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30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

WHAT?! That isn't a question, that's Kate Gosslyn trying to hang onto her fifteen minutes of shame. Everyone I know already did this meme, and more than that I already talked about a writer I admire and like. Screw you question! Screw you to hell.

Okay, F that; the lines are open people. In lieu of an actual last question, I leave it to you to ask me something you wish to know about me and or my writing and or both.
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29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

Not totally constantly. Sometimes I just sit and think about the story and how I want it to pan out, not the actual writing itself.

But not all the time. I think about food too.

I'm not always thinking about writing, but more often than not my mind will usually wander to some project or another (s'not like it doesn't have any choices) and will work itself out. What's annoying is when my brain replays a scene in my head again, and again, and again, and again, and all it's doing is changing small details or how something is worded and it drives me up the wall. I'm asking, "What happens next" and my brains says, "Screw you, I need to figure exactly how syllables are in this sentence" then we get into an arguement, I sulk and my brain comes up with another project to get back at me.

As for IRL, not too much. If I'm caught up in one idea or another I may see something that I work into a story, but not often do I see something that's the reverse. Part of it has to do with the stories themselves, it's just not likely to see recreations of those ideas in real life.
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28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there's nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

Smaller ones? Most people I know don't think of any disability they have a "small" one, just in terms how much much mobile or self-sufficient they are.

Getting past that, yeah, I have a few. Tigress, the original concept not the Disney version (I should probably have a different name for those), had the main character Alariza blinded when she was six. And not hit on the head, or suddenly lost vision blinded, no, an advisor was ordered to slash her eyes so she couldn't be revealed as royalty.

Newly reintroduced story Psycho, My Own has Jerome, and he... the man just has a laundry list of mental things wrong with him. Seriously, he needs help.

Canvas has a serial killer, though I don't think that counts (outside the court of law). The Blackberry Wall has the MC with a bout of depression, though it's kinda glossed over for the most part and doesn't have any real signifigance to the story.
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27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Ooh, I should be able to ramble about this one easily.

Yes and no. Done.

...

Fine, I lie.

Appearances do play a role, but I've learned not to make them a big role, if that makes any sense. It used to be that, when I wrote out character profiles, I'd really go into the physical appearance of the character; ethnicity, skin shade, hair color, hair length, body of hair, eye color, tattoos, scars, height, weight, muscle tone, bone structure, birth marks, general clothing style, I'd go whole hog. And then I'd stupidly try to impress all that into my work and onto the reader.

I'd like to think I wrote it in a compelling manner, but I hang my head to think of what it really came out to be. This was when I was first getting into writing more heartedly, so I really wanted my reader to know exactly what my character looked like to me. I wasn't big on letting the reader imagine for themselves what a person looked like, unless they were imagining it along my very specific lines.

Luckily, I got better. Often times now, I'll forgo physical description all together and just use narrative voice to give any impression if there is one (it's how the Noir story got a female lead). I know I've gotten more subtle about putting description into my work, and letting the reader do their own thing. The only times I'll really lay it on thick is when I want a bigger impact from what is being seen. But I generally let hints and few quick sentences carry the weight.

As to how I go about designing my characters, the process for that has changed since I started. It used to be I'd write out a full profile, with all the afore mentioned details and then some. When I could, I'd get a friend to draw the character out. But mostly it was all about making them different. OCs I came up with were always about sticking out. Because when I started I was big into fandoms, and everyone had characters related to that universe, I tried to make mine (and I always had multiples) different from the norm. I also tried to have a reason for such differences, and tired to make sure that the differences weren't unbelievable, but still I wanted to stick out.

I have/had my own share of self-inserts, but never did they ever really interact with canon characters; it was more about having fun in the created world than putting my/ourselves next to the heroes.

