September 10th, 2012 by Carrie Vaughn
In Which I Answer Sasha’s Questions

This week, Sasha’s cooked up a set of interview questions for all of us to answer over the course of the week.  My prediction is you’re going to see a bunch of different answers for these — which is exactly how it should be.  You know how we keep saying the process is different for everyone, and do what works best for you?  Yeah, that.

1) Do you write every day? 5 days a week? Only on weekends?

I write every day.  Every.  Day.  However, my definition of “write” is very broad, and also includes substantial revising, outlining, brain storming, and journaling.  Partly because those are necessary steps in my process, and counting them as “writing” for the day encourages me to actually do them, and makes me feel like I’ve done work.  But it also means I can always do something, even when I’m tired and cranky and can’t haul myself to the keyboard for anything more productive.

2)What comes first for you, usually. the character, or the story idea?

It varies.  Often, it’s the idea, but the character who best illustrates the idea usually comes along pretty quickly after that.  By the time I’m done, the two are so tied together I sometimes don’t remember what came first.  But I probably have to say it’s the idea, usually, or a particular situation.

3) Do you/can you work on more than one project/idea at a time?

I do!  I like working on many things at once.  It drives me crazy sometimes, but it also ties into my writing every day policy.  If I get stuck on one thing, I always have another project to work on.  I’m usually working on a novel and several short stories in various states of completion.  Also taking notes and outlining the next novel or two.  I’m beginning to think this may be the key to being prolific — or at least appearing prolific.

4) Favorite mode of getting the words down…desktop, laptop, Alphasmart, pen and paper?

Desktop computer mostly.  But I also do quite a bit of outlining and brainstorming with pen and paper, because it’s more organic and seems to target a different part of my brain, a more mechanical part.  If I’m stuck, switching modes is a great way of getting unstuck.

5) What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer?

I might have to say “work ethic” after everything I’ve already said.  In terms of craft, I’ve about decided that character is a pretty big strength — primarily because other people say it’s my strength, and I have no idea how to explain what I do to create characters.  It just kind of happens.  Unlike plotting, which I can explain in great detail, because it’s never come naturally to me and I’ve really had to pick it apart and work at it.

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?

I have dozens.  Dozens of dream projects.  I will never get to them all.  So many projects.  It would take me pages to describe them.  I occasionally get e-mails asking for advice that say, “I want to be a writer but I don’t know what to write about, how do I get ideas?” And I kind of want to reply ARE YOU INSANE?  I write because I have all these ideas, not the other way around.  So.  Many.  Projects.

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3 comments to “In Which I Answer Sasha’s Questions”

  1. B.E. Sanderson
     · September 10th, 2012 at 7:34 am · Link

    Great questions from Sasha and I loved your answers. Your reply to #4 made me happy because that’s the way I write, too. Now I just need the work ethic. ;o) And yeah, it’s insane that someone who ‘wants to be a writer’ can’t come up with ideas. They’re everywhere.

    I can’t wait to see everyone else’s answers this week.

  2. A. McKay
     · September 10th, 2012 at 9:55 am · Link

    on #6 I used to wonder that when I started to finish my first story. I was like where and what can I do to continue with a new story. Then I slowed down and realized a story is everywhere.

    Like yesterday I was talking to my brother and we were joking about (my dad came up with him to my place to watch football, I was trying to write honestly.) my old man putting up some money for a bar. I said yeah, dad could be the drunk, my brother the bartended, and I can throw my dad’s drunk butt out. All of our strengths. Thats when how I put it, “my eyes glassed over,” Bingo a story came up. Two brothers running a bar, from an inhertiance(bad spelling I know,) and something happens.

    I can’t wait to read more about how people write, this is very inspiring.

  3. Carrie V.
     · September 10th, 2012 at 10:06 am · Link

    That’s exactly how ideas happens for me! My friends have learned to be afraid, if we’re all sitting around and I get that “look” in my eyes…

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