Fifteen days ago, I posted my answers to questions 1 thru 15 for the Know Thyself Writer’s Relief Challenge. You can visit those here.
Even if you didn’t participate in the challenge, I advise you give the questions a good go – if they’re ones you haven’t attempted to answer yet.
As writers, we need to not aspire only for publication and success. I believe we need to aspire to understand ourselves better. If we do that, understanding our character’s motivations and sticking to them throughout each manuscript will be just a fraction simpler because we won’t be confused with our selves. It doesn’t have to be something mind blowing or earth shaking; just that we solidify within ourselves an answer we weren’t 100% sure on yet. Or a question we had heard or wondered about but never really got around to giving anything more than a vague answer on.
I found something out that I hadn’t previously realized this go around.
These are my last 15 answers.
DAY 16 QUESTION: As a writer, what are your biggest fears? How can you overcome them?
ANSWER: Not getting published and/or no one reading my books; obviously. Other than that, I fear that what I have to say on paper will not match what I meant. That fear is universal though; most everyone is afraid at one point or another that no one will understand them.
But fears are always changing. What frightens me now may not frighten me in the future.
There’s one fear I don’t believe will ever leave me. Fear that I will let myself down. No failure will ever be enough to make me feel as though I’ve let myself down as long as the failure was for a good purpose. But if one day I’m holding my published book and reading its reviews, sitting there thinking to myself that I didn’t have the guts to put down on paper my soul; put down what I REALLY felt I should be saying, then I will have failed; let myself down. And consequently everyone who believed in me, whether they would realize it or not.
To overcome this, before I decide I’m done with revisions, I want to be able to ask myself this question and answer it to my satisfaction: Will I have regrets based on what I left out, what I didn’t write, what I was afraid would cause reprocutions I might not like? What’s worse, the risk or the regret?
DAY 17 QUESTION: Which genre of writing is your forte? Why?
ANSWER: Fiction. Fantasy and Horror. Paranormal.
Because I love it! It has a way of making you question yourself, your society, and how you think; even if just on a small scale and for a minute time. It always has something to say.
Why learn something or enjoy something under the normal parameters of normal everyday life? That’s what normal everyday life is for…
DAY 18 QUESTION: Which genre of writing have you not explored but want to? Why?
ANSWER: No clue. When I find I have the urge to write something else, I’ll do so.
DAY 19 QUESTION: Describe your revision process.
ANSWER: This will be the first time I actually have a revision process – so I’m not 100% sure on what I’ll do in all or in what order. Right now I’m concentrated on the rough draft. When I get to revisions (after two weeks of not touching my ms aka torture/agony), I’ll start mapping out exactly what needs to be done. I’m sure there will be many things I’ll need to add by the time I get there. For now, these are the things that I know I will do during my revisions.
I plan on printing out a hard copy because it would drive me absolutely bonkers to have to stare at the computer screen for this. Besides, I need it physically present and to be able to write on it. Just works better for me.
Taking the plot outline that I will have written up while writing the rough draft, I will decide what needs to be changed there. I’ll write down what scenes need to be taken out, added in, or altered in chronological order in a notebook.
Once I have the plot figured out, I will look at what mainly happened in the new outline. If the main character(s) are being passive, I’ll write down how I want to change them to being active.
Next, I’ll take a look at the characters. Here, there will be many things I look at but it will boil down to, are they consistent? Do they have motivation, do they act accordingly? Things like that.
Once I have written down, in order, what all changes need to be made, I’ll enter them. Checking for consistency of this draft will be a major part. Checking for tension and foreshadowing. Editing for grammatical errors and the like will be very last. At some point relatively close to the end of revisions, I’ll read it out loud to make sure it feels right. Then the torturous part of letting others read it will ensue and I’ll have to decide what changes to make from there.
Now, if only it could be as simple or bare boned as what I just wrote.
DAY 20 QUESTION: Who has been your biggest writing supporter?
ANSWER: My mom. She could have smooshed the hope right out of me at the age of seven. Instead, she believed in me and helped me remain excited about and realistic with my writing aspirations and goals. Plus she’s crazy, so I must thank her for making sure I didn’t turn out normal. 😉 She also helped me realize that pushing the envelope is part of who I am and should not be shied away from in my writing. I am who I am and I’ll just hurt myself and my writing if I try to change that. Thanks momma!
DAY 21 QUESTION: How do you hope to help your fellow writers – now or in the future?
ANSWER: I’m hesitant to outright offer help to specific peoples for fear that I’ll sound like a know it all or offend someone by pointing out that they need the help. But I do enjoy helping! As long as it’s not something they should take the responsibility for. There’s a difference between helping and doing for someone what they should do on their own. They won’t learn and you’ll just help cripple them.
I try to be as helpful as possible whenever I can be. Hopefully my blog will be helpful now and again. If someone asks for my help, I’ll only help with what I’m confident in. I don’t want to lead anyone out into the desert when they’re trying to find the watering hole.