Nowadays, I go for interesting but not unusual. A pretty character is going to turn heads, but he/she isn't going to command a whole room the very moment he/she walks in. A scary one (usually) isn't going to make you pee your pants until right before they reveal themselves. I've moved away from needing my characters to have their appearance do all the work, and now enjoy playing with perceptions, both the readers, the main characters, and the minor ones.
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26. Let's talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

I, myself, do not, unfortunately. I used to try (try being the key word) when I still had a better grasp of anatomy, but I haven't been as into my art as I used to be, so my skills in that areas have really gone down hill. The last time I tried to draw a human figure... yeah, it didn't turn out so hot. So, no.

A friend used to draw characters I came up with. We'd spend hours doing just that, getting the costumes right, aging them up or down, pulling out old drawings of hers and redrawing them currently. And I still have a file full of all that old work too. Most of that back in the day was fan stuff, Pokemon OCs, NiGHTS stuff, some Sonic, not a lot of original idea stuff.

Hey, I'd love to be able to put up a picture of any one of my characters, but I don't have any. I haven't even gone and taken the time to find pictures that I thought were close, so there's no reference photos either.

Which isn't to say that someday I wouldn't like to; I have a flash drive file full of reference photos for me to practice human form and dress, with real people and other's drawings to practice style. But I don't have the focus or the time at the moment to really dig down and practice. Which sucks, because I still love to draw.
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25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

A couple do.

Rachel has a cat named Marlon (I almost went with Merlin, but Marlon is a better pun), who she's had for about two years. Cat doesn't play a part in anything, is never in any danger, and probably could be taken out with no ill conseqence... but Rachel likes cats, so she got herself one. *shrug*

In an unnamed fantasy work, the unnamed MC has a dragon. That's not as special as it sounds, dragons in this world are a dime a dozen. His family are dragon ranchers, so he grew up around them, raising and training them and what not, so getting his own at some point wasn't a big surprise (his parents paired them together when the kid was one and the dragon was a month old, so they literally grew up together). The dragon is a character in its own right, it's not there simply to be horse.
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24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What's the most interesting way you've killed someone?

I'll do it; I have done it, it's not like you should be so attached to a character that you'll avoid their death at all costs.

Which isn't to say that you should be willing to throw anyone and everyone in front of a firing squad. Some characters you don't want to kill off, not just because it might make sense to have them dead but because it comes off as cheap if people start dropping right and left.

It's hard to kill off MCs, because they're the MCs, they're who are driving the story forward. Maybe they can croak at the end, but unless you have enough emotion invested in the side characters it's rare to see them go in the middle of a run.

So, yes, I'm willing but it's less if the plot demands it and more of if it feels right for the story.

Um, interesting, interesting... alrighty, I got one. Way back in the day, I had a paranormal highschool story, Innocence Lost, which had a lot of strange shit going down. Cheerleader-feminist cults, teachers who under stress talks only about their cats, the quiet shy student nobody notices who might also possibly be a serial killer, you know, normal stuff. And then the lockers.

Typically it more of new kid/freshman thing, you'd get lockers that would change answers on homework, assignments would vanish; and those are the weak ones. One will fill itself with pudding, anothers gives you your school books back in a different language. And then there's that one persistant rumor that at least one student has disappeared after being shoved into his locker...
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23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

You want to know? You and me both.

Okay, not quite true, but I don't entirely count short stories as the ones that I do write aren't planned and work out more as exercises than what I'd consider actually writing. I think the longest short story I wrote took about three days, on and off, with about two hours of planning.

Planning can take- has taken years on some projects. Others I'm coming into months, and others are just days out. Progress, I not has it.

Writing, eh...

Posting, well, I've posted excerpts, and a few early chapters of some things, but (after learning these things from [livejournal.com profile] limiinal and [livejournal.com profile] jkoyanagi) I probably won't post much of what I consider to be actual story material online, at least not without friend-screening. Apparently public posting stories is a bad thing for future publishing ambition; good thing to know.
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22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you've never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

How about most of my work so far, because a vast majority of my scene are unwritten.

Well, there's no non-serious scene I haven't written; that seems like a weird question, seperating unwritten from serious or not, shouldn't it just matter if it's, you know, I'm getting off track here.

