07 January 2010

The Eight Writing Questions

1) Do you type or write by hand?


2) Do you save everything you write?

I save 90% of what I write. I'm not sure why because I rarely refer back to old versions or drafts. Maybe I figure a biographer will want it all one day. Or the CIA.

3) What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

The first chapter of my most recent novel. It came out exactly as I'd conceived it--the pacing, the voice, the right amount of quirkiness. I'm very proud of it.

4) What character have you written that’s most like yourself?

I don't like this question, so I'm going to ask myself 'What's your favorite character of those you've created?'

My favorite character is Paulie Pallini. He isn't a main character, and he always says what's on his mind, which is not like me at all. And he's a little dense, which I certainly am not. One of my all-time favorite characters is Fermin from Zafon's SHADOW OF THE WIND. When I finished it I knew I'd write my version of Fermin.

Paulie is a mutated form of Fermin. My favorite Paulie line is "...I’ll tell you what, it’ll be like choosing a new pope. If I’m drinking Mountain Dew you’ll know I give a crap. And if I’m drinking iced tea you know I don’t."

5) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?

I think plots come to me before characters. My characters usually come as a result of the plot by thinking about how various people would react to particular situations.

6) Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No. For good or bad, I don't often remember my dreams.

7) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?


8) Does music help you write?

Music is a very important part of the process for me since music has played a crucial role in two of my plots. I like to open up Pandora and create playlists for scenes or characters. Since September I've had playlists devoted to Motley Crue, Django Reinhardt, Rise Against, Radiohead, Leoš Janáček and Ralph Stanley. Sometimes I'll pop in music for different reasons. Sometimes I listen to The Beatles when I'm feeling a little flat. The Clash when I need to get a little mad. But I need music, absolutely and always.