Survey: About Writing

Questions About Writing

1. Are you currently writing a novel?

I am, it’s called Fairy Tale.

2. If yes, what genre of the novel are you writing? 

As the name implies, it’s a fantasy novel.

3. Have you ever lost your inspiration? 

I don’t know that I’ve ever necessarily lost my inspiration so much as had to put the story away for a while and let it brew before I come back to it.

4. If yes, how did you gain it back? 

My characters go with me everywhere. When there’s any moment of quiet, they and their story are running through my head. In the shower especially, I’m never without them. So, an important thing to me was to learn that just because I have settled on one outline for the story doesn’t mean it’s the right one. You have to be willing to let go. You may really, really want your characters to travel to a parallel world, but sometimes the story itself decides that it doesn’t need a parallel world, and you just have to respect that and try something new.

5. what is your greatest challenge as an author? 

For me, it’s the actual writing of the story. I write the story aloud every day when I’m alone, I speak the characters dialogue and envision their journey, I think about them when I’m listening to music or when I’m reading other books. But to actually sit down and really get out what’s being said by these characters, and to accurately describe how they look and sound and where they are, it’s very tough for me. It’s like an exorcism, and for me it last sometimes up to two hours before I run out of juice and need to recharge for the night.

6. Why do you write?

A lot of authors say that they write because “they have to.” I don’t know if this is true or not. I say that I write simply because I want to. Is it possible that, like Raine Maria Rilke, I look within myself in the deepest hour of the night and ask myself if I must write, and come up with a positive answer? Possible. But I don’t really think that matters. I think that you should write if you want to write. It does no harm. Even bad writing is still something someone created, and no one who has ever written from their heart has never experienced the feeling of being proud of what you created. Not everything written is worth being published, but everything that needs to be said is worth being said.

7. If you are writing a novel, do you have the goal of getting it published? 

No. I believe art is created for art’s own sake. If and when I finish my book, I plan to publish it myself, and to make it freely available for anyone who wants it, as well as offer it at a price point on, say, Amazon or some other bookseller. I would offer a priced version so that people who want to support my art and support me as an artist are given the option to help, but I do not believe art has monetary value or SHOULD have monetary value. There are musicians who claim that giving away music for free devalues music. Those people are greedy businessmen and women who have no place in the art world. Art does not NEED to be priced, but there are so many people who have made so much money from art, that it’s become a business. There’s a music industry, a film industry, a literature industry. But these things are really free. There is no such thing as “intellectual property.” Ideas are ideas, and they’re free for anyone to have. So no, I don’t write with specifically the goal of getting published, I write with the goal of writing. I hope to try and publish my work, but I refuse to ever make it so that my work is offered ONLY at a price, without a free version available. I think it’s wrong, and that putting a price on art devalues it. Art is not a business.

8. When did you first show interest in writing? 

As a child, I used to write stories about Sonic the Hedgehog or other video game of movie characters that I liked. Then as a young teenager I began writing fanfiction, specifically about the Final Fantasy series, and was greatly inspired by a writer who goes by the name Lark, who created a Final Fantasy fanfiction series known as the Rambles. I tried to write my first original story when I was twelve, it was about a boy who loses his brother to a demon who is also the leviathan that brought about the Biblical “great flood,” and goes on a quest for vengeance, as well as an attempt to save the world. Literally, it didn’t get very far, but in my head the story went on for a long time. Though that story is pretty much gone now, at least one character invented for that story has made his way into Fairy Tale, and who knows, maybe the characters from that original story will make a cameo appearance in another work of mine.

9. Are you happy with the progress you’ve made up to this point? 

Yes and no. I’ve written over 50,000 words, which is very good progress indeed. However, when I attempted to start at the beginning of the story and write all the way through to the end, it ended up causing issues for me. For one thing, I don’t think about things in a linear way. My head is always off in the future of my book, thinking about what is yet to come, and oftentimes, I want to write about important moments that won’t happen for another ten or twenty chapters. Consequently, I lost interest in writing about the events I needed to write about to move the story along, so at Chapter 21 of the story, I stopped, put everything I’d written together as a kind of initial and unfinished draft, and published it here on my blog. It’s a conceptual beginning to the story: some of those elements may stay, some may change. Some characters came to me during that draft, some characters actually left the story during it. The most important thing to me is to keep writing. I’m currently most proud of the most recent scene I’ve written, called Madeena, as it was exactly what was in my mind and my heart at the time, and that makes me proud.

