Found this meme here. Of all the memes I’ve done, this is probably the most blog related. So, here I go…

1. Do you write fiction or non-fiction? Or both?

Both. My paying gig is doing newsletter, brochure, and web site writing. And, I should be doing some freelance writing, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I write fiction for pleasure. I’m not quite ready to verbalize any professional aspirations there. Let me finish this novel & then we’ll talk. (By the way, I’m answering all the following questions based on my fiction writing.)

2. Do you keep a journal or a writing notebook?

Yes. More of a writing notebook than journal these days. But there’s a little bit of both in it. I carry it with me everywhere, just in case I have a spare moment to write & am nowhere near my computer. But more often than not, I need it around because my short-term memory is horrid & if I try and remember some brilliant phrase or idea to write down when I get home, it will be lost.

3. If you write fiction, do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing? Do you find books on plotting useful or harmful?

I have an idea, but I’ve found that much of my characters’ personalities, motivations, etc., only come out once I’ve started writing. It wasn’t until about half-way through my 1st draft that I really could get a handle on my characters’ thoughts and motivations. Even now, going into my 2nd draft, I’m finding that I’m still discovering things about them.

I think plotting books can be helpful, but I wish I’d stayed away from them until I’d really developed my writing practice and my voice. If I had to do it over again, I’d say, stay away from the craft books until you’ve had some time to just write. And when you do get around to reading the plot books, I would recommend reading a how to write a screenplay book. I know it helped me really think about how to frame a scene & pacing.

4. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

Procrastinator. Although, I do have moments where I just feel the need to write. I wish those moments were more common than they are. The good thing is, whether it was the procrastinator-in-me or the itch that got me to sit down, once I do, I tend to stay with it for a good amount of time.

5. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?

It depends. If I have time, I can write for hours with no problem. If I’m just trying to fit it in, then I can also do a couple hundred words to just make some progress on my WIP.

6. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?

Actually, morning or night, but night more than morning. The only way I can write in the afternoon is if I started in the morning & it’s carrying over into the afternoon. Or, if I’m out at a cafe or something with the intent to use that time to write. My afternoons would be more productive if I could just take a nap. Actually, most of my blog posts tend to be done during the afternoon because it’s the only thing that will keep me awake & seem somewhat productive.

7. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

Most of the time, music. Instrumental movie soundtracks are the best. Sometimes there are songs that just help me get into a mood or into a scene, & I’ll play that song on repeat while I’m working on it. In essence, it becomes white noise for me.

I can also work in silence. That’s usually a result of the music having stopped & me being in such a zone that I haven’t realized that it’s stopped.

8. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

Computer for the most part. I only do longhand when I’m not near my computer or if I’m just jotting down some notes. But, I have found that if I’m having trouble writing on the computer–you know, a nice case of writer’s block–then switching to a pen & notebook can help clear my head. Just like a change of scenery is good; sometimes a change of method is good.

9. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One? Or do you let the story evolve as you write?

No. Honestly, I tend to only have my stories plotted out about half-way through. After that, it’s a total & complete freefall.

10. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

No. I’ve honestly never given it any thought. I just believe in writing well & having a good final piece that I’m proud of.

11. Editing/Revision – love it or hate it?

Hmmm…jury’s still out on that one. I’ve done professional editing and I don’t mind it. But I will admit, I’m not the best editor of my own work. I have a lot of trouble “killing my darlings.” Once I have a draft of this current WIP ready to edit/revise, I’ll be able to give a more honest answer.

I just realized my last post marks my 50th post here. So, in honor of the occasion (& my ability to stick with something for this long, see #29 for an explanation as to why this remarkable), I felt it was time to tell a little about myself:

