Three Questions

Today’s post is a little different: rather than discussing my writing process or questions you need to ask yourself when writing, I’d like to ask you about you. I spend a lot of time working on this blog–and it becomes harder and harder to fit into my schedule–and I’d like to get to know you a bit better. After all, you’re the reason I’m here at all. Some of you are new, others have been lurking, and I know others quite well, but these questions are designed for all of you.

Since it’s always best to have equal participation in the conversation, I’d like to invite you to ask me three questions in the comments.

But first, here’s what I really want to know about you:

1. How did you discover your passion for writing?

2. What kind of writing do you love most?

3. Which aspects of writing do you need the most help with?

Please answer these questions in the comments below, and feel free to ask me three questions of your own!

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About Dianna Gunn

I am a freelance writer by day and a fantasy author by night. My first YA fantasy novella, Keeper of the Dawn, is available now through The Book Smugglers Publishing.

Posted on February 22, 2013, in Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. 1. After college, I took a creative writing class through the community college continuing ed program. The teacher told me I had a natural talent and should try to get published. I wrote a little after that class, but didn’t do anything about publication. Then my grandfather died, and I quit writing altogether. I’m still not really sure why. In 2010, I was in Seattle visiting family and had a long chat with my cousin who said I should get back into writing. I took that to heart and, sitting in my cousin’s upper bunk, made a plan in my journal. I started volunteering for a local magazine and I did NaNo that year. The rest is history. Today, I’m the editorial assistant of that magazine, have stuff published on Amazon, have written several novels, and have a fairly strong editing business of my own.

    2. I prefer fiction, but will do whatever pays the bills.

    3. Character building. I am terrible about fleshing out and creating strong characters.

    • Brianna,

      Thanks for participating.

      It’s awesome that you came back to writing, and that you’ve created an editing business. I agree that fiction is way more fun to write, but I’ll write whatever people want to read. And I think I love writing this blog about as much as I love writing fiction.

      ~Dianna

      • Blogging is a lot of fun. I’ve been doing that since 2002, although my old LiveJournal blog has long since dissipated into the ether, for the best.

      • Brianna,

        I have no idea how long I’ve been blogging, but I’ve been doing it for many years at many different locations. I started out with LiveJournal too.

        ~Dianna

      • I think a lot of bloggers did, back when LJ was invite only.

    • 1. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it’s really been over the past few years that I’ve been doing more of it on my blog, and now that I’m back in school there are papers to research and write that are quite interesting.

      2. At the moment I’m enjoying writing papers once I get started on them. What I’m really enjoying, however, are blog posts that are reflective and informative for people.

      3. Discipline and regular writing. That, and coming up with names when writing fiction.

      • Hi Talia,

        *Blinks* Did you just say you like writing school papers? I suppose I have too every once in a while, but I never would have listed them among my favourite types of writing. Blogging is definitely on my list too though.

        Thanks for stopping by,
        ~Dianna

      • Talia C. Johnson

        When the topic is interesting writing papers is fun. When the topic is dull and boring, or there isn’t a lot of info about the topic it’s much, much less fun.

      • Fair enough. I’m glad I’m out of the part of school I have to write papers for.

  2. From Hope:
    1. How did you discover your passion for writing?

    My passion didn’t develop until I realized people enjoyed what I wrote, but that was in high school when a 10th grade English teacher asked me to join the yearbook staff because of my ability to write essays. From there I was hooked knowing that what I wrote mattered.

    2. What kind of writing do you love most?

    Mysteries. While I earn half my living as C. Hope Clark with FundsforWriters.com , my true love is writing mystery novels. Love, love, love solving dilemmas and making life difficult for characters.

    3. Which aspects of writing do you need the most help with?

    Right now…remembering the proper body language in my fiction. That’s my latest mission.

    For Dianna:
    1. Do you think blogs are becoming a necessity for writers or are they losing their shine since everyone is doing them?

    2. You like hard rock. From what decade? (You know the 70s was the coolest, don’t you?)

    3. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

    Thanks!
    C. Hope Clark
    http://www.fundsforwriters.com
    http://www.chopeclark.com

    • Hope,

      I love your answers. I struggle a lot with body language too–I tend to neglect it a lot in my first drafts.

      And here are mine:

      1. I think blogs have been a necessity for writers for a while already, but I think that right about now authors who d.on’t already have an established blog should consider a new approach. Possibly a multi-author blog on a specific theme, a vlog, or a regular podcast. Writers considering starting a blog should look at what different media outlets they can use and how they can make their contribution to the web stand out.

      2. Ooh that’s a hard one. It’s a toss up between the 70s and the 80s for me. I find I like most of the rock bands popular in those decades quite a bit. I certainly don’t enjoy the new stuff as much.

