I have two writing modes and they are: wildly writing everything all at once OR laying on the carpet like a dead fork.
See I do have an off-switch!! I just don’t have a medium switch and I am like that blender that is either blitzing your milkshake like Morder would if Morder was in your kitchen. Or else I just don’t work. Obviously I achieved a lot of writing last year (1 million words, mate, I’m proud) but I write in short and violently productive bursts. Then I go catatonic on the carpet for, you know, a half dozen years or so.
Currently I’m neck-deep in edits, but you couldn’t tell because mostly I’m crying and laying around like a dead fork. Edits are hard. This post is absolutely procrastination.
So in honour of my whingeing, I’m throwing some random writing questions at myself!
This should be fun or terrifying. Standby.
Also before I dash on, I will say three things and they are: (1) my debut comes out in exactly 6 months ummm holy heck and (2) I’m expecting my first ever bound proof in the mail LIKE ANY DAY NOW, and (3) the edits I’m wailing about are for a secret project and my hair is on fire and the void has started screaming back at me. So. That’s going well.
I’m filching my questions from twitter so thank you to @mrhodimer and @simmeringmind! If you want to also filch (I freaking love that word) these questions for your own blog, make sure you credit these two as well.
1. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE IN? IF YOU WRITE IN DIFFERENT GENRES, WHAT’S ONE YOU’D LIKE TO TRY THAT YOU HAVE’NT YET OR ONE YOU’D NEVER BOTHER WITH?
I think the biggest surprise to the various humans and squirrels that read my blog is the fact that my debut, A Thousand Perfect Notes, is a contemporary. I always go on about how much I love fantasy. And I still do!! I just happen to love contemporary as well now!
MY DASTARDLY OPINION OF VARIOUS GENRES:
- Contemporary = I love it but it is very hard not to end with everyone dead and 90% of people who’ve read my contemporaries first comment back is, “CAIT WOULD YOU LEARN TO CHILL OUT.” Rude.
- Epic fantasy = This is like my home-ground because I began writing here and I always go back. Magic and murder and mayhem. It is my heart.
- Magical Realism = I actually haven’t written here yet BUT I WANT TO. I have projects planned. I really love mixing modern things x magic. And I want some monsters to crawl out from under your bed and eat you.
- Historical fiction = I tried. NEVER AGAIN.
- Sci-Fi = I have 2 (dead) sci-fi WIPs and: never again. Did I mention I nearly failed science in highschool?! I don’t know what I’m doing. Someone send me back to the pantry where I nest.
- Thriller = Never tried it! Some of my contemporaries dance around it but I beat them back. I hate reading thrillers so I don’t plan to write them.
2. HOW DO YOU PICK YOUR CHARACTERS’ NAMES?
BY WEEPING AND THEN SEEING IF MY TEARS FORM WORDS.
No really naming characters is my bane. But I do love names. I collect them in little sticky-notes all over the place. Like you turn up to write a shopping list but BAM — that scrap of paper is covered in the 32 variations of the name Jonathon.
But in real life I’m extraordinarily bad at remembering people’s names (still forget my nieces’ names) and unless a character struts into view with a name, then I sweat and yell and set things on fire until I find it.
I do like to use nameberry.com and also stare at my bookshelf and steal author’s names. My character named Lee is obviously NOT INSPIRED BY LEIGH BARDUGO. THIS IS FINE.
3. TELL ME WHAT YOU CAN ABOUT YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS.
I can’t say much so I’ll just yell some vague things:
ONE OF MY BOOKS IS ABOUT DRAGONS AND SAD BOYS WHO DON’T BELONG.
ONE IS ABOUT OBSESSION AND PIANOS AND VIOLENCE.
ONE IS ABOUT AUTISM AND LOST BOYS AND CARAMEL CHOCOLATE.
ONE IS ABOUT TRICKERY AND THIEVING AND MONSTERS.
4. WHAT NUMBER BOOK IS THIS?
Yay time for some number facts! I love number facts. Just pretend you do too.
- I’ve written 29 novels.
- (I think that’s in the past 7 years??!? Give or take. I don’t math.)
- A Thousand Perfect Notes is my 16th book.
