Forum posts made by ashleigh

Topic Use One Word to Describe How You're Feeling
Posted 23 Dec 2010 14:00

Mischievous

Topic Use One Word to Describe How You're Feeling
Posted 02 Nov 2010 09:06

Inspired.... drunken

Topic Writing a Novel
Posted 28 Oct 2010 21:05

Personally, I planned the entire plot line of the novel down to detailed sketches of how each chapter would progress before I ever started. Given the themes and plot twists in my novel, I needed to be very specific with all the subtle details and foreshadowing. I couldn't bring out a major plot twist half-way through without having been consistent from the beginning. I also wanted to give readers every opportunity to notice certain things that would seem irrelevant during the first half of the story but that would take on great significance during the second half... so readers would have that "oh my god", or "aha" moment later on.

When I write, unless I have a plot line well mapped out (even with short stories), I find that my writing can tend to wander quite a bit. I need to know what my point of view is in the storytelling and how one moment will progress to another.

I do fairly detailed character sketches, but I give myself more flexibility with them as I write. A lot of plot progression will come from dialogue and character actions which can evolve as I go. I have found with the novel that I'm working on, that characters really did come to life, and as I filled the basic outlines of my characters, I found myself starting to grow more attached and/or fond of certain characters I had originally seen as more two-dimensional when I was originally sketching out the plot. It hasn't changed the development of the plot line, but I've given certain characters more "air-time" as I've come to enjoy writing them. Sadly, each character has a very specific fate (some fates worse than others... lol), and that will not change, regardless of how much I've come to enjoy them.

Topic Use One Word to Describe How You're Feeling
Posted 27 Oct 2010 17:01

Excited!

Topic A Picture Tells a Thousand Words
Posted 23 Oct 2010 16:21

http://www.storiesspace.com/forum/upload/images/269-61.jpg

Topic A Picture Tells a Thousand Words
Posted 23 Oct 2010 16:20

http://www.storiesspace.com/forum/upload/images/766-121.jpg

Topic Story Locations
Posted 22 Oct 2010 05:06

So far I've only written about places that I'm familiar with. My novel takes place in NYC and I've spent quite a bit of time there on and off since I was in my early teens both for pleasure as well as for professional reasons. Details even down to restaurants, party locales, and living spaces have all been taken from my own memories. The city itself is very important to the theme of the story so I chose it carefully. It wouldn't work in any other city. And I started writing the story just after I returned from NYC a year ago after having been a little inspired.

There is a shorter segment of my novel that I'm writing now that takes place in a foreign locale that I haven't been to yet (yikes!). I've actually been doing quite a bit of research online, watching travel clips, and trying to get into the vibe of the locale. It's exotic and tropical and nowhere I had already been would have worked for this plot point so I'm going out on a limb with this one. Hope it works... happy8

Everything else I have written has always used a location I'm familiar with. I'll typically use hotels and restaurants I've been to as well to keep things as authentic as I can.

Topic Use One Word to Describe How You're Feeling
Posted 21 Oct 2010 18:51

Disturbed.

Topic Being Typecast by a Genre
Posted 21 Oct 2010 17:00

Do you feel that a writer can get typecast by their genre?

Many authors will choose to use different pen-names when they write in multiple genres (eg. Stephen King, Iain Banks etc.)

Why do you think this is?

Are readers unable to differentiate, or do you think that an image/expectation can be created by being associated with one genre to such a degree that you need an entirely different name/image in order to publish something different and be respected for it.

How much does the image of the author factor into someone's decision to read a story, and how much can it either add or detract from their credibility in a specific genre?

Eg. If you read romance novels... would you be inclined to pick a romance novel written by Stephen King? Or would you say forget it - that's not his genre and he probably won't know what he's doing.

Topic Sprite's Wonderland
Posted 21 Oct 2010 14:27

I love your story series, Sprite. As someone who never really got into the Alice in Wonderland phenomena ( don't hate me...eek! ), I'm finding this piece very refreshing and entertaining! I like the darker aspects, so maybe that's why I'm finding it more thrilling than the traditional AIW story.

Do you find it difficult to switch to Alice's POV and retell the same story? I've read a few novel series where they have done this, and I found that I really enjoyed them. So far, which character's perspective have you enjoyed writing from the most? And do you think that's because the character is more relatable to you as the writer? I always wonder who the author identifies most with in a story series that deals with two different POV's.... icon_smile

Topic Your Favourite Character Creation
Posted 21 Oct 2010 14:19

Most of my characters are immediately flawed, and you slowly grow to love them or appreciate their complexities. I certainly did, as I wrote them, which was surprising to me. I wasn't expecting to like some of them and it kind of made me feel a little guilty to make bad things happen to them. happy8

I love flawed characters, they're a lot more realistic and easier to relate to. Do you spend a lot of time deciding what your characters' flaws will be? Do you ever worry you might choose the wrong traits for your characters and make them into people the readers aren't able to warm to?

