Katie, author of the fantastically-named blog I Am Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read), sent me this fun writing tag a few weeks ago! Tags are always a good idea (especially when you’ve been super-busy with fanfic-, article-, and novel-writing), and this one offers a peek into my life (and history) as a writer!
So without further ado…
Never have I ever . . .
. . . started a novel that I did not finish.
(*looks sheepish*) Sorry, but I have several unfinished novels on my hard drive. A few may be worthy of reconsideration (maybe); others would probably be more at home on a trash heap. But I’m rather sentimental: I can’t bear to throw them away just yet!
. . . written a story completely by hand.
When I was little I wrote all my stories by hand. But then my dad started letting me use his computer (back in ye olden days when “a computer” meant a bulky monitor/tower duo!) and I’ve never looked back.
. . . changed tenses midway through a story.
Never permanently. I’ve experimented with Present Tense (“I say,” “she looks,” “he walks”) a few times, but I inevitably return to Past Tense (“I said,” “she looked,” “he walks”). Present Tense is too terse and lean; I don’t mind reading it, but I don’t enjoy writing it. Past Tense, however, fits my personal writing style like a Good Boy Sweater: not only is it comfy, it gives me a lot more free range with description, action, and my characters’ thoughts.
(And Katie, I hear you laughing at my Good Boy Sweater reference, but IT’S A GOOD METAPHOR.)
. . . not researched anything before starting a story.
Do people actually do that??? I couldn’t even get more than a few chapters into Operation Lionhearted without immersing myself in the history of intelligence organizations, the different types of espionage, and science-fiction technology.
. . . changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft.
I had to change the name of my First Serious Novel’s protagonist because…well, the novel itself started out as a fanfic that I eventually adapted into something semi-original. There was no way I could’ve kept the hero’s name; it would’ve been too “on the nose.” Actually, the whole story was “on the nose” in more ways than one and will never see the light of day, but I learned a lot about writing whilst crafting it.
. . . written a story in a month or less.
Short stories, yes. Novels? Alas, no.
. . . fallen asleep while writing.
No. I’ve struggled with some insomnia over the past month, and as a result I’ve been very sleepy during my morning writing time. But I’ve never actually fallen asleep while writing.
. . . corrected someone’s grammar irl / online.
In real life, yes! I don’t think I’ve ever done it online, though? You can correct someone’s grammar in real life without being petty, but it just looks snobbish online.
. . . yelled in all caps at myself in the middle of a novel.
Oh yes, I’ve done this. Sometimes, when I’m interrupted in the middle of a scene, I’ll make a note to myself in all-caps: “DON’T FORGET TO MAKE [insert character name] DO [whatever it is]!” And I definitely yell at myself while taking notes and writing outlines.
. . . used “I’m writing” as an excuse.
It is a Good and Reasonable Excuse.
. . . killed a character who was based on someone I know in real life.
In that aforementioned “First Serious Novel,” I gave a fine and heroic death to a character I’d based on a real-life, current events political figure. And he was a good guy. The Guardian Figure, no less! My mom was so mad when she found out I’d killed him off, haha.
. . . used pop culture references in a story.
Operation Lionhearted has several subtle pop culture references that I adapted for my fictional world, but which are 100% based on actual pop culture things. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not they go unnoticed. (*mysterious grin*)
. . . written between the hours of 1am and 6am.
NEVER HAVE I EVER AND NEVER WILL I EVER.
. . . drank an entire pot of coffee while writing.
An entire pot?! Gosh, no. Talk about giving someone the jitters.
. . . written down dreams to use in potential novels.
I think so? I know there’s one particular image in my head of Jodie Whittaker dressed in a black 1940’s dress and coat while holding a suitcase; I think this image came to me in a dream, and I’ve never been able to forget it. I certainly built a character around that one image, though I haven’t written a novel around her yet.
. . . published an unedited story on the internet / Wattpad / blog.
I think I edit everything I write within an inch of my life (and the story or article’s existence)–so no, never have I ever.
. . . procrastinated homework because I wanted to write.
Not homework–but I have procrastinated on blogposts. Hah-hah.
. . . typed so long that my wrists hurt.
Oh yes, very much so–although this pain has been alleviated by having a properly ergonomic chair at my desk.
. . . spilled a drink on my laptop while writing.
No, though it’s one of my worst nightmares!
. . . forgotten to save my work / draft.
Thankfully, my word processing programs all have auto-save. But that does reminds me: I need to back up all my work on my flash drive…
. . . finished a novel.
YES!! I finished my First Serious Novel, its sequel (also trunked), and Operation Lionhearted–plus a novel-length Doctor Who story and two novel-length Man of Steel stories.
. . . laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene.
I admit, I made myself laugh out loud the other day while writing an action scene full of sassy flirting between two married characters. Their friend, who had to listen to them bantering while he pinned down a bad guy, was not at all impressed.
. . . cried while writing a scene.
I don’t cry, but I do get emotional. Especially if I turn on music that’s well-suited to the emotions I need for the scene. (Pro-tip: always, always, always play the song “Shelagh Gives Birth” from the Call the Midwife soundtrack whenever you’re writing a birth scene.)
. . . created maps of my fictional worlds.
YES. I did this for Operation Lionhearted. It helps me keep track of my character’s locations!
. . . researched something shady for a novel.
While caring for an apocalyptic/dystopian plot bunny last year (the inevitable result of watching Chernobyl, I’m afraid), I became a wee bit concerned that the FBI agent assigned to me might be quirking an eyebrow at all the research I was conducting on hydrogen bombs and radioactivity.