1. of the fic you’ve written, which are you most proud of?
Within a Tolkien universe, I wrote a series for B2MeM 2012 ending up as sixteen chapters spotlighting the life of Maglor through various events and timeframes of world history. The prompts ranged from the destruction of Numenor through the Vietnam War. I loved the way the various parts, exciting and/or more mundane, all fit together and I adored doing the research for the various historical events. It's a personal favorite, and although it may not be my best work, I really loved writing it and still love re-reading it.
For published works, I have to go with “Dragon Seeks a Wife” which was published in “Dragonthology” by Untold Press. I wrote the story on a whim after an LJ-friend posted about the open call and was surprised and delighted when it was accepted. The royalties I get for my part of the book will never make me rich, (probably not even giving enough money for a McDonald's meal), but it was the first fictional writing I had accepted for publication and I am proud of the story.
2. favorite tense (past/present/future)
I tend to write in present or past tense. I don't think I've ever written anything in future tense and I'm not sure I could manage it. I might try something short some time just to try it, if nothing else it would push the boundaries of my box. However, I do seem to use present tense most frequently.
3. favorite POV (first/second/third/etc)
Unlike others, I'm not averse to first person stories, although I always have to edit again and again to make sure I'm not messing up my POV. Third person is my second favorite and I've been trying to use it more frequently now to break out of a first person rut. Second person, although I've tried to write in it, totally defeats me. I just can't seem to get the hang of it.
4. what are some themes you love writing about?
I love certain characters – some of the sons of Feanaro, the relationship between Thranduil and Legolas, even Gimli gets his spot in the sun in my fics. I am not particularly fond of writing about humans within Tolkien, but I have done so. I also don't particularly like writing about hobbits, but have done so and will again.
But that said, I am not a theme-oriented author. I write to a theme as it is provided to me. I don't write massive novels within the Tolkien universe - If I'm going to spend that amount of time and effort, I want it to be for writing original fiction. But I do love trying to meet the criteria of a challenge and write something that meets the parameters, the provided elements, or the theme assigned to all who are participating in the challenge.
5. what inspires you to write?
I am a deadline-oriented challenge-inspired author. I write stories to meet criteria. I read about something that someone may want, or have an assigned theme and my muse starts running. She's fairly quiescent until prodded by an outside force which can be something as simple as a phrase or a word. The prod to my muse can be a specific request or a challenge issued or assigned in a challenge such as Slashy September or Yule Exchange. However, once she starts running, Molly bar the door. I never quite know what paths she'll lead me down and some of them are doozies.
6. thoughts on critique
I like thoughtful and insightful critique because that's what helps me to grow as an author. I'm looking for a local writer's group that I can join because I really miss that interchange and it's harder to improve when self-crit is all you're running on. I used to work within an online writer's group, 'The Lizard Council,' and they were absolutely wonderful. Eventually personalities got intervened and crits turned personal, not story-related or centered on the techniques of writing. That killed it for me. I hope that eventually I can find another group that is as valuable to me as the interchange I shared with other lizards. I owe every one of them a large THANK YOU for all of their help when I was just starting out.
I can't emphasize enough to those reading through these memes, (both mine and others), that thoughtful critique is valued, treasured, and studied by each and every author when it is offered. Don't be afraid to ask if the author would be willing to have a crit in a private message. It is a rare author who will turn it down.
7. Create a character on the spot…. NOW!
Well, I'll push a few boundaries and write about a hobbit...
Posey Silverstream carefully worked her way from tree to tree as she attempted to bypass the Big People patrolling the road. She had put away her colorful dresses and shining hairpieces, and had borrowed her brother's old knit stocking cap and his ratty jerkin and trousers. She held her breath as a ruffian walked across her path, just a few feet in front of her. She just couldn't be caught; the Home Guard was counting on her stealth to scout the number of men who were stationed between Brockenborings and Scary.
8. is there a character you love writing the most? the least? why?
I love writing about Maglor. I suppose it's the musician in me that feels a kinship to the musical child of Feanaro. But I also love writing about Melkor, so go figure – LOL.
