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You can call me Hal.

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Writing meme
I wanted to do this before, but didn't have the time. So...

Ask me anything you want about my writing.

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Which character have you had the most trouble writing? Or even whose voice you never could capture?

What's something about your own writing you consider a weakness you can't seem to fix (without much vigilance, or at all, or only after years of heartbreak work)?

Which character have you had the most trouble writing?

Without a doubt, Severus Snape. It wasn't just hard to get inside his head -- I felt like he was actively resisting me. I was trying to write a Snape/Lupin story for the Master and the Wolf fest and it was just not working, not at all. I couldn't seem to put down what he was thinking or feeling, in a way that was still him.

Usually, I can get this sort of thing worked out, but in this case I just gave up and wrote the sequel to the story, from Lupin's POV. And I made a Snape icon with "Daddy" on it, to show that he'd won. *g*

After a few months, I did manage to write Snape fairly well. But I remain humiliated by my earlier defeat.

What's something about your own writing you consider a weakness you can't seem to fix?

Well, I don't think there's anything that I haven't been able to improve on when I really worked at it, but I still have a lot of trouble with pacing. I tend to move things along too fast. I'm finally starting to feel like I have a better sense for it.

And there are words I always have to check for when I'm editing, to be sure I don't use them too much. "And" being a big one. Also "feel", as in "he felt like an eel was slithering through his veins". In fact, I just took out two instances of "feel" from a paragraph in this comment.

Which HP story are you the most proud of?

Blood Will Tell. Lucius abducts Sirius and imprisons and tortures him. Not for the faint of heart.

Writing this story was hard, hard work and took many months. It's a disturbing story and it disturbed me to write it. It started life as a kink story but ended up changing a lot as I was writing it, into a psychological exploration. It's the most complex thing I've ever written.

While I was in the middle of it, I sometimes wondered if it would make a better play than a story, from the nature of the interaction.

And I also found out that writing torture scenes is a lot like writing sex scenes, only you can't try stuff out to see what it feels like.

When an idea initially attacks you, say a first line in the middle of the night, a scene on the bus, an 'oh, that would be cool' at work, what is your first response? How do you keep it growing?

And no, this is in no way for my personal edification. Never had a problem keeping my ideas fresh and writeable. Nuh-uh. *whistles*

Hee! I usually just think and think and think about it. If I'm at work, I might write a few (non-incriminating) words into an email message and send it to myself. If it's late at night, I repeat the idea over and over to myself so I'll remember it the next day.

I do have my idea jar, where I record things I'm not planning to write immediately, but mostly, I find I just have to mull the story over until it seems complete to me. I do my best mulling either in the shower or in bed at night. I usually have to know the end of the story before I can start writing.

Some ideas take more mulling than others. The most compelling ones I can almost *feel* inside me, in my chest, growing. I'm carrying one around now that will take a lot more work before I can even start to write notes on it.

I find that I can't leave them too long, though, or I'll lose the need to write them out.

What sort of things (objects, ideas, etc) inspire you to write?

That's a really hard question to answer! Sometimes news stories will spark an idea in me, for a full story or for just an element of one. Or something someone says or does.

When I wrote the InuKai scarf story, I just googled "scarf" to see what would come up and the first result was the Mobius scarf knitting pattern page. Which seemed so cool I had to use it.

Another time, I read a badfic story on ff.n where two characters meet in a particular place. The next morning, I woke up with an idea for a story that started the same way, but was completely different otherwise. (Though I'm not sure if I'll actually write it up -- too much other stuff to do.)

Ideas can just hit out of the blue. And sometimes I want to write about a certain pairing but don't have any ideas. So I sit down and make lists of ways they could get together or things they could fight about or circumstances they could find themselves in.

It's hard to say, though, why some things are just "oh, that would be fun to write" and others are "I have no choice but to write that".

Do you think you would ever stop writing fanfic? Not that I'm suggesting that you should stop, of course! Just curious if you see this as a more-or-less permanent part of your life, or as a hobby that you might eventually drop.

I have thought about this before. I have no intention of stopping, but I have a hard time picturing myself at 60, still writing fanfic. Hmm.

I think I would only be likely to stop if I didn't have any interesting fandoms or if there were some RL event that made it necessary for me. I'd probably then turn my creative energy into D&D stuff instead.

But right now, I can't imagine life without fanfic.

What made you decide on Skinner's refrigerator as the too-personal, out-of-bounds subject of conversation with Mulder?

Oh, god, that was so long ago! Seriously, I think it probably just popped into my head as something stupid that Mulder would say.

Do you tend to write for yourself? Do you ever think, 'Man, I want to see Harry defend Snape with some karate-inspired moves against a legion of the undead', and then sit down and write it?

I've often thought "I wish I could write, so I could finally read a story about blahblahblah". But I wonder if it actually works like that. Do you get the same satisfaction reading your own work than if someone else had thought of it and written it instead? Do you ever re-read your stories? If you know the end - because hey, you wrote it! - does it lessen the enjoyment?

I'm curious. =D

Hee! As you have already surmised, I do write for myself. Not in the "I write for me so I don't need feedback" way, because I, like everyone else, live for feedback. But I write so there's something for me to read that's just the way I want it. When I was working on a long story over the winter break, I kept thinking, I can't wait until I finish this so I can read it.

And I do get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction from reading my work. (At least the later stuff -- some of the earlier stories make me cringe now.) I re-read things a lot, especially after I've just written them. It doesn't matter if I know the end. I re-read novels all the time, even mysteries.

As well, when you write a story, you're so much more intimately connected to it than if you just read it. You spend more time with it. Which is why it's comforting to write my own comfort fic. *g*

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No, not outside of school. I never had any literary ambitions. Fanfic was a way for me to participate in the community more than to write because I had to write. Of course, now I'm used to writing, so I think if I weren't writing fanfic, I'd be working on something. I sometimes want to write bad fantasy fiction for gaming magazines. :)

How do you get past the point where you are in the middle of writing, then read something spectacular, and lose confidence in what you are writing?

Hee! When I'm in the middle of writing, I avoid reading other people's fic, especially if it's about the same pairing I'm working on.

Anyhow, by this point in my fanfic career (it's been seven years!) I feel pretty confident about my writing. (Not that I don't gnash my teeth when I read Neil Gaiman! I can usually enjoy good writing without envying it, but, damn, I wish I could write like he does.) There's still lots of room for improvement, though!

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