Friday, October 23, 2015

The Behind-the-Scenes Writing Tag

Elisabeth Grace Foley tagged me for this here -- thanks, Elisabeth!  It's been a while since I nattered on about my writing process, and like most of the writers I know, I would often rather write about writing than work on any of my WIPs, hee.  Okay, here are the questions and my answers, and random pictures of people writing that I have collected over the years :-)

Angel (David Boreanaz), Angel

Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?

Hot beverages.  Hot chocolate or mocha or tea, generally.  I can't eat and type at the same time, so food-like snacks get saved for reading and editing.  But I love to have something hot and friendly to drink while I write.

When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?

I write on Saturday mornings if I'm not going to a movie, and after 9 pm and my kids are in bed a few evenings a week.  I infinitely prefer to write during the morning when my head isn't cluttered with things I need to be doing and other every-day stuff, but it only happens on Saturdays right now.

Jerry (Bobby Darin), State Fair

Where do you write?

On Saturdays, I write at a local Starbucks, unless it's full, in which case I go to the nearby Panera.  I can get my hot beverage and spend an hour or two focused on nothing but writing, which is a treat.  When I write in the evenings, I'm in the living room, either on the couch or in my rocking chair, which I inherited from my Grandma.  I posted about this in more detail here back in January, if you want to see pictures.

How often do you write a new novel? 

Too often.  I need to staple my pants to the chair and get myself to finish revising my last novel, I really do.  Let's see... since 2002, I have written 6 novels, so that's one every 2 years or so.  None until this last one have felt like they were worth revising and trying to have them published.  I've been working on revising #6 on and off for over a year now, and I just need to quit getting distracted by other stories.  (But I'm probably going to start my new novel next month during NaNoWriMo anyway.)

Caje (Pierre Jalbert), Combat!

Do you listen to music while you write? 

Yes!  In fact, music helps me get into my writing "zone."  I love to listen to movie soundtracks and Bobby Darin while I write.  A lot of times, I'll experiment with different albums when I'm first writing a story or novel, and find one that suits it perfectly and stick with that for most of my writing.  For instance, I listened to almost nothing besides the soundtrack for The Quick and the Dead (1995) while writing my last WIP, with a little Bandelero! (1968) and Hour of the Gun (1967) mixed in.

What do you write on? Laptop or paper?

My laptop or our desktop computer.  But I take lots of notes on bits of paper that wind up taped to the big mirror in our master bathroom.

Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), Castle

Is there a special ritual you have before or after you write? 

I read back over a scene or two that leads up to where I'm going to write, to remind myself where I was heading and get back into the story's flow.  That's about it.  I used to also light a candle, but I only do that rarely anymore.

What do you do to get into the mood to write?

Spend time during the day going over what happens next in my story so I have it fresh in my mind when I finally get to work on it.

Horatio Hornblower (Gregory Peck), Captain Horatio Hornblower

What is always near the place you write? 

Um... myself?  Seriously, I don't have any talismans or charms or anything like that.

Do you have a reward system for your word count?

No, but I do often come up with rewards for finishing off a story.  Like I told myself that if I finished off the major overhaul of my current WIP, I could start watching the TV show Leverage, because I have season one of it on DVD and haven't started it yet.  I did finish the overhaul, but I haven't had time to start Leverage yet, isn't that awful?  Soon!

Julio (Rudolph Valentino), Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (I think!)

Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

When Dana Andrews perches on a desk in my brain and starts talking, I take notes.  Lots of notes.

Mark MacPherson (Dana Andrews), Laura

Well, that was fun!  I'm only going to tag three people:

If you're also a writer and want to do this tag too, consider yourself tagged!


  1. Thanks for tagging me! (Maribeth also tagged me with this one, so I suppose I'll have to do a post soon - especially with NaNoWriMo coming up.)

    I loved all the pictures you used in this post. :) Just saying.

    1. You're welcome, Eva! I'm glad you liked all the pictures :-) I'm very fond of them myself!

  2. I love listening to music while I write--especially Ryan Kelly and Emmet Cahill. For some reason, their songs just DO THINGS to me. They're . . . I don't know. Relaxing.

    I also love putting together playlists on YouTube of songs that "remind" me of certain characters, for inspiration. Like, right now I have one playlist for "Scarlet Ribbons" with a whooooooooole lotta Irish music on it (because that seems to fit) and another one for my Holocaust/Resistance novel that has more pop/Disney stuff on it. (Don't ask me how that works--I mean, you'd think I'd want really depressing music, wouldn't I? But the characters aren't depressing PEOPLE . . . I guess that's why.)

    1. Jessica, I'm exactly that way with Bobby Darin's music. It simultaneously relaxes and energizes me. How I love it.

      I used to make playlists of songs for specific works -- I had a giant one for my first novel. I actually made a CD of music mentioned in my second novel, as music played a pretty integral part in the story. But I haven't done that for a long time, I think because most of my music is on my desktop computer or just CDs, but I do most of my writing on my laptop now. I hadn't thought of YouTube -- I might try making one there myself!

      Interesting about the disparity between your characters and the subject matter!

  3. I love how many pictures of characters writing we've collected. Also, mmm, desk percher!

    Great fun reading you answers. Thanks for tagging me!

    1. DKoren, I know, I love them too. And pictures of people reading -- I have lots of those too.

      Hope you have fun with the tag :-)

    2. Oh, and you know, Desk Percher hasn't been around for a while. But who knows, maybe he'll show up in a cowboy hat one of these days with a new yarn to spin?

  4. I'm not a writer (though I did dabble in my teenage years and hope somewhere in the future to pick it up again), but with all the academic writing I'm doing for work these days, I can totally relate to some of the things you're saying here. Such as the importance of copious amounts of tea and good music to get in the writing spirit!

    1. Birdie, definitely -- writing even a book review or other blog post can require a lot of the same stuff. Like um... being able to hear myself think, for instance.


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