Writers’ Camp: Day 3

Day 3 centers on a writers’ tag, which is awesome because I love tags!  So without further ado…

1.) How long have you been writing? 

About 10 years.  I’ve been making up stories as long as I can remember, but started writing them down in my early teens.

2.) Why do you write?

I enjoy the process (even with its difficulties); I enjoy the finished product (once I abandon my inner editor 🙂 ); and to create the stories I want to read.

3.) What are your favorite type of books to write?

Sorted by genre or content?  Both.  Both is good.  Favorite genre to write is fantasy, as I discussed in my Day 1 post.  Favorite type of book to write is one that explores this world and explores the personalities of the characters.  I really love examining the world, its concrete aspects (such as science) and its abstract aspects (such as how deeply stories affect people).  And I love writing about noble characters, people who are flawed, but also willing to stick to what they know is right and sacrifice for others.  I want to see their stories, how they are challenged, how they struggle, how deeply they care, and how they learn and overcome.

4.) How many books have you successfully completed as of now?

Haha, well…I’ve not completed anything beyond the draft of one story,  the revisions of a couple of picture books, and two short stories from 3–4 years ago.  And even if I wanted to publish those, they would need some major reworking.

I have, however, completed several blog posts.  🙂

5.) What are three things you hate about writing?

Not really hate as much as dislike, but it’s often frustrating to discuss the craft with non-writers.  Many don’t understand how long and hard the process is; and explaining that I have no finished work to show is a discouraging reminder.

And of course, I dislike getting stuck on a project.

6.) What are three things you love about writing?

Developing characters, especially their personality layers and quirks.  Also finally getting to those exciting, pivotal scenes that I brainstormed months ago and have looked forward to.  And reading a piece of my writing and thinking, “This is great!”

7.) What story are you working on Right Now?

Y’know, I haven’t decided how much information to share.  I don’t want anyone stealing my ideas, nor do I want to awkwardly explain that, well, the project you were all so excited about ran into a brick wall and had to be set aside.  I will decide before Day 9; for now, I’ll say only that my story was inspired by the 2004 film The Alamo.

8.) When is your favorite time to write?

I’m not picky about a particular time of day.  I do, however, need silence and solitude to concentrate.

9.) Do you write short stories, children’s books, novels? 

I’ve tried all three.  Four short stories (two for the writing course I took in high school and the other two for a contest) and two picture books (that have gone through a couple of revisions).  And several quarter-to-half-finished novels, and several works-in-progress.  I prefer novels; they give more room and time to explore a concept or characters.

10.) Do you draw inspiration/is your writing style influenced from any particular author?

Yes and yes, and the writers in question are Tolkien, Dickens, and Charlotte Bronte.  I love Dickens’ vivid turns of phrases and his wry critique of anything stupid.  Also the scope and depth of his novels—and his many, varied characters.  So many personalities, each different, each funny, serious, or sinister.  I definitely aspire to such character creating skill.

Charlotte Bronte wrote with both intellect and passion in Jane Eyre, which demonstrated marvelous insight about human nature and will.  For example, Jane’s outbursts as a child are completely understandable, but adult Jane realizes that she did wrong to lose control of herself that way.  Same for Mr. Rochester–he elicits both pity and judgment; his actions are understandable but not excusable, and he has to humble himself before God.  And Bronte is adamant in her judgment of action with no conviction or purpose—just look at how she examines the qualities of the grown Reed daughters after Jane briefly returns home.  Or her treatment of Mr. Brocklehurst.

And as for Tolkien…wow, where to begin?  The hope in his books, the inspiring characters, the somber warnings, the details of his world and its history, his rich, poetic writing style…all amazing.  It’s particularly the poetry of his prose that I aspire to, and his nobility of characters.  Not perfect, by a long shot, but all of them have admirable strengths.  Frodo, for example, took the Ring as his burden of his own free will in order to protect the home that he loved.  Sam stuck by his master to the bitter end, encouraging and serving him despite his own weariness and hopelessness, out of pure loyalty.  (I want to be like both Frodo and Sam.)

11.) Do you write trilogies/series?

The first story I completed was a trilogy, but I haven’t written any lately.  My rule of thumb for myself: write the whole story, and if the structure would be better as a trilogy, break it up.

12.) Have you experienced Writer’s Block?

Oh, yes.  Half the time, though, it comes from my worrying that I won’t make much progress in the allotted writing time.  That line of thought does things to your brain, and “stimulate creative activity” is not one of them.

13.) What was the fastest you ever wrote a book? 

What is this “fast writing” of which you speak?

In all seriousness, I wrote four chapters of a story in one day.  A story that later fizzled out, but it was a good start, at least.

14.) Do you hope to be published one day?

Yes, but I need to finish something first.  🙂

15.) What are some things you hope to share through your books?

I want to highlight God’s truth and to inspire people to think more deeply about the world around them.  To get  specific, I love exploring concepts: how far to go in loyalty and duty?  When do you sever those ties?  I love examining the world and its complexity and mystery, such as the fact that non-molecular actions like thinking and feeling trigger molecular responses like a beating heart or the urge to dance and laugh.  And I want to write characters who are noble, sacrificial, and strong, yet also flawed, complex, and vulnerable.  Because if you think about it, characters are really the vehicle of carrying the author’s point.

Lately, I’ve also written to encourage myself, to remind myself of what I know regardless of what I feel.  It’s so easy to get stuck in what I see here and now, and to forget that God has a master plan in mind, a bigger picture.  But writing to echo this truth helps me to remember and to keep going.

I'd like to hear your thoughts! But please be polite. I will not approve comments with curses, insults, or lewd remarks.