Anonymous said: jesus how are you pulling all this amazing writing out of the bag every couple of hours? Like, every story is pitch perfect and just perfect as all fuck even when it's just a tiny wee ficlet of a thing and oh my god scout what is your writing process what are your methods tell meeeeee
I CANNOT REVEAL MY DARK SECRETS. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW THE TRUTH.
Ummm just kidding, hi, thank you! The prompts have been really surprisingly fun to write— I would offer to do it again if I didn’t have like, three more things I want to try to get done real quick between now and hiatus ending. SO SOON.
That said, uh, I’ve always been a fast writer? My brain is a speedy brain. It’s such a weird, personal process that I’m hesitant to give advice, because the honest to god truth is that I wrote almost all of those stories while drinking and watching television. But I’ve trained myself to be able to write like that. (I like background noise while I’m working. Not everyone does.)
I think the trick with prompts— which can be anything from, for instance, “Stiles has a good day” to “Stiles helps Derek get dressed for a date and pines and then Derek confesses his feelings and they make out”— is to find something specific to hang your response on. So with the latter prompt, which is itself very specific, I was kind of just filling in details. (Or would have been, if I hadn’t made Ashe and Verity help me turn it into fluffball crackfic.) But with the former— I mean, that could be anything.
So I did the cheap thing, and thought: what are my best days like? I used to have a Sunday tradition of going to yoga and then going for a long bike ride, and spending the rest of the day cooking. I loved that. Stiles might not love cooking or yoga, but he might like biking, okay, great. And then I just kind of— ask myself questions, and answer them. Where is he living? What’s his bike like? Where did he get it? Does the rest of the pack bike? Derek? Where is Derek, anyway? Does he want to come? (Should I just let Stiles fall back into bed with him because fuck it, whatever, I’d probably rather have sex with Derek Hale than ride a bike, really?) Some q’s—about relationships and pack structure &.c come up again and again. I try to think of new answers for every story, because otherwise I get bored, and I imagine y’all would, too.
It’s helpful, at this point, to be a person who’s been writing for a long time, who has a lot of words and images at her disposal, preferably drawn from real life. That’s my big general piece of writing advice: notice things, out in the world! Then write about them! Who cares if people think that diaries or blogs or memoirs are navel-gaze-y— it’s a perfect way to warm up to describing things that don’t exist, to get good at describing things that do.
So that’s my process, basically: finding a constraint to work within (or, in this case, two constraints: the prompt and my idea for how to answer it) and then saying, okay, if I know this one thing, what other things follow logically from there? And then choosing the right details to fill in the blanks.
(I do the same thing with longer stories, only backwards: first a question, then constraints. So like, in Reason to Believe: what is the pack’s attitude towards faith? Well, what would it be specifically if Derek had left with Peter, if they’d had to band together at seventeen and really really figure some shit out?)
I have lots of other thoughts & feelings about the writing process, but the last thing I will say about writing fic specifically is that it’s helpful to think about tropes when you’re doing it. I mean, do not get me wrong: I love tropes, both macro and micro, I love them and would never want a fandom without them. But it’s to your advantage to subvert them in some way— to set up something that seems familiar and give the reader a new ending, which is to say, a new way of looking at that whole setup.
(Ashe and I have a whole email thread about taking this to an, uh, probably an extreme: for instance, writing genderswap in which female-bodied Derek has his period and terrible cramps and spend the whole time curled over a hot water bottle telling Allison and Erica and Lydia how brave they are instead of having exploratory sex with Stiles. No one wants to read that! COCKBLOCK ‘VERSE. But that’s how my brain works. And coming up with the extreme version helps me see the middle ground, which is, maybe just how uncomfortable it would be, navigating boobs, maybe just some light cramping, discharge, man, that would probably freak Derek Hale right the fuck out.)
Wow, I just read this over again and it MAKES NO SENSE. I don’t know, guys, the real answer is that I’ve been doing this for a long-ass time, and at this point, I just kind of do it. You know what Margaret Atwood says, right? Don’t lie down in the middle of the woods.
- lagabardina likes this
- ladyofthelog said: you continually impress me with your writing speed. thank god I am a speedier editor than a writer. (of course, I hunt and peck without looking; not a home keys girl.)
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- beryllinthranox said: I would die of happiness if you wrote that gender swap fic. The only way I like that trope is when it IS subverted.
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- morgan-leigh said: A friend of mine (whom I lived with last summer) asked me the other day whether I ever got weird looks from people in coffeeshops bc I type so damn fast. SOME OF US ARE JUST WEIRDLY SUPERHUMAN/possibly possessed by demons. I cannot explain it.
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