      3. My favourite genre to write is fantasy. I can’t really choose a specific subgenre within that, because I like to experiment with all of them. The only one I haven’t played with much is urban fantasy. I’m not a big fan of writing stories that take place in our world, especially not in modern times. For reading, I really love all genres. The main things I look for are depth of setting and characterization, and I have a particular fondness for snarky characters, being rather snarky myself.

  3. 1. I took a reading test for Children’s Institute and they told me I had an aptitude for writing. I took their course to be published, but through the years have only written for my enjoyment.

    2. I prefer fiction, but find myself writing personal essays.

    3. Finishing. Anything. I find I do a lot of free writing without ending it.

    • Stella,

      Thanks for participating! Do you find yourself writing essays because you get blocked when trying to write fiction or is there another reason?

      ~Dianna

      • I think it may well be that I want my voice heard and haven’t quite got the hang of story telling. I also tend to be a bit like a puppy with three bowls of food in front of him: I can’t decide which to do first, so I try all three.

  4. 1. It feels like I’ve always loved writing. I’ve loved it since I was very young, but I don’t remember a “moment” where I realized it was my passion. I do remember that my sixth grade newspaper made me want to be a journalist.

    2. Feature writing is the best and seems to come easiest for me. I really like covering people and events. I like getting sensory details that you wouldn’t normally get in writing.

    3. I did not realize it until very recently but I SUCK at sales copy. I apparently am not great at persuading people via words. LOL

    • Hi Willi,

      Thanks for participating. I don’t remember a “moment” where I discovered my passion either, but I do know it happened sometime during the third grade. I think it was around the time J.K. Rowling started getting rich, and I sort of went, “hey, she got rich doing that? I want to too!” I always loved telling stories when I was little though.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      ~Dianna

  5. 1. As a child 50 years ago I watched my grandmother keep a diary at the end of the day so I started doing the same. I really loved doing this. Since then I’ve written poetry and journaled and lately written non-fiction. I’ve been working on a memoir for over 15 years about recovering from gun shots–my own 7 and my parents’ murders.
    2. Poetry is my favorite. Its so quick and to the point.
    3. I need help editing.

    • Hi Carol,

      Thanks so much for participating. It’s interesting that you started with a diary–I’ve personally never been able to stay consistent with one–and it sounds like you have quite a few interesting stories to tell. If you ever finish that memoir, I hope you’ll let me know. I’d love to read your story.

      ~Dianna

  6. 1. I discovered my passion for writing in elementary school. Teachers were always telling me to write and it was something I loved to do from the start.
    2. The kind of writing I love most is poetry. But blogging pays my bills!
    3. The aspect of writing I need the most help with is memoir. I have a first draft that has been sitting for two years and I’m not sure if I should recycle it as a novel.

  7. 1) I think my love of writing was born out of my love of reading which I discovered back during my teen years. But only over the last few years have I attempted my hand at actually pursuing writing in my free time.
    2) The type of writing I love most is YA fantasy/fiction. But I do love a good mystery as well. Only a year or two ago I also discovered that I enjoyed blogging and eventually stumbled in the realm of NANOWriMo.
    3) Areas of writing that I need the most help with….so many to list! 🙂 But I guess I would say staying consistent within a plot. I tend to push too many angles and sub plots that sometimes get lost within the core of a story. There’s a LOT more that I know I need to work on. But I won’t overkill and highlight too much of my feeble amateur attempts at writing. Instead I like to spin a positive in the form of the age old, timeless words of “practice makes perfect”….at least that’s my hope in the end.

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for participating! I love that you like so many different forms of writing. I do too, which is sometimes detrimental as I find it hard to stay focused on one as my career path.

      ~Dianna

  8. I. I was born with an incredible love for words (jewels) and reading, and the “artist” need for self-expression and celebratory observation which began presenting itself as poetry in the 7th grade… also very connected to song/music was a lover of singing since about 4 years old and the poetry soon progressed to songwriting.

    2.. Poetry and songwriting have been my most intimate form of personal expression, telling the story of a thought or feeling, an isolated concept or emotion, a detailed dissection/microscope of the human spirit. To delve into one thought and express one particular emotion from many perspectives…

    3. Telling an entire story with the same emotional energy and visual strength as a poem is my greatest challenge. To use a developed period of time and a cast of characters and images, to compact a lifetime of information/feeling into a 300+ page experience and at the end have it play in someone’s mind like a song, like the dusty memory of something they knew or someplace they’ve been.

    Questions: Have you noticed that there is an intrinsic expectation of “truth” in anything “written”! Do you find that responsibility largely honored by writers more or less in the present or past. I know for myself I may be befuddled by a circumstance in my life but I find what comes out on paper is clarity and always the truth of it! Do you think this is a grace gifted to writers, perhaps by the ability to draw from the subconscious thought pool?