A legitimate unwritten scene... in planning for the Noir story, the outline at one point called for the detective (did I give him a name, I should give him a name) who Rachel is seeing to be assigned her "case", and head the RICO unit tasked with taking on her organization. It was meant to build up the tension between his work drive to take "her" down, and the juxtaposition between her knowing he was the head of unit but keeping the relationship going regardless.

I dropped that angle, and any related scene, because I figured it was too cliched to have the two big names of the story be the leaders of the opposing forces. Instead, I'm going with him being part of the organizated crime unit, but aiming at another family, picking up hints about Rachel's group through street contacts and not being stupid when it comes to noticing escalating retaliation. He eventually picks up enough hints to make a connection, but I don't think he realizes how high on the food chain she is.
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21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

Nothing I'm currently working on have the MC with children. A couple are children, but don't have kids themselves (icky squicky). If I reach back a bit, the only one I can think of who does is Jerome from Pyscho, My Own. He had two girls Jamie and Ranae. He kills them, and their mother, before the story starts, but he did at one point procreate.

I'd like to think I can write children well. Convincingly, at least. They aren't stupid by any means, but at the same time don't know a lot (well, that depends on age) so you play a fine line of intelligence and naivety. What they know, what they think they know, and what they shouldn't know but do all play a part of their character. But it's a writer's own naivety to think that children are these shining examples of good and purity, the little bastards can be just as cruel and uncaring as adults; sometimes more so.
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20. What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Is it an interaction if it's just one person?

Because what I like writing about, being I'm into first-person at the moment, is what goes on in the character's head as they talk. It's like trying to keep a running dialog, but making sure it stays relevant and doesn't take over the text.

I like the inner workings, because I'm enjoying seeing the world(s) from a different perspective and describing it from that view. What they think about things aren't always what I agree with, and their opinions on other people are always fun to write. When they start talking is were it gets interesting (to me), because sometimes the dialog is straight forward, and what's going on inside is just setup for the next exchange, and then other times what they're thinking goes against what they actually say.
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19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Can I cop out on two answers in a row? No? Fine...

I'm gonna pick Martin Carmichael from the Noir story. Originally the only reason he even got a name was because I couldn't have everyone be nameless in what became the first chapter (which now is going to need a rewrite), and he was only one of two who got that privilage. He was the lucky one, the other guy Charlie got kicked in gut.

Then, when I was inspired to continue the story, he popped in again as one of two body guard/enforcers who stay in Rachel's building. In that was a line that said he had been around the longest, and suddenly his name got bumped up a few notches on the title card. He became one of the first recruits when Rachel broke into her own, and functions as her voice to the lower ranks, allowing her to keep herself invisible as much as possible. Martin isn't a boss, but almost acts as advisor/speaker for Rachel; he's also one of the few who can question her outright, and she trusts him enough to let him question whether or not continuing a relationship with a cop is a worth what will happen if it turns sour. He loves her, but in a protective way; he is gay, after all.
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18. Favorite antagonist and why!

I'm getting deja vu...

Umm....er...I can't think of WAITAMINUTE-

-nope false alarm.

I honestly can't think of one. Not one who qualifies as my favorite. Tigress has Haitel, but he's a little douche. The Noir story doesn't really have one, it's more about Rachel's relationship balancing and dealing with a threatening gang war, no one specfic (yet (maybe)).

Well sad sack of monkey crap, I can't answer this one. I could always make one up (goddamn it too, I have a guy already forming god damn you brain) but that seems kinda cheap, in that it's an "antagonist" but he doesn't go to anythinand there he went, he plopped himself in the Kareen mythology. Damn it.
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17. Favorite protagonist and why!

If I had to guess (and really, I do) I'm gonna go with Rachael from the Noir story. Feels repeatitive, but I'll try to explain without repeating myself.

Part of it is that she's just fun to write for. The story is from her perspective, so figuring out how she views things is a hoot to think for. She very analytical, but keeps a very humorously cynical outlook. It helps when you're a crime boss.

