Day one of the Gearing up to Get an Agent Blogfest is here. Today is the meet and greet, complete with questionnaire. For more information and to sign up, check out Deana Barnhart’s blog.
I’m afraid I won’t be part of the whole thing, because my manuscript is not ready for pitching yet, but I’m looking forward to the critique partner match up later on this week and to watching and learning from the contests. Below are my answers to the questions.
Where do you write?
Anywhere—ah the magic of the laptop—but, really, I most frequently write at my kitchen table, or on the couch, or in the bedroom depending on where the cat is not lounging and waiting to walk all over the keyboard. I prefer a coffee shop where there’s just enough noise but no conversation is so loud as to overwhelm the general chatter, but I can’t do that every day.
Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
Some coupons to Jo-Ann Fabrics. One of them is still good.
Favorite time to write?
I don’t have one, though I’m sure I should. I would probably be much more productive if I consistently wrote at a time I knew was best for me.
Drink of choice while writing?
Cappucino, though I don’t have it often. Too expensive and too much caffeine for me.
When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
As you can see from the first question, I like a little background sound. Instrumental music is great for that.
What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
Well, this isn’t really the inspiration for the whole concept, but it is an interesting little real life detail I recently swiped for my novel. There’s an ice cream truck that comes through my neighborhood. It always plays Christmas carols, even though it operates in the middle of summer. I’ve never seen any children run up to the truck to get ice cream, but still the truck comes every day. Every afternoon around five, the peaceful quiet is broken by a mangled “Silent Night” or “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” It’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen that I’m still convinced is a perfectly legit business.
What’s your most valuable writing tip?
Outline. It doesn’t have to be a particularly detailed outline. It doesn’t have to be a neat and tidy outline. You can scribble it on the back of a crumpled receipt if you want, but do it. You may think you’re not an outline person, that you prefer to write by the seat of your pants, and maybe that’s fun for the first draft. But you’ll come back to that draft and nine times out of ten you’ll have to rewrite nearly the whole thing. Some people can write sans outline—and if it’s worked for you in the past that’s wonderful—but most of us need some sort of guide, however vague it may be. Outlining may not be fun, but it’s a lot less unpleasant than having to redo all your hard work.
I’m an academic writing tutor and I’m working on a major rewrite of my first novel, a middle grade fantasy. (I speak from experience when I say “Outline, outline, outline!”) As if that wasn’t enough, I’m working hard on my Spanish, which is why many of my posts here are at least partially bilingual, and I’m also taking some graduate education classes this semester.
Thanks for visiting! Blogfest participants, I look forward to seeing your responses.