Friday, May 21, 2010

The answers you've been waiting for...

Eighteen questions from Wednesday & Thursday to be answered! You guys rock, thank you.

Kari Lynn Dell asked: What genre do you write?

Hmm. Well, when I first started writing my first novel in November 2005 (inspired by National Novel Writing Month), I hung out in NaNoWriMo's literary fiction chat rooms. When I started querying the novel, I called it women's fiction, because I got the feeling that literary fiction was a label other people had to give you, you couldn't give it to yourself. ( I "literary" enough?)

Then I had a number of agents tell me that my book was in fact chick lit because it had a first-person POV 20-something urban female narrator with a slightly confidential and humorous tone, despite the total lack of shopping, shoes, or other traditional chick lit content. So I tried to embrace the chick lit label (there are some posts in the early days of this blog on that subject), but... hell. I didn't write chick lit.

I wrote a coming-of-age novel. My narrator is female, and 26. My current WIP, a long short story, is about the devil (who is also female, though obviously much older). The only fiction I've ever been paid for is sci fi/fantasy. I've given up trying to categorize my writing beyond "fiction" (for now, at least), and I think that's made me much happier.

Patty asked: "How you do you get yourself um... you know, in the mood ... when you'd rather subject yourself to root canal that deal with a story that just won't come?"

You knew I was going to quote that whole thing verbatim, right? That's the most fabulously-phrased writing question ever.

If the story won't come, I write a different story. I've tried to force it, but that never seems to work for me. Sometimes I can write a different scene, or some backstory for a lesser-known character, or something else in the same vein to keep the work going on a single project, but if it's really not working, I have to walk away. I write something else that needs more badly to be written. This is the luxury of the unpublished: I'm not on deadline, so it doesn't matter if I just switch gears.

Also, I'm an extrovert, so I've learned that (even though writers are supposed to be these solitary creatures) if my writing is stagnating, it's probably because I'm too isolated. And I go online to chat with my writer friends, or I go for a walk, and I just get out of my own head for a while. I get energy from the outside world, so I will probably always need a class or a writer's group or something else outside myself and my home office to help my creative process along.

Bryan Russell (Ink) asked: If you had decided to make an acting comeback, and could have chosen any movie and role in the last ten years to do so, what would it be? and why?

Hey, cool question. Umm... can I just be Anne Hathaway for a while? Some fun stuff like Ella Enchanted and Devil Wears Prada (with Meryl-freaking-Streep) and then that knockout supporting role in Brokeback Mountain? If I was younger, I'd want Dakota Fanning's career; she was taken so seriously from such a young age, it's wonderful. I think child actors get more respect now than ever before, and I think that these young actors are able to create better performances than ever before as a result.

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that made me think, damn, I wish I was still in the business, that role would be perfect for me. I'm sad that I'll never be on an episode of Law & Order.

Okay, here's my answer. I want someone to write a script for me, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Fred Koehler, because they are both spectacular talents and wonderful people and not nearly enough people know them. That will be my comeback.

Or, you know, anything with Daniel Craig or Christian Bale or Jennifer Connelly or Angelina Jolie.

Caroline Starr Rose asked: Where you are in the query process?

Stiiiiiill waitin'. Five or so agents have fulls. And maybe someday they will have time to read them.

Harley May asked: Will you hold my hand?

Only if it's while watching the director's cut LOTR with the commentary on. Oh, who am I kidding, yes, you can hold my hand any time you're near enough to do so. :-)

maine character asked: If you could have an hour's talk with any author ever, who would it be, why, and what would you ask?

Ooh, another good one... Hunter S. Thompson, because he had the ability (and willingness) to use language like a weapon. He articulated concepts and truths that you didn't know existed until he wrote them down, and then you'd read his words and realize you knew it all along, and your chest would hurt from that awakening. I wish he had written more fiction (actual fiction, not gonzo nonfiction).

I'd want to ask what scared him. I'd want to ask him about being a dad and a husband. I'd want to ask him about dying. I'd want to ask him what he regretted. I'd want to ask him what he loved. And what I would do instead to get him talking is hand him a drink and ask him to teach me how to shoot.

