The “Never Have I Ever” Writing Tag

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…

All images from here on out are from Pinterest, btw.

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.

Have you ever cackled like a villain while writing? Used dreams as inspiration? Scarfed down an entire pot of coffee? I’d love to hear those stories 😉

7 thoughts on “The “Never Have I Ever” Writing Tag

  1. Aw! You like my blog name! Thank ye, thank ye for the compliment, kind sir. 😉 ❤

    "Good Boy Sweater" I DIED

    #we stan a disney prince #and his excellent choice in sweaters

    Oooooooooh. Jodie Whittaker in a 40s dress and black coat–I am most intrigued!! I, too, tend to form characters and stories around "images" that come to me, snatches of a person & their environment. Although it sometimes takes years and YEARS for said stories to properly coalesce.

    Like

    1. Your blog name is one of my absolute favorite blog names! I think about lil’ Dill every time I see it 😉

      Seriously, I did not go into this post planning on any references to Our Disney Prince, but the words just tumbled out of my head, through my fingers, and onto the screen. #we stan a disney prince #and his astonishingly good fashion sense #(he gets it from his grandma)

      I was intrigued by that image too, haha! I know she’s a single woman in her mid-30’s, she’s from London, and she ends up in the countryside during the Blitz because she’s a schoolteacher and all her students are evacuated from the city. Oh, and her name is “Meg.” Mayhap I’ll write her story one day. But I’d have to get over my extremely bad habit of getting hung up on historical research 😛

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      1. Dill is my child. *huggles him*

        He absolutely gets it from his grandma. And I approve how your fingers took over and made you write about him 😉 😉

        WHAT GIVE ME THIS STORY RIGHT NOW

        Ahem.

        But seriously!!! That sounds awesome!!! I believe in you–despite the historical hang-ups (which I also have, and have had to learn to discard, slowly & painfully), I believe you can write her story. And it will be Awesome. ❤

        Like

  2. Well, I make my coffee in a French press, so… yeah, I usually go through an entire pressful in a day, whether I’m writing or not. (Unless my dad makes me share… :○)

    I have so many abandoned stories, and some that have just been put on hold in order for me to figure out what the heck I was thinking when I wrote that concept-dump of a first chapter X’D

    I haven’t really done the maniacal laughter thing, but I will confess… I was working on a very VERY fluffy fanfiction last night and at one point I just burst out giggling really hard and whispered “why am I writing this?!”… it’s *that* fluffy.

    And… yes. That aforementioned very fluffy fanfic? Part of it was written very very late/early. I finally stopped writing at around 1:30 am… I’m very much a night owl and if I’m gonna do any quality writing, it’s gonna be done pretty late. Hehe…

    Can somebody please explain the “Good Boy Sweater” thing? I don’t understand XP

    Maribeth, I also very much need this story!!! “Meg” sounds intriguing and I love that era of history! Out of curiosity, blonde Jodie Whittaker (a la Thirteen) or brunette?

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    1. Ohhhh, okay, that makes sense about the French press!! I was thinking more like the 12-cup pot our family uses. Sheesh, I can’t even imagine drinking that much coffee…(*shudders*) But a French press is another matter 😉

      I think most writers probably have HEAPS of abandoned stories. Not every idea is worthy of a novel, and that’s okay!

      Oh my gosh, I DO THE SAME THING: sometimes I just sit down and pound out a short but ridiculously fluffy fanfic scene and laugh at myself afterwards. “You just wanted domestic cuteness, didn’t you?” I will ask myself, and then reply (in a very satisfied tone), “EXACTLY.” I’m definitely an early bird, though, NOT a night owl, so I get most of my writing done before noon most days.

      The Good Boy Sweater. Ahem. (*whips out a PowerPoint Presentation*) The Good Boy Sweater, my friend, is that most blessed article of clothing worn by His Royal Highness Ben Solo, Prince of Alderaan, when he rushed to the aid of his Actual Princess (I will hear no objections to this identification of Rey at this time) in The Rise of Skywalker. The Internet dubbed it “The Good Boy Sweater” because…well…he was a Very Good Boy at that point in the story, and it was literally just a plain ol’ black sweater. But it was a welcome change from Kylo Ren’s old outfit and also very fine.

      BLONDE Jodie Whittaker, haha!!! I love that era of history, too, and I have made more than one attempt to write a WWII-era story. I really do know enough about the period (and England) to write Meg’s story at some point, but I’ve tried (and failed) at historical fiction so many times, it’s left me discouraged. I’m sure I’ll write historical fiction at some point. It’s really my first love, fiction-wise. But I’ll probably have to be more mature and confident as a writer before I give it another go.

      THAT SAID, I’ve kept all the notes I made for Meg’s story, which says something about my faith in the concept 🙂

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      1. Oh ok, I figured it was something like that. Kinda like the “holey jumper” thing with Twelve? XD (also yes, they are Royalty(TM) and that is the end of it, goodbye)

        Well, I don’t know how much it counts for, but I definitely believe in your writerly capabilities. I eagerly await each new chapter of your post-RoS fanfic and I’ve adored all your other ones, as well. I can’t wait to read Operation Lionhearted (that’s what it’s called, right? I don’t wanna scroll all the way back up to check XP) and I look forward to – hopefully – reading Meg’s story someday. 🙂

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  3. Jodie Whittaker in a 1940s outfit is perfection! I’m in love with that idea!

    AND OHHHHHH the good boy sweaterrrrrr!!! I’m dying right now! I’m laughing so hard! Ben Solo rockin’ that sweater. Reminds me of how obsessed the internet was with Chris Evans’s sweater in Knives Out. LOL.

    This was so fun to read, and I think I might just try my hand at this tag, especially since it’s been a while that I’ve written about writing on my blog. Hearing about your writing experiences was so much fun, and I loved it…

    Emily 🙂

    Like

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