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18 February 2005 @ 02:06 pm
the writing meme...  
I've seen this floating around in multiple LJs. I think I've done it before, or a very similar one, but it's Friday and I need some diversions for my brain as the day wanes.

Ask me any one question about my writing, then post this in your LJ. (If you're a writer, that is, and if you want to. :>) It can be a question about something I've written, or you can ask why I haven't written about something in particular, or about whether I'd ever write a certain pairing or topic, or *how* I'd write something if I did--anything, really.
 
 
 
take to the sky: glassesjezebelz on February 18th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC)
How fully-realized are your stories when you begin? In other words, do you start with a pretty strong idea of where you want to go, or do you figure it out as you go along?
Anna S.: angeleliade on February 18th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
It depends on the type of story and the expected length, and also whether I've told the story to myself in my head before writing it.

For recent short stories (2500 words) I've started writing knowing I was probably not going to get much beyond a PWP, so that comes with its own structure--you know what the "plot arc" and climax will be, more or less. A climax is a climax is a climax... I also often find that I can write really quickly if I've managed to wrestle a cliche to the ground. Most of the real surprises come from the writing itself, a turn of phrase or something like that. I often jump-start short stories by starting in medias res. It helps me avoid getting bogged down if I avoid the question of backstory almost altogether and go for a brief sprint.

A story like Involuntary Bodies--that's one of the relatively rare ones where I'd told the story to myself first and knew pretty much where it would go. It's a first-time story and a relationship story, so it has some implied structure; but it was also an "assigned story" which curbed any over-ambitious tendencies I might have, because other than the relationship plot (get them into bed), there's nothing stopping it from simply rambling on and on and on... The ending is arbitrary and very abrupt.

For really thoroughly plotted stuff like the noir series and later Sidelines stories, I write fairly detailed outlines--have you sort of asked me about that before? Because I vaguely recall posting something recently along those lines. :>) But there are many major plot points I still have no idea how I'm going to handle until I do*, major things that I suddenly decide to ditch rather than approach, and sometimes equally big things that just strike me out of the blue. It's pretty organic and messy.

(*When I get bogged, I think: "plot is just life happening to people" and I try to let the characters react without a lot of prodding, extrapolating how they'd behave based on prior re/actions or sometimes just riding the wild whim.)
(no subject) - jezebelz on February 18th, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
PL: yinyang - yellow and blueponders_life on February 18th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC)
I'm not a writer, but I'm fascinated by the process. I really enjoyed your commentary for "Your Horoscope for Today"!

My question: What was the first story you ever wrote, and what was it about?
Anna S.: muldereliade on February 18th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
My question: What was the first story you ever wrote, and what was it about?

Well, I wrote a few short, sketchy, inane things as a kid, but you probably don't want to hear about that. *g* And I wrote some stories in a fiction workshop in college, but I was mostly writing poetry then. My first bit of fan-fiction was unfinished and unpublished, several hundred K of Star Trek (TOS) kink, where Spike is captured and enslaved by a Klingon.

My first net-published story, one where I had actual readers other than me, was Devil in a New Dress, I think, a Mulder/Scullyish sort of piece that I really thought of slash for a long time. (It really isn't.)
(no subject) - trepkos on February 18th, 2005 11:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on February 18th, 2005 11:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - trepkos on February 18th, 2005 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - trepkos on February 18th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Brassy Hag: Spike - Croppedmiggy on February 18th, 2005 10:18 pm (UTC)
How do you approach those situations when you've found you've written yourself into a corner? I've trailed off on stories many times after finding myself stuck there.
Anna S.: spikeeliade on February 18th, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC)
How do you approach those situations when you've found you've written yourself into a corner? I've trailed off on stories *many* times after finding myself stuck there.

Mostly I solve (avoid) this problem by not letting the stories reach the page in the first place, I think. *g* I mean, I avoid starting a boggy story because most of the time I already know that the story ambitiously outstrips the time and energy I'd give to it. The stories in my head just go on and on and on and on, with no end. They're wallows, incredibly domestic, every other scene taking place in a nest of bed pillows or in the kitchen.

Snippets I abandon are more likely to be a page or less in length, where I sketch out a few sentences, then sit there and go "eh" with the lackluster realization that this, whatever it is, isn't going to be written.
(no subject) - trepkos on February 18th, 2005 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
witlingwitling on February 18th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
Do you ever worry that your characters are going to have some kind of bizarre, meta, surreal opportunity to get back at you for all the things you've done to them?

