Writing Meme: Day 7: Writing and Music

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

Not so long ago, the answer would have been, “no”.  I worked in utter silence or with the television on.  (yes, there is no need to point out the contrariness of that)  But then the lovely DD of Filling Spaces alerted me to the wondrous allclassical.org, and I was thusly hooked.  Love that station because they play such a fantastic variety of musicians and styles, introducing me to lots of composers  I’d never heard of.  And they prove such hosts can be tons of fun and lighthearted.  No  Charles Emerson Winchester the Third-ians need apply!

If PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE has a soundtrack, then I think it would be The Hours.   Philip Glass’s haunting, somewhat monotonous piano music is reminiscent of my characters trapped in their personal hells.

Do you listen to music while you write?  Does your novel have a soundtrack?

Published in: on September 30, 2010 at 11:29 am  Comments (8)  
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Writing Meme: Day 6- Place of Writing

6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

I’m a writer of simple means.   A pair of comfy pjs,  propped up on the sofa with my netbook,  a mug of cinnamon-laced coffee at my side-  and I am ready to go.

Time of day?   Very early morning and late nights.  Early morning because I’m refreshed, and my mind is spinning ideas  from dream images.  Night because everything is so wonderfully quiet and peaceful.   I can write in the afternoon, but it’s too bright and lacks the quietude of the other times.

Nowadays, I do most of my serious writing on my computer.   But I love my journals and pens for recording dreams and story ideas.


Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 11:19 am  Comments (5)  
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Writing Meme: Day 5- Age of Characters

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest?

Hmm…if you want to count my earlier works (which shall never see the light of day since they’ve long been mercifully destroyed), my youngest characters were roughly 12 to 15 years of age.

In PORTRAITS, my youngest character is Anne, the 19 year-old protagonist.  The oldest are Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent- two eccentric Occultists in their sixties.  Had a total blast writing them.

The average age of my characters in my current WIPs are in their thirties.

What’s the average age of your characters?  Do you prefer writing about children, young adults, or grownups?  Or does it simply depend  on the particular  story?

Published in: on September 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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Writing Meme: Day 4- First Stories/Characters

4.Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

Egads!   My first novels (penned in a lined notebook while scrawled on my bed) involved four sisters : a ladylike one, a tomboyish bookwarm, a shy sweet thing, and a slightly full-of-herself artist.  They were rather poor (no presents for Christmas), but their loving mother tried to make up for that while their father was away fighting in the Civil War. 

*cough cough*

Really.  They weren’t influenced by Little Women at all.  Really.


Oh, what can I say?  I was about ten years-old.  And shameless copier or not,  the writing obsession, the desire to create characters who’d come alive on the pages and take me along with them on their journey, had begun.

What were some of your first stories?

Published in: on September 26, 2010 at 9:35 am  Comments (8)  
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Writing Meme: Day Three- Naming Characters

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

Naming characters is one of my favorite things.  I know the process drives many other writers bonkers, but I find it a lot of fun.  It’s also thrilling because it is only when I know the character’s name that they truly start opening up to me.

My process?

Sometimes, there is no process at all.   Their name comes to me, and that’s it.

Other times, there is a bit of work.

First, I think of the period the story takes place and also their cultural background.    I’ll go to an online baby name site and scan down the names, jotting down the ones that stick out to me as fitting the character.  Sometimes, I immediately  know “this is THEIR name”  when I see it.  Other times, a few  names will duke it out.  In that case, I will write scenes with the different names until one becomes the evident winner.

As for naming places- a lot of times I don’t bother.   When I do- I just look up real place names for ideas and change accordingly.

What is your process?

Published in: on September 25, 2010 at 10:49 am  Comments (4)  
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Thirty Days of Writing Meme: Day Two- Number of Characters

2.  How many char­ac­ters do you have?

Oh, an untold number of characters live in my head, awaiting their turn to be written about.  But I’ll stick to the ones in PORTRAITS  since they’ve been fully realized.

Just a quick glimpse at them:

1.  Anne- My fiery 19 year-old protagonist.  Lover of penny dreadfuls and Gothic Romances.   Upon discovering her ability in communicating with the dead, she sets her ambitions on becoming a prominent medium.

2.  Daphne- Anne’s cousin.    Chess player,  autodidact, polygot with an obsession with Tarot

3. Beth- Daphne’s taciturn younger sister.   Artist and poet.  Very strange objects can be found hidden in her room.

4.  Sheridan- Daphne’s charming, gambling husband

5.  Uncle Gerard- studier of the Occult.  Spends a lot of time alone in his study

6. Grace- the omniscient servant

7.   Mr. Raferat and Mrs. Brent- old friends of Uncle Gerard.   Learned in the Occult and practicing Spiritualists, they are more than happy to aid Anne in her pursuit of knowledge

8.  Mary- the very angry dead girl

Meme: Thirty Days of Writing: Day One- Favorite Writing Project

The preeminent Ralfast (waves hello) has tagged me for a meme in which I am to answer 30 questions related to writing.

If I suppose correctly, I am to answer a question a day.    Well, there goes my plan of blogging once a week.  But no worries, Ralfast.  I’ve never been one to stick to plans: others or my own.  Really.  Don’t feel bad.  😉

So, with a little Wicked playing in the background, here I go:

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

This will no doubt change with time, but right now it is PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Why?  It’s the first novel I wrote with the specific aim toward publication.  Wait.  No.  That’s sort of a lie.   But unlike the Little Women knock-offs I penned when I was ten, I think this at least has a slight chance in Hela.

The “universe” that the story takes place in is very tight. I  wanted the setting to be claustrophobic.  The majority of the novel takes place around one  desolate house.   Outside, it’s glorious summer, while inside, the house’s inhabitants are wilting.

I’d speak more in depth about the novel, but no doubt with 29 more questions to go, I have plenty of time for that.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm  Comments (14)  
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Back From The Dead- Come In and Enjoy Some Tea

Well, that month went by quickly!

First, I want to thank everyone for your super sweet and encouraging comments you left me.   I read them all, and they meant a lot to me.  Thank you!!

During my time away from the blogsphere, I’ve:

1. Doing lots of writing.  Begun working on a revision of PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST STORY, after a great suggestion by an agent

2. continuing my neverending German studies- oh the joys and horrors of that!

3. begun practicing Zhan Zhuang

4. have mentally jotted down new things to blog about which I hope you shall find interesting

5. and well, lots more stuff!  🙂

Anyhow, I’ve missed all of you.  So gather a chair, sip some tea, enjoy a scone…and tell me- what have you been up to?

Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm  Comments (13)  
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