Writing Meme: Cool Asks for Fic Writers

Questionnaire snagged from a few others via Tumblr. This is a bit of a first for me – at least in terms of responding to a questionnaire on writing

Describe yourself how you would describe a character you’re introducing.
Mmm. Petite. Early-mid 40s. Adept at many things. Nurse, photographer, writer, crafter. Introvert. Observer.

Is there any specific ritual you go through while/before/after your writing?
Often tea & biscuits (digestives, gingersnap or shortbread)

What is your absolute favourite kind of fic to write?
Drama w/ slight to moderate angst.

Are there any other fic writers you admire? If so, who and why?
Many. And they vary by fandoms that I’ve participated in. However, Melissa Good (Xena /Dar & Kerry) particularly stands out because she was one of the early fic writers I started reading and I’ve gone back to read her stuff many times. Her stories are very well-written. She does over-arcing love stories that are not explicitly sexual in detail, nor do they need to be. Her love scenes, when written, fit in very well with the tone and style as the rest of the story. Trust me. That vision of Xena scaling a mountain, risking death more than once, then running – practically flying – over the fields in a rainstorm to the borderlands between the Amazons and Centaurs to save Gabrielle from a renegade shit disturber amazon, then landing a big kiss on Gabrielle in front of said crowd of Amazons and Centaurs is pretty legendary. Story is called ‘At A Distance’). The series of stories is ‘A Journey of Soulmates’ and begins with ‘A Warrior By Any Other Name’. Melissa’s Dar & Kerry series starts with ‘Tropical Storm’

How many words can you write if you sit down and concentrate intensely for an hour?
Don’t know that I’ve actually counted. When I get into a zen stage of writing where the characters keep talking I just go with the flow and don’t stop until:
a) I need a trip to the loo
b) my tea has gone too cold/run out of biscuits
c) my stomach is growling to loudly to ignore.

First fic/pairing you wrote for? (If no pairing, describe the plot)
Oh heavens. Not published anywhere, but Beauty & The Beast (Catherine & Vincent) – the Linda Hamilton & Ron Perlman version. I was in my late teens. Pre-internet.

Inspiration, time, or motivation. Choose two.
Inspiration & time

Why do you choose to write?
An outlet to explore feelings, explore characters that speak to me on some level, and sometimes to challenge myself.

Do you ever have plans to write anything other than fic?
I have an original story in the works. I’ve also written a published academic article in a Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal back many yrs ago when I was a nurse trainee. I’ve also conducted interviews with musicians, writers, creators.

What inspires you the most?
Different things. Sometimes it’s being out in nature, conversations, reading other well-written stories, sometimes music, travel.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever written/thought about writing/etc.?
At the moment I can’t recall. Well, not completely true. I can write a love scene and have done in the Otalia Virtual Seasons, but I can’t write explicit sex scenes as it feels weird to me. I’m not a prude; I can read them at times – if it feels right within the context of the rest of the story and it’s well-written without feeling like I’m reading a young-adult’s attempt at porn (made even worse when the characters are most definitely NOT in their 20s-30s). I’m also not a fan of vulgarity or flowery terms for sex.

A fic you wish you had written better, and why?
My early stuff seems a bit cringeworthy now but then we learn from our past and reading other well-written stories. Also, as we age, our own life-experiences and awareness of the world around us contributes to our overall knowledge (or at least it should). How I wrote as a teenager/early 20s is quite different from how I write now (nearly mid 40s), as well it should.
Reading other well-written stories with correct spelling, proper punctuation and grammar, verb-tense agreement, etc. REALLY helps improve one’s writing skills, as well as really knowing the characters (and their development). Getting a beta-reader (editor) who can constructively critique your stories to bring out the best in your work is also a recommendation. I’ve been writing fic off and on for about 25 years.

Favourite fic from another author?

  • Lunacatriona – ‘Waves that Rolled You Under’ (Holby City – Bernie & Serena). (Available online)
  • LarkhallReturns: ‘Love With Deception’ and ‘Abuse of Power’ (Bad Girls – Nikki & Helen AU). I don’t think either are online anymore (I have them in PDF format for reading offline); they might be accessible via WaybackMachine search – it’s been a while since I checked.
  • SelVecanti: ‘Reunion’ (Babylon 5 – Ivanova/Talia, set post S4.) Brilliant story. Capt Ivanova has a new Warlock class ship made unknowingly to her at the beginning using Shadow technology. Psi-Corp are trying to get to Ivanova by using Talia. (Archived in PDF format offline; no longer available online as far as I can tell).
  • Nordica: ‘Jungle Fever’ (Hospital Central – Maca & Esther, plus other HC regulars). An AU set at a Médicins Sans Frontières clinic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Another story I have archived in PDF format offline)
  • G.L. Dartt – After Larkhall series (Bad Girls – Helen & Nikki) series, starting with ‘Dead Slow’ – some odd coding on the site at the moment, though.
  • And just to plug something I was a part of (both as a writer, editor, and sometimes season planning collaborator) was the Otalia Virtual Seasons (Guiding Light – Olivia & Natalia).

Your favourite side pairings to put in?
Depends on the fandoms I’m writing in at the time. And not necessarily romantic pairings, but sometimes just friendship pairings.

  • Holby City sides: Sacha & Essie.
  • Call the Midwife sides: Delia & Phyllis friendship or pretty much any dynamic with Sister Monica Joan. (This is stuff I’ve only partially gotten round to writing)
  • Scott & Bailey sides: Gill Murray & Julie Dodson – though sometimes they’re the main with Janet & Rachel as the sides.
  • Guiding Light sides: Doris & Blake

Your guilty writing pleasure?
Don’t know that I really have one, at least that I can think of at the moment.

Do you have structured ideas of how your story is supposed to go, or make it up as you write?
I have a general sense of direction for the story, with notes of plot points and such. Somethings can get moved around a bit as needed. For shorter one-off pieces it’s a bit easier than multi-chapter stories, but I’ve got an idea for the full plot generally planned out. Sometimes than changes based on character development.
When I was writing with the OVS (mentioned above), we had an over-arcing plan of things that we wanted to accomplish over the season, so specific plot points were planned out well in advance. However, like a serial drama, one story had to follow from the previous so we needed to be aware of what the writer before us was incorporating so that there was continuity between one story and the next, also to lay in bits in our story that would be picked up in the next one (and future stories). What was really fun was coordinating the multi-author stories in the season, where each writer would take a different group of characters to write about and making sure no one character was in two different places at the same time.

Would you describe yourself as a fast writer?
On the one-off pieces, usually. Or if I’ve got a deadline. Multi-part stories, not so much…unless I’ve got a deadline.

How old were you when you started writing?
Crikey. In my teens I wrote for my high school Creative Writing class book (circa 1989-1991). In university I wrote for the uni newspapers (and for two terms I was a graphics editor). Before that, just my own jotting of ideas.

Why did you start writing?
As a way to express ideas & feelings

4 sentences from your work that you’re proud of.
Oh, good heavens. There are many, over 20+ yrs of writing, writing in over a dozen fandoms.

About jlynnstapleton

I'm a Licensed Practical Nurse, photographer and writer. My focus in photography has been primarily landscapes, particularly water based images, both in colour and black and white. I love to travel when I can and sometimes find some unique treasures to photograph. I also enjoy writing these blogs and doing interviews when I can. I'm the oldest of three siblings. I grew up in St. John's, Newfoundland [Canada]. I came out as a lesbian when I was twenty-one, and fortunately I've had a supportive family, and friends.
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