I tend to draw a lot from real life when creating central characters. Those people that I know in real life always have flaws (or tendencies to flaws) so I tend to follow that lead. I want the flaws to be as realistic as possible.

I have had the concern that readers may not warm up to certain characters. I tend to enjoy stories with controversial on unconventional characters, but that is not the case with all readers. The entire "cast" is really meant to portray the concepts central to the overall themes of the story, and so they may tend to the extremes in certain cases.

Having said that, I do go out of my way (as the story progresses) to humanize the characters and give them more relatable and sympathetic traits.

But yeah... it's been on my mind since the beginning... are the characters too abrasive for readers to care about? If anyone is reading the story and has an opinion on this, be sure to let me know... icon_smile

I'm enjoying your characters. The way they interact with one another works well. You use some nice subtle little expressions and gestures that make them seem all the more real.

Thank you, Lisa. Funny, but as I started writing this longer piece, the characters began to feel very real to me as well. With time, you can really fill in all the subtleties, and I think that's one of the most enjoyable things about writing a novel over a short story. It starts to become more personal, even to the writer.

Topic Music That Inspires You
Posted 21 Oct 2010 08:40

Music inspires a lot of my writing. It sets a mood or tone for a story, and sometimes it will help me create an entire character.

The novel I'm writing was actually inspired by the song "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" by Iron & Wine. Tragically, the film version of Twilight took a brilliant song, and kind of ruined it by improperly associating it with a cheesey love story. I've always been a big fan of Iron & Wine for their lyrics, and while some people have had trouble interpreting the ones for this song, once you do understand them, you really appreciate their vision. I appreciated it enough to let it inspire an entire storyline, loosely based around the disillusionment of the American Dream and the original ideals giving way to all our modern perversions and neurosis.

I actually pay homage to the song when my two main characters meet for the first time at an Iron & Wine concert.

I'm posting the song link incase anyone is curious. icon_smile


http://www.youtube.com/v/gUQOAsq-C2A?fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999

Topic Story Locations
Posted 21 Oct 2010 08:21

Does location matter to you?

Do you read in order to vicariously enjoy places in the world you've never been? Are certain settings more appealing to you than others? (eg. tropical locations, exotic countries, urban cities, quiet country settings?). Do you prefer reading about places you can immediately relate to, or are you more drawn to reading about places you've never been before, or imaginary worlds that don't exist in reality?

Topic Story Locations
Posted 21 Oct 2010 08:19

How do you choose the location/setting for your story? Do you only write about places you've been yourself, or do you research locations on the internet? How concerned are you about capturing the essence of the locale/setting? How important do you think the location is to a story?

Topic Your Favourite Character Creation
Posted 20 Oct 2010 21:57

Most of my characters are immediately flawed, and you slowly grow to love them or appreciate their complexities. I certainly did, as I wrote them, which was surprising to me. I wasn't expecting to like some of them and it kind of made me feel a little guilty to make bad things happen to them. happy8

I love flawed characters, they're a lot more realistic and easier to relate to. Do you spend a lot of time deciding what your characters' flaws will be? Do you ever worry you might choose the wrong traits for your characters and make them into people the readers aren't able to warm to?

I tend to draw a lot from real life when creating central characters. Those people that I know in real life always have flaws (or tendencies to flaws) so I tend to follow that lead. I want the flaws to be as realistic as possible.

I have had the concern that readers may not warm up to certain characters. I tend to enjoy stories with controversial on unconventional characters, but that is not the case with all readers. The entire "cast" is really meant to portray the concepts central to the overall themes of the story, and so they may tend to the extremes in certain cases.

Having said that, I do go out of my way (as the story progresses) to humanize the characters and give them more relatable and sympathetic traits.

But yeah... it's been on my mind since the beginning... are the characters too abrasive for readers to care about? If anyone is reading the story and has an opinion on this, be sure to let me know... icon_smile

Topic Your Favourite Character Creation
Posted 20 Oct 2010 11:42

It's actually hard for me to choose what character I love most in my novel "American Lullaby." None of them are based on me (thank god! haha). But they have all come out of my twisted little mind.

Most of my characters are immediately flawed, and you slowly grow to love them or appreciate their complexities. I certainly did, as I wrote them, which was surprising to me. I wasn't expecting to like some of them and it kind of made me feel a little guilty to make bad things happen to them. happy8

I'm probably most fond of my male protagonist Liam Sullivan. He is the charming, attractive, egotistical guy that would infuriate most women, although they would secretly probably find him quite intriguing. He's loosely based on a few people I've known (* cough cough *) over the years, and when you first meet him, he's certainly not the most loveable guy. As I continued writing the story, I found myself starting to like him more and more, and you end up seeing all of his redeeming qualities.

None of my characters are what they appear to be on first glance, so it's been an interesting challenge presenting them to the reader and then slowly surprising (or shocking) the reader as the plot progresses.

