1) Do you write every day? 5 days a week? Only on weekends? When I’m on a project I write everyday, 7 days a week unless some family obligation gets in the way and even then I tend to write something in the cracks somewhere. When I’m between projects I tend to hibernate and not write any fiction, just read as much as I can, blog, do social media, etc. Right now, I’ve had a crazy busy summer so I’ve not got any where near the writing done that I wanted to, but I’m climbing back on the saddle and will write several days this week and hope to get back into the steady rhythm here soon.
2)What comes first for you, usually. the character, or the story idea? 90% of the time for me with short fiction it’s the character. Sometimes its a scene that just appears in my head and I have to write it down to see if it is going anywhere. On rare occasions, when I am writing to a themed anthology, I’ll come up with the story idea or McGuffin first. That’s how Black Blade Blues started. Mythos first, then sword, then character. Subsequent novels in this series are started based on a central idea that the characters struggle against.
3) Do you/can you work on more than one project/idea at a time? As we are learning, no one truly multi-tasks. When I’m on a story, I work that story. This is why I find it so hard to read and write over the same time frame. Typically if I start reading a story or book, I stop writing until I’m finished. I’ve been working on that with a little success, but for me it’s hard enough trying to hold the entirety of a novel in my head when I’m writing. When I start adding a different story I’m trying to manage and follow, I run out of storage.
4) Favorite mode of getting the words down…desktop, laptop, Alphasmart, pen and paper? Definitely my laptop. This is the second laptop I’ve had that was dedicated solely to my writing and I love it. No games, no major distractions. I don’t even have my Tweetdeck loaded there. I do a bit of email and internet searching, but that’s it. Just writing and the business of writing. As for Pen and Paper. I leave that for role-playing (which I unfortunately have not done in years). I just can’t read my own handwriting after the fact.
5) What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer? Character and emotion. This is where I feel most comfortable. I’ve been told that I write powerful characters. I think overall story structure is where my growth is most pronounced. Weaving a lean and coherent story has been a wonderful growth experience for me. I tend to want to cover every possible moment and action to the point I cut a lot before I go out to beta readers. Comments from readers have led me to believe that I’m improving, so that’s good enough for me.
6) Do you have a Dream Project or idea that’s sitting in the back of your mind that you hold there as a “someday I’ll write that” sort of thing? Interesting question. I have a backlog of stories I’d love to write. I have ideas for a dozen more novels just waiting for me to get around to writing them. There was one novel I struggled with for years and had decided I just wasn’t skilled enough to write it. It came back up all the time. Just recently I’ve discovered that the reason I couldn’t write it is because it’s a cliche and the plot structure was not coherent enough to carry a full novel. That was an interesting epiphany to have. As I grow as a writer, I find that that I see things like this faster. I’ve got a lot of growth ahead of me and I’m looking forward to the journey. So, no, I don’t have a Dream Project at this point. To me they are all Dream Projects. I’m still overwhelmed with the fact there are books with my name on them in the local bookstores and are being read world wide.