writing meme: days 16, 17, 18, & 19

Yeah am cramming a lot into this post. If I get bored later, I might do three or four more. Stay tuned.

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?

I do write romantic relationships. I can’t write sex scenes for shit, though. But I try. I can report that I’ve been told I’ve gotten better with the romance angle over the last several years.

17. Favorite protagonist and why!

Except for Daniel in Midnight’s Heir, and really he was a bit part, I’ve never had a physical human protag. I’ve had more success writing depression and personal demons. Because that’s what I know.

18. Favorite antagonist and why!

Sami and Michael both, of course. Why? They’re just easy for me to write. I catch myself writing about either of them and find myself going and going and going … I have to rein myself in.

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Minor character. :thinks: Sarah Williams. She started out as a party guest in Midnight, ended up being one of Michael’s advisors in Midnight’s Heir and the mother of his son. Then over the course of writing the prequel (shaddup!), Eventide, Sarah ended up with a grandmother, mother, and a last name. Then because of a fit Sami threw between Midnight and Midnight’s Heir, Sarah became Michael’s wife.

writing meme: days 13, 14, & 15

13. What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

Appalachia. It’s what I know. It’s where I grew up.

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

I do. I do. I have floorplans of houses, maps of Harlan County, maps of places in Harlan County. In fact, I made a GoogleMap of “My Harlan County“. If you zoom out, you get to see Corbin, Kentucky, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Beckley, West Virginia.

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Rosamunde Pilcher. I want to be her when I grow up. I own most of her books and re-read The Shell Seekers each March.

writing meme: days 10, 11, & 12

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

When is Sami never in a weird situation? I’ve sat here all day trying to think and can’t come up with anything. The weirdest, though, has to be when she first got to Harlan in 1985 and realized she was in the midst of vampires – and that she had vampire in her own genetic make-up.

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

Michael actually is my favorite character to write. I could write him all day – and have. Least favorite is his granddaughter. Sometimes I just can’t get my head around her.

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

My best worldbuilding was in Midnight. There, Harlan was a character in its own right. I lost that somewhere in Midnight’s Heir, and that really makes me sad.

writing meme: days 5 & 6

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

Let’s see. If we’re counting wip, then there are several babies still in utero. You can’t get much younger than that. My oldest character was 98 when he passed away. Now, if we’re going to talk about the Ancestors, those go way back. We’re talking pre-Norman Invasion …

In terms of when a character was created, that would be Samantha back in 1996 when I first thought of her. She sprang to life at the age of twenty-two.

6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

I write better away from the computer – even with wi-fi turned off, I can manage to find something to do besides writing. Too, I can write much faster than I can type, even though I can type almost 80wpm. Dyslexia goes a long way with not being able to compose at the typewriter. I transpose words more than I do letters. When I’m trying to think and write and type, I invariably leave things out. My scenes and characters – the whole shebang – come out very flat and have to be reworked later. I’ve been writing with a clipboard, loose leaf paper, and an ink pen since I was thirteen.

I can get some pretty good steam rolling between 11am and 2pm. Then again from 4pm until about 8pm or so. Now if I were able to live on the schedule I’m most comfortable with, that would be a different story. If I could go to bed at 3am or 4am and sleep until noon, I’d cope with a lot of things so much better. Unfortunately, life is out there and won’t allow me to live on that schedule.

writing meme: days 3 & 4

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

I have to be very careful with names. There are names you’ll never see used inside Harlan County. Although that’s changing somewhat, names there remain very traditional. Last names are a problem, too. They seem to be place specific. So I have an old (1997 I think) Harlan County telephone directory.

As for places, I do write fiction, but it’s set in my version of a real place – see my response to question one from yesterday. However, I try to keep my descriptions as close to the actual places as I’m able. I have extensive research and gods know how many photographs of Harlan County that I use for reference.

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

Oh this is fun. If you’ve read my biography, you know that I wrote my first book when I was six. It’s a tiny thing written and drawn on yellow memo paper. It’s about a princess and her dog who live on the bottom of a large body of water.

writing meme: days 1 & 2

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

With the exception of two short stories, my serious writing endeavors have all taken place in my own version of Harlan County, Kentucky. I lived in Loyall, Kentucky, from October 1995 through May 1999 and consider Harlan County my home. When I first got the idea for my vampires in 1996, I thought about setting the story here in Lexington or even in Richmond, but for events to unfold the way they did, for the main character to evolve the way she needed to, the isolation of Harlan was required.

I joke around that I know more about Harlan County than a lot of people. Thing is, it’s true. I wear my mother-in-law and husband out sitting around talking with my father-in-law about Harlan. He and I view this as a good thing. We give each other an outlet to discuss our passion. Too, it helps that we can call each other when we have a Harlan County question.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

How many? Gods above. To keep up with books three and four I had to create a family tree. This tree is almost twenty-five pages long. Granted, not all people in the tree rate as characters, but a good majority of them do.

Let’s see. I started a spreadsheet when I started rewriting Midnight a couple of years ago. As I come to a character, I chart him along with certain attributes. First and last name. Nickname. Order of appearance. Role. Description. Car. Residence.

Eventide (the prequel (i know. hush)) topped out at 26 – this book is still being written; this number could change. Midnight, 14. Midnight’s Heir is still being rewritten but was up to 46 at last count; that’s a full character list – major and minor characters all noted for my records. To Be Renamed I (and to be rewritten) has 20 main players listed on the character’s list I created for the book opening. To Be Renamed II (and to be rewritten) has 16 main players listed on its character list.

I’ve found that I can write both females and males equally well, but I prefer writing females. Male shoes are a bit difficult to step into – and it’s tiring.