Q is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012)
Q is for Questions Answered
(Post 17 on my WIP)
On my Facebook Page I asked for Questions to answer about my WIP or my attitude to writing, life, the universe or anything. Thanks to those that responded.
Nicola King asked
‘What attracts you to the YA genre?’
I actually made an attempt to answer that for my Y post last year – here – but I’m going to try and expand on that here.
Firstly, because it’s the genre I mainly remember reading and enjoying and I suppose I’m still a teenager at heart.
Secondly, because I think generally it is really well written and lacks the ‘pretension’ of some adult fiction. The books are not just about the writing or the message but are about the story. I think story and creating characters that you care about are vital.
Thirdly, because I think reading literature is a fantastic way to learn about the world and to test out your opinions. Teens are forming their identities and their worldview and are potentially more open to possibility – this brings with it a certain amount of responsibility in writing for that audience though. There was a really interesting blog post about this, and specifically the topic of incest within YA, on Serendipity Reviews yesterday.. Nicola Morgan says though (in the comments on this post here) ‘NOTHING is too dark for YA! (Though it does have to be handled properly.)’
Stacey Woods asked
‘How many books to you envisage in this series? Would you limit yourself and set it as a trilogy, or would you like it to be seven books for example?’
It was interesting that Stacey asked this the day after I had spoken to another A-Z blogger KC – here – about investment in a series and wanting to know how many books it was likely to be up front. I have to be aware that I do like to know up front and do get a little bit irritated when just one, or two or three extras are added so I need to be careful what I say here because I may be tying myself to it. I am starting to come to the realisation that I am a bit of a control freak and I like some certainty in my life.
So I would want to set some sort of limit and I’m going to say 4 (I have some kooky reasons why) – I think any more and I may run out of fresh ideas for the series but any less and I’m not sure I can say everything I want to about particular events. It seems like a nice balanced number too.
Jay Sawdy asked
‘As a reader I get very attached to characters and can feel annoyed if unpleasant things happen to them. Is that also a problem as a writer? Do you find yourself wanting to give everyone a happy ending even if that’s perhaps less realistic?’
Hopefully you can see from my Names post that I am already attached. Already some pretty unpleasant things have happened to Jane. Of course I feel bad for her and want her to have the happy ending but, if she gets it, it won’t be an easy ride. When learning about writing you learn that characters grow through the challenges they face. There are certain things I won’t put her through but I do have a tendency to find darker ideas easier to write. I think for me it is a way of working through certain issues that I do or would find challenging.
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? But bittersweet ones can work well too. I’m not sure I can do the whole wrap everything up in a neat bow and have everyone walking into the sunset together thing but on balance I hope the good outweighs the bad, who knows I might be feeling all sappy when it gets to the end.
‘How do you go about doing research for writing ideas?’
The way I’m reading this question (sorry if it’s not the right interpretation) is that Jay is asking that once I have come up with a general idea how do I use research to develop that idea. I guess as this is my first attempt at a novel this is tricky to answer. I do mostly try to do the whole ‘write what you know thing’ but there have been times when I have researched elements of a story. I mostly use the internet or buy books or watch films maybe that will give me the information I need. Like I said I took the forensics course to find out some things but may well once the first draft is in the can ask to work with some of the students on the forensic science course at the uni I work at. I’d also like to do a ‘Castle’ and spend some time with the police – I think that would be really interesting but not sure how feasible that would be.
This is going to sound odd and isn’t really relevant to the WIP but I kind of have always wanted to go to a huge library and sit sifting through some microfiche. Maybe I should add that to my Bucket List. Actually maybe I could look up something from the 1960s for this book (an era I did look at on one of my OU courses) – anyone fancy a trip?
Finally, Catherine Donald asked
‘I’m interested in the way you write the characters. Do you already have their personalities pre-formed in your mind before you start writing, or do they develop as you write the story?’
I don’t know if you saw the Ideas post and the comments https://kirstyes.co.uk/2012/04/10/i-is-for-atozchallenge-2012/ but Teresa, I believe correctly, identified that I am more of a ‘pantser’ when it comes to writing. This means that, although I have some rough snippets of plot and some ideas of general personality traits, that I make it up as I go. I’ve only got very basic character profiles which at some point I’m going to have to fill in to ensure consistency. Like I said in answer to Jay’s question it is through the challenges that the characters face that we learn about them – I learn about them when I put them in those situations too. For instance I originally had one character doing something that they told me they wouldn’t do thank you very much and so I gave someone else that function. I’m really not sure where they come from but they seem to arrive fairly formed or at least I hope it seems that way. I think I’m going to have to start making notes to myself about why I make certain decisions so that I can answer questions like this easier.
Any more questions?