Monday, December 6, 2010

Writing Quirks

We've all got them. Personally, I think they're really endearing, and it's fun to see what strange things other people do. So here's a list of my very own awkward writing habits! Feel free to poke fun at will.

- I cannot write novels single-spaced. It drives me up a wall. Everything looks so cramped, and it makes my head hurt.

- Times New Roman, size 12. It hasn't failed me yet.

- I must have cheesy popcorn and a caffeine-free carbonated beverage nearby. I don't care what it is, it just has to be fizzy. Lately it's been Mug diet rootbeer.

- 95% of the time, I write in bed. Two pillows.

- I stole one of my dad's plaid shirts a while back, and for some reason it's turned into a writing uniform of sorts. If it isn't in the laundry bin, I'm probably wearing it.

- Hair must be tied back.

- I write out a rough query letter with each project I start.

- Every first draft I finish means a new moleskine purchased. They're for revisions, I promise!

- Even though I'm a music whore, I can't write with music on. Even instrumental. Though I still make a playlist for every book I write, even if I end up abandoning the project.

Now I know you've all got your own quirks, so give 'em up, folks!


  1. I can't write double spaced o.O Not even my essays for class. I need everything together so I can see it all at once.

    I write in bed too!

    My hair has to be tied back to or I'll get distracted brushing it back every five seconds.

    I need the T.V or Pandora playing the background, but I can't have people around me. Even if they're just watching the T.V. They can't be there >_<

    If I get up for something to drink, for example, I'll never get back in the zone. So I always stock up before I write, everything within hand reach.

    Although, ironically, I need to have the freedom to get, walk around aimlessly for a minute and come back.

  2. I also cannot write with music on! Instrumental music distracts me way too much. I do, however, listen to music while I edit.

    I can't write double-spaced! It's like some sort of trick I play on myself, that I keep the thing in single-spaced until it's done, then it's magically the length it should be. I did this in college a lot.

    My quirks...maybe how flexible/varied I am is a quirk. I don't like writing in one place too long--one session in one room and I'm over that room for awhile, so I bounce someplace else for the next round. I get much more done outside my house, because in my house the things I need to clean taunt me.

  3. When I write, I generally write random sections. So I always have to have the other parts of the story with me, even if it's only a few pages.

    I like the write everything out by hand once. I don't know why but if I can't write it by hand then it usually doesn't become part of the chapter on the screen.

    I always, always have to have music. Part of the reason why my music is so varied is because I need stuff that will inspire and support the kind of scene I'm writing at that moment.

    All of my characters first initials are very, very carefully chosen. Then, if I don't immediately get a name from that initial right away, I will spend hours scouring Etymology of Baby Names for a name that starts with that initial.

    I will typically make a mug of tea to get me into a zen state. I usually use that time to make it to take a little break from what I'm writing.

    I've always written best with just my head (and sometimes back) propped up against a hard surface behind me, and my lower back and butt well cushioned. So bad for my posture, but there you have it.

  4. I can't write double spaced. It annoys me. Then I get mad when I go back to revise and get lost like ten times because the words are so close together.

    I prefer writing at night or early in the morning. Basically when people are most likely asleep/not around. It has to be completely silent in the house, minus the music I may be playing.

  5. I tend to adopt the same facial expressions that my characters have while writing them. Whenever I realize what I'm doing though, I laugh at myself...and then make a face that matches the expression of the character I continue to write. :)

    I used to only be able to write in Arial, size 10, with spaces between the paragraphs (a bit a la FictionPress format), but I think that's been changing. I'm not so picky about it any more, but maybe Calibri has become my new Arial.

    I work best with purely instrumental music, but not with music with words. If I listen to music with lyrics, I have to turn the music down so I can just barely hear it, and then it sort of seems like instrumental? Hahaha.

    Oh, we writers and our quirks. Hahaha. :) I love 'em.

    - Kristine

  6. No double spacing. Nothing looks right and I get all weird. I actually wrote a blog post about that XD

    Music, tv, whatever. It's all just background noise. I generally don't like full silence. I get freaked out by the noises my house makes.

    I'm not good at writing while someone's around. Don't know why, I'm just not.

    No one reads the first draft. Ever.

    I write best sitting in the chair I'm in now, but that's just because if I write in bed, I get stiff and sore.

    Chapter headings must be Times New Roman, 18, everything else must be Times New Roman 12. Three lines after the chapter heading. I used to be really weird about indents, but I stopped doing that.

    Every project has a playlist. If the playlist isn't that long, I'm probably not connecting with the characters well enough.

    Twitter. I use windows snap shamelessly so I can tweet and write at the same time.

    Every project has a binder where my notebook pages can go. The notebooks themselves have to be a certain type or I don't use them. I'm big on handwriting things, it helps me be more fluid. I don't do everything longhand, but at least 75% of my scenes have longhand skeletons.

    Candy helps. :D

  7. @PS: I totally stock up on writing munches. This week it's been Reeses and rolos, heh. Talk about unhealthy eating habits.

    @Rowenna: I'm amazed you can listen to music while you edit. I just can't do it, no matter what I'm writing. A story, editing said story, a paper for class... No music allowed. Or TV. Or anything that makes noise, basically.

    @Mika: Have you got a copy of COOL NAMES by Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz? That's my go-to baby name book. I fucking love it. My copy is so beat up, haha.

    @Gabrielle: I think it's funny that almost all of you said you can't write double-spaced. I think you're all nuts for writing single, but who am I to judge ;-)

    @Kristine: I do the facial expressions while watching TV! LOL. Not so much when I'm writing. I think I usually just look pained :-p Or frustrated. Or overly concentrated.
    As for music, you should check out the scores for The Village and Coco Before Chanel. Those are my go-to instrumentals.

    @Laina: I've got a playlist for every project, too! Like, a really detailed one. Sometimes a chapter could have 10+ songs, depending on mood, or a certain line that's spoken. I'm so messed up, haha.