    Do you think there are present writers as influential as the former greats? Do you think their influence on society will ever be as relevant and formative as literature was in our earlier (centuries of) development?

    I saw the first viral backlash (cartoon) on ebooks circulating via Writers Relief today! Welcome sight! How long do you think it will take for the ebook trend to crash, as people tire of eyestrain and miss the feel of paper?

    • Hi Laurie,

      Thanks for participating! I love what you said about telling an entire story with the same emotional energy of a poem. I think that is every storyteller’s greatest goal, and it’s one of the most difficult things to do.

      And here are my answers to your questions:

      1. This is like three questions in one and it’s pretty complicated. I’ve definitely noticed that there’s an intrinsic expectation of truth in writing–it’s how anyone can get away with writing fiction novels. I also definitely believe that writers have the ability to pull from the subconscious thought pool, but I think anyone can do that if they try hard enough.

      2. I don’t think so. In some ways, yes. I mean J.K. Rowling got thousands of kids who would have been more focused on TV otherwise to read, and certainly we’ve seen books hit massive sales records, but I don’t think that does much more than prove that reading is still cool. I think it’s much harder for a writer to make a splash like that both because everything’s already been done and because the world is much smaller but we have even more voices clamoring for attention. That said, I think a lot of writers still leave the kind of mark old writers did, just on a much smaller group of people because it’s harder to reach the entire reading world(because more people are both reading and writing than ever before).

      3. Well, personally, my Kindle doesn’t cause me any eyestrain because it doesn’t have a back light. And I love the ability to carry five books without weighing myself down. Ebooks are great for travel. But I tend to alternate between ebooks and paper books because I still love paper books. I think both are here to stay and that’s pretty cool. Unless we run out of electricity because nobody’s bothered to find an alternative energy source yet, in which case we’ll obviously be back to paper books. If we don’t lose all ability to read when that happens, of course.

  9. What a fun idea 😉

    1. I would spend my time as a child creating short stories. As I grew into a teen those stories turned into poems and song lyrics. I begged my parents for an electric type writer for Christmas when I was a teen, yet they knew my needs better, and I kept writing by hand. As I become a mom, running around with three children three years apart, my writing became journals and letters to my growing boys. Still I never realized writing was my passion, it was just my way of life. When I was in a ladies bible study, reading off one of my answers, a lady said “your sound like a writer.”It was at that moment, 25 years old, homeschooling mama of three that I realized, I am! I have not moved forward with my writing professionally. Fear of rejection, because I have not furthered my education beyond high school, I suppose. But in my darkest hour I used my writing, to save my life, when I began Writing For Joy. I can’t say it is a passion as much as a part of my make up. If I don’t write, I am not myself.

    2. My writing choices have changed over time. I used to love writing fiction. Now I love writing inspirational messages to those that are down. I am currently working on a devotional / bible study for ladies in our community. I also rather enjoy writing articles on a variety of subjects for copywriting sites. Children’s works are my favorite! I love telling stories to children.

    3. I have a hard time finishing material of my own. I run into a wall halfway through. Since I write ‘for me’, once I accomplish whatever emotion or feeling I was seeking has been down on paper, I find the drive is no longer there to finish my own work.

    Making a living with writing is my biggest wish. I am ill and can’t work out of the home, making more than a couple dollars an article would be my dream come true! But I must finish something first. Diligence, must be diligent!

    • Hi Writingforjoy,

      Thanks for participating. A typewriter *sigh*. You know, I’ve always wanted one of those… or a steampunk keyboard with typewriter keys at the very least. I find it a much more inspiring medium, and writing by hand is much too slow for me when I’m working on longer projects.

      I find it very interesting that your preferred method of writing has changed over time. Do you think this is sparked by specific events in your life, or is it just a gradual change?

      ~Dianna

      • Hi there Dianna,
        I think my preferred method of writing has changed, because the seasons in my life, have changed me.
        Also, because I never really looked at writing as my passion, but something I was. Hope that makes sense 🙂

        Shaey

      • Hi Shaey,

        That makes sense. I’ve definitely noticed that what I spend the most time writing depends on where I am in my life, but I always come back to fiction as my favourite. I tend to write a lot more poetry when I’m depressed and more non-fiction when I’m panicked about money because there’s more of a market for it.

