Is there anything you'd like to share about yourself? (Family, hobbies, pets, etc)
I'm a middle-aged, overweight school teacher. I want to be an eccentric recluse when I grow up.
Do you have any writing experience outside of fan fiction?
No, aside from academic papers. Nothing published.
What is the writing process like for you? Do you find any part of writing difficult? (Coming up with ideas, narrative, dialog, etc.)
I'm not an organized writer; I have no set routine, no specific time set aside for writing and no minimum pages to produce. It's a chaotic process that either happens or not.
The basic premises of the stories are easy to come by. I'm a good idea generator, constantly thinking, "What if?" The rest of it, though, is extremely difficult. I've yet to have a piece turn out as well as I'd like.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration? Do other people ever suggest the ideas for your stories?
Some stories have started out with a single visual; "Anamnesis" started that way, with the image of a filthy woman crouched in a prison cell. Others just developed as I played around with challenge specifications, seeing how I could twist requirements or expectations. "The Last Malfoy" resulted from the fragmentary memory of a nightmare I'd had.
I don't know that I've ever really used someone else's suggestion. If I had, I'm sure I warped it beyond all recognition.
Which story are you the most happy with how it turned out? Looking back is there anything you'd want to change about any particular story now?
"Anamnesis" was the best of the four short stories. I'm still not totally pleased with it, and wish I'd taken more care with showing Gianelli's gradual deterioration in prison, and maybe had more description of the mind game being played between her and Severus Snape. The end seems too abrupt now. But I am pleased with the structure of the story, the way it alternates past and present narratives, and I like Gianelli's character.
Which story was the most difficult to write and why?
Domina Rising was especially difficult, probably because I started badly and then felt compelled to finish it. It was a struggle to complete, and I shouldn't have bothered. The plot was just too improbable, too unwieldy. Not to mention, it was way too long. As a first attempt at a longer fiction, it wasn't bad, but not good enough, either. I finally just pulled it so I wouldn't be constantly cringing about it being out I public.
Are there any particular themes that you find recurring (intentionally or unintentionally) in your stories?
I didn't realize it until later, but all of my stories deal with the issues surrounding power. The limits of power, abuse of power, the responsibilities of those who have power. There's also a great deal of manipulation and deceit in many of my stories. There's very little romantic love in my fics. Maybe none at all. Now that I've said that, the next thing I write will probably be pure fluff...
Do you have any advice for people thinking about writing their first fan fiction?
Do the best you can, and don't take yourself too seriously.
Almost every writer at some point or another suffers from writer's block. Have you ever had that problem and if so, how do you get past it?
I've had writer's block quite often – right now, in fact. I don't know any cures. I've tried all the usual suggestions – just write one paragraph, or only write for fifteen minutes, or start another story. They don't work for me. Right now, I alternate trying to wait it out and ranting in desperation. The worst part of writer's block is having very good ideas that I can work with mentally, building characters and plot, but as soon as I sit down to put everything on paper, it all dissolves and I can't grasp the words. I haven't found any way to make the words come, so if anyone out there has any suggestions...
Do you work on more than one story at a time? If so, how do you keep them straight in your mind?
No, I can't work on more than one at a time. I did pause Domina Rising to write some of the short pieces, but they only took a few days each, and I didn't bounce back and forth, just stopped the longer piece while I did the shorter. I know some writers say it's easier to have several going at once, but I can't focus like that.
What do you do with snippets of story or scenes that you write, but that don't make it into the fan fiction? Do you save them? Delete them?
I have many, many scraps on my computer. Bits of dialogue, descriptions, basic plot notations, some entire scenes. Occasionally, I'll cruise through them and change something, or delete an idea that doesn't have any value. What's ironic is that I've never pulled any of those scraps to use in a story, not once.
Was there ever an instance where you had solid ideas for a story but the characters refused to cooperate? If so, what did you do?
Um, no. I've never had that experience. I don't know how that could occur... the characters are part and parcel of the plot; I don't perceive them as having any independent existence.
Have you ever been flamed or received negative feedback regarding your stories? How do you handle it?
No. I've had reviews that questioned things in the story, or pointed out inaccuracies or inconsistencies. I've been upset when someone misunderstood a central point of one of my stories. But I've never received anything nastily negative. Lucky me!
What is the hardest part about writing a story? The easiest? The most satisfying?
The easiest – generating the basic set up of character and situation. The hardest – expanding on those basics and actually writing it out.
Do you usually write in a linear fashion or do you write scenes out of order? Does one method work best for you?
I'm not sure. I've done both, I guess. I can't say that either was better than the other.
What was your first fan fiction story? What was it like to post your first story?
Erm, you don't want to know about the Star Trek stuff I wrote at 14, when the first series was airing... As an adult, the first thing I publicly posted was a Die Hard prequel, just a vignette, really, about Hans Gruber taking leave of his mistress before heading to Los Angeles. It's not posted anywhere at this time.
How do you choose a title for your stories?
The titles are usually fairly easy. I usually have a working title as soon as the idea for the story presents itself. Sometimes a better alternative appears along the way. I don't worry too much about it.
Which story was the most fun to write and why?
Writing is not fun. It's hard work. If I'm lucky, it flows and the story writes itself, and I feel a sense of euphoria while that's happening, but I can't call it fun.
How long does it usually take you to write a story? How many revisions do you go through?
I've never kept track. A couple of days to a few weeks? Maybe three or four revisions? That's for the short stories. The novel-length fic took a couple of years, I think. I can't remember on that one.
Do you find any particular genre (angst, romance, humor, etc.) more difficult to write? Do you prefer to write any particular genre?
I find that I can't write humor, except as off-the-cuff remarks. It's exceptionally difficult for me to maintain humor for more than a paragraph or so, and I am in awe of those who can create a humorous story. I'm also not good with the romance thing; my pairings always have an edge to them. Even when not specifically "dark", there's usually a tinge of manipulation or self-interest that keeps them from being truly romantic. I've tried to write fluffy romance, really I have, but it always just gets sort of ... twisted.
And I'm not sure what genre I write. I don't think of it as angst. I think of angst as being more emotional than what I come up with, but maybe not.
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