The Confessions of a Writer Tag was created by Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. It is a ‘get-to-know’ the writer interview tag, dedicated to spotlighting the creative process, works in progress, and connecting to other writers.
Rules of the Tag:
- Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
- Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
- Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!
- When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be? My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Thomason, helped open the door to writing for me when we had to do portfolios for state testing. It was my favorite part of the year, and I think I realized I was the oddball when everyone else complained about it. Little stories and poems had popped up in the Saved Documents folder of our Windows ’96 computer before then, but they accelerated during fourth grade. I’ve stuck with it ever since.
- What genre do you write? I typically stick to “real” fiction, though I’ve tried my hand at suspense and action.
- Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project? I’ve got a couple short stories in the pipe right now. One of them is about a mild-mannered secretary at a newspaper office who has the misfortune of dealing with everyone’s crap all day long. Started that one about two months ago and am still editing. The other is sort of action-y and comedic about a man who finds out – while shopping for his multivitamins – he’s a commodity caught in the middle of a government clandestine group violent split. That’s a new project I started this week.
- What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about? Gosh, um, I remember writing a personal narrative in fourth grade about picking blackberries with my grandpa. But it seems like there was a picture book I wrote and designed in second grade called “Harriet Tubman and the Penguins.” We were learning about Harriet Tubman in school, and I thought it would be cool if she saved some penguins that needed to get back to the North Pole. It never occurred to me that I was going a little too far north for Harriet’s jurisdiction.
- What’s the best part about writing? Feeling like you’re in another place or that you’re another person. I know that’s cliched, but it’s true. And also making people laugh. Or cry.
- What’s the worst part about writing? Having to think of an ending. I’m the world’s worst about conclusions. Usually something catches on fire or someone dies or I just never finish the story.
- What’s the name of your favorite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well.) Probably Patrick Bateman from Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. He’s an absolutely repulsive individual, yet I couldn’t get him out of my mind during and after reading the book. I love the movie, and I think Christian Bale did an outstanding job, but he’s tame compared to the real – um, “real” – Patrick Bateman. I’ve never encountered a protagonist as well written, raw, candid, and disgusting as he is.
- How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)? If work is a little slow, I try to jot down anything I think might turn into something. Usually mid-afternoon is prime time for me. I probably get a good 30 minutes every day.
- Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to? My minor at Western Kentucky University was creative writing. I’m toying with going back to school, but I’m not sure for what yet.
- What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors? Ooh. They all irk me. Nothing more than on business or professional signage, though. “Your always welcome here!” “There here to help.” “The Hamilton’s Home.” It’s permanent. I can’t take it.
- What is the best writing advice that anyone has given you? Some college professors said to write every day. A visiting writer giving a reading at WKU said, in a story about her school’s publication rejecting her because her writing was offensive, “I thought the point of writing was to offend someone.” And a teacher in high school encouraged me during an editing session to write an opening portfolio letter that was “slightly shorter than War and Peace,” which was probably the most specific and helpful advice I’ve gotten.
- What advice would you give to another writer? Learn to take criticism and suggestions. The quicker you build a thick skin and recognize helpful advice when it comes to you, the better off you’ll be.
- What are your favorite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement? I enjoy reading the old submissions to Carve Magazine. Sometimes I Google “online creative writing publications” and see what turns up. Reading other people’s stuff gives me ideas and encourages me because I know a lot of them are people just like me, working a job unrelated to creative writing, living a normal life with a spouse and/or a pet fish, thrilled to death to have their work out there.
- Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies? I love/hate running and lifting weights. Baking is a big thing for me, especially when I can give it to other people. And movies. Watching them, making them, writing them. Don’t get to do as much of the last two as I’d like, but it’s always fun when I do.
- What is the best book you’ve read this year? Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry.
- What is the best movie you’ve seen this year? The Homesman, starring Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones, and directed by Tommy Lee Jones. I think it’s still on Netflix.
- What is your favorite book or series of all time? There will always be something special about Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- Who is your favorite author? Edgar Allan Poe. Forever a master.
- What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing? I’d like to get another short story submitted somewhere. Maybe two more.
- Where else can we find you online? I’m on Twitter (@monicaspees). And wordpress, obviously. You can find my stuff at monica spees or Movie Mon-ster. I occasionally do food blogging for leonamorelock.com. If you like food pictures and want to see innocuous things I do, I’m on Instagram (@foodandfeels).