Monday, August 5, 2013

A Short Q&A With sHaYcH


1. Why did you start writing?
I don't remember a time when I wasn't writing, but if you mean Xena fic in general, it was because I was wanting to tell the stories that we weren't seeing on the screen.

2. If you had to do it all over again would you still write?
Every day.

3. Once you’ve written a story do you ever sit down and read it for enjoyment?
Yes. Once in a long, long while.

4. How did you start writing Xena fan fiction?
I'd read some stories – this was back in 96-97, and I just felt I wanted to tell some stories too. A group of online friends encouraged me, and with some help from them, I got my first piece, Moral Dilemma written and posted.

5. Is your muse a constant companion, or does it abandon you for long periods of time?
My muse is always there, but she's a fickle witch and has many interests, so I might go dry in writing, but my crafting goes wild.

6. How do you feel about sequels?
Most of the time, I don't see the need to write them, though occasionally, I do. A very good friend of mine, Ciegra, always wanted me to write sequels, but if I didn't have an idea, I wouldn't force myself to do so.

7. Is writing a quiet thing for you, where there can't be any noise or conversation going on?
Goddess, no. I either write with music or while chatting with my writing partner on Skype. Usually, my cat is crawling on me and I've got several windows open as well – working on a story, surfing the internet, playing a game – the multitasking might seem unproductive, but it allows me to have a moment of distraction when the words stall.

8. Do you prefer to write/read romance, angst, horror etc, etc?
Fantasy, mystery, science fiction are the genres that hold my interest the most, though I like to merge genres, too. Mystery within fantasy, a touch of horror and romance in science fiction, and so on.

9. What usually sparks a story idea for you?
Honestly, nearly all my stories start as dreams. I have a story tell itself to me in my sleep and then I have to write it down.

10. Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. I've been inspired by the patterns of light casting through the branches of a tree. Mostly, my ideas grow out of thinking about something, letting the look of a photo or a particular piece of jewelry or even the smell of ozone after a thunderstorm lead me into a place where characters start coming in to tell a story.

11. What advice can you give to future writers?
Write. Write until the words are done and then EDIT those words, because nothing is perfect on first pass. Then get someone else to edit them, because you're never going to see all the mistakes. Secondly, if you're going to post online, don't post unfinished stories. If you're not done writing it, then you might not be done editing it. I understand the desire for feedback can be intense, which is why I say to find someone to edit for you – you can experience the high of feedback while being able to address your story as a whole, rather than in pieces. Now, this is not to say not to post it in pieces – certainly, if you want to serialize a story to build interest, that's a great way to do it.

12. What has the show Xena meant to you?
Everything. It was the first show where I saw echoes of myself on screen. I may not be a warrior or a wildly successful bard, but I am a woman who is not meek or quiet, and it was really nice to see that kind of strong, female character who didn't need anyone else to be awesome.

It also opened my world up to having friends online. Interacting with other fans from around the world expanded my horizons and allowed me to know people I might otherwise have never met.

13. How do you feel about the way it ended?
Like many people, I hated it. I thought that the ending was a disservice to six years of character progression and cheated both women of a well-earned future. However, as a writer, I understand the circular progression of the story and of a person who had done wrong trying to do a massive right to fix it.

14. How real are your characters to you?
Oh, they're all in my head, right? Right?

15. Do your characters speak to you?
Yes, often, loudly, and usually to yell at me for ignoring them.

16. Are you in control of your story, or do the characters run the show?
There's control involved here? No, the characters drive the boat and if they go off the rails then I'm left trying to pick up the missed threads.

17. How would you feel about another writer giving one of your characters a cameo in their story?
I think it would be amazing and fun, as long as it wasn't so that they could do horrible things to them.

18. Has online writing changed your life in any way?
Sure. I've met lots of wonderful people, made good, lifelong friends, and given me the opportunity to be a published author, which was a childhood dream.

19. Have you ever been stalked on the internet by an overzealous fan?
No, thankfully, and I wouldn't want to be. I prefer to have a cordial and friendly relationship with those who like my stories.

I did, however, have a friend who was a fan of my work who often threatened to shoot me in my toe if I stopped writing. She has since passed on, but I will forever hear her telling me to get my butt in gear and write those stories – or she's going to come back and shoot me in my big toe. (I miss you, Cie!)