It's also fun to figure out all the different crimes she plays a part of (not that I would ever do something like that) because she tries to keep everything as business organized as she can. Certain people handle certain "franchises", everything is reported back to her, and she is ruthless in hostile negotiations. She had always wanted to be a mafia don, raised by her grandfather and his love of crime cinema; her own collection is quite extensive. It was from these, and later from police reports and books, that she studied what they did, what they did wrong, and what she figured she needed to do to get to where she wanted to be. She started as a runner at fourteen, later becoming a cleaner, then hitman, up to enforcer, then broke off on her own, the whole time still going to school (she tried to . She was careful to avoid working specifically for any one family as she wanted to make as few enemies as she could.

When the story starts, she's dealing with backlash and fallout from an unnamed incident (unnamed because I don't know what happened, and anything you come up with is bound to be better than what I make canon) while at the same time starting a relationship with a police detective not specificially assigned to "her" case, but risky none the less. All this is fun to juxtapose in her thoughts and how she sees it all. Trying to keep the two separated, and keep herself sane, is a fun challenge.
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16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing? ;)

Yes, with words, and all the way if necessary.

Oh, you want more? Fine...

I don't shy away from romance in my stories, but neither am I going to go out of my way to include one just because. It does need reason, and saying "well I have a male main character and a female main character, they should hook up" does not cut it with me.

Currently, I do have a story where romance is part of the main plot, the Noir one. The story is centered on Rachel, head don of her mafia organization, keeping her business life seperate from her new love life with a city detective. Wow, that's kinda cliched, now that I actually write that out, but I'm having fun seeing how close I can keep these two stories together without completelying crossing them. She's assertive and has always gone after what she wants, so when she wants to pursue a relationship like this, she maintains as much control over every situation as she can to be happy. Rachel walks a thin line when she talks about her work, using phrases that are technically true but have much different meanings than what the boyfriend assumes (he needs a name too), and keeping her two lives seperate. She's well aware of the concequences, but continues on anyway because she does actually love him.

I think I do alright with relationships and romance, in that they don't come off as hackneyed (I hope -.-;). When this element does come up, I'll make it as natural as I can and not "easy"; you know, "I've only seen you once, I love you long time" "I love you too, but I'm going to pretend I don't for one or more books because that's called tension and we don't have any if acted on our obvious emotions". There are fights, flirting, passion, sublty, all the things that make up real relationships. It's not easy (all the time).

As for how "far" (why is that parahesised, you want to add a "nudge-nudge, wink-wink" to that too?) I'll go, I'll go as far as the story needs and allows. So if sex needs to be seen, I'll be as tactful as I can while maintaining as much emotion as the scene needs, but depending on the story I'm not going to start having characters act different just because hormones are taking over. I'm not going to throw in a sex scene because "OMG dat's hot", because that's just pandering to the voyeur demographic. I'm not writing erotica (unless, of course, I am) so there's no point in having something that doesn't help the plot.

I've written these kind of stories before, they're fun and challenging to attempt now and again, so I'm not uncomfortable with the prospect of it. And I won't shy away from relationships forming. But overall, I'd rather not have characters whose only purpose is to be pined after and eventually bedded, because they tend to be flat and boring. Sex is boring without the passion behind it. And there's no passion in "My groin yerns for you"/"I'm attracted to you being attacted to me!".
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15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

A professional writer seems too obvious, and really there aren't any I really could say I admire. I respect and wish to emulate, but not quite do what they do.

Easy, I'm gonna go with [livejournal.com profile] limiinal. She has one (well, two) of the most interesting stories I've heard/read about in a long time, that I'm constantly bugging her to let me read them. No, I don't care if they're not in beta yet, gimme. She's writing a paranomal romance that actually makes me actually want to read a paranormal romance, and her magum opus is so mind-buggery that I'm going to have to read it twice just to understand it once.

And I love her style; that helps, you know. The characters are the main focus of the story, and if that seems obvious, what I mean is that her characterization is what actually drives the story. There isn't a lot of focus on the surroundings or useless objects that may look cool but have no function. It's total, and very quick, immerision into the world with foriegn concepts used very casually. You may not know what they're immediately talking about (early Bone Grind had that with me and imptech, but it was a very early draft, and I figured it out after a few pages anyway) but the way they talk about things, these wonders are no longer wonders, just everyday occurances that don't need to be explained as some big event, because really that's old news and something else is happening right now.