- My novel coming out in 2019 is my 22nd book.
- The book I’m editing now is a sECRET but it’s my 21st book…but also a rewrite of my very very very first ever book.
- Which goes to show that you can shelve your first project and then 7 years later COME BACK TO IT.
- Oh wow I have emotions about this.
5. WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING GOALS FOR THIS YEAR?
I want to write 4 books and edit 2, which obviously seems like a ridiculous amount buuuut I have the time and I am somewhat of a violent writing machine. We’ve established that.
But some little goals:
- I want to write about pirates!
- I want to edit and sort out my heist book because it’s a HOT MESS but I love it.
- I want to write about libraries.
- I want to do a gender-bent reverse contemporary Sleeping Beauty retelling and if that hurts your head, haha it hurts mine too.
- I want to write about autistic girls.
- I want to write messy big families.
- I reeeeally want to write a magical realism but I DON’T ONE YET.
6. WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING STRENGTHS?
Oh I have so many haha. I’m extremely strengthful and clever and nothing defeats me.
I think dialogue is one of my strengths. Witty banter! Sassy quips! Salt spilt everywhere! My books usually end up something like this:
Character 1: *has a deep vulnerable moment*
Character 2: *laughs and laughs and laughs at them*
Me: Oh I am such a heckin’ poignant writer
I’ll be an emotional bestseller for sure.
I’d also like to think I’m good at taking stories in interesting, maybe unexpected, directions. This is because I can’t follow directions and once used salt instead of sugar in a cake. It was a horrible cake BUT also a metaphor for writing wild and unusual content which is very very useful.
For my writing.
Not my kitchen skills.
Please help my kitchen hates me.
7. DO YOU ENJOY ANY OTHER CREATIVE OUTLETS?
I LIKE TO READ. Bet that’s unexpected ha! But truly my life is reading vs writing vs sometimes I fold origami and throw it at people in exchange for money. I also sometimes draw and use it as background for my bookstagram photos.
8. YOUR BEST TIP FOR PUNCHING WRITER’S BLOCK?
I’ve started off 2018 with a BANG! And by “bang” I mean I ran straight into a brick wall with the worst block I’ve had in years. Editing. Love it.
I tackle it usually by (a) keeping on going…because if you’re on a deadline you gotta, and (b) refilling my own creative tank with other stories/movies and then going for a walk or run to just think really really intensely.
If you get STUCK and you don’t put aside time JUST TO THINK — there’s your problem mate. Cakes don’t bake themselves. And cakes shouldn’t be baked by me, also, we’ve established.
9. WHO DO YOU WRITE FOR?
Selfishly, myself. I am my #1 fan. No truly!! And I don’t think this is vain, I think it’s crucial. Because writing is a long term commitment and it’s not fast and people reject you or don’t understand your story or you fall down a plot hole and end up chilling with Hades and eating pomegranates and IT’S MESSY AND COMPLICATED AND FRUSTRATING.
So you have to love it the most yourself.
Last year, for the first time ever, I found myself rereading my books…for fun. Because I love them. I wasn’t always here, but get to that point, okay?! It’s worth it.
I also write for, ya know, anyone who wants emotional and dark and stabby books with bursts of sass and anger and ridiculously tear-filled cries for forgiveness. #TeamLetsBreakReadersHearts
10. LIST 5 THINGS YOU VALUE IN A STORY.
Ooh I so so like this question!! I always attempt to write these:
- Morally grey questions. So many bad things can be done for “good” and good things can turn out damaging. I love exploring it and you’ll notice I do it in both my first two books. A LOT.
- Contrasts in characters. I love writing soft boys who cry but also have a dark side. I love writing feminine and pretty girls who also like knives and magic. I FRIKKIN LOVE THIS.
- Humour! I am an absolute bucket of appreciation.
- Inclusivity. Honestly this means a lot to me, as someone who’s part of several minorities. I want books that feature disabilities and mental illness and different sexualities and races and cultures. I value it so much I may fall over.
- Wanting things. A lot of stories are about doing, and obviously I love that, but I think a story’s heart comes from the wanting. This so captivates me when I read and it’s 100% what my writing is built off too.