Beautiful People: Author Edition

As well as reading books and writing reviews, I write stories. I’ve never really done anything with my stories before, but I want to start posting them here. It was always my intention when I started this blog, but I’ve been more than a little nervous about it these past four years. Not because I don’t think my stories are good—I like them and that’s good enough—but because I’m just a tad bit precious and finickity about this blog. I didn’t like to disrupt the order I created.

Ultimately, though, it’s my blog and it shouldn’t matter if it gets a little out of order—chaotic, even. Keeping it organised only leaves huge gaps where I don’t post for months. And that’s a bit pants, really. So I’m going off-script and diving into writing and posting stories, as well as still reading books and posting reviews. I hope you’ll find your way amongst the disarray!

To start off the writing aspect of the blog, I thought I’d jump in to this month’s Beautiful People—a writing blog meme hosted by Further Up and Further In & Paper Fury. This month they’ve posed some author-focused questions, so I thought it would be a good month to hop on board and kick start the writing aspect of the blog!

How do you decide which project to work on?
Whichever I’m in the mood to write. Whichever has my creative juices flowing. Whichever one I’m drawn to.

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
Depends on the project, but mostly I write short stories. If I’m focused I can finish something in a day, stories that require a little more thought or effort can take a few days. If you include sending it to my proofreader and editing, it can be a couple of weeks. Of course, other stories I’ll sit on for months or years before I do the final tweaks and declare them “finished”.

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
I need clear time in front of me. I’m not great at getting my head down when a sudden 10 spare minutes show up. I need to know I have a good chunk of time to myself to focus. I’ll put music on—usually Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Rós. I close my internet browser!

What time of day do you write best?
Afternoon or evening. I prefer getting any chores out of the way so I can’t distract myself with them later, or have them hanging over my head. I also like to relax with a beer while I write, as I find it loosens the brain muscles and I get into a flow easier without over thinking. I also write better when I’m tired for the same reason.

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
Errr… I don’t know. If we run with the idea that the authors a person reads the most influences their writing, then I’d say Christopher Brookmyre, Stephen King, and John Wyndham.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
I was a big reader as a kid, and as well as reading, I would write. I have books I started writing by taking a wad of A4 paper, folding it in half and stapling it down the spine. I drew front covers, wrote straplines and blurbs. I went all out. I loved books, and I didn’t want to stop at reading them.
I keep writing because I love figuring out which order to put the words in. That feeling you get when you have a thought, and articulate it accurately—it’s addictive. I love reading my stories back years later and thinking, ‘Yeah, that’s actually good!’

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
I do a lot of free writing and personal diary-sort of writing. Nothing I would ever publish or even show anyone. Some of that has been hard. Life experiences, lessons learned, secret thoughts. I often try not to read them back; they are certainly the hardest thing I’ve read.

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
A couple, actually. One involves a lot of research-reading, but will be a hell of a lot of fun to work on. The other I think I just have too many thoughts and expectations about, and is a much larger project than I’ve ever tackled before. A small character/origin-driven story is first on my list for that one.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
There was a 30 day writing meme I started—hahahaha—years ago that I want to finish this year. I’ll be posting those here when i’ve made a little more headway. And generally the goal is be writing stories and posting the stories here on a regular basis. I also want to research and find places to submit my short stories to. Online collections, published anthologies, whatever. I want my stories out in the world.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
Always over thinking!

About Wendleberry
I'm odd.

5 Responses to Beautiful People: Author Edition

  1. Sophie Li says:

    I love reading your answers!
    I definitely agree with closing the web browser (and putting away my phone as well) to get rid of distractions. Though sometimes I do have to reopen it too google stuff like “what does it feel like to be high on morphine?” (Story-related research, don’t worry! I’m sure my search history would be incriminating 🙂 )
    On a more serious note, I know what you mean in that some of the most personal stuff are the hardest to read back on. I went through a rough patch during high school (didn’t we all?) and to this day, I know where my journals are but I couldn’t bring myself to read them.
    Will you be posting some of your short stories? 🙂


    • Wendleberry says:

      Yes on the google-research, but i find i can stop for far too long doing that, so when i’m writing i try to put a [holder space] in and go back later to add more detail or re-write a section. It helps me stay focused and the writing flowing that way.
      I know where all my old journals and free-writing stuff is, too. I think i’ll end up tossing it away unread eventually, but for now i like the fact that it exists.
      And yes, my plan is to post some of my short stories! I’m excited to have a place to put them that’s not just my computer hard drive…

      • Sophie Li says:

        The holder space idea is a good one as well 🙂 it makes sense when we don’t want to interrupt the flow of our story to look up something!
        Sometimes I really do need to do research before writing a scene. My story is very character-driven and I feel that I have to write each scene out in sequence for their relationship development to seem natural (if that makes any sense at all!) that’s why I am going to re-watch the entire sound of music movie before writing the next scene (since that is featured in the next scene haha)… or I am just finding an excuse to procrastinate 🙂

        • Wendleberry says:

          If i know research is needed–if it’s a big part of what i’m planning–i’ll definitely do it before i start writing. But you know sometimes in the writing you end up throwing something in and then realise you’ve got no idea about the details? Haha.
          And i’m with you–i always write chronologically!

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