Ideas. Where the hell do they come from? Can you make those little devils show up?
Depends. I get bazillions of ideas, but developing them into stories can be another thing entirely. An "idea" doesn't make a story, although it can be the seed for one. Figuring out how to develop the idea, poke it and twist it and maybe combine it with another idea or three, is the hard part for me, on a pre-writing level.
Although sometimes something just appears in my brain suddenly and I can sit down and bang something out. I love those. :)
Ideas can come from anywhere -- TV or movies, pictures, sayings, warnings. Sometimes I'll dream something that can be developed into a story. Fic challenges and prompts. Writers' guidelines -- sometimes seeing what someone (whether it's someone describing their "squicks" or a magazine describing its requirements) doesn't want can get me thinking. :D Sometimes I'll just get a sexy or funny image in my head and I have to figure out how to work it into a story.
Wild horse-bunnies. When a story just gets pulled right out of you. Do you get them?
Occasionally. Not often enough. :P
Writer's block. Have you been scourged?
Well, matterofact.... :/ I haven't written any fiction since the first of the year, and it's killing me. [headdesk] I have a bunch of partially done stories, and a couple of files of story ideas, and a bunch of them look interesting but nothing quite wants to flow. [more headdesking]
Clean up duty. Do you like editing?
I usually edit as I go, so by the time I'm done there's not all that much. When I get edits back on my commercial stories, that's something else -- so much of it is a matter of personal opinion or style or preference; the actual misspellings and grammar glitches and such are very minimal because I have a pretty good eye for that sort of thing. I have to really focus on the fact that, at that stage, it's sort of a collaboration. I don't want to get a rep for being difficult to work with, so I accept a lot of corrections that I'd reject if it were just a fanfic thing being betaed. That part's pretty stressful and not much fun, but it's one of those things you have to get through.
Every now and then something needs massive rewrites for whatever reason, and that's a whole 'nother ballgame. I'm having a problem with my character voices in last year's NaNo story, and that's probably one of the things that's holding me back on it. On the one hand I just want to go ahead and get the story down, but on the other hand I know I'm not happy with the dialogue and that if I do decide to rip it out and redo it, it'd be easier to do it now than later. [headdesk] And I'm looking at doing a rewrite on A Hidden Magic rather than doing the direct sequel I'd originally planned. The problem with it is actually one of pacing, and doing a sequel where Alan and Craig's relationship deepens and they finally make it into bed is just... it's a stop-gap. It's like that house every neighborhood has, where they've added a one-room second story and yeah, it's functional, but it looks awful. What it really needs is a complete rewrite to fix the pacing problem, so I've been marinating that in my head and working up to it, 'cause it's going to be a massive job. This sort of editing isn't fun, but I think I'll be a lot happier with the story afterwards, as, I imagine, will everyone who was disappointed that all Alan and Craig got to do in the original version was kiss. :)
The ending. Is it hard for you to find the ending?
Not per se. I usually have a good idea of where I'm going with a story, of what the point is and how I plan to wrap it, even if only in general terms. Getting there from the beginning can be difficult at times. Everything has to mesh, the structure has to be sound, the pacing has to work out, all the little strands have to weave in smoothly just so. The longer and more complex the story, the harder it is to pull off. Family Obligations was a bit like that -- I'd thrown a number of plot threads around while I'd written the bulk of it, and some red herrings, then I had to grab them all and pull them together at the end. That's why I slowed down so much with those last few chapters.
The title. Where do you get yours? Do you have yours when you start the story?
[moaning facepalm] I loathe having to come up with titles. I'll often just grab one at the very end, when I'm sitting there staring at the POST screen and absolutely have to come up with something. :/
I like my titles to have multiple meanings or multiple points of contact with the story if I can. Family Obligations referred to Sean's ties to his family, Orlando's ties to his (which were very different, in kind as well as result) and even Lord Rasley's perceived ties to his family and his duties to his bloodline, as he saw them. Even Rose was feeling the pull of family and inheritance for her husband and son.
Sometimes I just go for mood, though. "Sexual Dimorphism in Cross-Universal Organisms" was purely for giggles. "No Good Deed" refers to the saying (and I'm assuming the reader knows the whole thing) and is good for a snicker (I hope!) once you've read the story. "Learning to Love Yourself" was a bit of a pun, and again, I hope it was good for a snicker, and "The Spice of Life" again referred to the saying, with a bit of a pun. "Crawling Toward the Light" is a darker mood, with a bit of hope in it, although when you get to the end of the story (assuming you read the original which this is a remix of) you find that the hope is false. "Troubled Waters" refers to the mood of the story and the setting, since the middle chunk takes place on the beach.
