I think this calls for a First Lines Meme. I haven't done one in about a million years, so it's due.
Three days after my birthday, Armas the Executioner and Chief of Prisons came for me while I ate breakfast.
He fell into my world on a dusky blue January afternoon, he and his horse. There had been ice on the causeway, and the horse slipped. I saw it all.
It wasn't until I was ten years old that I learned that my mom, Queen Argemone of Serilda, would invite a princess from every Kingdom to stay at our castle, and expect me to choose one of them at the end of the summer.
When I was ten, it seemed like such a great idea.
Greater Than or Equal To
"No one wants to go to college a virgin," Lexie said, jamming her fork into a crouton. She pointed the crouton at me. "Not even you, Aly."
"I don't think about those things," I said, which was of course a lie. Though I didn't care so much if I went to college a virgin, exactly; there was something noble about waiting until True Love or even Marriage, but honestly, while I thought about sex rather a lot, boys--and men--as a whole were far too mystifying and strange to really consider as friends, let alone sexual partners.
Which was a difficult position to be in, because I didn't test as Asexual, and I settled strictly on the far left of the K1 range: Unwaveringly Heterosexual. So, as far as sex went, I didn't have non-boy options, nor the option to opt out.
"The Spring at Spellwinter Inn"
Ten mornings in, and I risked capture all because I'd forgotten about cold.
I'd grown soft in the South, too accustomed to spiderdown robes and rainy solstices. I'd forgotten how weatherwinter hardens, how it kills. I'd forgotten how Northerners know the enemy is not other people, but the cold. In the South, we care for one winter only, and that is Spellwinter; this care does not draw people together.
Jo found Murx keening a ritual death chant as lerm sent out Denial of Search Notices. Jo had asked about that exactly once. Murx had simply blinked at her and said, "It calms me."
Jo was not on Trolar death chants, but she respected the need to be calm when sending DSNs. She too often had felt that moment of incendiary anger when she realized that some sapient beings out there thought that they didn't have to return library books (on time or at all), and worse, lied about having returned them. But Jo had been raised among humans, no matter how transcendental, and understood how that sort of thing happened, and could extrapolate beyond that to greedier cultures. Trolarib didn't really have that kind of comprehension of selfishness. That's what made them such ideal library assistants.
The screen indicated 99.7342% completion, so Jo decided not to interrupt Murx's meditation. Instead, she dialed up a translation of the Murx's song on her slate: "--you without honor, we bury you in the deepest grave where the [untranslatable] cannot feed on your corpse and renew the planet, just as you have buried Sacred Information and kept it from your fellow Seekers of Knowledge, and just as you have broken the bonds of Filial Lending--"
It was a rather specific sort of death chant.
That wasn't that exciting, actually. I don't have very much stuff in limbo these days. The penalty of novels, I guess? And having sold most of the short story inventory without replacing any of it?
I also did this meme in 2008 (http://merriehaskell.livejournal.com/411414.html) and in 2004 (http://merriehaskell.livejournal.com/127804.html), so it's not been the requisite 4 years, but I wondered how much things have changed.
What's the last thing you wrote?
A partially new scene for The Princess Curse. The last thing I completed was probably "Five Rules for Commuting to the Underworld."
Is it any good?
Good enough to sell to Strange Horizons!
What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
The old answer still applies: "The Story of a Princess" - age 7.
Was it any good?
The 7-year-old effort had a beginning, a middle and an end. In retrospect--genius!
Not anymore, unless it's doggerel.
Favourite genre of writing?
Still a huge fan of writing fantasy. YA is not so much a genre as a market category, but I like that, too.
Most fun character you ever wrote?
Heh, it's between Reveka the Herbalist's Apprentice and... probably the four main characters in Prince(ss).
Most annoying character you ever wrote?
I've noticed that not a few of my characters are just a little bit annoying. I'm not sure what that means?
Best plot you ever wrote?
I kinda wonder if that's not Prince(ss), even though it's not done. But let's be clear: plot was my biggest problem for a long time, so it's kind of a wondrous thing that I've written a plot at all.
Coolest plot twist you ever wrote?
Anything I could classify as a twist is probably equally cool to anything else I could classify as a twist. I don't know from twist. My plots go. Is twisting necessary?
How often do you get writer's block?
Is systematic procrastination a kind of writer's block?
How do you fix it?
Write fan fiction?
Do you type or write by hand?
Word processing is for winners.
Do you save everything you write?
Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?
Of course. It might not be the same, but the idea is still there.
What's your favourite thing that you've written?
I kinda love everything as long as I'm not working on it.
What's everyone else's favourite thing that you've written?
Probably "Reparations" or "The Girl-Prince." It's hard to tell.
Do you even show people your work?
I have critiquers.
Who's your favourite constructive critic?
Right now, my editor.
Do you have a web site for your writing?
Did you ever write a novel?
Have you ever written fantasy, sci-fi, or horror?
Only all the time.
Ever written romance or teen angsty drama?
Only all the time.
What's your favourite setting for your characters?
I really love far-future Regency-esque societies.
What's one genre you've never written, and probably never will?
How many writing projects are you working on right now, grasshopper?
Actively? Just the one. But loads are percolating and in progress.
Do you want to write for a living?
I suppose I technically am now.
Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?
Not probably how this question means it.
Have you ever won an award for your writing?
The old answer still applies: Not since high school.
Ever written something in script or play format?
The old answer still applies: Yes, and had it performed. Again, not since high school.
What are your five favourite words?
Rictus. Paroxysm. Cataleptic. Harquebus. Tuffet.
Do you ever parody?
I hope someday to write something that causes someone to shriek, "Oh, Merrie Haskell, no!"
What's your favourite thing to parody?
Things that can take it.
Do you actually like that thing, or are you spitefully making fun of it?
I'm guessing "like." (I would not actually be parodying John Ringo, except in the terms of "id-fest.")
Do you ever write based on yourself?
Less than I used to. I guess that's how I started out. Now I've actually realized the wonder of creating characters not like me. Huh. When did that happen?
What character that you've written most resembles yourself?
I don't know! I just realized any character that somewhat resembles me is usually much meaner than I am. I wonder what that means?
Where do you get ideas for your other characters?
I like the old answer: This is a "where do you get your ideas" question wrapped in sheep's clothing. "Everywhere" is always the answer.
Do you ever write based on your dreams?
Certainly, though more and more, the answers to certain writing problems show up in a dream.
Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliff-hangers?
I prefer a happy ending, I think. Though my definition of happy is a bit weird. "Emotionally satisfying." Of course, my definition of satisfying is also a bit weird.
Have you ever written based on a work of art that you've seen?
I had to rethink this. Yes. A little bit based on some knicknacks I have that are basically folk art.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I correct errors as I see them. I write a reasonably clean first draft.
Does music help you write?
Sometimes it helps, sometimes it distracts.
Do you have a weblog or livejournal?
You're soaking in it.
Are people surprised and confused when they find out you write well?
I don't know. I like to think I'm well-spoken. Well-enough spoken.
Quote something you've written. The first thing to pop into your mind.
I was so sure I would find luck granted by patience, on the day of a patient saint like the mother of Symeon--he sat on a pillar for a good deal of his life. Just. Sat there. From the time he lost his baby teeth on. No wonder they made his mother a saint.