Thursday, August 4, 2011

Open question day!

Good morning, all! I am le tired, but hopefully the coffee will kick in soon.

I am opening the blog up to questions today! If you'd like to know something about my writing or my stories, awesome. And if you'd like to know my name, my quest, and my favorite color, that is also awesome.

Have at it!

34 comments:

  1. For those who don't know, I tooted Becky's horn for her over here: http://katrinalantznovelist.blogspot.com/2011/08/introducing-becky-mahoney.html

    Becky, here's my question:

    What is your quest?

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  2. I seek the Holy Grail!

    Barring that, successful completion of my revisions would be great. And a book deal would be even more awesome. Although right now, my quest is to make it to 12:30 so I can finally dig into my tasty saag paneer...

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  3. And now my question is, what is saag paneer? LOL. From you blogger profile, I'm going to guess it's either food or budget-busting fashion.

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  4. Heehee! It is indeed delicious food. It's an Indian dish: fresh cheese in a spinach sauce, served with basmati rice. Mmmm...

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  5. It sounds delicious! What kind of assistant are you?

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  6. I'm an administrative assistant and scheduler to a group of Japanese diplomats in Washington DC. I generally handle hotel arrangements and meetings for delegations from Tokyo, but I do a little bit of everything! My other major in college (besides Creative Writing) was Japanese, and I spend most of the day switching between languages. :)

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  7. Hey Becky! I'm curious to know about your writing process. Do you outline everything or just start writing and see what comes out?

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  8. Okay, that's just awesome! My brother spent time in Japan when I was a teen and I've always admired their culture and art.

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  9. Katrina - Oooh, what part? I studied in Tokyo and I just loved it. I can't wait to go back one of these days!

    Tiffany - Hello and welcome! That's a really good question. I generally do a little bit of both. I don't start with a full outline, but I do know where I want to end up and what points I want to hit along the way. I usually end up writing out the detailed outline by the fifth chapter or so, and I rewrite large parts of the beginning to include new characterization and foreshadowing.

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  10. I'm the same way :)

    So as your writing, do you find that certain plot points or characters change with the flow of the story, or do they pretty much behave how you expect them to? :D

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  11. There's definitely room for shifting around! With THE HUNGRY GROUND, for example, I ended up bumping up a certain scene a few chapters because I realized it was too important to happen so late into the story. My characters tend to surprise me pretty often. A lot of my revision process is adding in all the things I've learned about them!

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  12. Also, I am going to go dig into that tasty, tasty Indian food. Be back in a bit!

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  13. Not sure which cities he spent the most time in. It was an LDS mission, and he served in the Hiroshima mission, which probably encompassed several cities roundabout. He came home with some beautiful fans and paintings and shared them with us. Japanese is one of the more difficult languages, isn't it?

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  14. Mmmm, I love Indian food! Reminds me of when I was in London!

    So now it's time for a random question: what's your favorite kind of cheese?

    (I think you're learning as much about me as I am about you haha)

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  15. Hey, Becky!

    First of all, your manuscript sounds AMAZEBALLS. And yes, that is really a word. At least it is in my head... O____O

    Second, I'm wondering: how do you come up with such AMAZEBALLS ideas for manuscripts? What inspires them? *takes out notepad and pen*

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  16. Hi Becky! I always like knowing what sort of weird quirks other writers have. Like I always snack on goldfish crackers and if I write by hand I can always always always use a blue gel pen :D

    Do you have any quirky little habits that are a must when you write?

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  17. I'm back! That was some gooood food.

    Katrina - I love Hiroshima! It's such a gorgeous city. As for the language, it can be pretty tough: as spoken, it's phonetic, but there are three different writing systems that you use for different parts of the sentence. It sounds really complicated, but it gets easier to understand as you go along!

    Tiffany - Oh wow, I'm jealous! I've never been to Europe. I'll bet Indian food in London is amazing! And that's a tough question, because I am a total cheese addict. I love everything, but in the end, I always end up coming back to havarti with dill. Pepper jack will never go amiss, either.

    Amparo - Thank you so much! (And amazeballs is totally a word, in my humble opinion. :D) This particular project was inspired by a piece of art I saw. I wish I could find it again, but it was a drawing of a desert city built high off the ground. I thought it would be really interesting if they built it that way because there was something dangerous down there... and the rest of the story went rolling from there!

    In general, my manuscripts tend to start like that: one little idea that just snowballs into something huge. I hope that makes sense!

    Michelle - Mmm, goldfish! :D I probably have a lot of quirks that I'm not even aware of, but the big one is red tea with milk. I love to make some first thing in the morning if I know I'm going to write all day. Maybe it's the placebo effect, but I feel like it helps!

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  18. (Commenting on your answer to Amparo) That's a great story! Just the other day I was mowing the lawn in the dark, and when I was telling Katrina how creepy it was she said that would make a great scene in a book. Guess what the beginning scene of my next novel is? :D

    So what do you do when you're brainstorming for titles? Do you do a lot of research or just put down the first thing that comes to mind? What's helped you in the past?

