Answers the First (or "Hi, This is What I Do")

Apparently 88% of us would rather be lonely (and smart) than stupid (with friends). I'm with you guys, but you should know this is how super villains are made.

You guys asked some fantastic questions! I'll be answering some today, some Wednesday, and on Friday we have a double sketch featuring a very special guest artist. Now, to the questions!

An anonymous visitor from Natalie's blog asks: Can I ask what your main profession is?
Believe it or not, the "About Me" description over there is pretty much it: I write and I foster kids. My wife and I have a heart to give a family to kids with nowhere else to go, and most of our income comes from folks who support that mission (though obviously I'd love it if writing could help with that!). In my previous incarnations, I programmed computers, led Christian worship, and developed computer games.

Yeah, I don't see the connection either.

Advice for people who did not study writing or English or anything related to that in university...and struggling on how to really "start". Is there a method?

Ha! As you might have guessed, I studied Computer Science in college, not English. I think I wrote a total of ten papers--none fiction--and I haven't read a novel for a class since I graduated high school. So no, I don't think a formal education is necessary at all to write good fiction.

Here's what I do instead:
  1. Write.
  2. Read.
  3. Get and give critiques.
That's it. I would (and do) read books on writing as well as fiction. I always recommend Orson Scott Card's Characters and Viewpoint and Nancy Kress's Beginnings, Middles, and Ends. But everyone's got their favorites. I bet they'll tell you in the comments (hint, hint).

And I'd love to know what a typical "day" or daily schedule is like for you (how you fit in work, writing, reading, eating, etc).

Yeah, I'd love to know how I fit all that in too.

Seriously, most days kinda look like this:
  1. Wake up (or get woken up) about 6 am.
  2. Get boys fed, girls ready for school, etc.
  3. Check e-mail and the rest of the internet.
  4. Write (my wife teaches the boys, and a helper takes care of the baby for a couple of hours).
  5. From about 11 am - 4 pm: watch/play with the boys, keep the baby happy, clean the house, fix the house, and (if possible) write blog posts, critique manuscripts, and maybe read or draw.
  6. Pick up the girls from school.
  7. Repeat #5 until bedtime.
  8. Bust out Secret Snacks. Watch So You Think You Can Dance until unconscious.
Today was a little different. Cindy took all the kids to a homeschool co-op, and one of our friends is leaving the country soon. So it was more like:
  1. Wake up.
  2. Check e-mail.
  3. Play Agricola.
  4. Eat bacon and ham sandwiches.
  5. Visit Lutiya's school.
  6. Play Agricola.
  7. Write blog post.
  8. Pick up girls.
  9. Play Agricola.
  10. Pass out.

Myrna Foster asks: Have you written a ninja story?
Sadly, no. I've got ideas for one, but it still feels too much like Batman Begins (which I guess isn't a bad thing). Later this year, I expect to choose a new project. We'll see if the ninjas make the cut.

How many children are you guys raising at the moment?
Nine. And we're in the process of adopting a tenth. This is what we look like now (click to enlarge):

More answers on Wednesday!


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love your day with Emmett! Good friends are the best, especially if they justify sandwiches with two versions of pig.


Fav writing books: Robert McKee's Story, Joseph Williams' Style. I think I need to find a Voice book to complete the trifecta.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

p.s. I'm acutely aware of the SuperVillain dilemma. I tell the boys all the time, "Don't be evil." (yes, I stole it from Google) But I do encourage them to be social, just in case.

Matthew MacNish said...

Nice to get to know you better Adam!

You've got to fit some Ninja in there somewhere. Ninja rule!

Sherri said...

What a good looking family! Also, I'm happy to know I wasn't the only one who chose stupid over lonely. It made sense to me--after all, if you're stupid you don't know it. Heck, I may be stupid right now! But I knew when I was lonely and that sucked.

jjdebenedictis said...

Aaaw, great looking family!

And I'll "ditto" Susan Kaye Quinn's recommendation of Story by Robert McKee. Be advised it focuses on screenwriting, but it's still one of the best books on writing I've encountered. (I racked up late fees at the library on that one--something I never do!)

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for answering my questions AND posting a picture.

Have you seen Megamind? "I'm so TIRED of running rampant through the streets!" Your super villain comment reminded me of him.

My favorite writing books are "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White," Writing the Breakout Novel," by Donald Maas, and "Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, by Ursula K. LeGuin. I also like reading the articles that come out every year in the various Writer's Markets.

Adam Heine said...

@Susan: I liked it too! (Though I wish we could've played Agricola with Cindy as well).

@Matthew: Glad you enjoyed. And nice use of the singular-plural!

@Sherri: Most people I ask in real life choose stupid for the same reason. It's really interesting that the self-selected internet sample does the opposite!

@JJ: Thanks! And now I definitely have to check out that book.

@Myrna: Haven't seen Megamind yet, but I want to. And you're welcome for the picture :-)

Emmet said...

Perhaps the sampling from the internet differed in their responses to the question because it was phrased different.

I believe the original was closer to this: Would you rather be stupid and happy, but not know it, or smart and lonely?