Simon C. Larter asked: Were there pierogies served with the sauerkraut and kielbasa [at the wedding reception you recently attended]? Also, would you ever consider vlogging a reenactment of your favorite acting moments from childhood?

Sadly, there were no pierogis as part of the buffet! But we stocked up on everything at Swiacki's before heading home.

No reenactments. Ever. I'm old now, the originals are already on film, it would be wrong.

jjdebenedictis asked: Would you like to know how superconductors work?

I'm a little intimidated by this question. Is this knowledge going to be important for me later?

Adam Heine asked: Batman v. Ironman. Go.
Jetlag + 3-year-old, better or worse than being forced to watch a Seventh Heaven marathon?

Batman. The original Dark Knight comic books cannot be topped by a man in a metal suit.

That second question is so horrible that it gives me chills. I'm going to pick the jetlagged parenting of a jetlagged 3yo, because I'm choosing to go on an international flight with my daughter next month, whereas I would never in a million years choose to watch a Seventh Heaven marathon.

KLM asked: As regards your writing goals: If you had to choose between critical acclaim and icon status posthumously or fabulous wealth and fame during your lifetime but then no one ever read anything you wrote ever again, which would you choose?

I assume that the fabulous wealth and fame during my lifetime are because people love my writing now, right, it's just that for whatever reason it ends up not standing the test of time? This isn't a trick question where I get fame and wealth for being horrible? Okay, then I would choose the fame now, because I think I have something to say, well, right now. If my words end up being timeless, that's fantastic, but I wrote it now, and I hope people will want to read it now.

Tabitha Bird asked: How goes the book? Is the universe cooperating with you? :)

Novel number two and I have been on the outs for a while, so I've been ignoring it in favor of several short stories. I think it's finally starting to get jealous and miss me, but I'm not going to give it any attention until it apologizes properly and agrees to behave. You have to be firm or these books will just walk all over you, really.

Sandy asked: Team Aniston or Team Jolie?

Um... yeah.

Journaling Woman asked: Is there a Pippi Longstocking inside you?

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking. Always and forever.

Lucy Woodhull asked: If you could be any person who ever lived, what person would that be and how would you, as that person, defeat the alien-unicorn-wolf-bear hybrids who are, even as I type, flying in from the planet Mentos to enslave us all and make sex toys of our goats?

I would be Charles Darwin, because he's the one who stopped the alien-unicorn-wolf-bear hybrids the last time they tried to enslave us all, using finch-power and the secrets known only to the Galapagos turtles.

Audrey Beth Stein asked: If you didn't have writing (or acting) for a creative outlet, how do you think your creativity would be expressed?

Dance. Lots and lots more dance.


  1. That is a HOT picture of Angelina Jolie. You may continue to be my friend.

  2. Thanks for the bit on Hunter S. Thompson. You said it so well that by trimming it down it could be the opening to a novel:

    If I could be with my father again, for just an hour, I'd want to ask what scared him. I'd want to ask him about being a dad and a husband. I'd want to ask him about dying. And what I would do instead is hand him a drink and ask him to teach me how to shoot.

  3. maine character. or Carrie. Write that novel. RIGHT NOW, please. I want to know more.

    I'll check back in with you after lunch for the first few chapters.

  4. "I would never in a million years choose to watch a Seventh Heaven marathon."

    When your daughter is 15, and your friends move away and give her the first season of Seventh Heaven on DVD as a may not have much of a choice.

  5. Applauds! This was great! I'm still blushing over my question, but thanks for answering it.

    My husband's got a thing for Ms. Jolie... so I got a tattoo. He hates it! Go figure.

  6. Awesome, Carrie. Love it. You are a VERY SMART girl!

  7. LOL! Love your answer to Sean's question.

  8. Ah... the Galapagos. Is that where the Loch Ness Monster Lives?

  9. Hey, thanks for answering my question. Intriguing. I'll check out those writers, too...