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Demented Ink.
Russian Roulette: Speak to the Collective 
8th-Mar-2012 09:11 pm
cig mouth tie

Tonight on, Schizophrenic Passion: A Look Into the Writer's Mind, we'll be taking questions from the audience.

The queries can be addressed to our special guest, Demented Dee, or to any number of characters running amok in her mind.

Keep in mind that surprises happen, and you may get to hear several sides of the... story.

Public questions are encouraged in the comments, private messages are allowed backstage. Some questions below have come to us from other forums, and are gathered in aggregate, here.

Should you choose to whisper, please do tell us if you wish to keep your name and innocence protected.

Now relax... inquire... and enjoy.


Anonymous on Tumblr asks:
When you begin a new story, do you use a character notebook before you start writing? How do you typically start when you're working on something brand new?

Demented Dee:
It's a fascinating question, as it made me aware of how difficult it is for me to recall when I *start* something, especially in reference to characters. Sometimes it's easy for me to remember exactly when I met a certain character (Weston Evantide has a very clear entrance), and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's easy to recall the beginning of a story -- the ones wherein I deliberately sit down and BEGIN, all-caps appropriate. But for some stories, I have no idea when they began, really. And some have always been with me.

For the sake of the argument, however, I'll think of a story that I purposefully chose to write that is newer to the arsenal. I'll call in some of the individuals that I've not known for very long in on this, (wave to Asher, everybody), too.

Unfortunately at that point, the path continues to diverge. Some stories begin in Word with line one, chapter one. Some begin with scenes. Some start with character sheets, others with scribbles on the back of grocery receipts. Some are dreams, others are done to make a point, and some are to fix a piece of reality.

Since describing the particular process appears to be, ah, challenging... I'll stick to general patterns.

Stories are about people. So, the first step is always getting to know the stars of your show. You're talking about a specific incident in that person's life, be it past, present, or future, and so I try to gather all the relevant data to the central storyline. Shaking hands and information gathering is critical. Think of it like being a reporter: get your facts, check your sources, know who you can trust and who you can't.

I'd say something like 90% of my stories start with characters -- the people. To me, there is very little difference between someone I know "in the flesh" and someone who only "exists" in my head.

I read this fascinating introspective piece once upon an age ago in one of my dusty psychology texts. Your brain, by itself, cannot intrinsically distinguish between what *really* happens versus what does not. This is why people who have anxiety/some types of mental disorders have such a horrible time. To them, when they imagine the worst case scenarios over and over, their brain is telling them it's happening *right now*.

Now, most people use sensory information, rational, logic, and external input (other people/evidence/etc) to clue them in as to what did happen as opposed to what didn't. But when your brain circuits misfire, sometimes those "imagined" events might as well be real for all the emotional impact they have and the bodily responses they invoke.

Think about the last time you fantasized about what you would do with a certain someone in a darkened room with a door that locked and hours to spend inside.

How did *your* body react?

Precisely. Anyway, I say all that, as, to me, the people/creatures living in my head and the places/universes in which they reside and the circumstances/events/tragedies/bits of bliss that happen to them are very, very real.

So, when somebody new comes along, I invite him or her into some place cozy. I ask them what they like to eat, what they want to drink, why they're passing through, and I treat them with respect and courtesy.

It's amazing what happens when you get somebody talking, and the next thing you know... the story is already written. It's just a matter of putting fingers to keys to page.

9th-Mar-2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
I have a question for the author(s) if you don't mind.

What part of the feedback process do you appreciate and/or dislike the most? Collaborator support/feedback? Editing comments? Post-release purchaser reviews? Other (ie. family/friends)?

How are they helpful and, at the same time, can they prove detrimental?
13th-Mar-2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
Dee here!
(As opposed to the others in the Horde)

There are several stages of useful feedback that I really enjoy/like/need. The first and probably the most formative is the response I get off the people to whom I initially spin plots. When a plot is just an idea, the characters are shadows, and nothing's entirely in stone, yet, and I'm telling somebody, "Well... I had this idea..." and I hear what they have to say. THAT'S useful, as it gets the, "Oh, so it's just like such-in-such?" or the, "Holy shit, that sounds amazing" or the "Didn't Stephen King do that, like, 20 years ago?"

It's useful to drive me forward, to tweak or see if there's any interest, and, depending on how it goes, if I keep going from the initial pitch to include more detail, I get to know more about the story to. And I've found that each time I talk about a story idea that I want to do, I learn more about it. It's morale boosting and informative, the entire process.