Also, she can bang out words like no one else I know. The rate she can put words to page is staggering.

I'll admit I'm not a little jealous; I'm a lot jealous.
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14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

I've learned that vagueness can get you a bit further than mapping out every detail. That said, that doesn't mean I won't attempt to make a detailed map either for the fun of it or because I think I may actually use it.

When I was younger, the map was sometimes the first thing I made. I have a couple hidden in a notebook somewhere, but no, I'm not going to show you. My scale was horrible, and I was more interested in creating a cool looking map than I was making sure things made sense.

Right now, if I need to I'll sketch out a quick idea of where things are in relation to others, so I'm not having characters go in circles trying to find someplace.
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13. What's your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

This seems a strange question. I question it.

I don't really have a specific culture that's my favorite, mainly because I don't tend to focus on that aspect in my writing. I like knowing the culture, so I can write for it and have it seem natural, but I try not to have to info dump the culture onto the reader so they'll understand. Rather, it's easier to just insert small facets into the dialogue and let it come in on it's own.

So, I guess I don't really have a favorite.
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12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

Of any, I'd say it'd most likely be Tigress. Really, nothing I'm working (or have worked) on is exactly what you would call "built", things are all pretty organic right now (which is a round about way of saying I'm almost making it up as I go). I tend to be more a character writer (...not sure that means what I think it means), so most of my detailing skills lend themselves to the people rather than to the world.

But Tigress has the most going for it at the moment. I have a solid idea of what the culture and principle land is like; it's primarily a pseudo Indian/Chinese grab bag, set in a lush jungle area. I think part of the reason I have a better grasp of this than I do others is I'm kinda following several Disney formulie. I'm plucking elements from the standard Disney story and using them in, what I hope are, new ways that are still familiar.

But the world around them isn't the focus of the story, it's the characters. I've spent this much time creating and putting so much into them, my style leans in the direction of putting them in the forefront instead of taking a lot of time to world view everything in a 360. I'll come up with what I need, and will make sure it fits nicely in with everything previous and following, but won't always think about more than that at the time.

This doesn't always work with all stories, but for this one it is.

I wish was more detailed like that, it's always a fun exercise, and it helps with immersing yourself into the world better for writing.
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11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

Of all time or just for the moment?

Well, currently (unlike [livejournal.com profile] jkoyanagi or [livejournal.com profile] limiinal I have no big masterwork in the process, and I'm jealous of both of them) I'm having a lot of fun writing for my Noir story. While not my first, it's my biggest foray in first-person perspective, and she's a ton load of fun to write for. The way she thinks (and I write for her) is short and crisp, and she is all about keeping the advantage. She's smart and observant and always keeping some secret, so what she thinks and what she actually says are a fun constrast; I especially like when what she says and what she's thinking are the same, but still mean different things.

That, and she's a little badass. She (fuck it, you know what, until I think of something better, her name is Rachel THERE) built her little empire from the ground up, starting as a cleaner for another Don. She built up her contacts, progressing upwards through different ranks, until she split off and started her own. She completely business about it, refers to the job in professional terms and even keeps track of records in business terms (which, admittedly, makes it easy to keep records without much fear of incriminating ones self, as everything looks like legitmate accounting ledgers). And she follows through with her decisions, even if she doesn't like it (if you've read the ending chapter, you know what I'm talking about).

Now for least favorite... um... probably Haitel from Tigress. He's the young ruler of a large kingdom (or was it an empire?...) who was spoiled from the day he was born. He has little concept of the outside world, and even though he shouldn't, makes big decisions that affect his subjects more than they'll ever affect him. The boy is just a total brat, and he's a pain to write for. He needs to be a threat on some level, because he's the antagonist, but writing a normal human boy who has no special powers (beyond being ruler) and isn't psychotic (just spoiled) into something isn't easy (or fun). The kid's just a little douche.

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