No, okay. Don't answer that.

I just read in The Midnight Disease, which I am too lazy to link to, that human creative drives roughly follow the seasons, and that most people feel less able to create during winter. Is that true for you?

Anna S.: seattleeliade on February 18th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
Do you ever worry that your characters are going to have some kind of bizarre, meta, surreal opportunity to get back at you for all the things you've done to them?

*g*

...human creative drives roughly follow the seasons, and that most people feel less able to create during winter. Is that true for you?

Yeah, definitely. In fact I have to wonder if the current spurt of writing I've been getting done has anything to do with the springlike air that's hit Seattle on and off during the last few weeks.
daddy's not done talking: angel jr.ros_fod on February 18th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
Would you ever write Spike/Connor? And if so, what would be the general idea of the story? *G*
Anna S.: spikeeliade on February 18th, 2005 10:46 pm (UTC)
Would you ever write Spike/Connor?

Sure, why not. *g* I mean, I'm probably never going to write it unless it's requested by someone in some formal way or assigned to me, but I have no objections to the idea.

And if so, what would be the general idea of the story? *G*

I would probably have to watch season five first, or else I'd go total AU, set it sometime in an alternate season four that blends the Angelverse and Buffyverse somehow (I actually do this a lot in my head), where Connor and Spike are both working for AI at the Hyperion. And they'd be snarky rebels who always loll around in their low-slung jeans, driving Angel crazy, but whenever he'd tell them to get lost, they'd go off and get in trouble and drive him even crazier. Heh. And at least once he'd try his best to pull off the whole "How dare you corrupt my son?" routine but he'd fail, because he'd realize that Spike was often feeling just as buffaloed and bemused by the whirlwind of Connor as Angel himself was. He'd see them both as a terrible influence on each other, like teenagers, and he'd occasionally try to get Spike to be the adult, then throw up his hands. But he'd love both of them like crazy, deep down, and anyone who tried to hurt them would get the Angel-handed smack-down.
Dess: wildcard [by lassiterfics]dessert_first on February 18th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering about this because I love your wonderfully characterized Spike, the way he's aware of his sexuality and its appeal to others, the way he cheerfully uses it to get what he wants, often bamboozling Xander in the process. It never seems exploitative or cruel, just kind of evilly charming, and I don't think he ever uses it for nefarious purposes.

Do you feel this can be done with a female character with the same ease and charm that comes across in m/m slash, specifically with the Xander/Spike combination? Because the gender disparity makes me wonder... could this be done with, say, Gwen/Gunn? Would you try it? What other pairings would you like to try?
Anna S.: weseliade on February 18th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering about this because I love your wonderfully characterized Spike, the way he's aware of his sexuality and its appeal to others, the way he cheerfully uses it to get what he wants, often bamboozling Xander in the process. It never seems exploitative or cruel, just kind of evilly charming, and I don't think he ever uses it for nefarious purposes.

I like how you describe this. If your words were powder puffs, I'd be the woman stretching out her neck and tilting up her face and crying, "Powder me! Powder me!"

Do you feel this can be done with a female character with the same ease and charm that comes across in m/m slash, specifically with the Xander/Spike combination? Because the gender disparity makes me wonder... could this be done with, say, Gwen/Gunn? Would you try it? What other pairings would you like to try?

I think it could totally, easily be done as a female/male thing. I'm assuming you're seeing equating the female character to Spike? (Or is that just me? *g*) As in a story like that James-Bondy bit of fluff I just wrote, where Spike is all over Xander, straddling him, riding him--Spike is *such* a chick there. That could be Gwen on Gunn. My mind goes there no problem.

I probably wouldn't write it just on my own. I don't write a lot of het, except for B/S, or pairings that fit into the overall ensemble.

What other pairings would you like to try?

Het pairings or any pairings? If any...ack. You probably don't want to know this. *g* But, Spike/Lorne. Also, Spike/Wes, Spike/Angel, Spike/Wes/Xander. Those are the crazy pairings that might get written someday.
(no subject) - dessert_first on February 18th, 2005 11:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on February 19th, 2005 12:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
janecarnall on February 18th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
You've written in four fandoms so far (from your website). How does it feel when a new fandom begins to take hold of you and you know you'll be writing in it? Have you ever consciously decided to write a story set in a particular series just because the characters interested you?

