Thursday, 14 July 2011

Question Time


If you follow Strictly regularly, you'll have noticed that we occasionally ask writers a series of Quick-Fire Questions, designed to get in amongst the nitty-gritty details of their writing lives.

This morning I decided to choose five questions to ask myself, with the idea of asking you, should you choose this mission, to do the same. Here are the questions and my answers:

Where do you write?
Perched at a breakfast bar in my recently rented flat in Bristol. Squashed between a fridge-freezer and a full-length Georgian window with no curtain. At night I can see into my neighbours' hall. I watch their nocturnal comings-and-goings, which usually involve dogs. And they can watch me struggling to write. An edifying sight, I'm sure.

Plotter or Pantser?
In my fondest dreams, I'm a Pantser through and through. Flying by the seat of my pants, Letting It All Hang Out on the page. Keeping it loose. Scrawling freely in longhand in a notebook, all the way through to the end of a wonderfully Shitty First Draft. In reality I hunch like a constipated Scrooge over the keyboard (all the better for obsessing over every word), unable or unwilling to move on until the bit I've written is Absolutely Right.

Booker Prize or Hollywood Movie?
Hmm. Tricky. Though given the style of my writing, I think a Hollywood movie might be best (the money, of course, doesn't come into it): I'd rather connect with a multitude of people than with a critical few. Also, I don't have the right kind of intellect for the Booker interviews I'd have to do for Radio Four. I would crumble under John Humphrys' steely eye.

Favourite writing snack - sweet or savoury?
I'm not choosy, as long as it's within easy reach and not too messy (see - even my snacks have to be plotted).

What makes your inner writer happy?
The magic of writing: the joy when a combination of words and phrases comes together feeling real and true and right; creating something or someone who wasn't there before and who never will exist unless I sit down and write them; the way the writing knows where it's going, even if I don't.

So, over to you. Any or all of them.

- Where do you write?
- Plotter or Pantser?
- Booker Prize or Hollywood Movie?
- Favourite writing snack?
- What makes your writer happy?

21 comments:

Helen Black said...

Susie, one thing I've noticed is how as writers we read other writers' responses to questions like this for tips. We're hoping to discover the 'method' or the 'way' which will help us, no?

The plotting versus pantsing is my golden egg. I'm a plotter and yet I always feel that if I could just pants it my world might open up...lol.
HB x

Kate said...

Okay, I'll play:
1. At my desk
2. A bit of both
3. Movie!
4. Chocolate
5. No interruptions
:-)

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Helen, that's so true. Like someone's got the clue that will be the Holy Grail.
S'funny: I always imagine you as a pantser. Maybe it's the lawyer in you that needs the plotting.
Kate - ah, chocolate. Lethal AND messy, but who cares...
Susuiex

Roderic Vincent said...

- Where do you write?
The summer house. Cedar Walls that shimmer in the twilight.
- Plotter or Pantser?
I know this is a Strictly Writing expression but I hate the ugly term pantser. Anyway I'm writing poems mostly at the moment.
- Booker Prize or Hollywood Movie?
T S Eliot prize please. 
- Favourite writing snack?
Rickety Bridge Chardonnay 
- What makes your writer happy?
A big idea for a poem that comes up through my feet. 

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Love the idea of poems coming up through your feet.
What term would best describe a poet who plots? A Potter? :)
Enjoy. It sounds lovely.
Susiex

Anonymous said...

At a tiny desk with the window behind me.

Increasingly plotter - doesn't half make the first draft easier.

Hollywood pleaase, for the big audience and the money wouldn't go amiss:)

Biscuits. My keyboard to home to many a variety of crumb.

Any sort of validation. My inner writer is a bit needy.

Sam x

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Oh, Sam, I'm so with you on that last one...
Susiex

badas2010 said...

1. Back bedroom converted to an office with a door that shuts.
2. Always been a pantser but wish I'd been more of a plotter - too late now.
3. British movie.
4. Apple.
5. Getting it right and knowing I've got it right.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Never too late, badas. You may uncover your inner Plotter yet.
And congratulations - you're the only one of us so far who has a healthy writing snack!
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

1. Smallest room in the house - all pale blues and overlooking leafy neighbours' gardens.
2. Like Rod, don't like the 'other' P-word and however much I try to plot, I never stick to it. A beginning and end - does that count as plotting?
3. Movie all the way.
4. Intravenous Typhoo ('real' food is too distracting).
5. I'm with Sam on the validation thing. Needy bugger, me.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

LOL, Debs! 'The smallest room in the house' - do you really write in the loo?!?
Susiex

Debs Riccio said...

lol - I KNEW somebody would think that! Yeah - I get flushed with inspiration in here, Susie!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

I s'pose in there you're on a (toilet) roll.
Sorry.
Susiex

Ryshia Kennie said...

- Where do you write?
Used to be my basement office - no windows but cozy. Now my desk is a moving target until renos are done. Currently in the TV room with the TV off of course.
- Plotter or Pantser? Reforming Pantser - but you can't change the heart.
- Booker Prize or Hollywood Movie? Movie as I could replay it and never forget even in my dotage.
- Favourite writing snack? Chocolate chip cookies.
- What makes your writer happy? The idea that comes out of nowhere and begins a story or gets an existing one over the hump.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Ryshia, how did you ever manage without a window in your office? No distractions!
Susiex

Derek said...

A great post, Susie - food for thought, plus food AND thought. Here are my bullets, loaded in.
1. In the study, formerly my workspace when I sailed on the good ship corporate.
2. I plot and I pants at different times - they're like a bickering couple in my head, out for a drive in the country and lost. Each is convinced they know the way and wants to take the wheel.
3. Hollywood Movie, definitely. Preferably an Indie Brit or French film instead.
4. Chocolate or crisps. Which covers two of the major food groups.
5. Accomplishment. Recognition. The feeling that I'm not wasting my time at this and that whatever I'm writing will actually end up in print and people will buy it. Consequently, my writer can be a moody sod.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

You always make me smile, Derek! Love the inner plotter and pantser duo.
Susiex

Kat said...

1) At the dining table in our living room.
2) Bit of both.
3) Movie.
4) Cheese or chocolate.
5)Coming up with an idea I know will make a great story!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Hmm, Kat. I've never thought of cheese as a writing snack. Don't you have to keep washing your hands?
Susiex

Leila Rasheed said...

- Where do you write?
Anywhere I can - at the moment at the dining table.

- Plotter or Pantser?

A bit of both. I start off pantsing, then after 500 words or so I start to plot.

- Booker Prize or Hollywood Movie?

Booker Prize. Or any writing prize.

- Favourite writing snack?

Tea! :)

- What makes your writer happy?

Again, validation of some kind. Encouragement.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

TEA??!??
I am gobsmacked, Leila. No wonder you are thin.
Susiex