10. What is your biggest goal as an author? 

The first is to express myself. By doing this, I hope to create something people can identify with. I want a young gay twelve-year-old boy to find a fantasy book in which he is represented, which I never had. But I also want there to be a kind of commonality that anyone can feel with certain characters. I want to express the loneliness of the spirit, the yearning for love and for comfort, the pain of loss, and the courage of hoping when there is no hope. And in the process, maybe I’ll get a little better myself.

11. When do like writing? (morning, night, after lunch, etc.) 

I usually write whenever it hits me. Often times, it hits me, and I immediately have to drop everything I’m doing to go and write because I simply know that it’s time. It’s a bit like intellectually giving birth, and it’s an emotional experience. As it happens, I tend to get more writing done at night, and when it’s quiet.

12. Where do you like writing? (a place you feel most inspired while writing) 

Usually it’s a place I feel comfortable, like the sofa or even in my bed where it’s actually not all that comfortable to write. I’ve written on a couch on a porch in the middle of the day with animals around me and not been distracted. Basically it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s quiet, or at the very least, I get to choose the ambiance.

13. Do you write within a specific genre? (do you mostly write romance? mystery? fantasy?) 

I love fantasy, however I’m not such a fan of “classic fantasy,” i.e. Tolkien or Robert Jordan (although in Jordan’s defense, I’m speaking only of a generalized concept I have of his Wheel of Time series, and I haven’t actually read them myself to know for a fact what they’re like), my concept of fantasy was shaped by video games, most notably the Final Fantasy series, Golden Sun, Breath of Fire, and others. My stories always have an aspect of romance to them, but I think it would be devaluing to call them “romance” stories, they just happen to have characters with real emotions and needs.

14. Do you like sharing your work with other people or do you keep your writing world a secret? 

I always share my work immediately after writing, usually without even proofreading it. That’s part of what this blog is about. I want people to read what’s there. I’ll worry about how and when to put it all together properly in the end.

15. What future do you see in your writing? 

The future I hope for is one in which I write as genuinely as I can. When I was in high school, one of my teachers, upon being asked how long our short stories, poetry, or other writing assignments needed to be, she did not answer, “Two stanzas,” or “Three pages,” she said, “It needs to be as long as it needs to be.” As long as I have something to express through writing, I’ll keep writing. If I have nothing to say, I won’t say it. I wish musicians would do that more often, by the way. A lot of great musicians make incredibly good, thought-provoking albums, but there’s this rush to have the next album ready within two years. Why? Do you ALWAYS have something profound to say every two years? Writers should avoid this too, in my opinion. Write what you need to write when you need to write it.

16. How has writing affected your life? 

It’s gratifying to see a world begin to take form, and characters begin to take on life, that came from your mind. My characters spend all their time hanging out in my head, and they deserve to have their own lives, and the best way for that to happen is for them to be expressed in some way. Writing is one way of doing it. It’s affected my life by allowing me to see what my mind looks like from the outside in, and I enjoy that.

17. What is your biggest fear as an author? 

That I will not be true to myself.

18. How will you improve yourself as an author? 

By reading, by studying, by expanding my knowledge and vocabulary, by trying again and again to achieve a perfect representation of who the places and characters of my stories are and what I’m trying to say, until I am certain that it needs no alteration or expansion.

19. What is your biggest pet peeve an author? 

When people use too many other words in the place of “said,” such as “Blah blah blah,” announced Character. ‘Blah blah blah!” replied Character. “Blah blah blah?” inquired Character. “Blah blah blah blah,” intoned Character. “Blah blah BLAH!” exclaimed Character. “Blah blah… blah.” sighed Character.

20. Do you think you’ll ever get tired of writing? 

I can’t say for sure, I kind of doubt it, but as long as I have something to say, I’ll find a way to say it.

Questions About Fairy Tale

1. Which character, who is not the main character, is your favourite and why?

I have an answer but I’m afraid to say, only because my favorite character hasn’t actually yet appeared in the story, but his name is Dexter. He’s a handsome, charming guy who is funny, witty, incredibly flirtatious, and snarky. He isn’t serious very often, but he has very strong principles. He was raised by an aristocratic family and broke away from them because he hated being surrounded by lies and control. He’s free-thinking and light-hearted, but incredibly loyal, and also a very good fighter. He’s the character I mentioned earlier who appeared in the first work I ever created, though he was added into the story years later and only really in my head.

