Sunday, November 04, 2007

Twenty questions answered

The lovely Lianne at Light and Shade inadvertantly created a meme by adapting the 20 questions below from the Arvon site. This is me, jumping on the bandwagon - better late than never.

1. Do you outline?

Absolutely. I'm definitely a roadmap writer, not a journey of discovery type. Quite happy to take shortcuts and diversions, but need to know where I'm going.

2. Do you write straight through a script, or do you sometimes tackle the scenes out of order?

Straight through. The one time I tried to jump around in a story - a Doctor Who novel called The Dominio Effect - was an unmitigated disaster. Don't bother searching out the book, it's pants.

3. Do you prefer writing with a pen or using a computer?

Computer for actual drafting, but pen, yellow legal pads and index cards when I'm plotting and planning. Eventually my writing is too slow and illegible, so I switch to computer to outline.

4. Do you prefer writing in first person or third?

First, but I don't get to do it very often. I find first person much more involving as a writer, and a lot faster.

5. Do you listen to music while you write?

Yes, mainly instrumental scores from films. Thomas Newman, Adrian Johnston, Hans Zimmer, John Powell - great for evoking a mood and blocking out background noise.

6. How do you come up with the perfect names for your characters?

I struggle. Baby name websites can be helpful, especially if you've got a glut of character from a particular country.

7. When you’re writing, do you ever imagine your script as a book/short story?

I always see it as a movie in my head, which is fine if I'm writing for the screen but a bugger when writing a novel or short story. Having to stop and describe the setting is bloody annoying, so don't expect a lot of evocative purple prose from me.

8. Have you ever had a character insist on doing something you really didn’t want him/her to do?

All the time. Once had to chunk thousands of words as I realised the character was leading me in the wrong direction. Git.

9. Do you know how a script is going to end when you start it?

Yes. Try to have a strong central image in mind when I start.

10. Where do you write?

At home, upstairs, in my office. When deadlines bite and I can't work at home, I've been know to work on friends' kitchen tables or even in the back seat of a car with a laptop - kind of drive-by writing.

11. What do you do when you get writer’s block?

I don't get block but I procrastinate like crazy. It usually means my subconscious knows I'm not committed to a story or haven't thought through what should happen next. Research or a pause for creative thought solves the problem.

12. What size increments do you write in?

That's a bit personal, isn't it? Oh, sorry, writing. On a novel I aim for about 4000 words a day when first drafting. On a screenplay, up to ten pages a day - anymore and quality usually suffers. I accelerate towards the end of a first draft.

13. How many different drafts did you write for your last project?

Two for a comic script.

14. Have you ever changed a character’s name midway through a draft?

Not if I can possibly help it, but that has happened.

15. Do you let anyone read your script while you’re working on it, or do you wait until you’ve completed a draft before letting someone else see it?

I prefer to finish a draft before letting it be seen, to allow myself wiggle room.

16. What do you do to celebrate when you finish a draft?

Bottle of sparkling white wine.

17. One project at a time, or multiple projects at once?

I've always got a lot of plates spinning, but try to only be actively writing one first draft at a time - especially novels. Having said that, I have broken off from novels to do other things and come back to the book. It can be a useful pause for breath, but getting the momentum going again is a painful process.

18. Do your scripts grow or shrink in revision?

They almost always shrink. It's all about the winnowing, baby.

19. Do you have any writing or critique partners?

Lots of Power of Three readers. Will also use professional readers when a script is close to as good as I can make it. The one time I tried to write with a partner was an absolute disaster, but our personalities were not exactly compatible.

20. Do you prefer drafting or revising?

Revising. The first draft is often a slog broken by moments of inspiration. Revising is about polishing the diamond [and, hopefully, not the turd].


baby name said...

Wow its a good idea to use baby name websites.

baby names said...

Which baby names websites do you use?

baby names said...

I personally use