DAY 22 QUESTION: Why should someone read your work?
ANSWER: (This is really awkward for me – I feel like I’m telling you I’m all that and a bowl of cheerios!) What I have to say is meaningful. Just because a person is troubled, doesn’t mean they can’t find happiness or acceptance. They are by no means alone. Or always upset.
Bad things happen every day to good people but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight to be happy or safe. This isn’t a Barbie world and we shouldn’t shun those who aren’t plastic perfect because it reminds us that perfection isn’t real.
Other than that – an escape into a world not your own, not dictated by the rules and whims of the world you’re in – is always refreshing. Just that, a good escape, a form of therapy for the mind so to say. Good art in any form is always inspiring and I do hope I’ll be able to do that for others. I know the inspiration I receive helps me!
DAY 23 QUESTION: If you held all the cards, where would you want your writing to take you? Would you want to be the NEW YORK TIMES next big hit or a voice for the underground?
ANSWER: If I held all the cards? That could be dangerous. Unless you mean with my writing only, and in that case you don’t need to run for the hills or hide all your e-readers.
Honestly, the NEW YORK TIMES. I want to reach a lot of people.
DAY 24 QUESTION: Who are you writing for? Do you have a target audience in mind?
ANSWER: I find that to be a funny question right now. Young adult is all the rage yet it’s mainly adults who are reading it. I see so much pressure put on authors to know their target audience, yet people they would never have expected to read their books are doing so in heavy quantities. So I keep it pretty general; not children. I would think mainly a mature audience; my target audience is pretty mainstream.
DAY 25 QUESTION: What makes you want to write more?
ANSWER: Everything around me. Every person around me. Every injustice, every just act. Every smile, every tear. Love. Fear. The answer to this is endless for me. Writing is part of me just like my toenails are a part of me – I can bruise it till it falls off but you can bet dollars to donuts, it’ll grow back!
Something inside me is satisfied when I write and something is ignited further, fueling me to continue on with desiring to do so.
DAY 26 QUESTION: Who do you trust to read your writing and offer critical feedback from, before you decide to submit your work?
ANSWER: Always my mom. She’ll be an editor someday – she’s not afraid to make good use of red pens. 😉
I’m EXTREMELY selective! I can’t stress extremely, well enough here. I make sure you have a sense of humor, a sense of realism and idealism. You have to have that spark; filled with genuine things called dignity, respect, tact. Also, I need someone who won’t take an ax and hack me into small pieces, leaving me feeling like the world’s worst writer. You have to be someone who will tell me like it is. I need to hear the truth before I decide I’m ready to send queries out. I won’t run from criticism, I want to know what isn’t working and what just plain sucks. I want your honest opinion. I don’t however, need my head bit off.
DAY 27 QUESTION: When was the last time you wrote something you didn’t expect to write?
ANSWER: Coincidentally, what I wrote a few hours ago. It completely surprised me. I feel like I got hit with a mental train and left on the side of the road. In a very large puddle wearing nothing but my pajamas.
I’m all excited about what decision I’ve made consequently. My novel is going to benefit from it greatly, although revisions are going to be lengthy.
Love it when things come along and sideline you! … Just not physically. Bandages irritate me.
DAY 28 QUESTION: When you write, to what degree do real-life experiences serve as inspiration?
ANSWER: I try not to use specific things that have happened to me, but instead the lessons learned. I want to make sure I’m not putting something in my novel for the reason that it’s happened in my life. I tend to use only comedic things as specific situations put into my writing, and that’s few and far between. I don’t really have the urge to immortalize my angst or drama on paper; even if I’m the only one who knows it was real. The novel is about the characters, not me. Or it would be a biography. And I’d end up in an insane asylum.
DAY 29 QUESTION: What do you do while you write? Do you listen to music, watch TV, eat snacks, etc.?
ANSWER: I listen to music most of the time. I light candles almost every time I write; unless I’m really tired because I really don’t want to set my hair on fire. I sometimes get up and pace, alone, in the dark, while listening to music. That helps at odd times.
DAY 30 QUESTION: What has been most positive for you during this challenge? What are you looking forward to with this new insight about your writing and motivation?
ANSWER: The most positive thing about this challenge? Realizing that if I were to continue on in the way I had been, I would have many regrets in the future. I’m excited to finish my rough draft out the way I should have begun it, and to go through revisions fixing what I royally messed up.
We can’t ignore ourselves and expect our writing to flourish. After all, it is a product of us; our minds, our hearts, and our experiences. Our ideas and ideals, the way we allow things to shape and change us.
We each are our own person. Some of use are a little more disturbed than others, but hey – it takes all kinds. 😉
Are there any questions here you haven’t answered, or don’t know how to answer? Are you sure you aren’t balking at some questions because deep down you know the answer would mean you have major changes to implement? Do you know yourself where your writing is concerned?