2. When you envision your characters, do they look like invented people or known people? (ie. When I envision one of my characters, I see actress Leighton Meester.)

They’re actually a little blurry. Sometimes I don’t know exactly what they look like. My character Eric, however, was specifically based on a photo of a guy that I saw on a dating website, and Dexter’s hair color came from that of a Dexter I knew in high school. Most of them just look like themselves though, and not any actors or actresses that might portray them.

3. Are there any on-and-off relationships? Who are they? Are there any love triangles? Who is involved?

There are a lot of all of those things. Lucas is in love with Hephaestian, who is straight. Eric is in love with Lucas, who is gay, but who is too busy pining over Hephaestian to notice. Dexter and Bronwen have a complicated past and grew up together, and both have feelings for one another, but Bronwen isn’t the best at expressing feelings and Dexter doesn’t like being tied down. Eric and Lucas end up cuddling and being romantic on several occasions, but Lucas’s heart isn’t really in it, whereas Lucas and Hephaestian actually have sex, but Hephaestian’s heart isn’t in it. A character named Lisa will, later on in the story, be having sex with a character named Isaac in order to siphon away his magical ability, though she’s actually falling in love with him, and when he finds out she’s betrayed him, he comes to hate and despise her. Hephaestian isn’t interested in anyone but I get a feeling he’s a complete horndog. As for my beloved little witch, Imogen, I have a feeling she might be asexual, though she may be developing feelings for Hephaestian. Oh yes, I forgot about Alexander, who is going to become very interested in Eric later on.

4. Which city is your novel in? Or, what is the name of the city/world?

The world itself is called Eden, and it consits of two continents and several islands, and all along the edges of this world are steep cliffs that fall off into a fog-laden nothingness from whence no one can return. There is a reason for al of this, which will be revealed in time. The names of the cities are mostly modeled after real places, such as Alexandria, Madeena, Augustine, Canaan, Damascus, and Carthage, though I’ve come up with some of my own names, like Dulhan and Ivinda. I might changed Dulhan though. Time will tell.

5. Do you go into much detail about character appearances [at any time in your novel]? (Faces, figures AND clothes.)

I sometimes worry I do it too much. Does the reader need to know the hair color, eye color, and body type of every character? Well, they’re getting it whether they like it or not.

6. Do you like specifying the foods that your character eats/ate? (ie. “He ate lunch”, as opposed to “He ate three slices of pizza”.)

I haven’t given this one much thought, but I’ve written one scene in which a banquet was laid out, and I had difficulty deciding what was there, because I could not at that moment summon enough didn’t kinds of food from my mind, and ended up making it a feast of whatever I could think of right then.

7. Does your main character’s love interest ever change since the very beginning of your novel? (Your FIRST novel, if you’re writing a series.)

Yes. This is a bit of a spoiler, but my intent with Lucas is that he will begin by being in love with Hephaestian, slowly fall in love with Eric, and then in the end, learn to love himself. I plan on ending the story with Lucas being single, and comfortable with that.

8. Which of your characters is:

a) the smartest?

Probably Imogen, or Bronwen. Imogen lived a sheltered life, but she was bombarded with information about the history of her people, and has to be quick on her feet to decipher a language of fairies that is, for all intents and purposes, completely illegible. Bronwen is very experienced in a variety of situations, always has a plan, and is always ready for anything at a moment’s notice. Lucas is intelligent, but naive.

b) the most eccentric/quirky?

That would probably be Dexter. He’s hilarious in my mind.

c) the most dangerous?

There are a few characters who are the most dangerous: one is Inevra, who has pretty much lost all grip on sanity, another is Isaac, who isn’t necessarily a villain but who has a very short fuse and a lot of fire power. The third is Lisa, who isn’t nearly as innocent as she seems. Drosselmeyer is the villain and is in possession of terrible power, but whether or not he’s dangerous is difficult to say. He tends to be generally merciful, though incredibly intimidating, to people who aren’t directly involved in any of his plans. Varner is similar in this way, he’s actually very polite and reasonable, however people who get in his way, however briefly, almost always die.

9. What would your main character’s college major be?

Probably literature or history, because he is fascinated with books and is always eager to learn.

10. To what extent do you use slang in your writing style?

I try my best to have my characters speak in an elevated form of English similar to something like Victorian English, with a little bit of a modern vernacular twist. In general, the very well-educated characters are more well spoken, where the more earthy and worldly characters are more likely to speak in slang, curse words, and use colloquialisms. 


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