Publications - Stories - Blog - FAQ - About - Links

Side

Frequently Asked Questions

When did you begin writing?

Where do you get your ideas?

How do you write?

Do you revise?

Do you keep a diary/journal?

How much money do you make from writing?

 

When did you begin writing?

Definitely before I knew how to read or write. It begins with creating stories. A lot of children re-enact the stories they are told, keeping the characters close to their predetermined story lines. Their Superman toy is Superman, man of steel, near indestructible, saving Louis Lane and the world from ruin. Me? I did not stick to these constructs. I created whole new stories, whole new worlds. The My Little Ponies I coveted so much each had a personality distinct from the others completely based on my own imagination and not the accompanying television show. Choosing creation over imitation, that's the beginning of any art. When was the first time I remember putting down words to create a story? Seventh grade; I showed it to my teacher, and with so much love, she corrected my grammar and made suggestions to improve it. You could say that was the beginning of my "writing" whereas the beginning of myself as an "artist" was long before.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere, everything. Memories and personal experiences rank high on the ideas list, but external life can also whisper ideas into my ear. Something simple: I was driving down a street I've driven down thousands of times, but suddenly it seemed so foreign and strange--use that sensation in a story, recapture the moment in words. Reading and talking with other writers is of course inspiring, and I am sad I do not have more time to do so.

How do you write?

Although every writing hand book will tell a writer not to, I struggle to find just the right word before putting it down to paper. It is often an arduous task and completely unnecessary because I'm going to revise the words over and over and over later. Each word is a struggle, a small battle between my brain and the fingertips itching to tap tap tap faster faster.
As far as physical mediums go, I switch between writing directly at the keyboard into Microsoft Word set to Draft View and 125% magnification and writing with a variety of pens in an old school composition notebook. I like computer writing because it's so easy to make changes quickly, but the blinking cursor can be a beast. I like notebook writing because it's so easy to fill a page with my large, rounded handwriting, but making changes is tough and creates an ugly page. Also, the handwritten stories must be typed eventually.

Do you revise?

Yes. I revise in my brain before I put down a word. I revise sentences before they are finished. I revise paragraphs before moving onto the next. I revise scenes before starting a new one. I revise pages before moving forward. Then, once all that is done and a story is completely typed up the real revision begins. Ripping a story into bits to make sure it is what it needs to be, taping it back together, starting again, going back to the original, brakes, gas, brakes, gas. When that's done, it's on to checking that each scene, paragraph, sentence, word is just what it needs to be. Typically I highlight every verb in a piece and analyze its validity which often leads to larger word choice revisions. After all that, you feel the story is "done" to only reconsider it yet again a month later. Revision never ends. Even after a piece is published I think: Could it be better?

Do you keep a journal/diary?

Yes and no. I keep what I like to call "thought books." It's not a daily record of my life like a typical journal or diary might be. It's a record of the thoughts that hit me during the day on a particular topic or event. I use a day planner for keeping record of what I need to reference in the future and the past. I also have a Happy Jar--a jar where I slip in a note with the date each time something wonderful happens.

How much money do you make from writing?

Hahahahahahaha, that's a good one... If a person is it in for money, I seriously question the person's viability as an artist. It's a careful balancing game between what an artist knows must be created and what an audience is willing to accept. Swinging too much to one side or the other will create failure of one kind or another. Me? I'm too early in my career to warrant large sums of money for my words, but I have been paid a pittance for some. I'm still searching to find my balance.