Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Backhanded Tag

Willow, whose elegant Life at Willow Manor is one of my frequent stops on the blogosphere, has tossed a challenge of sorts my way in a series of questions for writers.

And since her answers to the same questions were so intriguing, I thought I'd try them myself. Like Willow, I won't tag anyone -- I'll just say that I'd really like to see how some of you poets/writers might answer.

1) What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing
you wrote that you still have?

The last thing was a couple of tankas for tomorrow's post -- oh, and another chapter of Under the Skin, my work in progress.

The first thing I wrote was a poem -- "Oh, moon, moon, way up in the sky/ I love you though you have but one eye." I think I was five or six. The first thing I wrote that I still 'have' is an essay published back in high school.

2) Write poetry?

Yes, but not particularly well.

3) Angsty poetry?

Nope, I did that years ago but I'm afraid my life is too happy to inspire much angst. (Should I be worried about that? )

4) Favorite genre of writing?

Literary fiction -- though I write psychological suspense, I aspire to the finer things in life.

5) Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

Hmmm, possibly Trish Trantham, a self-help pop psychologist type in my book Old Wounds. Writing dialogue for her made my teeth hurt.

6) Best plot you’ve ever created?

The Little Sylvie subplot of my first book Signs in the Blood. It was this story that got me a contract with the best editor at Bantam Dell.

7) Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

The end of the Little Sylvie story is a humdinger, in my opinion.

8) How often do you get writer’s block?

Somewhere in the middle of the book in progress. I have the beginning; I have the ending; and then there's the muddle in the middle.

9) Write fan fiction?

What's fan fiction? Probably not.

10) Do you type or write by hand?

Thank goodness for the laptop. I sometimes write by hand -- during our recent power outage I was forced to -- but I think much faster than I can write legibly and the resulting scrawl is painful to interpret.

11) Do you save everything you write?

Pretty much. There are whole chapters that were excised from my last book, existing in a half-life somewhere waiting to be stitched into a new book.

12) Do you ever go back to an abandoned idea?

See above.

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

Oh dear -- like asking a mother about her children! My last published book -- In a Dark Season had some fairly lyrical bits, as does my upcoming The Day of Small Things.

14) What’s everyone else’s favorite story you’ve written?

Anecdotal evidence suggests the aforementioned Little Sylvie story-within-a-story. But the last book, In a Dark Season was short-listed for the Anthony Award -- a prestigious mystery award voted on by fans.

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Not I. At least, not knowingly.

16) What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

The mountains of North Carolina are my setting and my muse.

17) How many projects are you working on now?

I have a novel due next month. There's an unfinished play calling to me and a couple of short stories awaiting conclusions. That's just writing projects. There are others...

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?

So far, always a bridesmaid with several nice nominations and short lists, but nothing to put on the mantelpiece.

19) What are your five favorite words?

I'm not sure they're favorites but I do find myself using them a lot: pale, silver, winding, river, and dark.

20) What character have you created that is most like
like yourself?

Elizabeth Goodweather, the main character of my series, while younger, slimmer, better-looking and more fool-hardy than myself, certainly shares some DNA.

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

From fiction, history, and life. And from the mish-mash of memory I call my mind.

22) Do you favor happy endings?

Mostly I do -- not a happy ending where everything is just wonderful but an ending with a bit of room for hope.

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

Yes, indeed.

24) Does music help you write?

Not as such. ( from "Fawltey Towers" --"Shut off that racket!" "That's Brahms, Brahms' Fifth Racket.")

25) Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops in
your head.

"And then the music grabs me and it seems that my legs ain't my own and that the floor is rising and falling beneath my feet -- and it seems that I am a dancing doll, a limberjack, powered by something outside myself. And my legs rise and fall and rise and fall and I smile and smile and smile the painted smile of the limberjack.

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Pat in east TN said...

That was really interesting Vicki, and I really like your first poem. Short but sweet, and yikes, written at five or six. Whew!

willow said...

Oh, I KNEW this would be incredibly interesting. I was so right! Thanks, Vicki. Loved this.

Miss_Yves said...

A new kind of "Questionnaire de Proust"!

Miss_Yves said...

"Angsty poetry "? what does that mean?

Vicki Lane said...

You're too kind, Pat and Willow!

Miss Yves, In my ignorance I'd never heard of the Questionnaire de Proust. But thanks to you now I know about it and found a copy in English -- rather long but I may do a version of it sometimes.

"Angsty" (a made up word) poetry would be poetry written by one who is feeling angst ( a feeling of anxiety,apprehension, or insecurity often accompanied by depression.) Teenagers often suffer from angst and as a result write "angsty" poetry which is often awful.

But some of the world's greatest poets and writers suffered from angst ... some might even say that the best writing comes from unhappy writers.

Miss_Yves said...


Vicki Lane said...

Merci beaucoup, Miss Yves!

Victoria said...

That was really interesting!

And...I happen to think that reading well-written psychological suspense that features a strong female protagonist IS one of the finer things in life!

Vicki Lane said...

Well, thanks, Victoria!

Tipper said...

Loved this post! So neat to get a peek behind the scenes of one of my all time favorite writers : )