Thursday, December 17, 2009

AuthorInterview: Seventeen Questions With WriteOnTime

Seventeen Questions With WriteOnTime!

So we are introducing a new feature at TLYDF…Seventeen Questions With…

Why seventeen questions? Well, because twenty is too predictable, fifteen is too. Ten is too short, and twelve just sounded funny. Plus seventeen is the frozen in time age of that sparkly emo boy who won our hearts and pulled us (willingly? Kicking and screaming? Only you know the truth) into the world that is fan fic.

So sit back, prop your feet up. Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em. I’ll share the bubbles for my pipe if it helps.

We hope you enjoy.

Seventeen Questions With… WriteOnTime

I'm WriteOnTime. Why? I have my reasons. Also, I stumbled upon the name I should have been using - Cullenoscopy - too late to do me any good. I'm an entertainment publicist and marketer by trade, which essentially means that I am occasionally surrounded by famous people, who you will be happy to know are just as nutty as the rest of us, if not more so. If Candice Bergen and Jessica Rabbit had had an ill-fated tryst, I'd be their hypothetical love child. I also have a small internal shrine dedicated exclusively to Aaron Sorkin.

Psst…if you don’t know here stuff, WriteOnTime is the wunderkind behind The Port Angeles Players and Breaking News

1. What is your idea of the perfect story?
My idea of the perfect story is something smart, and witty, and well-plotted and characterized. That's not a sexy answer, is it? But it's true. I can't fall in love with a character who is behaving illogically, and I get very, very bored when a story just kind of ambles around, looking for a comfy chair. I want to read about people I could actually see myself inviting over for dinner.

2. Which individual (reader or writer) in the fandom do you most admire?
Oh my God - you're trying to get me to choose just one? That's so cruel. Now I'm all angsty. Fiz (AngryBadgerGirl, formerly known as McVampy) is the reason I'm here. She dragged me kicking and screaming into the world of fan fic, so I like to blame her for everything. I pick her. Twific is so full of angst and heartfail, and she works tirelessly to provide relief from that by offering funny, snarky stories, which are INFINITELY more difficult to pull off than dramas. If you don't believe me, you should give it a whirl sometime. But I love so many different authors and readers for so many different reasons.

3. When writing, what are your little quirks?
Let's see. When my main protagonists are experiencing a major discovery about themselves or each other, I need to be lying down in order to write it. I'm not sure why. I spend a huge amount of time thinking about the conversations I want the characters to have before I actually attempt to write anything. Banter is a house of cards - if one line is out of place, everything just kind of crashes down around you and you have to start all over. I sometimes write only one line in a day, but when that happens, it's usually a line I'm really pleased with. I need a full glass of cold water next to me when I write. I will generally either drink the water or dump it over my head. I wish I was kidding. My couch is Scotchguarded for this reason.

4. What do you consider the most overrated attribute of Edward Cullen?
You mean aside from the stupid bronze hair? I think canon Edward is just so emo. It drives me nuts. He's just mopey and tortured. I want to go "Clockwork Orange" on him and prop his eyes open so that he's forced to watch hours and hours of sitcoms from the seventies. Emo Edward is not for me. I feel compelled to write Edward with double the normal sense of humor, because he's so egregiously lacking one in canon. I don't find the endless moping about Bella to be attractive AT ALL. I like men of action.

5. What do you most dislike about your writing?
I think my writing gets too head-oriented unless I'm really forcing myself to tone that down. I spent so many years steeped in 19th century British Lit and Shakespeare that I often forget people don't actually use these words anymore. This sort of talk is fine in academic circles, but in everyday conversation, not so much. It makes the characters sound unnatural in a modern setting. I'm afraid that no matter what I write, it will always be slightly stylized as a result of this affliction. See? Affliction. Who says that? I do, that's who. On the bright side, my vocabulary enables me to kick major butt on, so I'm feeding the world while I exercise the more arcane elements of my word-store.

6. Which character in FF do you feel the most empathy for?
Without question, that would be Rose. She's so horribly characterized in so many fics. I identify most strongly with her in canon as well. I don't think she's bitchy. I think she's focused, and she knows what she wants, and she's fiercely loyal to and protective of the people she loves. How this got twisted into her being a raging wench is beyond me. I mean yes, she was difficult to Bella at the outset. Part of that was the fact that she couldn't handle anyone else stealing the attention away from her - but I think the other part of that, the fact that she genuinely feared what having this human outsider so closely involved with her family would mean for them in terms of the risk of exposure - that part gets lost in fic translation. And in "Breaking Dawn", she stands against everyone in her life in order to protect Bella. You can argue that she did it for selfish reasons, but really, she knew that the baby wasn't hers. It was the principle of the thing which motivated her, and I respect that.

7. Under pain of death, would you read non canon or secondary parings?
You know, I used to think that the answer to this question would be "no", but then the fabulous AccioBourbon started writing her Bella/Peter drabbles, and they were so good that it opened my mind to the thing. I think I love it so much because in Peter, Accio gives Bella what she lacked in canon - and that is a truly compelling alternative to Edward. I'm still not wild about non-canon pairings among the six "children". And Esme and Carlisle can never, ever be paired with any of the six kids. It's just wrong and icky and it makes my teeth itch. Finally, Jacob? No.

8. Who are your favorite writers?
Are we talking about the writers in the Twific community? If so, then definitely Gondolier, and, and Mrs.TheKing. I love Kristen Nicole and her crazy "Bella Swan: Zombie Killer". And Talulablue, whose extraordinary character study "With Teeth" is only on Twilighted. I didn't mention any of the amazing writers for whom I function as beta, because you know I'm horribly prejudiced in their direction.

