You asked.  I answer.  Here we go!  (Said in best Mario Kart voice.)

Christine Danek asked, What is your writing process?

I’m a pantser-plotter.  I’ve got an outline with general ideas for what has to happen in the book.  The outline hits the main points, the big events, but the path from A to B to C is not laid out.  I just let things go where they will.  It’s rather organic and gets me tied in knots sometimes.  This current WiP will need major reconstructive surgery when I get to revisions.

Christine also asked, What are your favorite kind of characters to write?

Well, I think I’m still looking for that.  Without a doubt I write a lot of female characters.  Males are something I need to hone my skills in.  I’m not really sure of anything beyond that.  I’ve got a couple female characters who are writers, but not in this WiP.  I’ve got a female character in the works who definitely bucks “should be this way.”

Deb asked, Would love to hear more about the courses you are taking and do you think they’ll help or affect your writing process in any way?

Honestly, the biggest impact my courses will have is lessening the time I actually have to write or revise.  Which is a good thing, in its own way.  If I want to get anything done, I have to stay on top of everything and not procrastinate.  It’s truly a blessing.

As for the classes themselves, I’m taking beginning photography (LOVE), beginning drawing (like walking through the Inferno top to bottom every other day), 2D design (blech), art history (big grin), and graphic computer applications, in which I learn all about Adobe creative software (ADORE).  I think this degree will cause a massive rewire in my brain and general thought processes.  But I don’t know about that.  We’ll see what happens.

Elana asked, Have you ever been to Hawaii?  Why or why not?  Should we go next summer or something?

Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been twice.  We went as a family when I was in elementary school and I’m so happy to have those memories.  That was when my dad’s remissions still lasted a good while, when he was healthy, and we just decided to go on these big vacations.  We did Disney World one year, too.  It seems like it was only a year or so after the last of those two family vacations that everything spiraled slowly downhill with my dad’s health.

My mom and I went again just over 4 years ago, just for fun.  It was a nice getaway during the dreary Utah winter.

And, yes, we should go.  But not in summer.  Too hot.  Spring.  Or winter.  We’ll talk.

Sarah Simas asks, How do you structure your characters?  Worksheets?  Charts?  Or do you wing it?

I like to think I structure my characters, but they’re really not.  With Oracles Promise I have two or three pages on each character (for the most part) in a spiral notebook.  Things ranging from physical appearance to personal history (in as few paragraphs as possible).  Health history, where relevant or applicable.  But I don’t really reference the notebook much.  So I try to structure, but I end up winging it and letting the basic ideas I keep in my head guide the actions and character development.  Sometimes in Oracles Promise the characters piped up when I headed a direction they didn’t like.

Sarah also asks, What kind of writing goal do you set for yourself?  Word count or page count?  Something different?

I write by hand so setting page and word count goals gets a little tricky.  I try to set word count goals, but I usually end up failing miserably at those.  So I turned to just making it a goal to write daily.  I didn’t always succeed at it, but there was less pressure.  (I also tend to set highly unrealistic goals so I set myself up for glorious failure.)

Nisa asks, Any plans while the novel stews?

Yes.  Reading.  I’ve been afraid to read while in first draft mode lest I take too much inspiration from what I’m reading.  (Meaning my novel becoming derivative.)  So now that I’m totally done with the first draft I hope to make a good sized dent in my TBR list.  (Which stands at a whopping 21 books now that I’ve read the first on my list.)