20. Which one of your online stories is your favorite?
Probably a story that's not in the Xenaverse, unfortunately – Resurrection is for the Unbelievers. It's Buffyverse. My favorite of my Xena stories is probably either the AntiUber series, just because I got to be so ridiculous, or Tomorrows Passed, because the concept is different. For a traditional Xena story, it would have to be The Cat's Meow and it's sequel, Cat Scratch Fever.

21. Do you have to do a lot of rewrites?
Generally two or three drafts, sometimes four, just to be sure that I've gotten it as right as possible. Not that its perfect after that, because no one can be.

22. Is there ever a point in your writing where you get stuck each and every time? How do you get out of it?
Ending the story can be stressful for me, because I want to make sure the story is ready to come to it's completion. Generally, I meditate for a while. Another problem area for me are fight scenes and sex scenes, and really, I just have to force myself through the first pass and then make them more interesting on the second or third go-round.

23. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most and why?
Dialog. I really enjoy creating the conversation between the characters – letting them talk to each other, interact, think, learn, and grow.

24. When you're working on a story are you obsessed with it until it's done?
Yes, but that's mostly because if I get distracted, I might not go back and finish it (You just look at my files and files of unfinished works to know that.).

25. Who are your favorite top five writers? Online or published.
1. Mercedes Lackey
2. Laurie R King
3. Barry Hughart
4. Melissa Good
5. David Eddings tied with Anne McCaffrey

26. The song says "Who rules the world? Girls." If that were true would the world be a better place?
No. I don't believe a world populated only by women would be any less filled with strife and trouble. Ideology being what it is, we would still find reasons to hate and fear what we thought was different.

27. Do you write a story straight through, or do you write in pieces, then put it all together.
I tend to write straight through, though if I get an idea for a future scene that just won't go away, I will get it on the page just so I won't forget, though those scenes tend to get heavily edited by the time I get to them.

28. Do you read books for pleasure while you are writing?
Sometimes – it depends on the book. I can almost always enjoy a Mercedes Lackey book while I'm writing.

29. Do you have a favorite Greek God?
Yes, Hecate. Goddess of Magic and Crossroads.

30. Have you created a character that you would like to meet?
Absolutely. Just about all my characters (barring the bad guys) are generally people I'd want to know in real life.  Some are even based off people I do know. I think if I didn't do that, the characters would feel a lot flatter to me.

31. Do you have a pet peeve?
In the things I read? Yes, it's poor editing. If it's not worth a writer's time to grammar and spell check their piece, it's not worth my time to read it.

32. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
Ideally, I'd like to finish some of my unfinished stories, most of which are original, and see them be published. Perhaps even take the time to tell a few more stories about other people's characters.

33. What is your favorite word?

34. What is your least favorite word?
Most all the words used to describe female anatomy below the belt. They're generally all harsh and clinical.

35. What turns you on?
Great writing, well rounded characters, equal amounts of joy and sadness – I'm not interested in being made to feel awful by the end of a story. I want something that leaves me satisfied with the ending.

36. What turns you off?
Poor editing (it's a theme, isn't it?) and gratuitous, overly graphic sex or violence. Obviously, this is very subjective, because what might be too much in one story could be just right in another.

37. What sound or noise do you love?
Birds chirping, children laughing, the roar of the ocean, rain on the roof, harp music, Ann Wilson's voice, the crackle of a campfire – visceral, beautiful sounds.

38. What sound or noise do you hate?
The noise made when someone vomits (or when my cat spits up a hairball.).

39. What is your favorite curse word?
Fuck – because it's the most versatile word.

40. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Archeology. It was my first love.

41. What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
Prison guard. Bearing witness to that kind of misery, hatred, and in some cases, downright evil, would be soul-destroying.

42. If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Well, I'm pagan, but I would hope any afterlife to which I am drawn will house the spirits of all those of my loved ones who have gone before me. I would also hope that the gods would welcome any and all who wished entry and wouldn't bar someone because they were purple, or liked hot dogs with mayonnaise, or wanted to marry the love of their life.

Here is one of sHaYcH's favorite Xena stories:
Tomorrows Passed by sHaYcH - 23 pages 
A time-travelling descendant of Xena's goes back in time to take her place in history.

No comments:

Post a Comment