9. What would you consider absolute torture to read?
I absolutely detest manufactured angst. Frankly, anytime two people are trying to work out a relationship between themselves, whether it's a romantic one or not, there is going to be drama. I don't mind a few extenuating circumstances thrown in to flesh out a plot, but deliberate miscommunication and misunderstanding drive me crazy. In the real world, people TALK to each other. They ask questions when they don't understand something. If you have to have one of your characters taken hostage by James, the crazed gunman, in order to get Edward to realize how he feels about her, you really do need to dig a bit deeper into the character and provide more legitimate grounds for Edward's feelings. It's one of the biggest problems I have with most of the stuff in canon. I mean, was a relationship between a vampire guy and a human girl not already complicated enough? Did we have to add crazed newborns, vengeful red-haired vamp ladies, a vampire Cosa Nostra, and edible uteruses into the mix?

10. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Honestly, I have no idea. I noticed that I'd used "by way of" twice in the final chapter of TPAP, and that annoyed me (not enough to actually go back and change it, but I'll admit I was irritated). I generally make a real effort to mix things up and avoid the easy cliché. Hopefully, I accomplish that. If not, I'm genuinely sorry for inflicting repetitive phrasing on a reader! Of course, when you're writing a dialogue-heavy story (as I am wont to do), there will always be an unfortunate repetition of things like "he answered", "she snorted", "he laughed". It's a shame, but I find that unless you put those markers in there, people get lost after a few lines of dialogue and have no idea who is actually doing the talking.

11. If you could have written one story, what would it be?
I adore "Creature of Habit", by EZRocksAngel, because I think she took the canon concept and turned it into something engaging, plausible, humorous, sexy, and smart. To me, this is fan fic of the highest order because not only does it mirror much of the original work of fiction, but it improves on it and expands it and fills in all of the plot holes.

12. If you were to die and come back as a character or place from the saga, what would it be?
I'd be Edward's bed. It'd be pretty peaceful, because nothing ever happens there.

13. What is your favorite cliché?
Ugh. In Twific, it would probably be one of the lemon clichés, like "You're so wet for me". Don't get me started. I wrote a whole diatribe on the subject of writing sex in fic, because while there's a certain amount of skill involved, I firmly believe that too few writers actually attempt to focus on the emotion as opposed to the acrobatics. The degree of detail on the physical front is more often than not completely bile-inducing. Oooh - also, collarbones which beg to be licked. My collarbones do nothing of the kind, because they are well-behaved collarbones with a sense of propriety. I've been wandering this earth for more than forty years, and not a single gentleman of my acquaintance has ever expressed the desire to lick my collarbones. Either this particular impulse is VASTLY overstated, or my collarbones are extremely unattractive. Regardless, they'd never beg. They're much too proud for that nonsense.

14. What do you prefer in the stories you read?
I prefer the characters to be smart and interesting. I prefer a strong Bella who might struggle with a few self-doubts, but who is on the whole a pretty together human being. I prefer Edward to not be emo, I prefer Alice to be a useful and supportive friend as opposed to a raging shopaholic, and I prefer a Rose who is confident but not bitchy. I prefer an Emmett who is not a meathead. I prefer a Jasper who's not a hippie. And I prefer a Jacob who is non-existent.

15. On what occasion do you wish you could self insert in a story?
Oooh - that moment right before the characters first kiss. That's a fantastic moment. Yes, I wish I was there every time. Let me make it clear that I wish I was Bella kissing Edward.

16. What will turn you off in a story?
Endless porn and shopping/clubbing. Vapid characters who either behave illogically or who are total Mary Sues. Poor grammar and slopping writing. Plots which go nowhere, and do so for hundreds of thousands of words.

17. Would you have forgiven Edward at the end of New Moon?
No, I don't think I would have. Any potential life partner who turns tail and runs the moment things get complicated is not a safe bet for the long haul. It would have been more understandable and even possibly excusable had he been a teenager, but the guy was 107 years old. Surely, at some point, he would have picked up the knowledge that people in successful relationships argue and compromise instead of getting gothic about their situation.


  1. Mmmm. Aaron Sorkin. I want to have his babies, just so my children would negotiate moral and political nuances as they spoke brilliantly and quickly while walking down halls. Makes me kinda hot just thinking about it.

    Great interview questions, by the way.

  2. Great interview. :) I agree with the Rose analysis, and am completely and totally intimidated by you now. I'll be tongue-tied on twitter. ;)

  3. I have this fantasy where Aaron Sorkin and Joss Whedon are locked into a room together, forced to collab on a screenplay. Can you imagine the dialog?

    Nina is the bomb. She is scary-smart, funny as hell, caring, giving, and all that is right and good about the fandom. And a talented writer on top of all of that.

    And I'll take the nice words about me and The Peter as the highest compliment, Nina-head. I know you're an E/B gal at heart!

    <3 <3 <3

  4. Yeah, everything AccioBourbon said. One of the nicest people in the fandom. Also smart, witty, fun a kick-ass writer and a good drinking buddy. What more can you ask for? Oh, she can cook, too!

  5. Great Interview! I so totally agree with the NM comment on Edward, definitely a high school move to run instead of working things out.

  6. The collarbones comment was one of the funniest things I've ever read in regard to writing lemons. I've never understood it either - seems as though it might hurt a bit as well.

  7. What a beautiful interview! I've had TPAP on my to read list for ages, but now I must. Anyone who understands the inanity of lickable collarbones is right up my alley!


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