I was tagged by the lovely Anne Barwell on facebook to list seven things that might surprise you about me as a writer! Although, I share some of Anne’s, such as sneaking in New Zealand references wherever I can, or loving to work music in as a theme, I tried to come up with seven things that were totally different. How well did I succeed?
1. I write in New Zealand English. Even if I am writing with a submission that calls for American or UK English, my drafts are always written in kiwi, and translated to American or British English in the final draft. This is an identity thing! At work I am expected to write in American English to match the textbooks we use, and my pronunciation is often called attention to (‘You can say it that way, but most English speakers say it like this: …’). It is exhausting!
As the only kiwi in my town, I get good-natured flack about my accent or word choices all the time. It’s understandable — but at the same time, I’ve become fiercely protective of my ability to express myself my way. It’s colour with a u, thank you very much. Oh, and sweet as, not sweet arse (although, ‘wow that is a sweet as arse’ is acceptable).
2. I start a story with a character or character dynamic and a problem that needs to be overcome.
3. I make my writing playlist before my plot outline.
4. I make a plot outline and then never look at it again. And then I get stuck and make another. Or I get bored and make another. Or I decide I need to reorganize and consolidate and make another. Seriously. My apartment is littered with the things. Sometimes I glance over them, but more often than not, I find myself reaching for a new piece of loose leaf instead. It is the process of making the outline that I find helpful, not the outline itself.
5. I am an extremely needy writer. This is a habit I am trying to break. Usually when I write, I e-mail chunks to my best-beta as I go so that I am getting regular reactions and feedback. She is unavailable currently, so I am finding going my DRitC story alone very unnerving! However, I finally hit my stride. I hope that I can keep this up — I think being able to write in a void is a skill that I will need in order to really grow as a writer.
6. I am either in reading mode or writing mode. I can’t switch between the two very easily. I’m also very focused while I’m in either mode. So I flip between reading 3 books in 3 days, and then going without picking up a book for weeks as I concentrate on getting a new story down.
7. Since Christmas, I’ve taken to wearing a necklace that inspires me to write. It is the first line of the first book I ever read entirely by myself, and that remained a favourite for many, many years. At first glance, it’s not exactly inspirational, but the hard-working character it references encourages me to keep plodding away at my writing, while the simplicity of the sentence reminds me that all books start with a first line. And then another, and another. You just have to write them. Or in other words;
‘The Mole had been working very hard all morning, spring-cleaning his little home.’
To see who I tagged and how they respond, you can check out my facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/gillian.stkevern