Monday, September 28, 2009

BLOGFEST 2009: Day 5,6,7,8

Took a much-needed weekend break :) Here are the questions and my answers!

Have you ever just wanted to give up?
I am the queen of starting projects and not finishing them. I have a closet full of partially knit scarves and baby blankets, and a fair-isle sweater, minus the fair-isle part, dating back to 2003 that I refuse to pick up because it's just too hard.

However, with writing, I don't leave things unfinished. I might not write in chronological order, and I have turfed my third novel, 'GLOW,' into a nice little carafe in my brain where it's still percolating in favor of the horror novella 'Unearthed.' It's too easy to just give up, and I don't feel like I could take the easy road out of a problem and be happy with myself. I've had to, as a dear friend of mine described, 'recharge my creative batteries' with a week or two off, but when I'm back and the ideas are flowing, I'm on top of the world.

So, no, I've never just wanted to give up on writing ... even if that fair-isle sweater is a lost cause. Grr ... stupid beautiful design ... too hard! :)

What hobbies do you have?
I love to knit and attend a bi-weekly knitting group at my favorite yarn store. It's so much cooler than it sounds, and those woman put me to shame with their intricate scarves and sweaters and dresses ... my little slippers and scarves tend to look feeble in comparison, but I still like it.

Another geeky admission: I play DnD. I'm a level 7 Drow Rogue named Gyndra -- a weapon of stealth who can see in the dark and slash through monsters before they can even react. My level 8 Half-Orc Rogue Grainne is a femme-fatale pirate with the strength of 3 men and the smile of a supermodel. DnD is such a wonderful release -- you can pretend you're someone else entirely for a few hours once a week!

I also read more than I probably should, love watching movies on XBox HD and enjoy hosting TV premiere parties and football Sundays.

More so than everything else, though, I love my family time. I've got two very young kids, and I play with them, crash on the couch with my husband and relax as a family as often as possible.

How often do you have to edit and rewrite while working on a piece?
If you asked my husband and main critic, the answer would be, 'Until it is perfect.' And, he has a point.

I am an editor by trade, so I go over my own work so many times that I can't count. This is the process:

I write out a chapter, usually in one long session when my mind is thrumming with ideas. Then, I set it down for the day and go to sleep. The next day, I open it up, love some of it, hate some of it, and rewrite whole passages to fit better. I add in dialogue and most of the meat I left out in my mad dash to transcribe the muse. Then, I set it aside and go to sleep. Third day, I pick it up again, re-read it for what feels like to 10th time, add in more details, change the sequence of events, change them back, then write forward into the next chapter, thus starting the whole process over.

The point is that I edit nonstop while I'm writing. I am a reader, and when I enjoy reading something, I feel happy. So, I edit until I feel happy. Sometimes, it's just a feeling that a scene doesn't work, or it's an idea of what could work better. Once, I switched an entire novel to third-person on a whim because I thought it might work better that way. It did.

Rewriting never makes things worse. Some of the best chapters I've ever written were done after my computer erased the entire original file and I had to start from scratch, or, came right after a 'recharge' where I couldn't move past a problem. I like my work to be perfect, and I've already completed so many versions and edits by the time my husband reads things. Doesn't mean I don't enjoy the criticism. :)

Do you feel that you stick to a certain theme (if you have written more than one book?)
Quick side note: Simon & Schuster didn't punctuate the above question correctly. I left it as-is, but it still irked me ... Didn't want you all to think it was my error.

I love fantasy: taking a normal person and throwing them into an abnormal environment or circumstances. Family within the abnormal circumstances is a big theme in my books -- how the dynamic changes, what the meaning of true family is, etc. I also touch on my own personal beliefs as an environmentalist, especially in 'Arcane,' where that is one of the main themes. Another quirk: There is an instance of knitting in each of my stories. Just a touch, nothing heavy handed.

Be sure to check in tomorrow for another installment!

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