Do ideas come in little tiny pinpricks and then get expanded, or do they start great big and scopy and then get refined?
It depends. My short vignettes come vague and get refined. My longer stories are amalgamations of a bunch of little 'pinpricks', scenes that come to me completely detached from any sort or plot and wind up all mushed together into a semi-logical sequence.
Why do you choose to write in the tenses you do (present tense, or first person POV, or third person) and how do you choose particular styles for particular stories?
Used to be that I couldn't write anything in 3rd person. Now I find it equally difficult to write in 1st person and am far more comfortable in 3rd. Go figure. I think I'm more comfortable now with my ability to get into the characters' heads that I can finally do it without it having to be me, I, and so on all the time. In a general sense, different tenses/POVs work better for different things. The really nice thing about 3rd person omnipresent POV is that you get to know everything the character does... and more. You can see things they don't, which can add mystery and a lot of edge to the story. I guess when it comes down to it, 1st person POV is good for emotion-driven stories, whereas 3rd person is good for action-driven.
Do you have music that inspires your writing? (That you listen to while writing, or certain songs that remind you of certain characters.
Weirdly enough, I need total silence to write. I close my door, turn off the radio. If I don't have silence, I can't focus on the words and the flow of the story as much as I want to.
How do you brainstorm what comes next in a story?
90% of the time, I feel like I don't really need to brainstorm. It just comes. Sometimes I need to take a break for a day or so, and something usually presents itself to me. Two places where I'm most likely to get a flash of insight are in bed before I fall asleep, and in the shower. Don't ask ;) In the most 'extreme' cases, I'll ask friends on what they think might happen (and in one case, I asked my whole lj friends list *eg*).
What do you do when you hit a road block?
I leave it alone for a while. I find, however, that I can't let myself leave it along for too long. There comes a point where you just have to sit down and write something/i>, make that muse-bitch work for her room and board!
How often do you end up deleting a whole bunch of already-written stuff, and how hard is it to let that stuff go?
I hate doing that! Even if I have an idea for what to replace it with, and even if I know that that idea will be so much better than what I already have, it's very hard for me to delete out whole chunks. I have dozens of doc files that are deleted paragraphs from stories that I've put there for safekeeping, just in case I decide I need them after all.
What if you really, really want to include something but part of you is saying it's not right for that particular story?
If it's not right, it's not right. That usually takes some deliberating... it's not always so obvious if something is right for a story right away. But if I really like it, I'll make a note to myself and try to put it in another fic somewhere down the road. Or it might inspire a fic of its own ;)
Do you take notes longhand, and if so, when?
Hardly ever. The only cases I can think of are those where the fic is really flowing along and I can't be at my computer. I'll keep a small notebook with me and jot down turns of phrase whenever I can.
Do you use challenges by other people to inspire you?
I've been known to answer a challenge or two, but they really aren't my thing.
Do you do anything in particular to get you into the right mindset to write a certain character or characters?
Most of the time I don't have to. If I'm feeling really out of touch with the characters, however, I'll watch an episode or read a fic that I feel really nails the characterization.
Which characters are easiest for you to write, and WHY?
Jack and Sam. They're the characters I like the best, the ones I feel closest too, and I think they both have such interesting ways of looking at things. Interesting without being completely alien.
Which ones are hardest, and again, WHY?
Teal'c. Poor, poor Teal'c. A mystery wrapped in an enigma, I suppose. Because he's not a talky sort, it's hard for me to imagine what (and how) he might be thinking. When he has dialogue, I don't want him just to say "indeed", but it's difficult knowing exactly how wordy he should be.
Which characters are most like you emotionally?
Hate to be predictable, but I think I'm a mix of Sam and Jack. I like staying busy, but I'm also pretty laid back. I can be pretty stubborn and sarcastic. My luck with guys... eh ;)
How often do you feel like what you're writing is fulfilling some emotional need - ie, when you're writing comfort, is it because you often feel that you don't get it IRL?
Hmm. I guess Freud or someone might say that I write ship because I have no love life, but I really don't think I put myself in Sam's shoes (hell, I have problems with openly lusting after Jack because the little voice is inside me saying 'he's Sam's'!).
What about writing smut - do you find it easy, difficult?
Don't think I've ever written anything that technically qualifies as smut.
What kinds of smut are easiest for you to write, and WHY?
See above ;) If I did write smut, however, it would obviously be Sam/Jack.
Which of your stories is your favorite and WHY? Least favorite?
This changes all the time. My favorite story is almost always my most recent, and my least favorite... any of my early work.
How do you choose titles for your stories?
They come from all over. Mainly it's something from the story -- a theme or idea, if not an actual word ("Unspoken", "March 27..."). Some come from quotes ("Fireflies", "Between The Dark And The Daylight"). Some are suggested by others ("From the Ashes", "Andromeda").
Do you write differently with a cowriter than you do alone? Is it easier or harder?
Well, never done it...
Do you write original fic differently from fanfic (if you write it at all)?
When I write fic, I feel I usually start from a character point of view, where with original fiction I'm compelled to deal with the plot first.
When a scene feels forced, what are the first few tricks you try to fix it?
Slow down the pacing. Usually a forced feeling comes from being rushed.
Are most of your fixes deletions or additions?
How long does it usually take you to write a story? How many revisions do you go through?
Hours, days, weeks, months... years... Usually I'll revise a couple times.
Do you use beta readers?
For my longer stories, yes.