Archive for September 2nd, 2008

what and how do you write?

Over the past couple years, quite a few readers have asked me to talk, er, write more upon my writing process.

There’s really nothing magical about it, I don’t think, but I do promise that I’ll write something more in-depth sometime soon to give you an idea of how I work on both freelancing assignments as well as budding novels.

In the meantime, though, I’ve filled in this writing style meme from Janie’s Colloqium, and if you’re so inspired, please do the same, and let me know you did so in the comments!

1. Do you write fiction or non-fiction? Or both?

Non-fiction to pay the bills right now, but I dabble in fiction on the side. Remember NaNoWriMo? I’ll be doing it again this year. Paul of Crazy Like Whoa has jumped the starting gun by a few months, but won’t you join me in November?

2. Do you keep a journal or a writing notebook?

I have many journals from over the years, dating back to when I was, oh, probably 14 years old or so. I don’t write in my journal nearly as much as I should though.

As for a notebook, I keep a little one in my bag at all times just in case things strike my fancy, but in all honestly, I’m a scrap of paper kind of gal. Mostly backs of bus tickets. Have tons of them. All over the place.

I do, though, use regular-sized notebooks to write down all my research for nonfiction projects–I don’t rip anything out to file it, so I have several notebooks full of research for assignments over the years. Kind of a professional journal, I guess.

3. If you write fiction, do you know your characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts before you start writing or is that something else you discover only after you start writing? Do you find books on plotting useful or harmful?

I would say I know some of those things some of the time, but never all of those things. I usually have a basic plot in mind, but, as happens with many fiction writers, my characters often surprise me. I find plotting ahead of the time can be helpful, but not necessary and definitely changeable.

4. Are you a procrastinator or does the itch to write keep at you until you sit down and work?

Ooh, I’d have to say procrastinator considering that I’ve started a few novels now and haven’t finished any. Lots of ideas though! In my head, on paper, everywhere but, you know, in the computer.

With my work assignments, I’m much more disciplined. Thank goodness.

5. Do you write in short bursts of creative energy, or can you sit down and write for hours at a time?

Both have happened, and both are lovely and well-received.

6. Are you a morning or afternoon writer?

I’m much more productive in the morning than in the afternoon, which is why I hate when I have to run errands in the morning. It’s *very* difficult for me to get my concentration back after goingin giro” all morning.

I’m also great later in the evening, from 9 pm on, but since that’s when P and I have time to hang out, I don’t usually write then unless he’s out with the boys or extra tired.

7. Do you write with music/the noise of children/in a cafe or other public setting, or do you need complete silence to concentrate?

I usually have the TV or music on, but I can work just as well in silence. Idle chatter, though, annoys me, and I’m not sure I could write in a cafe. I used to have a horrible time trying to study among people in college and law school, if that was any indication.

8. Computer or longhand? (or typewriter?)

Mostly, nearly all computer, but if I’m out and about and the mood strikes, I’ll longhand it.

9. Do you know the ending before you type Chapter One? Or do you let the story evolve as you write?

So far I haven’t known any of the endings, and perhaps that’s part of my problem….

10. Does what’s selling in the market influence how and what you write?

In my nonfiction writing, of course, because I do a lot of topical stuff. For fiction, I write what I feel like and I figure I’ll let my (as yet to be found) agent sort it all out.

11. Editing/Revision – love it or hate it?

Honestly? Kind of love it. I rather enjoy perfecting things in general, so it’s not surprising to me how much I enjoy perfecting my words. I find it challenging, exhilarating even, to pinpoint exactly the way I want to express what I’m trying to say. The pleasure I find in finding the right word is really indescribable. How’s that for irony?

So, what and how do you write?

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake