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Archive for February, 2014

Writing Questionnaire and Other Things

February 28, 2014 3 comments

I snagged a questionnaire about writing from and thought I’d fill it out myself. It was actually really fun, and I got to take pictures and share them here. Well, here it goes!

1. Typed or Handwritten?

I have piles of notebooks and binders filled with handwritten manuscripts and story ideas.  In fact, I used to do a lot of my writing during class in high school and even when I was in college, and I never carried my laptop around with me to class. I never broke the habit of writing in notebooks and I still do it.

I also have a Remington Rand Noiseless Model 7 typewriter that I’ve traced back to the 1930s, but that was just an amateur investigation. I love this typewriter; it makes me want to type noir hard-boiled detective fiction with it as I sip on brandy and slowly work my way through a cigar. I have a number of short stories I’m working on that were typed from that typewriter.

Once I’ve gone over those typewritten drafts with a red pen, I usually type them up on my laptop. I’ve got a hard drive full of stories that I’m constantly backing up so I don’t lose any of the stories. Sometimes, if I feel a story is finished, I’ll print it off and put it in a special binder I keep for finished stories.

Remington Rand Noiseless Model Awesome

Remington Rand Noiseless Model Awesome

2. Cursive or Printed?

It’s really a mix of the two. When I write by hand, I’m usually writing in frenzied chicken scratches that looks like a mix between cursive and printed. I’ve been told it is impossible to read, and I’ve even lost points on handwritten essay questions on exams in classic civilization and English classes, but I can always make it out.

3. Show us your favourite pen.

I don’t really have a “favourite” pen so much as I do a collection of writing and drawing utensils that I use when needed. I usually just pick up standard Bic ballpoint pens when I buy them, so nothing too special. Here’s a few of the utensils I use most often.

Pens!

4. Where do you like to write?

Anywhere, really, as long as there’s a steady surface.  Most of the time I write in an office with a great desk. It has a great view of the back yard that’s really nice to look out on a warm, rainy summer day (especially with a nice breeze). The desk has a desktop computer that I can use to listen to science podcasts (like the Star Talk Radio Show with Neil deGrasse Tyson)  or other things while I’m working. The room also has a really comfy couch for when I feel like I need to lie down and decompress, or read to take my mind off the stresses of writing.

It's a pretty great setup. Notice David Tennant staring down at me, telling me that I should be writing.

It’s a pretty great setup. Notice David Tennant staring down at me, telling me that I should be writing.

Just a mess of science books and notebooks.

Just a mess of science books and notebooks.

5. Who are your five favorite authors in terms of authorial style?

Hm. This is a tough question, honestly. The first, and obvious, one would be Douglas Adams. I absolutely love “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. After that I’d say Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Scott Lynch, and this last one will be a bit out of place compared to the others, Alexandre Dumas.

6. What are you your three favourite books on writing?

This is an excellent question. I still hold fast to “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk and E.B. White, even though I have a few problems with it. There’s another I have buried in a pile of books I can’t find right now that is really, really great for writing fiction. It gives pointers on how to plot, and the best strategies for starting a story. I also like a book called “Western Wind” because it systematically explains different kinds of poetry with several great examples. I’d also like to mention a book called “Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye” because it’s an invaluable resource for CNF writing.

7. Have you ever competed in NaNoWriMo?

Twice, actually. The first was in 2012, and the last time was last year. I’m still working on both of the novels (life got in the way) but I’m very hopeful one will be finished in the next couple of months.

8. Have you ever won NaNoWriMo?

Both times I competed I won. You can find a link to my profile in my links. It was really hard work, and it’s really hard to catch up when you fall behind. November is a busy month for me because I have three birthdays on the same day, as well as my own six days later.

9. Have you ever had anything published?

Not yet. But I don’t usually write with the goal of being published. Perhaps I’ll try to see if enough people like my novel and go from there.

10. What projects are you working on now?

I have a lot of different projects, one which I’ll talk about in another post. The novel I’m working on is “The Rebel Thief,” plus I have a number of short stories and essays that I’m trying to write. I like to keep busy.

11. What is your soundtrack to writing?

Man, this question. I have a lot of different music that I love to listen to. A lot of it is classical music. Beethoven is a favorite. But I also like to listen to songs like “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Surrender” by Cheap Trick, “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix, and “Kara Remembers” from the Battlestar Galactica Season 4 OST.

12. Do you have a writing pump-up song?

Yes. But don’t laugh.

EYE OF THE TIGER

EYE OF THE TIGER

It’s the original vinyl soundtrack. Amazing sound.

Well, now that the questionnaire is wrapped up, I’ll get to the other things. I had an extended absence from posting on this blog for various reasons, but I do have a lot of ideas about things to write. I’ve been collecting posts from my Facebook feed that I put into a file called “Amusing Internet Bullshit” that I might write a bit about. Some of the things people believe without checking the facts are pretty amazing. Zero-point energy, myths about HIV, all kinds of things.

Anastasia Klimchynskaya has started a great new blog called “Monitoring the Media” where she writes about the media and how it plays into her passion for literature and science fiction. She has a lot of great ideas that she’ll be developing and posting as time goes on, apart from the things she’s already posted. The writing has a bias to Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek, but that’s not really a bad thing. Anastasia has a lot of interesting things to say about both fictional works.