    (And I love Swiss. It's probably my favorite cheese.)

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  19. Becky, LOVE that explanation for how you got the idea for THE HUNGRY GROUND. Gives me chills just thinking about it. That's how my ideas come, too (see Tiffany's mowing story above). I guess it's just the way writers' brains work, huh? We process the world through story.

    Awesome answer!

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  20. Tiffany - Oooh, sounds like your story is right up my alley! If there's creepiness, I'm there. I did something similar once when I was walking alone through the library late at night. Before I knew it, it was a scene in my MS!

    Oh man, titles. Titles are totally my downfall. My working titles just usually end up being the most obvious ones. I had a little more trouble with my last MS, which had a chess motif, so I ended up looking through a glossary of chess terms. The title I picked, GRANDMASTER DRAW, actually ended up inspiring a new plot point, so it worked out in the end. I got lucky with THE HUNGRY GROUND, since the obvious title ended up sounding pretty cool!

    (MMM, SWISS. I love me some of that. Especially melted with gruyere in fondue...)

    Katrina: Thank you so much! I love to hear what sparked other writers' manuscripts. People's creative processes are so interesting!

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  21. Okay, another question: what are you favorite characters to write? Villains? Heroes? Best friends? Pets? Lol

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  22. Good question! Well, my protagonists are usually my favorite characters - I adore them, even if I do make them suffer. But writing villains is just so much fun! I'm a very happy person in real life, so it's great to blow off steam and write such twisted characters. I also really enjoy writing group dynamics, so I have fun with the MC's support system.

    Same question back at you - I'm curious!

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  23. Without question, my favorite characters to write are the villains. I love psychologically getting into someone's brain and seeing what made them the way they are. I love my protagonist as well, but they're never as interesting lol!

    And the pets. It's cool to add animals in there, even if it's just every once and a while. Pets and little children always make me happy.

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  24. Awww, pets! Now that I think about it, I've never written pets into my stories. Perhaps I should change that...

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  25. Pets are great, but I'm not a huge fan of them stealing the show. Read one book where the dog was almost a paranormal creature with what he could do. Just weird to me. :) But I definitely like playing with the MC's support system. Sociology in fiction is so fascinating.

    Villains frighten me. I still have trouble writing a truly bad guy. :)

    Becky, what's your current WIP about?

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  26. Agreed, Katrina. I don't tend to gravitate towards animal sidekicks, though I know other people who do!

    Oooh, current WIP... well, I currently have a few ideas battling each other for dominance! I've played a little with each one, but I think a clear winner is starting to emerge. It's set in Tokyo, and the main character, Akiko, walks through other people's dreams. Lately she's been seeing strangely similar nightmares - especially strange because the dreamers disappear the next day. When one of her classmates vanishes, she begins her own search, but soon the dreams start bleeding into her waking life as well.

    Obviously I haven't come up with a good pitch yet, but it's super fun, and I get to play with so much interesting Japanese folklore!

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  27. Also, Katrina, I noticed that your WIP is a dark paranormal romance. Color me intrigued! What's it about?

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  28. Plugging for Katrina: it's about awesomeness. I can't wait to read it.

    And your WIP sounds AWESOME! Hope I get the chance to read it!

    If you could go anywhere in the world (that you haven't already been) where would it be?

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  29. Becky, that sounds awesome! I love that it's set in Tokyo and about dreams. Two major wins in my mind! Most of my favorite book ideas revolve in some way around dreams and that indefinable energy within us.

    My dark paranormal romance is a modern retelling of Hades and Persephone with flavors of The Phantom of the Opera. I wrote the first 10k in one night, and three weeks later, I'm almost finished with the first draft. The challenge for me with something this dark and paranormal is making it believable.

    How did you make the crazy things in THE HUNGRY GROUND ring true?

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  30. Tiffany: Thank you! I certainly hope you do, too! :D As to the question, I would totally go anywhere in Italy. Barring that, Paris. Europe in general is next on my list!

    Katrina: Thank you so much! I adore dream narratives. And I adore Greek myth retellings and Phantom, too, so I would be all over your novel! I'm sure it is AMAZING.

    Hmm, excellent question! I had to really focus on that with my worldbuilding, since Kalinda's reality is really defined by this myth of a city being devoured by the ground itself, but not many people in her country really believe it anymore. (That doesn't mean they're going down there, though!)

    I could go on forever (and I would! lol), but what I tried to do was set up an atmosphere where there was already a fine line between reality and the stories. I wanted to make the fantastical happenings familiar to the characters on some level, even if they weren't particularly normal!

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  31. Very insightful! Familiar but not normal, like any dystopia! :) We should talk about books more often. I'm learning a lot.

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  32. Absolutely! I love talking books with other writers. I never get enough chances to - and I'd love to hear more about your projects as well!

    And on that note, I must scurry off to a work function, but I will check back here later tonight. Thanks for the fun afternoon, everyone!

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