S S LONG was the 2nd Guest Blog I did. I found this amazing post on this blog relating to the writing process and writing in general. Luckily I was able to do this post, and yes it is long.
Tell us about your current project(s) – what’s it about, how’s progress, what do you love most about it?
My current WIP is another short story in my Dragons of Fire and Ice series. At the time of answering this, the story is about Jay and Quinn going up against a Vlad Tepes style character (without being Vlad Tepes himself.)
Progress is going well. At the time of writing, I’m actually partway through the editing process. I have about 10K of words so far which I’m happy about. I didn’t expect it to be quite as long as this but I won’t cut any of it out. I’ll leave it as is. It’s still a short story as it isn’t a novel and it isn’t quite a novella either.
The thing that I love most about it is – the action scenes near the end. They were fun to write and involved my characters, Jay and Quinn, fighting a rather spooky old geezer and their greatest friend getting kidnapped and everything. I don’t want to say too much more about this as I don’t want to spoil the story (for whenever the dickens it actually will get published.)
Tell us about what you’re most looking forward to writing – in your current project, or a future project
I can’t share the actual scene as I haven’t exactly written it yet! I want to write a story about Jay and Quinn finding something living in their garden well. I have to work out the specifics as to what it is and how it got there, but it’s an idea that I’ve had brewing for donkey’s years now. (but it’s not the oldest story idea I’ve ever had.)
Share a sentence or paragraph from your writing that you’re really proud of (explain why, if you like)
I think I might have to skip this one as I have literally hundreds of short stories at the time of answering this. I would not be able to read/sift through that many paragraphs/sentences to be able to do this question justice sadly. I don’t want to focus on just one project either to answer this; it’s like picking a favourite child or something. (not that I’d know about that firsthand as I have no children but I can imagine what that’s like!)
What character that you’re writing do you most identify with?
It’s always Quinn, for me. Quinn is the narrator of my Dragons of Fire and Ice series (it’s written in first person past tense.) I always describe Quinn as being basically me, except that he’s a dragon-shifter and I sadly am not. It is fun writing him because it’s like we understand each other.
What character do you have the most fun writing?
Other than Quinn for the reasons I mentioned above, I would have to say Jay for this one. He’s a jovial fun-loving cheeky character and it’s always fun trying to come up with quips and whatnot for him to say. He’s also dragging Quinn into all kinds of scrapes and adventures – basically a lot of what happens in my stories wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for Jay.
What do you think are the characteristics of your personal writing style? Would others agree?
I’ve been told that I have a good grasp of grammar (I kind of agree with this as I do try to involve as many synonyms and antonyms as possible. I don’t want to repeat the same word … repeatedly … throughout the text. I do use adverbs (even though they’re supposedly bad!) but I try to use them sparingly.). I’ve also been told that I’m good at writing really romantic scenes/stories. That is not intentional on my part! I would say that I intend to write adventure-fantasy stories or scenarios that reflect real-life in some way or another (like feasting scenes, or quiet scenes chatting in bed, etc. Stuff that people can hopefully relate to.) I’ve never really set out to write romantic stuff. As an asexual, romance and whatnot does not come naturally to me as I don’t have a good grasp on what it’s all about. I don’t even know when people are flirting with me in real life until I’m verbally told that they are.
Is what you like to write the same as what you like to read?
I will literally read anything and everything but I mostly write a mish-mash of genres (Dragons of Fire and Ice for example is a series of M/M YA historical fantasy stories.)
Are you more of a drabble or a longfic kind of writer? Pantser or plotter? Do you wish you were the other?
I write short stories and novellas. I don’t have the attention span to write longer stories or novels unfortunately; I don’t wish I could write longer works as I’m happy how I am. I also don’t have a lot of time to write so a novel would probably take me about sixteen years to write, I think. Or some such thing.
As to the other part of the question, I’m a complete pantser; I’d rather be surprised by my own writing, to just go on adventures alongside my characters as opposed to shoehorning them into preconceived notions/plots. That doesn’t really work for me although I know that other people do do this very successfully.
How would you describe your writing process?
It’s just a process of trying to grab spare moments during the day between performing necessary chores and looking after my gecko, among other things. As I mentioned in another answer, I don’t get that much time to write per day. It’s probably about an hour and a half every day, all told. Literally.
What do you envy in other writers?
I don’t think I envy anything, to be honest! I’m not trying to be anyone else other than me, so I’m not attempting to copy or emulate anyone. In that way, I have no need to be envious of anyone else’s abilities/writing/whatnot! We’re all doing our own thing and should be just focussing on that; don’t pay any mind to what others are doing. It’s almost being like jealous of someone having a bigger portion of peach pie or something. It’s not necessary.
Do you want your writing to be famous?
Well, I think I would like my writing to be famous without being famous myself, if that makes sense. I don’t like the focus being on me. I’d rather people take note of my work rather than what I look like, what I have to say personally or whatever. It’s one of the reasons as to why I have a pen-name with initials. People can make up their own minds about me or who I am and I can retain my anonymity/mysteriousness. Now that I’ve written that, it sounds kind of snobby but I really don’t mean in that way.
Do you share your writing online? (Drop a link!) Do you have projects you’ve kept just for yourself?
I do. My Dragons of Fire and Ice series is available online. There are ten books so far and counting.