I'm not fond of anything about Numenor at all. I don't really have a good reason for my dislike, but there it is and if I will spend time writing and honing a story, I'd like it to be spent on characters I enjoy instead.
9. a passage from a WIP
From my current LOTR Community Challenge fic for February - “The Box” (editing still pending)
He walked around the statue again, shaking his head as he realized how truly bad the sculpture was. “I suppose I'll have to compliment Callie on what a wonderful job she did with this piece of trash,” he muttered. “I'll need to figure out what I can say that will be truthful without making her feel that she has any real talent for this medium. I could talk to Nerdanel I guess; but I have a feeling Feanor's wife would just use the call to ask me to convince Callie to find a different instructor.”
From one of my o-fic novels that I'm writing when I have a few minutes here and again...
When I was seventeen, what had been a very good idea turned into a very bad one.
10. what are your writing strengths?
I get into the character's head and see the action as he/she/it does, which can allow for a true description/depiction of what the character is doing or feeling. In essence, I write what I see and copy the dialog that I hear. Every story is acted out in front of my inner eye.
11. what are your writing weaknesses.
Show don't tell. It's deadly. I keep trying to shift things and often it works, but when it doesn't, it sometimes isn't very easy to fix.
12. what’s your favorite place for writing, resources?
I have an extensive library of texts on creative writing, notes from college writing classes I've taken, and e-books on editing, publishing, and methods of character exploration. I keep my ears and eyes open for more resources and check them out when they are mentioned. As all who love research, I fully believe an author can never have too many resources.
13. who are your favorite writers?
Tolkien, of course, because of the vast universe he created that leaves so much space for us to play in. My other favorite authors are an eclectic group.
Ayn Rand – For years and years I read “Atlas Shrugged” every year and I still love it. Its technology is dated, but the human emotions, the politics, and the efficiencies and inefficiencies that are described, ring as true today as they did in 1957 when she first wrote it. I've always been envious of Dagny Taggart, having the love and friendship of three different intelligent and good looking industrial tycoons, while being respected for her own intelligence. She was a strong and independent woman written in the days of the idealized housewife. I also admire Ayn Rand having asked the central question of “What happens if the creative minds of the world go on strike?”
TJ Klune – “Into this River I Drown” is an homage to language, character development and emotional interchange, wound up with angst, a good mystery, and a wonderful love story – the love of two people for each other and the love of a town for two of their own. It's a relatively new book, (March 2013 for the paperback version), but it immediately shot up to my top ten list and won't leave without a fight. It is beautifully written.
Ursula Le Guin – I adore her Earthsea trilogy and “The Left Hand of Darkness”, and her book on creative writing is one I treasure and refer to time and time again. She is thorough and detailed without being picky, chooses her words for maximum effect, and has a strong background in cultural exploration which allows her to develop new societies and cultures with a foundation in realistic economic and societal interchange. Brilliant.
Kenneth Grahame – “The Wind in the Willows” amazes me more and more whenever I read it. I always discover something new, although I've read it 100's of times. The book resounds with the lyrical quality of poetry, and the chapter “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” catches my soul every time I read it.
Dante Alighieri – “The Divine Comedy” is such an amazing piece of literature. Not everyone has read the entire work from front to back, but so many use quotations from his work and it has influenced hundreds of pieces of art and literature over the centuries since he first wrote it He just amazes me every time I read it. I own several different copies, I love each and every one.
Rudyard Kipling -- “The Jungle Books” Although I've read other works by Kipling, it is Mowgli and his companions who pull to my heart time and time again. Why do I love these so much? The setting is exciting, the councilors and teachers are wise and not always safe, and the lessons shared had to be shouldered and internalized as he leaves the teachers of his youth and makes his first steps forward into the society of men. I always wished the last chapter had never been written. I didn't want Mowgli to leave his animal brothers and enter into human society. But it is that change that he must face that allows Mowgli to grow and the book to transcend the borders of the jungle.
There are many others that I find equally amazing and if you asked me on a different day, my list would be different (except for the first three who are always on my list of besties), but that's a good start...