        Thanks for your input,
        ~Dianna

  10. Oh my gosh, I wrote a book! Sorry.
    I hit post before my questions.

    1. You say your days have been busy, is it all writing?

    2. What is your favorite writing to do and is this your source of income?

    3. Do you make money with your blog and how?

    • Hi WritingforJoy,

      That’s all right, I don’t mind the reading. Here, let me give you a novel back…

      1. I wish. I’m currently wrapping up my last semester of high school, and I’m doing flyering for a dance studio because making money writing is hard and I’m trying to build a cushion to help me start my own business. I’m also trying to maintain friendships and even a romantic relationship, and at some point my brain is going to explode. Most of the things I have to do in a day aren’t all that unpleasant(the flyering will only be unpleasant while it’s cold), but the sheer number of things I’m expected to do is ridiculous, though I took on most of the responsibility myself. The hard part is that when I come home at 10PM from work, I don’t have the energy to do anything but check my email before I fall into bed.

      2. My favourite writing to do is definitely fiction writing, though it hasn’t provided me even a little bit of income. I’ve been writing fiction for longer than I’ve been writing anything else and I find it easier and more pleasant. Sadly, I’ve gotten several non-fiction articles published and even a poem, but my fiction is all still homeless.

      3. Not really. Because of who I’m writing for, I’ll only be making money from the blog once I’ve created an ebook about writing–which is one of the many things I’m trying to do–that I can sell. This is not the ideal place to find freelance clients because it’s a space for writers. Once I have products to market which will help other writers grow, I should be able to make a fair bit of money, but finding time to create these products in between all the other crap I have to do is a bit ridiculous. This blog has definitely helped me get a job doing social media marketing last year and it certainly impresses potential writing employees, but I can’t show a direct connection to making money.

      • Wow! What a drive you have. Very exciting to see teens with such ambition. I have made a very small amount of income from freelance. I have been told, this is the pocket to get into for a steady income. I feel it is a definite advantage if you have some writing courses under your belt, but I have had good feed back without it. It is a beginning, I suppose.

        I love the resources at this face book page 🙂
        https://www.facebook.com/chopeclark?fref=ts

        Good luck with all your future endeavors~

  11. 1. How did you discover your passion for writing?

    Hmm, never really thought about that. I think I used to watch movies, or read books, and tried to imagine what came next. I enjoyed comics, and the fantasy worlds they presented. I think that lead me to start imagining my own characters, in their own universe.

    2. What kind of writing do you love most?

    I always loved creating. Any kind of story has it’s upside, but nothing quite like writing in a fictional world. The future, or alternate realities, always keep my imagination running. Fantasy is always my favorite.

    3. Which aspects of writing do you need the most help with?

    Keeping on task. My mind wanders to much, and I’m constantly switching from one story to the next. In the end I get very little done on anything. Never been able to figure out how to keep my attention on one project at a time.

    I’m rather new to your blog, but I feel like its helped me a lot. So I wouldn’t mind just knowing the answers to the same questions you asked of us.

    • Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks so much for participating! I love how other stories are what inspired you to create your own.

      Here are my answers:

      1. I’m not sure exactly how I discovered my passion for writing. I know I always had a passion for storytelling. As a child I collected plushies and I would have ‘story time’ with them. I read aloud to them every night before bed. When I was eight something clicked in my brain and I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I think part of what made the click happen was discovering that J.K. Rowling was rich, since I was a huge Harry Potter fan as a child.

      2. Fantasy! I love writing fiction, and it has to be fantasy. I love experimenting in other worlds and with all the different strange talents I can give to my characters. It’s ridiculously fun. I also really love blogging though, because I love getting to know other writers and helping them out.

      3. Editing is definitely the thing I struggle with most. I’m a very fast writer, but it takes me forever to edit anything. I mean I’ve been working on the same edit since last July. It’s partially because of all the other projects I have going on right now, but it has a lot to do with the fact that I dislike editing. It feels slow and tedious and I find I can only do it in short chunks, which means it takes *forever* to do. I mean, this is a short novel we’re talking about, but it feels like it might never get out the door. Sigh.

      ~Dianna

  12. 1. How did you discover your passion for writing? – I was taught to love words at an early age. Poetry and good writing has – among other things – a mouth-feel. When I was a kid (and now) I read books like some people eat popcorn. In Gr 13, I was struggling with writing and very frustrated. I wanted to create what I loved to consume, but I couldn’t get it “right”. A beloved teacher then said … “well, you know you can change the words, right? All authors change the words.” An absolute and utter revelation to me.

    2. What kind of writing do you love most? – Ripping good stories that are tight, tense, smart, sassy, that are ruthless. 😀 I want something to deliver tension, emotion, and make me turn the pages.

    3. Which aspects of writing do you need the most help with? Over-wrtiting. Editing. Writing when there’s no “engine”. Writing when I don’t wanna. Getting paid for writing. Non-fiction writing.

    Q’s for you …

    What was the first book you remember ever reading?
    What was your favourite childhood book?
    What author do you most admire?
    What book do you wish you had written?

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