I do have to give a little shout-out to my canine character - an ugly English Mastiff named Hugo. He was actually directly inspired by the dog a guy I dated once had. He's the most immediately loveable character in my novel. Although as it turns out, he's hiding a dark secret too! evil4

Topic The issue of the re-write
Posted 20 Oct 2010 07:15

I have never done a re-write, even though there is much of my writing that would probably benefit from it.

With my longer pieces, I do like to take a break from the story and leave it alone for a few weeks (or months) at a time so that I can re-read it with fresh eyes and look at it from a more critical angle.

Unfortunately if I don't like what I've written, I usually just abandon the entire thing rather than re-write.

I might get around to it one day, but there always seems to be new ideas I'd rather concentrate my efforts on before going back to clean up the rest.

Topic Your Favourite Character Creation
Posted 20 Oct 2010 07:12

Of the stories or novels you have written (or are writing) tell us about your favourite character that you have created.

Who are they?
What inspired the character?
Why do you hold this character close to your heart?


If you aren't a writer, then tell us what type of character intrigues you when you read a story, and feel free to share some of your favourites.

Topic National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
Posted 18 Oct 2010 17:06

I've never done this, but I love the idea of it as a challenge.

I'm just afraid of the quality of my writing when I'm working to a deadline. It seems to make me want to procrastinate... confused1

"Maybe next year!"... Yeah, that's my favourite excuse. icon_smile

Topic What's Happening?
Posted 18 Oct 2010 16:53

Fantasizing about booking a vacation.

Topic What do you like the most about reading?
Posted 18 Oct 2010 16:50

It's like getting into someone else's head for a little while. And I am fascinated by how people think.

Topic the end is the beginning
Posted 18 Oct 2010 16:19

ecstasy

Topic What's in your mug?
Posted 18 Oct 2010 10:58

Chai Tea

Topic What's in your mug?
Posted 17 Oct 2010 18:46

My favourite bordeaux (Chateau Pey La Tour).

Topic How Do You Feel?
Posted 17 Oct 2010 17:12

Now we have our first stories posted on site, it's a good time to ask how you feel as a writer when you put your work out there to be read by others.

Does it take you a while to build the courage or do you have nerves of steel and are not put off at all by the idea?



I get full nerves every single time. But I'm always eager to post as soon as I finish something. I've never delayed submitting a story just because I was nervous about it. When in doubt, a few drinks always help to ease the anxiety... 3601

Topic Writing Habits
Posted 17 Oct 2010 09:39

I'm highly flexible and highly undisciplined, so there's the good and the bad.

I will write at any time of the day or night, anywhere and anytime... but there is no consistency in terms of when these bursts of writing energy will seize me. I tend to go through spurts of intense writing, followed by periods of writer's block or general exhaustion. During the latter phase, I don't force myself to write. I have in the past (writing for the sake of writing), but I'm never happy with what I produce.

Topic Who do you write like?
Posted 17 Oct 2010 09:00

I plugged in my longest written piece to date (88,000 words, unfinished), and I got David Foster Wallace.

I'm not sure how accurate the analysis is, but I loved that comparison. I think he's brilliant. drunken

Topic What's your ultimate goal as a writer?
Posted 16 Oct 2010 09:13


Even if I never get to publish anything else, I'll always write for my own pleasure and enjoyment. But yeah, I'd be lying if I didn't say that a beach house with bleached wood floors, my laptop, an almost finished manuscript and a glass of bordeaux isn't one of my all time favourite writer fantasies...



heh. if anyone can make that happen, it's you, hon. just don't to include me in the dedications in one of your best sellers. :)

Wait, in my vision, you're living in the beach house next to mine. We go jogging on the beach every morning at 6am by the way. We also have matching Apple laptop computers and are collaborating on a sequel to our New York Times Bestseller...

drunken

Topic Do you prefer one long story, or multiple shorter chapters?
Posted 16 Oct 2010 07:47

On sites like these, I have often wondered if readers prefer reading one long story (eg. 10,000-12,000 words) as a single piece or if they prefer having it broken out into shorter chapters and posted separately.

I often see subsequent story chapters getting less attention, and new readers probably are going to be less inclined to click on "chapter two" on the front page if they haven't read '"chapter one" yet. Or would this tempt you to search out the first chapter if you noticed there was a story broken into segments?

As a reader, do you have a preference?

Topic How long does it take?
Posted 16 Oct 2010 07:18

It really varies... anywhere from one day to a week if I'm properly committed to the story. I have other pieces that I start and stop that can drag on for months, but once I'm invested and hooked on a piece of writing, the story almost tends to write itself rather quickly.

Like XuanMai, editing is not my strong suit, probably due to lack of patience. I will do superficial edits (reading it through and cleaning it up once or twice), but that's about it.

I've never written more than one draft for a story, and I've never gone back and changed a plot direction, or rewritten something I wasn't happy with. I do want to improve on my self-editing. Sometimes I'll go back and re-read something I've written a few weeks later and see where I should have tightened up my writing, or expanded on certain plot points.