Actually, I just realised those questions make assumptions about your fanfic writing that may well not be true for you. So I guess the real question is:

Is that how your fanfic writing works? Do you feel that you choose a fandom to write in, or that it grows on you until you have to write in it?
Anna S.: brian_justineliade on February 18th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
How does it feel when a new fandom begins to take hold of you and you know you'll be writing in it? Have you ever consciously decided to write a story set in a particular series just because the characters interested you? ... Is that how your fanfic writing works? Do you feel that you choose a fandom to write in, or that it grows on you until you have to write in it?

X-Files was my first online fandom; it was *the* big thing of its time. I'd been writing Trek fan-fic but it wasn't going anywhere, and there was no Trek fan-fic presence online that I could find. As a writer, I was probably looking to glom onto something, and XF was the only real game in town. I remember that neither Mulder/Krycek or Mulder/Skinner gave me the shot-through-the-heart zing that Kirk/Spock had. I wrote both pairings with no deep preference. It was mostly Mulder who interested me.

My Sentinel phase was triggered by seeing a fan vid at Connexions, the slash con. I had an immediate reaction: OMG THEY ARE SO CUTE TOGETHER, OTP 4-EVAH! *g* Classic. And I got tapes from someone and started watching the show with fans when I moved to Seattle.

Later, SG hit me the same way. SG was a flash fandom, a torrid love affair. The urgent pull of TS had waned, I wasn't doing much writing at all and was frustated by that, and then whammo, I fell for SG and wrote a bunch of stuff in a white-hot heat. And then the fandom itself palled for me and I drifted away, losing my writing momentum at the same time.

I had a certain pattern to how I moved through XF, TS, and SG--they were all fandoms where I felt I had to research quite a bit to do any writing. XF = FBI protocol, forensic psychology, etc. TS = police procedure, anthropology. SG = Air Force protocol, Egyptology, archaeology. And for those fandoms, one after the other, I really enjoyed following that pattern: riding the rush and picking up smatterings of eclectic knowledge as I wrote. (With Buffy, I didn't feel that much at all and it was, by that time, a relief.)

I'd been watching Buffy for a good while, but my fannishness there started to mature only in S6. It wasn't until B/S was canon that I had any impetus to write. Again, I think I was looking for something *to* write: the urge was there, it was just formless. I had fuel; I needed a vehicle.

Now, I'm in a weird place. I might have peaked in Buffy; I might be primed for a new fandom. It's hard to tell, though. It's a rich fandom with a lot of pairings left I haven't written, for one thing. Right now I feel up in the air--I'd love to write Pirates of the Carribbean, but at the same time, I don't want to do the necessary research, so I'm...disinclined on the whole. I love Due South, but don't feel moved to write seriously in it. It's a full-grown fandom; there's plenty of writing out there. Ditto QAF, except that there's not nearly as much good writing there yet. I also don't feel moved to write Alias, and Smallville is compelling, but I'm not sure I want to plunge into the vastness of that canon universe, with its close relationship to comic books.

Anyway. Boy, I can blather on....
(no subject) - estepheia on February 22nd, 2005 07:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
beanbeansbeanbeans on February 18th, 2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
Have you ever had your writing PROCESS, not just the outcome, but the actual process, be a cathartic experience?

I think that catharsis can stem from digging inside deeply. It's my theory that to function in our daily lives, most of us supress what is going on at a deeper level emotionally.

And if we are truly writing as we should, that is, writing what we know, then the experience itself can be profound. Even more so if the creative process is a way to fill a need (conscious or unconscious)- to give voice, an outlet, to that which we daily supress. In this case, writing truly is a way to may the personal very public.

If this is so, how to you protect yourself? Not just from giving a reader (read-stranger) too much insight into your your issues, but also, how do you protect yourself? Stay true to the integrity and honesty of the process, without walking around feeling emotionally naked? Feeling RAW?

What has your experience been?
(Okay that was sort of a multi-tiered question. Sorry.)
Anna S.: spike_femmeeliade on February 18th, 2005 11:41 pm (UTC)
Have you ever had your writing PROCESS, not just the outcome, but the actual process, be a cathartic experience?

I'm not entirely sure what you mean--do you mean, like, have I ever cried while I was writing? I've made myself tear up a few times when writing, but not much beyond that. I don't know...I have a lot of what I think of as cathartic fantasies, but I also think I tend to pull a curtain down on them when I'm writing, to some extent. So that I censor the rawest stuff. Hmm.
(no subject) - beanbeans on February 18th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on February 19th, 2005 12:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
Herself_nyc: cheesygirl's A/Sherself_nyc on February 19th, 2005 12:02 am (UTC)
I suck at these kind of questions, but I WANT to ask you a question!