They can be found here – on Amazon
There are projects that I haven’t yet published. There are about three other series that are unconnected to my DoFaI series that I’m sitting on. I haven’t yet had the time to release these yet as DoFaI is eating up my time with all the marketing/networking/blogging/publishing/whatnot (in amongst all the other stuff I have to do daily). I wouldn’t have enough time in the day to do the whole process for any more series. At the moment.
At what point in writing do you come up with a title?
I come up with titles at the end. I usually pluck a pertinent phrase from the text, that ties in that title with the theme of the story. I like to keep things neat, tidy and logical!
Which is harder: titles or summaries (or tags)?
Summaries are definitely difficult for me. I don’t know how to describe a book of seven short tales for example in one pertinent paragraph, or a story in a sentence for example. This reminds me of something, actually. Recently, I did describe one of my stories as a condensed sentence and was practically accused of plagiarising another author’s work … just from that one sentence that didn’t even include what the antagonist was (due to spoilers.) How they came to the conclusion that they did, I still have no idea as they hadn’t read the (admittedly unfinished at the time) manuscript or anything. (trollllllllll)
Tried anything new with your writing lately? (style, POV, genre, fandom?)
I haven’t tried anything new for a while, to be honest. I’ve had too many ideas for my established characters to try something new. I would like to try something different at some point though when I have the chance!
Do you think readers perceive your work – or you – differently to you? What do you think would surprise your readers about your writing or your motivations?
It might sound a bit weird, but I think people see me as being funnier than I actually am. This applies to real life as well as online life – I just say something, not intending to be funny and people start laughing. Never really know why, to be honest; people must think I have the world’s best poker face or something. Well, I hope they’re laughing with me as opposed to at me. That’s got me worried now.
As to other surprising things, I have been told that by an old friend that she was surprised that I was vegetarian (at that time of the conversation. I’m vegan now). This was because of the stories that I wrote (they involved dragons eating a lot of meat and she, being a vegan herself, was a bit squicked out by that.) So that was one time someone was surprised by my writing or my motivations. I don’t know what else could be surprising though. I do try to be transparent with my motivations (I always have gay characters in my stories because I’m queer and want more rep. I don’t have sex in my stories as I’m asexual etc)
Do any of your stories have alternative versions? (plotlines that you abandoned, AUs of your own work, different characterisations?) Tell us about them.
No, I don’t have any alternate version, unless cross-overs count. I can’t really give details of these sadly as they probably wouldn’t make any sense to many people, to be honest. I’ve crossed over my DoFaI series with some of my unpublished works, with characters that would be unfamiliar to those that are familiar with established characters like Jay and Quinn.
Is there something you always find yourself repeating in your writing? (favourite verb, something you describe ‘too often’, trope you can’t get enough of?)
I always have gay characters and happy endings. I always over-use the words “then” and “merely” (which I always replace during edits.) There’s probably more but nothing’s coming to mind at the minute.
Tell us the meta about your writing that you really want to ramble to people about (symbolism you’ve included, character or relationship development that you love, hidden references, callbacks or clues for future scenes?)
I really have enjoyed the world-building in my DoFaI series. It started out as a small little place (two valleys practically) and has expanded to a whole country. I’ve even started referring to islands in the most recent stories. At the beginning of my DoFaI journey, I had no idea as to what I was doing, what time period it was set in or anything. I just gradually developed the sense that Erialand is basically a medieval-era place with all the medieval era trappings. It’s included a lot of research (which I’ve enjoyed. That’s involved a lot reading – both in books and online. It’s also involved a lot of visits to castles and forges and viewings of online videos of the same.). I’ve also enjoyed the character development of both Jay and Quinn, with how they’ve started as small germs and expanded into two fully-grown characters with their own thoughts almost.
What other medium do you think your story would work well as? (film, webcomic, animated series?)
I think my DoFaI series would work as either a TV series or an animated series. They are short form stories, like Monster of the Week type affairs. They need a short-form format to support them properly as I think a film would involve too much unnecessary padding to make the story longer. An animated series would also be able to support Quinn and Jay’s transformations into their dragon forms a little easier than live-action would (live-action would need CGI and sometimes, that doesn’t always look very good, sadly. As though it’s been stuck on afterwards.) Then again, I do have casting in mind for a live-action series (at least for Jay and Quinn – Luke Evans for Quinn and Sam Claflin for Jay.)
Do you reread your old works? How do you feel about them?
Yes, I do occasionally re-read my old works. Sometimes, I’m happy with them; at other times, I cringe my head off. It depends on the story, how badly it’s written and the subject matter. It’s all good though; it all forms part of the learning curve of writing. Practice is what counts more than anything else.
What’s the story idea you’ve had in your head for the longest?
I can’t remember, if I’m totally honest. I’ve been writing for about thirty-five years so that’s a lot of ideas and writing. I can’t remember the ideas from last week without writing them down, let alone something from years ago! I have a lot of notebooks and folders filled with ideas, so it’d take too much trolling to find an old idea. Sadly.
Would you say your writing has changed over time?
Yes. I’ve been writing for thirty-five years so I’ve improved a great deal over time. I still need the practice so I won’t say that I’m brilliant or an expert at writing. I’m not. I’m better than I was and in ten years, twenty years, I’ll have improved even more. It’s all a learning curve and everyone needs the practice.
What part of writing is the most fun?
The actual writing part is the most fun for me as I don’t know all of the time where my stories are going to go. I start off with a germ of an idea and it goes of on several fun tangents that are unexpected at the beginning of each piece. It’s like going on adventures with my own characters!
So! There we are! That’s the end of the fun meta question thing. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you decide to do the questions yourself, have fun with them!