  1. My name is Alison with one “L.” Growing up, my best friend was named Allison with two L’s. My name is always spelled wrong. And they never had those personalized toy license plates or key chains with my spelling when I was a kid. Yes, I’m still bitter.
  2. I was born in Los Angeles.
  3. I was raised in Pasadena. California, not Texas…god forbid. No offense to Texans. Some of my friends are Texans. But, ewww! Sorry.
  4. I’m 33, but I don’t feel a day over 25.
  5. I went to 3 high schools, because my mother wanted to try living somewhere other than California. Not because I kept getting kicked out.
  6. Freshman year, I went to school in Tucson; but my mom, brother, and I hated Tucson. Seen one cactus, seen them all.
  7. I spent my sophomore year in Albuquerque; my brother & I hated that even more. Drive 12-miles in any direction from the center of Albuquerque & you will wind up in the middle of nowhere. Yes, we tested this theory & then decided to move.
  8. I convinced my mother to move us back to Pasadena so I could finish high school with my friends.
  9. Two years later, I took off for college in Boston.
  10. I majored in International Relations & Journalism.
  11. I originally intended to be a voice major, but was talked out of it by a high school teacher who thought I should do something more practical.
  12. I majored in Journalism because I wanted a major with a writing background, but couldn’t fit in an English double major & still graduate in 4-years.
  13. I wish I’d done the English major, or creative writing.
  14. I’ve always loved to write, especially fiction. But I know the power of non-fiction.
  15. When I was a senior in high school I wrote an editorial for the school newspaper about sexual harassment in high schools. It was aimed at a certain teacher that most of the girls in my class didn’t like to be left alone with. Even though I never named him directly in the article, everyone knew who I was talking about. Including him. He never made eye contact with me again for the rest of the year. The power was sweet!!!
  16. In college I worked at the bar the TV show Cheers was based on.
  17. In high school, I was part of the choir during the Super Bowl halftime show with Michael Jackson. This was during his Heal the World phase, in the early days of his weirdness.
  18. My brother is exactly 4 years, 6 months, and 1 day younger than me. As a child I was always very particular about pointing this out. I don’t know why. His half-birthday is the day after my birthday; and my half-birthday is the day before his.
  19. My parents divorced when I was 12 & I still managed to turn out fairly well-adjusted.
  20. I lived in DC for five years working for the government–which is code for working here.
  21. I hate admitting I worked there. No, not because of the politics, but because people think it’s way more cool than it ever was & always want to ask me questions or talk about it, and it bores me to tears to talk about it.
  22. I don’t want the highlight of my professional career to have been working there.
  23. I chucked my career, the one I’d spent my education preparing for, at 28.
  24. And it was the best thing I ever did. I have no regrets.
  25. The idea of working in an office again makes me want to scratch out my eyeballs.
  26. I don’t believe in having a plan, just a rough sketch.
  27. I believe in doing what & everything that makes you happy.
  28. While money is necessary, it is not important.
  29. I have the attention span of a 2-year old.
  30. And the procrastination skills of someone wise beyond their years.
  31. I love music.
  32. I love my iPod. I happen do believe it is one of the best inventions EVER!
  33. Back in the days of CD players, I had a 100-CD carrying case that I lugged with me everywhere when I would travel.
  34. I would love to say that my music taste has always been cool, but I loved New Kids on the Block during my teen years. I went to 3 of their concerts and actually have a signed CD.
  35. I love concerts & truly appreciate artists who can perform well live.
  36. I always carry a book, my journal/notebook, and my iPod in my purse.
  37. I’ve lived in London; Bologna, Italy; Brussels; and Athens. (I define living as long enough to receive mail.)
  38. When I’m outside the US, I can pass for Spanish, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Persian, or Arab.
  39. In reality, I’m half German-Polish on my dad’s side, and Native American-Mexican on my mom’s.
  40. I moved back to LA when I was 28 in the midst of my pre-mid-life-crisis. I like living here as an adult.
  41. I’m writing a novel…eeks, it freaks me out to say that word aloud. It sounds so pretentious.
  42. I once took the bus from Boston to Tampa and back for no real reason.
  43. I stopped coloring my hair at 28, right when I stopped trying to fit into a career & life that wasn’t me.
  44. I am incredibly sarcastic.
  45. I’m an introvert among strangers, & a total extrovert around my friends.
  46. I am amused to no end by talking animals. We’re talking voice-overs and cartoons here. No, I don’t think animals actually talk. Although, my dog Leo definitely seems to try sometimes.
  47. I am both a morning and a night person, depending on the day; and would much rather spend the afternoon taking a nap.
  48. I didn’t learn to drive until I was 28 & moved back to California. Weird I know. In high school, all my friends drove & I was one of those over-achieving kids who had no time to learn how to drive. And then from 18-28, I lived in cities with great subway systems.
  49. I never learned how to ride a bike. Again, weird, I know.
  50. I’m serious about doing something with my writing.

…to be continued.

Mood: flighty

Currently listening to: Useless by Imogen Heap

No real reason for posting. Just feel like it. Nothing really to report or say. Trudging along on the draft. In a mellow mood. Kind of like being drunk, yet, I haven’t had a drop. Nice feeling when you can get it. Want to go to a yoga class this evening, but my back is bugging me. So, I guess I’ll have to find another way to maintain & sustain this feeling.

So, came across this meme on another blog I frequent via another blog. I always love a good meme. This one’s a little different. It’s a photo mosaic meme. Here are the instructions:

Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr search. Then, using only the first page of results, choose your favorite image, & copy & paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker (3 columns, 4 rows).

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your Flickr name.

Here’s mine:

…and credit for these lovely photos where it is due…

1. Nouvel & Alison, 2. Les Moules et Frites ~, 3. The Walk Was Littered…, 4. Soft purple, 5. the way i see it #268., 6. French Martini, 7. Le Taha’a pier, 8. Mont Blanc Kinako, 9. Day 106 – I am a librarian, 10. Never Never Never, 11. flighty guy, 12. Untitled