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My Works in Progress

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Me Me about Writing

What's the last thing you wrote?
Apart from work stuff yesterday, a short story called A² + B² = C²

Was it any good?
I got a little tingle of something in my tummy after I had finished it. But there again – this blasted Novovirus is going around! (Kev – that reminds me, I need to e-mail it to you as you kindly offered to look at it for me.)

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
An account of how I was feeling at 6.00am on the morning I got married in 1975 (I was 19). Photo of it at the top of this blog.

Write poetry?
I like writing poetry, but I'm not very good at it, and I have to be in the right frame of mind.

Angsty poetry?
No – I'm not generally an angsty person.

Favourite genre of writing?
To write: Saga. To read: Family Sagas, Thrillers; Science Fiction if not too outrageous; Chick-lit (on holiday);

Most fun character you ever created?
Gloria – a lady who ran a Dinner Party Agency – she was scatty to the extreme.

Most annoying character you ever created?
Tom, the main character in Twisted Garlands. He got inside my head and controlled his own character. He woke me up in the night frequently with inappropriate ideas for the plot and I couldn't get him out of my mind.

Best plot you ever created?
See below – "favourite thing you've written". It got results and tugged at my Grandad's heartstrings. I don't think my mum ever really forgave me though …..

Coolest plot twist you ever created?
Four weeks of howling gale, sub-zero temperature and blizzards (Ha Ha! Geddit?)

How often do you get writer's block?
I just HAVE to write, no matter what, where or when, and I usually drop everything else when the urge comes over me. If I can't think of anything to write I read or knit instead.

Write fan fiction?

Do you type or write by hand?

Do you save everything you write?
I started to save everything in the early 1980s, but wrote loads of stuff before then that has mainly been chucked out. Probably just as well!

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
If I get an idea and discard it, it tends to play on my mind if it's worth using.

What's your favourite thing that you've written?
When I was 12 I wrote a story for my grandad about a 12-year old girl who had asked for a dog for her birthday every year since she was two. The girl had a wicked, wicked mother who bought her birthday presents she didn't really want every year. I wrote about how unhappy she was and how all she ever wanted in the world was a dog.. She didn't want a new bike for her 13th birthday because she wanted to walk everywhere with a dog on a lead.

It worked! He nagged my mum, made her feel like a very bad mother and I got Lucy, a little brindle cairn terrier, for my 13th birthday!

What's everyone else's favourite story that you've written?
A story about a big fish in a little pond called Reg Barbel and how he ducked and dived out of the way of Percy Pike whilst terrorising all the little Baby Breams. I wrote it as a joke for a colleague when he retired (his name was very similar to Reg Barbel and he was a keen fisherman). I was mortified when he read it out at his presentation to about 150 people who all fell about laughing. The only thing was that Percy Pike was identifiable as the Council's Chief Executive ….. ooops!

Do you ever show people your work?
Up until September this year the answer would have been NO, NO, NO!

There are now a select few and they know who they are (mainly my new best friends who are also bloggers and wannabes). We're all in the same boat really, aren't we? We need to get our work out there to get constructive feedback, but it's like walking naked round a supermarket when people read what you've written.

Did you ever write a novel?
Just finished my first.

Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?
Having had three angsty teenagers of my own I've no wish to create any more in my head! Romance: if I write romance myself I think it's corny and too slushy. I have to be in the right frame of mind to read romance too.

What's your favourite setting for your characters?
I feel most comfortable setting my stories in places I know. I'd love to write a story set in Ibiza – it's my favourite place in the whole world. Such a rich mixture of colour and character and yet so quiet and peaceful outside the touristy areas.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Dunno. Several short stories. I'm currently working on the second edit of Twisted Garlands and I've started another novel.

At work, I'm in the middle of a submission for the LGC awards which I really hope doesn't get anywhere. I don't want to have to get dressed up like a trussed cockerel in drag and have to smile at stuffy local government clones and eat melon balls in red wine which I promptly drop all down my nice cream dress into my lap ….

Do you want to write for a living?
I already do I suppose. But it's not REAL writing. I want to be a real writer and have a book on the shelves in the fiction section of the library.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Get real! The Council got short-listed for an award based on a submission I had written last year.

Ever written something in script or play format?

What are your five favourite words?
Misled (for years and years I didn't realise it was "mis-led" and thought it was pronounced "mizzled". Spiderpig. Numpty. Brainiac. Holiday.

Do you ever write based on yourself?
No. But I have written in the past based on the person I might have been had I not failed my eleven-plus!

What character have you created that most resembles yourself?
My characters wouldn't want to be like me. Too predictable and conventional. I suppose the main character in my new novel is a bit like me to start with, but then the reader starts to realise that she's not quite the person they thought she was …

Where do you get ideas for your other characters?
I sort of mackle them up and then get a picture of them in my head. I write a character profile and then they seem to just come alive.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Oh, yes. Lots of times I've woken up in the night and then written it down the next morning.

Do you favour happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
I think whatever the ending is, it has to be satisfying to the reader. I hate books where you just think "is that it?"

Have you ever written based on an artwork you've seen?
Not artwork, but I have written based on an old photograph and my most recent short story was based on an Electronic Engineering textbook!

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I am obsessive with spelling and grammar. I HATE mistakes and I'm the type of person who gets annoyed at printed errors. Having said that you are reading the me-me of a person who put up several notices headed "Erection of a Parish Councillor" instead of "Election of a Parish Councillor", and then had to go round taking them all down again while people were hooting with laughter.

Ever write something entirely in chatspeak? (How r u?)
No. Definitely not! I use commas, full stops, apostrophes and semi-colons and my texts tend to be too long.

Entirely in L337?
Ummm … which alien spaceship did that come from?

Was that question completely appalling and un-writer like?
Un-writer is not a word! (Is it?)

Does music help you write?
Yes, but I hate loud music. I don't go anywhere without my MP3 player stuffed down my bra and plugged into my ears.

Quote something you've written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
"The misty fingers beckoned and enticed her intimately, caressing her foot with a gentle, lover's touch." (From Twisted Garlands – my character was about to commit suicide by drowning herself in a lake in the middle of the night.) Ooo-er! That sounds a bit depressing, but it was the first thing I thought of!



Ooh, I love it - really interesting! Writing that results in a cairn terrier - that's bloomin' brilliant!!

Captain Black said...

I like the mizzled part :o)
I used to think the word 'determined' should be pronounced deter-minded.

motherx said...

Wow! Im in awe of you! Cant believe you have written so much!

Moondreamer said...

This was really interesting to read, Annie, and had me howling with laughter in places!

(I use 'albeit' when I talk, but until recently, read it as something sounding like 'I'll bite'!)

Can't wait til you finish Twisted Garlands, so we can all read it! The quote is beautifully haunting.


HelenMH said...

I also still look at the word misled and think 'mizzled' until I correct myself! No wonder my German volunteer thinks the way we English pronounce words is hysterical!

Annieye said...

Karen: it was a last ditch attempt by a desperate 12 year old to get what she wanted!

Captain: Deter-minded? I shall think of you next time I see the word!

MotherX: I talk too much and write too much!

Moondreamer: Thanks. I think you can sometimes misread words when you're tired. Next time you use it you'll have a job not to say "I'll bite!"

Helen: To think all these years I've been saying "mizzled" and there was someone else who thought the same! Bring it on! Let's create a new word.

Debs said...

That was so interesting and funny to read. I'm glad my 13 year old doesn't read this as she is desperate for me to buy her a snake at the moment - like that would ever happen. Loved the bit too about the Council's Chief Executive.

Casdok said...

I think you are a real writer!