plot of Science Fiction Fantasy (the working title of my Nanowrimo 2002 attempt).

Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?:
I think that some of the best twists were in one of the story-lines of Science Fiction Fantasy where characters had all sorts of secrets that change eachother's lives as they are revealed.

How often do you get writer's block?:
I only get writer's block when I try to write without planning. But too often I don't write enough (fiction) because I am letting other activities distract me from writing.... for example answering this long survey.

How do you fix it?:
The actual writer's block is fixed by planning. Planning the overall story before writing. Planning each scene before starting to write the scene. I find it easier to plan what will happen when I'm not worried about how I will say it. Then when I know what will happen, the individual words come more easily.

Write fan fiction?:
No.

Of what?:
N/A.

Is it better or worse than your other writing?:
N/A.

Do you type or write by hand?:
When I was in university, I liked to write longhand, then type on a typewriter, then retype the rewrites. I would find that as I was forced to rekey everything, I would do more editing on-the-fly. While that was fine for short stories, I would never do that for a novel. Instead, I enter everything electronically except for my planning notes.

Do you save everything you write?:
Everything that is not work-for-hire (i.e. technical writing for a company). Even that is probably saved and used ... just not by me if I move on.

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?:
Yes. Nothing's ever dead forever. It's all potential material for the future.

What's your favorite thing that you've written?:
The novel-in-a-novel quotes in Mysterious Paris. I also have a few favourite scenes in both Mysterious Paris and Science Fiction Fantasy.

What's everyone else's favorite thing that you've written?:
Not many people have seen my fiction work. My most popular work was an installation manual I wrote for an ERP system. It enabled many more people at the company to be able to perform installations. And some customers used it to perform their own installations. Interestingly, those customers with the least technical knowledge had the smoothest installations, as they followed all the instructions.

Do you even show people your work?:
My technical writing is available to everyone in my division and to our customers. Few people have seen my fiction.

Who's your favorite constructive critic?:
ficbot has given me some really useful feedback on Mysterious Paris.

Do you have a website for your writings?:
Some of my non-fiction pieces are available on-line, but not on my own web sites.

Did you ever write a novel?:
One complete, three unfinished.

Was is for NaNoWriMo?:
Yes.

Have you ever written fantasy, sci-fi, or horror?:
Science Fiction and sometimes fantasy.

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?:
Most of my novels has strong romantic elements, but they are not "romance" novels.

What's your favorite setting for your characters?:
I think my favourite place was the initial location of Science Fiction Fantasy. I had fun writing about the nanosurgery.

What's one genre you have never written, and probably never will?:
I don't think I'll ever write horror or a western. OK, that's two, but I can't see myself writing either.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?:
Fiction: Mostly one ... Mysterious Paris, but I sometimes go back to my previous novel, Science Fiction Fantasy when inspired.

Non-fiction: about 4 technical manuals where I am the author. I also supervise other writers who are working on additional manuals.

Do you want to write for a living?:
I'm currently earning my living as a technical writer. I'd love to earn my living writing novels and free-lance non-fiction articles.

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?:
I've had several non-fiction articles published in on-line magazines, including one paying market.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?:
No.

Ever written something in script or play format?:
No.

What are your five favorite words?:
tintinabulation, melodious, comicstruck, aquamarine, writer

Do you ever parody?:
No.

What's your favorite thing to parody?:
N/A.

Do you actually like that thing, or are you spitefully making fun of it?:
N/A.

Do you ever write based on yourself?:
Yes, I think that my best work is derived from my own experiences.

What character that you've written most resembles yourself?:
Jainellen, in Science Fiction Fantasy. What's funny is that I thought she was a really blah character, as I didn't try to work on giving her a personality in my initial draft .... but the one person who read the novel claimed to enjoy reading about her.

Where do you get ideas for your other characters?:
People I've known, people I've seen even in passing, the need for a particular type of character in the story.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?:
Occasionally when I'm heavily working on a novel, I'll have a dream about a scene that I have to add into the novel.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliffhangers?:
Happy or sad. Not everything has to be wound up if you are writing a series, but I hate cliffhangers.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you've seen?:
Only non-fiction, mostly for a course I took called "Writing about Art".

Write me a really classy simile:
From Mysterious Paris:
The act of reading was like meditation, focusing her mind on the world and thoughts presented by the author. She breathed calmly, and her only gestures were to turn the page or to brush the hair out of her eyes.


Now write me a really dumb simile:
She leaned back on her elbows and looked up at the Eiffel Tower, looking like some giant Erector Set tower.


Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?:
No. I can correct any errors later.

Ever write something entirely in chatspeak? (How r u?):
No.

Entirely in L337?:
No, but someone's redone Romeo and Juliet entirely in L337 (or is it L33T) in a funny flash movie.

Was that question completely appalling and un-writerlike?:
Yes.

Does music help you write?:
I generally don't write while listening to music, but I find that particular soundtracks help inspire me or put me in the right mood when I am thinking about my novel while commuting.

Do you have a weblog or livejournal?:
You're reading it right now.

Do you write your life as if it were one of those journal books?:
No.

Are people surprised and confused when they find out you write well?:
I hope not.

Quote something you've written. The first thing to pop into your mind:
The opening paragraphs of Mysterious Paris, which is a novel-in-a-novel quote:
Inspector Jardin followed the sound of the distant footsteps. He was on the tail of the murderer, Louis-Robert, and did not want to lose his man.

Jardin walked slowly through the catacombs to avoid making any sound. Earlier, he caught a glimpse of Louis-Robert entering the cemetery, recognizing him by his unmistakable red hair and blue coat. But Jardin lost him in the labyrinth of headstones and sculptures and was now closing in slowly. He could hear Louis-Robert's quick step on the gravel path. Jardin always wore sensible rubber soled shoes to avoid being heard.

A door creaked open and the steps disappeared. As Jardin approached the mausoleum, he saw the door swing shut. Jardin walked inside. The lights were out, the corridor lit by flickering light from memorial candles. He could hear the sharp step of Louis-Robert.


I dare you to take a personality survey as one of your characters:
Having already spent about 2 hours on this survey, I think I'll pass!
Your opinion welcome. Please leave a comment.



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