1. Could you please describe your artistic process?
Normally, my shorter one-shot stories have definite start and end points to them. It’s getting from Point A to Point B where things start to get interesting. That definite idea that I started out with? Either the characters or the plot decide to take detours and visit places that I hadn’t planned on going when I opened up a Word file. A story that started out with a plan of staying light and happy normally takes a turn into angst-ridden territory and vice versa.
My longer, multi-chaptered stories are pretty much the same, except multiplied by ten. Long story short, I might start out with a clear plan in mind, but I usually wind up taking a back seat and seeing where my characters want to go.
2. How do you prepare for a project?
I don’t really prepare for any writing projects; whatever I work on is just whatever happens to pop into my head at any given moment. There are times where I’ll do a bit of research to make sure that my head-canon meshes with actual canon material or when I want to provide that extra bit of realism to certain details, but that usually comes later on once I’ve actually started writing.
3. What sort of environment do you prefer when you are working? (i.e. writing in a corner table at a cafe during the day or painting late into the night in a silent studio.)
I’ve tried doing the whole “bring your laptop/writing spiral to a public place and just go” routine, but I feel way too self-conscious. I’m a definite loner: I’m most productive during the daytime camping out on my living room sofa with the blinds open to let the light in or writing until the wee hours of the morning in my bedroom (which happens to be the quietest spot in the whole place. I love having the corner apartment!)
4. Do you listen to music while you are working, and if so, what genres of music do you prefer?
Oh, I’ll listen to anything and everything. I must have been reliving my high school years when I went on a downloading spree once, because nine times out of ten I’ll have something from the late 90’s playing. Classic rock was a staple of my early childhood (back when it was just called Rock) so there’s plenty of Hendrix, the Moody Blues, Bob Dylan, etc. on rotation. The Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack gets a lot of play when I just want something soothing in the background and I use older heavy metal for fight scenes. The Dragon Age 2 soundtrack gets put on repeat for romantic scenes (Fenris’ Theme) or for just hanging out in questionable bars while waiting for something to happen (Tavern Music).
Or I just stick everything on random and see where whatever comes up takes the story. On the opposite end, there was an entire NaNoWriMo project one year where even the littlest bit of noise was too much of a distraction, so I wound up working with noise cancelling headphones on the entire time.
5. Do you listen to music to help set the tone of what you are working on, or as a way to block out the world?
There are times when I pick playlists for certain scenes (see above question) but there are times when I just have it on very low to where it provides a sort of background noise to drown out the parking lot right outside my window.
6. At what point do you decide it's "done" and can move onto the next project?
When I’ve looked it over several times and found out that either I can’t put any more detail or description into a piece or when the characters have said all they need to say, I normally call it done. That isn’t to say that days or months later I might find a few grammatical mistakes or want to tweak how a sentence sounds, but that’s more on the lines of editing instead of adding completely new material.
7. What do you do when a project stalls or meanders or you otherwise just seem to lose all creative control over it?
I have at least three to four projects on back burners at all times, even if they’re just little snippets of ideas that more than likely won’t ever see the light of any posting forum, for that exact reason. If Project One stalls out or I can’t get around a block, I’ll move over to Project Two. Each of the projects normally involve the same characters, so something might come about in Project Four that eventually provides an “ah ha” moment that lets me jump right back into and break through where I had gotten stuck at.
8. What snack/beverage or other item can you NOT do without while you are working on your project?
When I know that I’m going to be settling down for a long writing session, I’ll brew up a pot of tea and have it within easy refill range. If I know that I’m going to be working on something that’ll stump me, I’ll leave the pot in the kitchen to force me to get up. Getting up from the keyboard and walking around gives me a chance to collect my thoughts. Late night writing (usually on Friday/Saturdays or when I have time off from work) involves huge amounts of Dr. Pepper to fuel all-nighters. Otherwise, I just have a glass of water on hand. Eating is a whole different thing. I try my best to stay away from anything that’ll smudge the keyboard while attempting to stay healthy, so I stock my fridge with baby carrots or celery sticks to mindlessly munch on.