Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My writing habits and quirks

I'm friends with several writers, and I love talking to them. We relate on a level of being driven to write and joke about our characters taking on lives of our own. It's always interesting to hear about their writing process, as each writer has their own method for the process and finding productivity.

Here are two variations on my work station setup:
When I work at home, I usually have tea or coffee handy and music or a movie on in the background.
When I work in public, I have a beverage and make sure my visual inspiration is ... visible.

And here are a few of my writing habits/quirks:

:: I am a sequential writer.
One of my friends writes the big pivotal scene first and then builds around it. I start at the beginning and go from there. Sometimes I'll go back and add things, but that can take a lot of time as I want to make sure it blends in with everything I've written to that point and after that point.

:: I often try and edit even when I'm doing the first draft.
The point of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just to get the words out. They discourage editing of any kind, but I can't help it. I constantly find myself re-reading what I've written so far and changing things.  I know this slows me down, but it's just instinctual.

:: I need background noise -- and musical shows/movies work best.
I can't tell you how many times I watched "Pitch Perfect" or listened to the soundtrack when I worked on my last successful NaNo project. This time around, I'm re-watching "Glee" and I'm on my third go-round with "Sing It On."  I don't know why these shows/movies work for me. They just do.

::  I agonize over characters' names.
I want them to fit the person I've created.  Sometimes I also want the names to have deeper significance.  There's a female character in my current work, and I wanted her name to mean something along the lines of "new beginnings" or "new." I found the name Zelenka (Czech) and decided to shorten it to Zella.  When I looked up the meaning of Zella, I discovered it meant "lacking nothing." I ended up liking that better, so her name will just be Zella.

:: Sometimes I name characters for people I know.
Occasionally, I'll put my friends and family in my books. I'll also put in people I don't like at all, so there's that.  If you end up in my book, I either really like you or you've pissed me off.

:: There's a little bit of me in every character.
Sometimes it's an obvious trait -- hair color, eye color, sense of humor, etc.  Other times, it's far less noticeable -- a secret fear, thought, or hope.

:: I never know how my story is going to end until I get there.
Truly.  I'll just keep writing and writing along until suddenly I just think, "This is it. It's over." And there's definitely a mourning period in that moment because ...

:: I get attached to my characters.
They become very real to me. When I'm not writing, I'm still thinking about my characters, wondering what they're doing without me. Wondering how they'd behave in certain situations I'm in.  I know it sounds crazy. And I own that.

:: I crave feedback and fear it at the same time.
I have a group of people who have been beta readers for every single one of my writing projects.  I've added a few here and there, but some have been there since the beginning -- Jamie, Bruna, Nikki, Jill, Rachel, and Angie.  Not a single thing I've written wasn't first read by them for their feedback. Their support and suggestions have been invaluable to me over the years, and yet I'm always afraid they're going to tell me they hate something I've done in my books.  (I think Jill still wishes I would have killed off Tara in Riffs of Regret.)

:: I'm terrible at dialogue but seem to do OK turning on the emotions in the scenes.
This might be reflective of my real life. I rarely say the things I want to say in the right way, but I have no problems with feelings. Ha.

:: I also don't do well at writing sex scenes.
My first three books didn't have any. At all. Sex was hinted at but never described. That changes a bit in Dropped Third Strike, and it may happen again in Behind in the Count. I'm definitely not overly graphic in my depictions though.  For many reasons, I'm simply not comfortable writing those scenes.

Can you relate to any of this? Or have you decided I'm neurotic?


Current word count: 30,282
I didn't touch my project on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, so I knew I needed to hit it hard on Sunday, and I did. I ended up generating more than 7K words that day.  I'm very happy with the way this story is flowing. And I hope I didn't just jinx myself.


  1. More than 7,000 words in a day! That's awesome, Micah--congrats!! I admire sequential writers because I wish I could be like that, but I'm more like randomly writing this and that then somehow manage to string it all together. It's rather time consuming. I also always need music playing in the background... Lindsey Stirling Pandora radio station all the way ^^

    Good luck with your writing!

  2. I can't say that I disagree with Jill. Tara pissed me off. But that's what a good writer should be able to do! lol

    It was interesting to read about your writing habits!!


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