Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

The Writing Meme


I have a meme to exorcise. It crossed my path like a black cat, and the only way forward is through it. With thanks to Leigh and Ms Tea Stains for the dark magic.

The Writing Meme:

What’s the last thing you wrote?

Four pages of chapter one. We’re still at the funeral.

Was it any good?

I like it. It advances the action. I can see where it’s going and where I need to go back and make adjustments.

What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

In our recent New Year’s decluttering I came across my old journals, which are a mixture of diaries, observations, notes on books and creative writing, none of it in any order (see, I was born a blogger). Most of it is hugely embarrassing.

Write poetry?

I have done. The last time was when I was pregnant with Daisy and I went to a poetry writing class, but most of my poetry writing took place when I was a student (see below).

Angsty poetry?

Hell, yes. The male gaze, broken relationships, infidelities, the mess in the sink, hangovers – all favourite topics.

Favourite genre of writing?

To read, literary fiction and thrillers. To write, erm, not sure. Litfic?

Most fun character you’ve ever created?

I love them all, bad, good and intermediate. But my tall, pale, skinny, gay, Afrikaans aesthete might turn out to be my favourite.

Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

A person who operates on the surface only, someone who’s interested in superficialities – appearance, shopping, money – and whose inner life consists of seeing herself as a victim. I find that annoying in RL too.

Best plot you’ve ever created?

I think I’ll keep that to myself right now. I’m not ready for full exposure.

Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

Not telling!

How often do you get writer’s block?

How about the last 20 years? But I’m soooo over it.

Write fan fiction?

I’ve heard of that but I have no idea what that is. Is it anything to do with flash fiction?

Do you type or write by hand?

Both. I like the freedom of long-hand, the editorial convenience of the keypad.

Do you save everything you write?

Yes. You could come round and read my journalism scrapbooks if you wanted to. I tried to throw them out in the aforementioned decluttering and my husband told me to keep them “in case you want to show them to the children one day”. Two squirrels should never a household make.

Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?

Yes, the novel I’m working on has been adandoned twice in the past five years, but I couldn’t get the characters out of my head so here we are, hopefully third time lucky.

What’s your favourite thing you’ve written?

Yesterday’s pages. I hope to like today’s pages too.

What’s everyone else’s favourite story that you’ve written?

Can’t answer that, really, as I have been playing things close to my chest. The two blog posts that get the most attention are 10 Things I Find Weird About Germany and Charlotte’s Famous Lemon Drizzle Cake, attesting to two of the Web’s main functions – travel information and cooking tips. I haven’t written anything for people interested in the Web’s predominant function, though. Don’t do pron.

Do you ever show people your work?

I’m sharing my progress with my writing group, two people who I trust to be fair and firm with me.

Did you ever write a novel?

Am doing so.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

No, but having recently seen the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice on DVD, and going on to have Mr Darcy dreams, I have come to think there is Nothing Wrong with Romance.

What’s your favourite setting for your characters?

South Africa. I feel at home there.

How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Only the novel. Have taken a break from the paid writing gig.

Do you want to write for a living?

I do and always have, but what I want to change is what I write for a living. Business copy-writing pays, but it doesn’t feed my soul.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?

No. But Mrs Irvine’s sparely dealt-out praise for my English compositions was enough award for me.

Ever written anything in script or play format?

No, but I would like to.

What are your five favourite words?

Recalcitrant, peripatetic, heart, dream, fudge

Do you ever write based on yourself?

Yes and no. I find too much of me becomes limiting.

What character have you created that is most like yourself?

None. There may be splinters of me in each of them.

Where do you get ideas for your characters?

Everywhere. Life. Experience. What irritates me, what frightens me, what gladdens me most about other people.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

No, but yesterday I remembered a dream I had years ago about one setting in my novel and I thought, “Must remember to put in neatly-tended municipal flower beds”. Stirring stuff.

Do you favour happy endings, sad endings or cliff-hangers?

Appropriate endings. When I know what that is, I’ll tell you.

Have you ever written based on an artwork you’ve seen?

No … but thanks for the tip.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Very much so.

Ever write anything in chatspeak (how r u?)

God, no.

Entirely in L337?

Erm, and that is?

Was that question appalling and unwriterly?

Couldn’t tell you.

Does music help you write?

I find it inspiring, but not while I’m writing.

Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops into your head.

See here. I posted it a week ago.

I tag all my writerly friends. You know who you are. If you do choose to play, please let me know so that I can swing by and read your answers.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

14 thoughts on “The Writing Meme

  1. Oh my, great meme! I’ll have to think about this one before I give it a go, but will let you know when I do. And I’m with you: what the hell is L337? (I feel so old. Time to go get my quill and ink, so I can write another ghost story.)

  2. Oh, i love this meme. I’ll definitely participate, although perhaps save it for when (because I do) get writer’s block! And I have never heard of L337 – no idea what that is.

    You definitely seem to have hit a groove with your writing, which is just so fun to read about!

  3. Ooh, can I do this too? Fan fiction is when people write their own versions/extensions of books they like. I’ve heard screeds of Harry Potter fan fiction exist in cyberspace but I’ve never read any of it!

    My brain is tying itself in knots trying to figure out what L337 is…! I think it’s some computer geeky languagey thing.

  4. I knew what fan fiction was (I recently came across a site for Strange & Norrell fanfic, and I immediately closed that window! Shudder. But often it’s strangely nice. Like when people write two main characters finally establishing a relationship that they never did in the original source, which you always wanted to happen.) but not L337. Wikipedia to the rescue. If you say “LOL,” you are writing in L337. Also “pron,” which you did! It’s definitely very geeky.

  5. Pingback: The Writing Meme « Writing Under a Pseudonym

  6. I did this! I love the meme. Btw L337 is hacker-speak! I know, I’m such a geek. 🙂

  7. I may just run with this one at some point if I may, if only to keep faith with a key part of me that’s being crushed to death by this infernal MSc. By ‘flash-fiction’, do you mean ‘slash fiction’ (a treasure trove for cultural theorists but probably not something you’d want your younger Harry Potter fans to encounter)?

  8. Pingback: The Writing Meme « distraction no. 99

  9. As you can see I just couldn’t help myself and had to play this one. I like what you said about “abandoning” and then coming back again to your novel — sounds like very good progress for you this time. Hearing that kind of thing, I don’t know, it gives me hope that I can stick it out and not give up on some things entirely…

    Thanks for finding this meme, Charlotte!

  10. I love this! It is great to take stock as a writer – I may just do this myself. I am so enjoying YOUR writing. Your work is truthful and so easy to read – I mean this as the highest compliment. I am new to the Blogging world, and am learning more each day. Thank you for your comments, and I look forward to reading your ‘back-blog’.

  11. Pingback: Writing Meme « yoga gumbo

  12. Oh you make me laugh – two squirrels should not a home make. The story of my life!!

    I think I’d sooner throw out a relative than something I’ve written. I started keeping a journal when I was 10 and have never stopped, and I still have every single syllable. When I moved over here and locked some valuables in a bank safety deposit box, the book in which I wrote all my first drafts of poetry (usually at 3 a.m.!) in the 1980s and 1990s went in there as well.

    I think we need to get together over a bottle of something sparkly and review our angsty old poetry 😉

  13. Oh, great meme – I found this, and therefore your blog, when I was searching for writing meme’s earlier today – I will be defintely doing it (at some point!), and coming back to your blog. :0)

  14. I like this. I think we generally don’t delve into our writing lives as much as we probably should because we’re concentrating so hard on *what* we’re writing that we forget why we’ere doing it in the first place.

    I’ll post this on my blog.

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