Could you riff a little on how you first got interested in Spike/Xander, and what went into your conception of them as a couple, in "Subtleties" in particular? And maybe tell us some of the things you think about them that you haven't written and maybe won't actually write? So I can have a vicarious thrill?
Anna S.: xandereliade on February 19th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
I suck at these kind of questions,

No, I do!

but I WANT to ask you a question!

:>)

Could you riff a little on how you first got interested in Spike/Xander,

Watching S4--I think that was the first time I started to see any potential slash on the show, and I know I read some fan-fiction around that time, like Te's stuff. (Te is always such a groundbreaker!) But for a long time it was hard to find good stories for the pairing. I think I got into them through writing, and started writing because there wasn't enough for me to read to keep me satisfied.

and what went into your conception of them as a couple, in "Subtleties" in particular?

I'm very predictable. I like one character in a pairing to be fucked up, and the other to be a rock-solid comfortidor--at least, that's the kind of ship that makes me squee the deepest. (E.g., Jim/Blair in Sentinel.) And since I was writing very close to my kinks in "Subtleties" that's where the dynamic came from.

And maybe tell us some of the things you think about them that you haven't written and maybe won't actually write? So I can have a vicarious thrill?

*g* But you know all my unwritten stories! Dude, I outline so many of them here, and then abandon the little bunnies to die of starvation. Um, hmm. I have not been faithful to S/X in my head lately--been having some S/Riley and S/OMC, etc. But S/X/R recurs from time to time. I think I like that one even more than S/X/W because Xander and Riley both give off the impression of being big-boned, big-pawed guys, even though Spike can hold his own, with his rippling muscles and all. Still, he's more the sandwich filling than the bread.
Chasechase820 on February 19th, 2005 01:09 am (UTC)
Would you ever consider writing Spike/Angel? Or, even more in keeping with my personal kinks, William/Angelus?
Anna S.: angeleliade on February 19th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
My brain is the Hyperion, and it has many rooms. In one of its rooms live Spike and Angel. *g* I've been telling myself some S/A stories lately; it's surprising to me, that I'm kind of wandering closer to the pairing, sort of sidling up to it without looking directly at it, whistling and scuffing my toes, hands in pockets.

(I actually got a bit into it via noir, too, when writing "Up, Down, and Strange"--I enjoyed taking the characters and putting them at different angles to each other, Spike as the slayer, Angel as more or less his loyal sidekick, as Willow was for so long to Buffy. It helped soften me up to the idea that they could have a less antagonistic relationship.)

I'd like to see/write something like this for S/A. It's a PotC story, Sparrow and Norrington. In my version, Norrington would, oddly, be Spike. I really dig S/A when Angel is in complete protector mode--the way he was about Connor, when he was at his most blindly adoring, before the scales fell off his eyes.

My Spike always wants to be cuddled...

William/Angelus I don't see myself writing--I mean, it's not likely. I've never been a big reader of historical stories (other than my preteen and teen romance novel phase) and as a writer, these days, I avoid anything that would require me to do research. ;>)
(no subject) - chase820 on February 19th, 2005 04:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Destinadestina on February 19th, 2005 02:43 am (UTC)
Are you ever...I'm not sure how to put this. Are you ever afraid to write something? Afraid you can't pull it off, afraid you won't be able to write it the way it exists in your head? Does that kind of worry play any part in why you do or don't write certain themes or pairings? (It really is all one question. I swear. *whistles innocently*)
Anna S.: spandereliade on February 19th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC)
I'm afraid of many things! Leaving the irrelevant ones like spiders off the list, I'm afraid of writing historical fiction, writing characters who are supposed to be realistically British (as opposed to writing an American TV creation like Spike), writing characters outside my comfort zone (e.g., different cultures or reaces), and writing anything that pushes the envelope in terms of knowledge areas--the less certain I am of mastering something, the more afraid I am to write it. Thus in SG, I almost always wrote Jack's POV, not Daniel's, because Daniel's (I thought) would have so many sophisticated layers of book knowledge and linguistic quirks that my interpretation would always be woefully off.

