San Francisco Bay Area novelist, editor and writing teacher Wendy Tokunaga's Official Blog. Mostly writing and editing tips and tricks, plus commentary on publishing, but also posts on Japan, music, TV, film, social media, cats, the writer's life and anything else I feel like talking about.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
A fab friend and wonderful blogger, Mary Witzl of ResidentAlien, invited me to take part in a "writing meme." I'd never heard of it, but found it to be an interview with myself about writing. This was a lot of fun and I'd like to thank Mary for the opportunity. Probably every writer would enjoy taking a break from writing to answer these questions whether for publication or just for herself.
1) What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
I think I have some early drafts of some of the first novels I wrote. I know I have a lot of the agent rejection letters. Ha! The last thing I wrote is the thing I’m working on now: my next novel.
2) Write poetry?
Not poetry, but song lyrics. I’d done this a long time ago and just recently got back into it. I’m writing them in English and Japanese.
3) Angsty poetry?
4) Favorite genre of writing?
Novel. I used to write short stories back in the day, but I think it would be difficult to write one now after having the luxury of pages you get with a novel.
5) Most annoying character you've ever created?
Probably Mariko in my latest novel, “Love in Translation.” I don’t find her so annoying, but I know some readers do. Hopefully she is redeemed in their eyes by the end of the book.
6) Best plot you've ever created?
I do feel that plot is my strong point and I owe a lot of that to having studied with Martha Alderson who runs Blockbuster Plots.
7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created?
“Love in Translation” has a few plot twists that I enjoyed putting together.
8) How often do you get writer's block?
I do get it from time to time because I have a hard time writing new material. So when I get like this I usually work on revising another part of the novel. But sometimes I just have to force myself and write something new even though I deem it crappy.
9) Write fan fiction?
No, I’ve never tried, but it would be cool to try my hand at “Mad Men.”
10) Do you type or write by hand?
The most handwriting I can handle now is a signature. I’ve been typing since I was 14 and I adore it.
11) Do you save everything you write?
I try to because you never know when you might want to repurpose content.
12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
Yes. No idea is a wasted idea.
13) What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
The most recent thing I’ve written.
14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written?
Hopefully my two novels!
15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
I’ve written romantic scenes and my MFA thesis has a Japanese teen character. As a pop idol singer she goes through lots of angst.
16) What's your favorite setting for your characters?
Japan and San Francisco.
17) How many writing projects are you working on right now?
Two: a novel and a non-fiction project.
18) Have you ever won an award for your writing?
Yes. I won in the Literary/Mainstream Fiction category in Writer’s Digest’s Best Self-Published Book Awards in 2002 for my novel, “No Kidding.”
19) What are your five favorite words?
check is in the mail
20) What character have you created that is most like yourself?
Celeste Duncan in “Love in Translation.”
21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters?
From real life, made up life, and the situations and themes I want to write about.
22) Do you ever write based on your dreams?
23) Do you favor happy endings?
I favor endings that are appropriate for the story.
24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I’m very concerned about spelling. I know basic grammar but the grammar police have often ticketed me for obscure infractions.
25) Does music help you write?
Sometimes. When I’m writing about Japan I like to listen to Japanese music.
26) Quote something you've written.
In Japanese, we call someone who acts like she doesn’t have a brain a bokenasu—a dumb eggplant. And I realize now, after everything that’s happened, that this is a perfect description of me: a stupid vegetable.
Posted by Wendy Tokunaga at 9:48 AM
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That was great, Wendy! I love it that everybody has different answers to these questions; it shows what a personal process writing is, and how everybody goes about it a different way.
Bokenasu? That's a new one for me. Whatever happened to piman -- or is that more 'looks good on the outside, empty inside'? I've got to get more up on my Japanese colloquialisms.
Yes, each writer's process is unique to herself, I think.
As for bokenasu, that has always been one of my husband's favorites. Maybe it's a Kansai thing. At any rate, there appears to be a million ways to say "baka" in Japanese and one can't know all of them. :-)
Thanks to Google Alerts, I found your kind comments about me. What a thrill. You are so kind.
As soon as I've read your new book I want to figure out something fun on blog or eZine to help get the word out...
Thank you for your friendship and generous spirit!
Thanks for your comments, Martha!
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