This questionnaire was created by Jenny Spencer from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; it can be found here.
- Where do you usually write?
I usually write anywhere I can. I carry a small notebook around with me at all times for poems, and I usually carry around the larger notebook/journal I use for my current project(s). (I pick my purses based on how many books/journals I can fit in them!)
- What’s different about where you wrote last year and where you write this year?
I usually write in my bedroom; however, I have moved within the past year, so my bedroom is different. My old laptop is not working anymore, so that’s a new aspect of my writing environment, as well.
- Describe the circumstances that lead to your best writing.
I need silence or instrumental music. I need an outline that clearly defines where the characters are, when, and why. I also need a long amount of time to write, so I can get down as much as I can.
- What kinds of writing materials do you use (i.e.: computer, long hand, special pen)?
I do have my favorite pens, but those change as ink runs out. For poetry, I write the verses in a small notebook, where I feel free to scribble and scratch out and edit; when I feel the poem is complete, I write it in my poetry journal. For novellas and novels, I write the story by hand and edit as I go, then I edit again as I type it up. It’s a longer process, but it also gives me an extra chance to really look at what I’m saying.
- How do you come up with topics?
For my blog, I come up with topics that I feel readers would want to read. For poetry, I use the moment synthesized with the past, along with my favorite imagery. For novels and novellas, I draw from past experiences and how they would play out, similarly or differently, in other worlds.
- How many times do you revise?
I will revise as many times as necessary. A first draft is never perfect. When I finish the first draft, I give it a read-through and correct any spelling/grammar/punctuation errors. I then read it again for plot and character development. By this time, the main idea, and everything I wanted to happen, is on paper, and I send it to friends who are willing to look at it objectively and without bias.
- What part of a paper do you tend to find most difficult?
I find the middle to be the most difficult part. I always write the beginning first, as that is the point to engage the reader. I then skip around and write a portion of the middle and the end. Filling in the middle blanks are the hardest for me, as I am thinking of potential foreshadowing or referencing, as well as keeping a timeline intact.
- What are your writing rituals? What do you do to get ready to write?
I always develop an outline of the main points of my story. Then I detail the main points and everything that happens in between. This way, I know how my story will look, when. I then make a playlist to listen to based on the story. I will listen to this playlist even when in the car, to come up with new ideas for the story and characters. I imagine my characters in various scenarios to see how they would react to certain situations.
- What do you do when you’re stuck?
When stuck, I usually write a different part of the story. If I get stuck while writing the beginning, I will write the end. If I get stuck after writing the end, I write a piece of the middle. After I write the piece of the middle, I connect the beginning to the piece of the middle, then the piece of the middle to the end.
What have people said about your writing?
I’m skipping this question, as most readers have been friends or family, or those who have read my angsty teenage poetry. However, I received a positive response from dancing girl press, as my first chapbook, Tableau Vivant, will be released in the fall of this year.