And so on. *g*

When it comes to not writing down the stories that are in my head, I have similar issues. Most of the stories closest to my heart (and the heart of my kinks) are so wide and deep in my imagination that writing them would be like trying to boil the ocean, it seems to me. These are the things I usually end up outlining here in LJ.

I am a fear-based lifeform.
Poshykittyposhcat on February 19th, 2005 08:23 am (UTC)
I have no question for you OMG! But I did want to tell you what an interesting thread this is, and how much I enjoyed your answers. :0)
torch: cookingflambeau on February 19th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC)
Will you still love me tomorrow?

No, wait. Will we ever be in another fandom together?

No, that's not it either...

How do you settle on the level of detail in any given story? What to describe, where to elide, which transitions to use and where to walk the characters through a process step by step? Instinct or planning? :)
Anna S.: daniel_geekyeliade on February 19th, 2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
Will you still love me tomorrow?

Yes!

No, wait. Will we ever be in another fandom together?

*sniffle* I hope so. I like to imagine all of us who more or less started in XF converging again someday in a new fandom. Coming full circle. *g*

How do you settle on the level of detail in any given story? What to describe, where to elide, which transitions to use and where to walk the characters through a process step by step? Instinct or planning? :)

I've been thinking about that a bit, actually. I was thinking about writing "Emerging," which expands and contracts, focuses and draws back, in rhythms I can't really assign a clear and obvious logic to. It made me think of a quote from Ces's "Flying Blind":

Plus, he could really see where he was going to like this, cause dogsledding was a whole body experience--like dancing, like boxing. You had to steer with your brain and your hands and your hips, straining forward, leaning backward, using your feet and the muscles of your arms and thighs. He could already see that, with practice, he could get good at this, he could race the fuckers, he could--

Writing something like that, I feel like I'm leaning into the prose, bearing down on it, like pushing a pencil tip into paper for a tighter focus, and then easing up and skimming for a while, and then bearing down again.... The skimming = the elisions, and the bearing down = details, dialogue, etc. It's a kind of writing that works well with artificial word-count constraints, I think. Like, you know how when you're lettering words across poster board to make a sign and you can kind of estimate whether or not you're going to have enough room to finish, and maybe you make your "m" and "o" a bit thinner so that you don't run out of space? It's like that. *g* (You're spelling "Moose"!)

I'm not sure if that's a good enough answer. Is it?
ex_spikeswi on February 19th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
Ok, I'm not sure this is what you had in mind...
I've searched all over your memories and journal for the rest of the S/W story posted last on Jan 6th. The one where he is mutilated and disfigured and being fixed by leeches?


Where is the rest? Is there more? Are you planning on writing more? Did you share the burden with another author and it's in their journal? Please let me know. There aren't words for how deeply I was touched by that story. I never like fics where Spike is horribly mistreated unless there is already a resolution written. But your fic just pulled me in and wouldn't let go. Please respond.

Thanks
Anna S.: weseliade on February 22nd, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
So sorry for the delay!

I've searched all over your memories and journal for the rest of the S/W story posted last on Jan 6th. The one where he is mutilated and disfigured and being fixed by leeches? ... Where is the rest? Is there more?

There's no more--I did a follow-up to the original bit, which was just a scribble really. The follow-up was a donation story, where people donated money to tsunami victims and requested certain stories for the $$. I may write more--the hurt/comfort scenario really captured my imagination. But I have no immediate plans to. I'm sorry. :>(
(no subject) - eliade on February 22nd, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
peasant_ on February 20th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC)
What is your attitude to 'practice'? I'm thinking of exercises, or writing something for yourself, just to try out a technical point without intending it to ever be part of something. What about writing-technique books? Or classes? Do you ever do anything like that, or something else entirely, and what advantages and disadvantages do you think such things have?
Anna S.: winter_lightseliade on February 22nd, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
I used to read Natalie Goldberg's books like Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, at least one of which has a lot of exercises. I didn't really *do* any of the exercises, but I liked reading her essays and giving the ideas thought. I think the scribbling I do in LJ is a kind of practice, scenarios sketched out in miniature or just outlined, often written more for myself than others. That kind of off-the-cuff writing matches up pretty well to the sort of exercises Goldberg suggests.

I took writing classes in college and really liked the structure--I'd like to take classes again someday. I'm not sure what I learned from them, other than the poetry classes, which were very helpful in teaching me form and how to think about line length and rhyming.
(no subject) - peasant_ on February 24th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eliade on February 24th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)