A List of Somewhat Important Facts

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So I found this meme over at Lindsey’s blog. Sounded interesting and it will be an interesting insight into my little writing brain:

1. Do you outline?

For the most part no. I don’t make long outlines like many writers do. I feel like doing so takes away all the magic of the story for me. I no longer want to tell that story because nothing is new. It’s all set in stone.

2. Do you write straight through a book, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?

This really depends. If there is a scene that is eating at the inside of my brain I will write it down in advance. For the most part, however, I stick to writing straight through. It’s not very common that I take the other route.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?

Depends. When I’m in a massive writing groove and the words are coming out of me in droves, then I prefer to be on my computer because I can type a lot quicker than I can write. Sometimes, though, I find that writing by hand is so much more enjoyable. It all depends on my mood and what is going on in my head. My short story Death By Poking was done primarily by hand. Bits and pieces of WISB were too, though the majority is done on the computer because I have to put a lot of focus into it and do a lot of research here and there.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?

This is going to sound weird, but I hate first person, yet I write in it quite often. It’s a strange feeling. I think perhaps I am growing an appreciation for it, but it used to be where I actually despised first person novels. Now, I write and read in both. I still hate first person and tend to be turned off by short stories written in first, but I think my hatred for it comes from reading a lot of very dull stories told in first person. I personally like first person for humor because you can convey humorous situations through the character better.

5. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, do you create a playlist, listen randomly, or pick a single song that fits the book?

Sometimes. Mostly I’ll listen to classical or orchestrated stuff (such as soundtracks and the like). When I’m really tired of music or my concentration is lacking I will listen to silence instead. I never really make playlists, not really anyway. I only have one playlist and it consists of all my classical and orchestrated stuff. Usually I just put my list on shuffle.

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?

I used to use a program called EBoN (Everchanging Book of Names), which is fantastic for a few reasons. One, it comes with a library of thirty or so languages that it creates names from. Two, you can get new libraries from other users. And three, you can affect how it will create names by fiddling with the phonemes and the like.
For the most part I sit in my chair and start speaking out names to myself until something grabs me. This is also how I started coming up with the language of my world as I started to notice in the names of places some very common aspects. Thus begins my endeavor to create a functioning language without going insane or screwing it up (which I already have twice and have had to fix).

7. When you’re writing, do you ever imagine your book as a television show or movie?

Sort of. I don’t imagine it as a full show or movie, but I do imagine scenes as if they were playing like movies in my head. I like it that way because I tend to see nifty details I might otherwise be blind to.

8. Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn’t want him/her to do?

Who hasn’t? A story I wrote a while ago started off as two kids just sitting around doing kids stuff. I never expected that the secondary character would turn out to be the villian of the story. He went from being that sort of innocently evil child to a complete madman. It was wild.

9. Do you know how a book is going to end when you start it?

Yes and no. I know where the characters will be and the very very very very last scene, but I have no idea how the characters are getting there, or if that future will be the same when I reach it. The story evolves as I go.

10. Where do you write?

In bed, at work, at school, in my car (yes, while I’m driving, I have a digital recorder), and anywhere I can sit down and concentrate. I carry a little book for notes with me just about everywhere I go just in case I come up with something fascinating.

11. What do you do when you get writer’s block?

Kill people. Not really literally, but sort of literally. I play computer games if I’m really in a slump or need to stimulate my creative juices. If feel sort of snagged and need to clean out my head I go read. Mostly it’s computer games. For me they do wonders. It’s completely mindless, it makes my brain reboot, and I don’t have to think too much while playing.

12. What size increments do you write in (either in terms of wordcount, or as a percentage of the book as a whole)?

At any one time, not more than a thousand words (usually). Over the course of a day I can churn out 10,000 if I’m really into a story. Usually I get around 2,000 or 3,000 in a day. Then again, that depends on what I have time for and how much my brain is willing to spend on creative thought.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?

Death By Poking: One
Irlgem: Two
Soul For Sale: Three
Artemis: Two

14. Have you ever changed a character’s name midway through a draft?

Not that I can remember. I’m sure I have.

15. Do you let anyone read your book while you’re working on it, or do you wait until you’ve completed a draft before letting someone else see it?

Technically yes. WISB is obviously unfinished and only edited as much as I can edit it in the course of writing it. The novel is not actually finished. I’m writing it as I go. So, a lot of people get to read that. For the most part I don’t let people read unfinished work, except in critique groups, in which case it’s finished but not finished at the same time. If that makes sense.

16. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft?

Nothing. I don’t celebrate such things because I know I have to get to editing soon. If anything I’ll start another story.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?

Multiple, but ultimately unrelated projects. I can’t have two fantasy novels going because I will get information confused. I am only writing one novel (WISB) and writing/editing several short stories that are mostly SF.

18. Do your books grow or shrink in revision?

I’ve not finished a novel yet, but in regards to short stories they tend to shrink.

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?

A long time ago I did, then that fell apart for various reasons. I’ve started up a new critique group and have been active in the past on Critique Corner.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?

I prefer writing. That’s it. To write includes all aspects, so I enjoy it all.

I hereby tag Heather Harper!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

One thought on “A List of Somewhat Important Facts

  1. Very interesting! About outlining: the outline is never, ever set in stone. When I write anything, I outline it because most of the time, I run out of steam if I don’t have a clear idea of what happens next. But, what I do is, I make a list of events that I want to happen, then I put that list in order, and I write to those events. There’s obviously stuff that’s too minor to put in an outline that’s important for the story, but I also tend to abandon the outline/revise the outline as the story progresses. It’s mostly so I don’t get stuck driving in circles with no where to go so to speak, ha ha.

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