From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Learning about writing from everyone around you

I firmly believe that you can learn from everyone you come in contact with. Whether they are writers themselves or not, by really getting to know them you can expand your knowledge of human nature, which helps in all aspects of writing.

On that note, I have writing questions for you. You don't even have to answer every question, but (as many of you are probably aware) my life has been pretty unstable lately. Good, but unstable, and I'm trying to do everything I can to learn and resettle things. So basically, I could really use any advice or ideas you've got:

-Plotter or pantser? And how do you specifically go about doing your plotting/pantsing?

-What is your writing schedule like? Morning? Evening? 3:47-5:02 AM?

-Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, what music?

-Do you have a daily/weekly word count goal, and what is it?

-What character types are your favorite?

-Is it worth starting a Tumblr blog in addition to this blogger one? I'm leaning towards yes?

-When is the right time to start a Facebook fan page?

-What are your favorite ways to get out and meet people? Network with people online?

-Do you have any specific topics you want addressed on this blog, or blog suggestions in general?

Those are my questions for right now. I'm sorry I've been asking so many questions of you guys lately, and some of the same questions a lot too, but I really appreciate your support and ideas and it helps more than you know. Even just knowing people are out there sympathizing and dealing with the same things I'm dealing with helps too. And see, as I settle and learn, I'll be able to give back more and more, so it all comes back around to you, right? :)

Happy writing!
Sarah Allen


  1. 1) Right now I'm a pantser. I get an idea in my head and write until I run out of idea. Usually it ends up in an "unfinished" folder on my computer so my technique probably isn't the best.

    2) Yes, I listen to music that fits with the stlye of writing. If I'm writing an action scene, I'll listen to an upbeat song. If I'm writing an emotional scene, I'll listen to a slower, more emotional song.

    3) Nope, I don't like having expectations imposed on me. I find it frazzles me and destroys the quality of my writing (including how much it makes sense.)

    4)I love strong female characters. Too many books I've read have strong lead male characters and a bunch of damsels in distress. I strongly dislike books when the female charactes are ready to lie down and die and it falls to the male characters to save the day.

    5)It depends. If you're just going to post the same posts on another site, I don't really see the point. On the other hand, if you have other things you'd like to post that would fit better with the tumblr formatting, go for it.

    6)I have no experience with that one, sorry.

    7)I don't do well so well with people. I have my close group of friends who understand me, but everyone else I'm fairly awkward around. Online I just exchange comments with people on deviantART and occasionally comment on writing blogs.

    8) Nope, I'm just hanging around for tips and such.

    I hope that's what you're looking for. Sorry that I let myself ramble for parts.

  2. Plotter. There just isn't a way to do a trilogy that has potential to have any number of follow up books about minor characters in a universe with time travel without plotting it all out.

    I write in the afternoon and if the desire hits me I will write again after dinner until I am satisfied.

    Minimum of 500 words a day. I find if you can do that its easy to keep going to 1500-2500 a day.

    Villains. They don't have to worry about the consequences of their actions like a hero.

    Unknown, I have not heard of Tubmlr.

    Sooner the better, Facebook URL names are going fast.

    Go to Las Vegas and wear a shirt that says ask me about my book. Online I find someone from a blog comment post that interests me and I follow them if they have an active blog and start commenting.

    I like analytic data. Seeing the numbers move and what drives them.

  3. 1. When it comes to first drafts, I usually write up a blurb first, and then just wing the rest from there. From second drafts on I outline heavily. On an Excel sheet and make six categories: goal, conflict, disaster (one chapter), reaction, dilemma, and decision (another chapter). I plot chapters like that. Then in word I'll type up detailed summaries for each chapter.

    2. In the summer, I write whenever. During school days, I write as soon as I get home. (Writing takes priority, though my mom thinks homework should come first.) I usually write for an hour.

    3. When writing first drafts, I listen to rock and metal like Foo Fighters, Rise Against, and Metallica. I find I type to a beat, so the faster the music, the faster I can write. When second drafts roll around, I need to concentrate.

    4. Some months I'll make huge goals, but my daily goal is usually 2,000 - 2,500 words.

    5. Sarcastic and witty characters. I connect with them the best.

    6. I'm not too familiar with Tumblr, but I'd say sure! The more you're out in the internet world the better.

    7. Gosh, I don't know. I guess when you say, "Gee, I have a lot of people watching me and my internet presence."

    8. Blogging is by far my favorite! There are so many people, and it's so easy to find and connect with them.

    9. I always like advice that no one has heard before, or unique ways of seeing things. I love your vlogs, more of those would be fun! :)

    Good luck learning and resettling!

  4. I'm predominantly a PLOTTER, but I leave room for a bit of pantsing in between my general plot outline. If a cool idea pops up and makes a bunny trail, I happily follow it. But I dislike rewriting major stuff, so the framework HAS to be there initially. Saves headaches later.

    Never listen to music; writing has its own rhythm, and it interferes with the cadences of my own sentences. I don't keep a word count goal. I just work on writing whenever I can!

    I find that one blog is enough, and I only post once a week; any more than that would suck too much time away from my writing. Facebook? Yuck, but my agent says I'll need one to promote my upcoming book when we find a publisher.

    I LOVE networking with people online! and one way to do that is to answer comments via email; I've gotten good critique partners that way too. I also meet other writers going to SCBWI conferences. Such great energy and inspiration!

  5. Thanks for these great questions, Sarah! I just answered a few of them on my blog:

    I hope to tackle the rest soon! I really liked having to think about these things.

  6. Plotter, Blake Snyder's 15 point beat sheet.

    For the first draft of my second MS I wrote every day at or around 4pm: a time I arbitrarily stuck to after naturally starting then the first day or two.

    No music because I would end up singing or humming.

    Had an unofficial daily word goal of 800 words though I usually strived for 1k and occasionally let myself get away with 600 on really bad days.

    Favourite character type would be sarcastic and witty; makes for good banter.

    The only Tumblr I like is Tahereh Mafi's because she is funny and seems to have a GIF for everything. I don't think most writers need one since words are our medium and blogs are better suited to that than Tumblr.

    I don't think most writers need a facebook fan page until they actually have a book out on sub with an agent unless they already have a huge (talking 800+) blog following.

    Favourite ways to get out and meet people? Wish I could tell you! (Maybe once you figure it out you could let me know?) Networking online is a combination of blog comments and twitter.

  7. 1) A little bit of both. In the book that I'm currently shopping around, the basic beginning was that protagonist was in debt to a loan shark and had until Friday to raise the money. The end was Friday at a restaurant. The bulk of the story was create on the fly, but on times when I got stuck, I outlined a scene or two to get myself unstuck.

    2) Whenever I can get quiet time, which is usually on the weekends. In the afternoon to evening. Outside.

    3) Need total silence. Use music only for editing or as seeding for a blog post.

    4) With my last project, my daily word count was a minimum 750 words (worked a full time job). Now if I can get about 300 words written a clip, I'm doing well (handwritten to computer).

    5) I try to write everything from a strong woman's point of view, since that is the type of person I encounter on a daily basis, with just a hint of sensitivity.

    6) Don't know about Tumblr, but I have two other blogs that I play with at the same time.

    7) Can't answer that.

    8) Hard to say, since I'm a walking paradox. I like to have my name out there (thus I blog) but I'm an intensely private person at the same time.

  8. Ok guys, you are so awesome. I love these answers! I'm totally gonna come back to these comments all the time to teach myself and get suggestions. Mission for this post fulfilled :)



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