How long have you been writing, and what made you decide to start writing fanfic?
I've wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid, and I'd always make up stories inside my head. When I got to be around 11 or so, I started writing them down in old notebooks and whatever paper I could find. This continued right on up through high school, only at some point I switched over to using a computer. Thankfully, those hideous creations have all been destroyed by my own hand. I think.
I started writing Labyrinth fanfiction in summer of 2005, completely on a whim to see if I could do it. But it was so much fun, I couldn't stop!
How did you discover fan fiction?
Something in my brain exploded and I became a crazed David Bowie fan. I already had the Labyrinth DVD, because I'd loved it as a kid, so I ended up rewatching it obsessively for about a week. That wasn't enough, so I went poking around online and voila! This marvelous cache of stories written by people who also wanted to envision more adventures in the Labyrinth...
What is the writing process like for you? Do you find any part of writing difficult? (Coming up with ideas, narrative, dialog, etc.)
All parts of the writing process is difficult. Some are just more difficult than others! I usually start with an idea in my head and don't try to write it down immediately. It just sits and stews for a while, and I try to figure out what the story really is.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration? Do other people ever suggest the ideas for your stories?
From things I read, or see on TV or movies. Things I daydream. Everything, really. A lot of it just springs from "What if" scenarios. People do give me a lot of ideas, but not always knowingly or in a straightforward fashion. Sometimes it's just an offhand comment that gets me thinking.
Do you have any favorite authors (original and/or fanfic)?
I don't really read a whole lot of fanfic, but for original writing, I love J.R.R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Elizabeth Peters, George R.R. Martin, Melanie Rawn, Jane Austen, Robin Hobb, and probably a bunch of other writers I've forgotten.
Are there any particular themes that you find recurring (intentionally or unintentionally) in your stories?
Love, redemption, dreams, fate, people in conflict with themselves and struggling with who they are or who they become. I love flawed heroes.
Is it difficult to write dialogue that stays true to the characters?
Of course. It means you have to know who your characters are first, and in fanfic, that's especially difficult because it's so subjective. What you're doing is putting words into someone else's mouth, and that someone is a person your readers already know. If you have them saying something that rings false, it jolts the whole story out of place.
Are there any special things you do for inspiration? (Read certain books or fics, listen to certain music?)
I take a nap. :)
Do you find any particular genre (angst, romance, humor, etc.) more difficult to write? Do you prefer to write any particular genre?
Light-hearted romance and happy endings are very difficult for me, unless they do not involve Jareth and Sarah. I can picture happy individual scenes without major conflict, angst and drama. But I can't picture story arcs that lack such things, so I find it nearly impossible to write.
I prefer to write fantasy when it comes to original fiction, and drama/suspense/angst when it comes to fanfic.
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 have it a lot, but luckily, it usually doesn't last long. When it does occur, I try to do what everyone says... walk away from it, relax, take a break, or work on something else. Sometimes that does help. But mostly I just bash my head repeatedly against the problem until it gives way. This can take days, weeks... who knows. I'm miserable at the time and it's not the healthiest way to deal with it, but it's the most efficient way I've got so far.
Do you find love scenes more difficult to write than other types of scenes?
God, yes! I've only done that... twice. And the first time, it was so difficult I thought I'd tear my hair out and I swore I'd never do it again. There's so much to remember about where everyone's hands (and other limbs) are, what position everyone's in, the sensory details, etc. And then you have to make it sexy for other people. Man, I hate that.
Do you work on more than one story at a time? If so, how do you keep them straight in your mind?
Yes, I usually have a minimum of two word documents open at any given moment. One that's the main focus, a second for when my brain temporarily sputters out and refuses to work on it. I don't keep them straight in my mind very well at all, though. It's like changing gears completely, uprooting yourself from one world to another, and it takes some time to fully switch over and re-engage.
Would you describe your ideal writing surroundings (food, weather, music, etc.)?
I like to write very late at night, when it's dark outside, but I have a light on in the corner. There's no one else about. I might have music playing, or I might not. There's always an insulated mug of ice water (and it must be COLD) within reach, the room is cool and comfortable, and my stomach is full.
Do you usually write in a linear fashion or do you write scenes out of order? Does one method work best for you?
I tend to write in an almost strictly linear fashion. If there's lines or (rarely) scenes that occur to me that I think will work later, I'll try to write them down (at least in a rough outline form) just so I don't forget them. But in general, my brain doesn't work that way. So much of the story is plotted out as I go along, in little fits and starts. It's like a movie, playing out in my head. I have to work in chronological order, because I don't know what happens three chapters from now, and often I don't know how it ends, either.
Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite? Why?
Most favorite is Jareth, because he's the most interesting one to me. It's fun to write for someone who is potentially omnipotent and omniscient, snarky, elegant, witty, and possessing of the finest set of thighs god ever gifted to humankind. Oh, damn, was that last part not really relevant? Sue me.
Least favorite is Ludo, because the guy talks like a caveman stereotype. Yeah, yeah, he's sweet and furry and everything, but... the dialogue is a serious drag.
How did you go about creating an original character? What are your thoughts on original characters in fanfic?
You just... do it. I'm not sure there's a science to it, exactly. If and when your plot calls for a character to fill a role that cannot be filled by a canon character, you need to create one yourself. And you do it by trying to think of them as a real person and mentally creating all the little details, foibles and weaknesses that go along with being a real person.br>
I think most original characters in fanfic are greeted with a lack of enthusiasm because so many of them are badly drawn. They're flat and dull, they only serve the purpose of being a cardboard prop. Either they're gifted with every perfection, or they're saddled with every evil, and often writers don't give enough thought to the fact that... well, nobody is so black and white. You can't always lump people readily into the category of Hero or Villain, we've all got good and bad qualities to varying degrees. It's what makes us human and realistic. If characters lack that variety, all they'll ever be are rather conspicuous creations with no real life in them.
How do you choose a title for your stories?
I agonize and moan about it for weeks and then pick something that seemed like a good idea at the time, but may in fact be completely inappropriate.
What is the best advice you have ever received in regard to writing?
To read a lot, write a lot, and write OFTEN. Every day, if possible, even if it's just a few sentences and even if it's crap. Don't let excuses of no time and no energy keep you away from it too long, or you'll find that years can flash by without you even registering it. That's time wasted and no practice in the craft, so you don't grow or improve as a writer-- at least, not the way you would have if you'd been working the whole time. (Ask me how I know that's true.)
Another good piece of advice I read once is that you should never wait for inspiration to strike you in order to write. 95% of the time, it rnever comes, you just have to work at it the way you work at everything else. If I only wrote when I felt inspired, I'd barely get anything done at all!
Are there things you won't write or include in your stories?
I generally don't do slash or crossovers. The first doesn't fit well in the fandom I write for, the second just seems like too much of a strain on credibility-- if not for the reader, then for me. And I can't write something I don't believe in. I guess everything else is fair game, though, depending on the plot and aslong as it is not gratuitous or unnecessary.
What challenges do you set for yourself as a writer?
To improve and learn. Even if it's not by much, progress is progress. And to get published one day
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