I also find editor feedback immensely useful. Yes, I hate it just like any other writer, but I also typically *learn* something from it, and a good editor always makes a manuscript better. Sometimes the way they view things is completely different than how I saw a scene going, and it helps me make sure all my words are doing their jobs.

10th-Mar-2012 12:45 am (UTC) - On writing together, writing alone, and compromise
I've already gotten Liralen's perspective on this several months ago, but I'd like to hear your side of it as well...

What changes must you make to your process in order to write with another person? How do you decide on the story, the characters, the settings? What advice, warnings, or hilarious anecdotes do you have for a pair looking to write their first story together?

When writing alone: Do you always write with an end-goal in mind or do you just write and let the story come to you as you go? What helps you to write so prolifically, while maintaining that elusive crimson thread that keeps readers coming back to you for more?

13th-Mar-2012 03:07 pm (UTC) - Re: On writing together, writing alone, and compromise
Dee here!

I'll try to answer these in order:

1. Changes must you make to your process when writing with another...:

Well, I'd say it depends on the person you're writing with. I've only ever written with Liralen, and, at the moment, plan on keeping it that way. Until her, I would have said writing with anyone else interferes with my ability to play god of all things in my worlds, and I had no use for it.

Liralen and I started writing together by role playing together. And we've learned a helluva lot about each other in the past year and a half we've been steadily working. I'm not sure I could list actual process changes from when I write alone to when I write together. We truly click, which I assume is rare, and we started from a very similar perspective on the craft of writing, what's important in a story, how we like to begin/start stories, and general respect of the writing craft. I'd say that I tend to write more of a final draft first than she does. As in, she edits a few more times to make the words exactly as she wants them as she does more "thinking on paper" than I do. But that's really about it.

Other than the obvious, I guess, which is you have to share/talk about the plots with someone else all the time.

2. How do you decide on the story...

Depends on what we "Hear" first (it's how I put it; ear to the cosmic leyline). Usually we get characters first and we talk about how they could work together, how they get together, etc. Sometimes we want to write a certain type of story, and we talk about what characters would fit. Settings come from the character discussions, as do plot points and all else.

Typically, however, the stories pick us and we uncover the pieces.

3. Advice/warnings:

I'd say to make sure you're on the same page about what matters in storytelling. Have a similar respect for the craft of writing (everyone hates editing to some degree or another, but everyone must do it, and anybody who says, "I just can't be bothered with grammar" is probably not going to be fun to work with long haul unless you just LOVE editing manuscripts by yourself). Listen to each other. Figure out ways to get what you both want without compromising the story or the characters.

4.Writing with end goals...
It's a combination. For me, it really is like meeting someone, and sometimes you get their entire life story in five minutes and sometimes it takes a while. They usually surprise me once or twice in the journey, but I have to know what I ultimately want to say/do in order to keep everything on track.

5. Write prolifically and keep 'em coming back...
I'm not sure, as that question seems to be aimed more at the readers than me, really, as they're the ones who know why they read. *laughs* I only know why I write, and the answer to that is, "Because it's who I am."
7th-Apr-2018 06:46 pm (UTC) - Demented Dee (Lessons in Living)
I am wondering if there will be a conclusion on the Lessons in Living fanfiction. I know this might seem strange and no way pressure to do anything with this story because I know you are very busy with your youtube channel, published works and up coming events planned to be published. I have been an quiet avid fan of yours for a long time and when not working, I keep up by reading, watching, and rereading all your works from start to finish. I have purchased all your published books and want you to know that your writing is just perfectly demented for me.
Thank you for your time, patience, passion, and imagination, Desertblue
19th-Apr-2018 11:36 am (UTC) - Re: Demented Dee (Lessons in Living)
Hi DB, :)

Sorry for the delay in a response, but honestly, I was pondering.

The short answer to your question is: "I hope so." I also thought about answering, "Well, do you think there should be?" LOL

I go into life/times/story ponderings a bit more here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/demented-path-16473350

[EDITED TO ADD: Oh. I DID upload that here. Well, go ME. ROFL] (I really must remember to cross-reference those public posts to my website and here. Eeesh. I'll try to do that today and catch up.)

But honestly, it's always bugged the snot out of me that there's no conclusion to that story. I had to set it aside because writing about a man living with a ghost of a former lover and being sort of frozen in time was... a tad too close to home, in some ways.

I'm trying to figure out the best ways to write what I love and get the words out there in a way that's true to me and the story. There's a lot of figuring going on. But I've not forgotten where all this started, or this AU, or the people who read it and gave me the boost to keep going.

Truly and sincerely appreciate all you do. Many thanks - and stay in touch! :)

Edited at 2018-04-19 11:38 am (UTC)
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