Dear A. Wrighton,
I feel like having a Writing Confessional, too. We do a lot of weird things as writers, but our weirdness is uniquely our own. Although — like you — I write out-of-order. Kind of.
We are just a little mad…
- When I have to, I hand write whatever I happen to be working on, but I have to write extremely slow to make my handwriting legible. Most of the time it’s not and if I do not put it into typed form within 48 hours, some of it will become illegible to me and I won’t remember what I was talking about.
- When I am developing characters I write their memoir first, or a series of monologues, so I can get their history and their voice down before I start incorporating their dialog into my story. But, sometimes I start writing scenes before I have a fully fleshed out character because I get some random flash of inspiration and I have to write out a few pages before it leaves me.
- I once had one of those inspiration flashes in a public bathroom. I used a toilet seat cover as my notepad.
- Because of that incident, I now carry around a notepad.
- All of the characters I have written over the years only have one parent or both parents are dead…until recently. I have a character named “Katherine” who has both parents, but leaves them behind for a high-risk espionage job.
- I tend to work out the major plot points of my novels like I would a screenplay, while simultaneously writing pages of back-story and historical information about fictional cities long enough for an encyclopedia. My brain functions like Google Chrome, with 30+ tabs open at once.
- All my fiction work — at this point — is unfinished. I distract myself with a new idea and work on that until I get burned out and then I go back to what I was doing. It mostly frustrates me and makes things somewhat counter productive. I can’t focus on one thing at a time.
- I am obsessed with anything sci-fi, dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic, and I find the most inspiration for my work from visiting abandoned cities and buildings.
- I am also obsessed with stories of serial killers, fictional and real. Jack the Ripper is my favorite.
- I am a TERRIBLE speller. Some words that I can never remember how to spell are: cinnamon, definitely, and dialogue. I think this sometimes has to do with the way I pronounce words, as I do not speak with a full southern California dialect. In fact, I just learned the other day that a “lozenger” is not another word for “cough drop.” It’s “lozenge.” My 1/4 New York mind is blown.
- Sometimes, I’ll pull out dialogue from a scene, put it in play-format, and give it to other people to read out loud so I can get an idea if it’s working or not.
- I can’t write in public spaces (or places where there are lots of people), even the library. I can make little notes, but I can’t WRITE. There are too many distractions and every little noise drives me crazy.
- But I’m really great as eavesdropping and can type as fast as some people talk. Beware: your conversations are not safe from me. /evil laugh.
- I also have some hearing loss in both my ears, so chances are I will miss some of what you say and will just have to make it up later!
- I have a 1922 Remington model 12 typewriter named Charles and yes, I do use it to write from time to time.
So…who else has a confession? I promise there is no penance involved — no ten “Hail Marys” and five “Our Fathers”.