Oh noes! writing meme

A bunch of random questions about writing and stories. I gakked this from elementalv.

Keyboard or hand writing?
Keyboard. I type too fast. I'll scribble in a notebook when I have no other option, but I end up frustrated because I can't scribble fast enough to keep up with the brain. I remember a time back in college when I could take notes incredibly quickly and neatly. I have the maniacally-readable notebooks to prove it. But no more.

What's more, I'm fussy about what I'll type into. I refuse to use "word processors" or anything that allows visible formatting of any kind. I use two programmer's editors, BBEdit and TextMate. Just me and the text, please. No distractions.

Beta or no beta?
Having my stories workshopped was always difficult for me back in my workshoppy days, and I was usually a nervous wreck through the whole thing. This is obviously not a productive attitude, so I am diligently working on it. I have been practicing sending early drafts of things to a couple of people. Email is turning out easier to cope with than a roomful of people in a circle staring at me.

Yes. Plotting is notoriously hard for everybody, and it's not like it's easy for me. But I like to plan in advance where I'm going. Even if my outline is just a paragraph of story overview, I write an outline.

My titles are the worst ever. I choose working titles of extreme blandness & prosaic-ness, just to remind myself what I'm doing with the story, and then I end up saddled with them as real titles. Too on the nose.

Smushy or smutty?
I am trying to learn how to write smut that works. Have little experience with it, though. At the moment I'm writing smush. I think at heart I'm a genfic writer.

Sometimes it's easy. Sometimes it's a pain. If I can't write a good summary, then I know I might not have my plot or my conflict straight in my head. When in doubt, fall back to the Dwight V. Swain summary technique.

Funniest fic?
I haven't committed a lot of teh funneh. Maybe the first thing I ever posted. Maybe the little Giles/Xander ficlet.

Most popular fic?
This is like asking "which is the least unpopular"? The adventure of the displaced Watcher. Probably because it's the longest & the most polished & serious.

Most fun to write?
Four nights and a revelation. Sometimes the whole story forms in my head and I just sit and type until it's transcribed onto paper. Sure, I struggle with the individual sentences, but I know where it's going and what it has to feel like and what follows from what. I don't have moments of frustration or muddlement. Reconnection happened the same way. Note how short both are: 9K words for "Four Nights", and 7K for "Reconnection". This can't work for longer stories.

Best and Worst?
With such a small collection of stories posted, hard to answer this. Best is probably the Holmes thing. Worst is probably "Emergence". So hard to think the Holmes story is best, because I am going through a phase of being unable to read it because of wincing at its flaws. I felt as I wrote it that I was trying to bench-press a weight that was five pounds too much for me to budge. I just wasn't up to the demands of that story, and the version I wrote did the concept a disservice. Someday, someday...

Concrete description.

Conflict. Opposition. Making stuff hard on my characters.

Dirty Little Secrets?
Sometimes the cold-blooded approach works scarily well on readers. I think, if I do this, people will react this way, and I want that. And I do it, and they do. I suppose this is simple craft in action, but it feels so calculated. And yet the whole process of writing is about this calm, distant calculation. I will think carefully about these words assembled this way into these sentences that together form this planned structure. And the overall result will be to move you, the reader, from your starting emotional state to a final state that's the one I planned for you. That's the whole point of the process. Alarming!

That, and entertaining people. I have a desperate desire to entertain. Obviously I like it when people think my stories are well-written in some specific way, but the #1 thing I want to do is entertain them. I don't need to be perfect or brilliant, just diverting. Let me make an hour of your life more fun than it would have been without me.

really interesting - i'm such an emotional writer that my calculation is all unconscious (I know it's there, but at the time I'm writing it, it's more emotional than detached). So glad you filled this out - it's a great peek at your writing brain!
What's the overall progression? From conscious incompetence, through conscious competence with a skill, then it becomes internalized and you're unconsciously competent. A basketball player don't have time to think about his shooting when he's in motion on the court, so unconscious mastery is required.

Writing might not be like that, though. There's always time to think about the words. So much time, in fact, that I'm deliberately doing the ficlet thing to get myself to think less. Um. Hmm. Think think think.

Has to be rooted in genuine emotion, though, or there's something wrong with the core of the story.

Hey. Can I commission a story banner from you? In return for a story of your specification, or BPAL, or other barter? (It's okay to tell me no, shut up, inappropriate request. I am still figuring out how things work in this land of fandom. Or if you're too busy with impending class.)
are you kidding? OF COURSE i'll do a banner for you! it would totally be my pleasure. what would you like? which fic? are there sizes and things that you prefer? (and i don't know about the etiquette either, but never be shy of asking me if you're looking for something - if I don't have time I'll let you know)

Does "Reconnection" meet your "willing to read the pairing" standards? (No, wait, G/B, gotta be okay by you...) I figure I'll be working on that off and on for months, so it'd be cool to have an icon/banner combo for it.

My current layout is 750 pixels wide total, with a 230 pixel sidebar. So 520 would fit exactly. Though of course I can change all of that easily.

Otherwise: go nuts. I trust your taste & judgment.

just so you know, i am working on this!! i haven't forgotten or anything, and have designs going right now... just haven't come up with anything that I feel fits the way i want it to ... YET.
Mr Pedia and I are completely agog over the red design. WOW! Thanks! Must put it up right this second....
Hee! WOOT!

I'm crazy delighted you like it! I'm always afraid that, once I finish something, it really won't be what people were looking for. It's a huge relief to know you're pleased enough to make noise! And I hope the writing is going well?
since i don't plan, don't outline, don't really have anything more than a vague sense of "i want to go from here to there" it seems to me less intentional than what you were talking about.

On the other hand, I completely agree with you - we're picking words. Words to provoke, delight, etc. And even when to put the period changes things. Every time there's a bang on a key to get a letter we're excercising a kind of intention. So forget what I said above... I was being a dork. *grin*