And sometimes I just grab whatever sorta vaguely fits 'cause I wanna get the darned story posted. :P
Plot. If you plot out your stories first, raise your hand.
Umm. When I start, I usually have a general idea of what's going to happen. I work out who the protagonist is (or are, if there are multiples), what he wants, why he can't have it, and a general idea of what he's going to do to try to get it anyway. That last bit is the plot, in every story ever written. :) It's very basic and skeletal at that point, but for me it's enough to get started with. I can sort of aim the story in the direction where I'm pretty sure the resolution lies, and after that it's just dead reckoning with my compass and machete. I don't work everything out in advance, though, or outline or anything.
POV. How do you choose your POV for a scene? For a story?
It depends. There's usually one obvious person who should be the POV character, depending on what I want the reader to see and know, and what I might want to keep hidden.
One POV per scene, pretty much always. The sole exception was "When Guys Talk," which was deliberately told in omnicient, showing both external and internal dialogue of both characters, because it wouldn't have worked otherwise; the contrast between what they were saying and what they actually meant was the whole point of the story. In general, though, I loathe head-hopping within a scene and just don't do it.
Sometimes with longer stories I'll get into a pattern and try to stick with it, just because I'm anal that way. :) So with Family Obligations, I started out with two scenes from Sean's POV then one scene from Orlando's, in each chapter. Orlando's scene started out pretty short because we (and Sean) didn't know much about him, but as the story went on, Orlando's scene grew to take up more and more of the chapter, although it was always the latter part. Somewhere in the middle I broke down on the Sean-Sean-Orlando pattern, though -- the three scene thing just didn't fit and I'm not quite anal enough to have forced it -- but I still stuck with opening the chapter from Sean's POV and closing it from Orlando's. By the end, Orlando was telling most of the story, whereas at the beginning it'd been mostly Sean's story. I sort of liked that; it balanced nicely.
Challenge. Do you like them? Do they inspire you?
I love them, but I'm careful not to take too many. I really liked the old LOTRiPS Fuh-Q-Fest, before the mod wandered off and abandoned it, because it wasn't an exchange fest so there was less pressure. A bunch of people gave prompts, then writers claimed whatever prompts they wanted and went away to write, and posted their own stories before or on (hopefully!) the deadline. There was a lot of flaking out, but it wasn't as big a deal as it is with an exchange because there's no sense of, "Well, I wrote my story for X, but Y didn't write her story for me, so I got cheated!!" There were some really good stories done for that fest, and some of my own favorite stories that I wrote were for it. Lately I've been doing Slashababy, and this year I did the LOTRiPS Remix for the first time, and those were a lot of fun but there's definitely more pressure. I see a lot of challenges and fests that look like great fun, but I'm very conservative with what I join because I don't want to end up flaking out on an exchange fest. I'm careful to only join the ones I'm very sure I can do.
Sex. Do you like writing sex?
That's another ummmmm. :) I like writing sex, but not as an end unto itself. Pointless sex, whether it's a pwip where that's all there is, or a sex scene that doesn't do anything for a larger story but has obviously been stuck on with duct tape just for the sake of "Yay, Teh Sexx0rz!!" bores me. I only write sex that pulls its weight in the story. Sometimes the sex (or sexual content) is the major point of the story, like with "Distraction" or "Frenzy" or "Soap." But there's always something going on, and no matter how minimal (like with "Soap"), there's always a plot.
That said, if I do actually need a sex scene in the story, they're fun to write. :D I like trying to come up with new things, without getting silly. It's boring if the guys are always doing the same thing over and over, from story to story, so if I'm writing sex at all I try to come up with solid reasons for them to be doing different things. That sounds weird, now that I look at it written out. [ponder] It's not like I'm sitting down and filling out charts or something to make sure there's no more than 31% overlap, or compiling lists of justifications for a sixty-nine over bondage or anything. :P The sex, like everything else, has to flow organically from the story and the characters. But at the same time, I don't want to do the same thing over and over and over because that sucks for the readers, as well as for me.
There are some things I'm not into but I'll occasionally write them anyway because they fit the story, and some things I am into that I just haven't written yet, and some things I'm into that I've written in RPGs but not in a solo story yet. There's a huge variety available and I like exploring different chunks of it, even if some of them aren't much "fun" in an erotic sense, like with "Menagerie."
Writers: Want it? Gack it. :)