Apart from any health benefits, what would you say has been the biggest bonus you've gotten from all this athletic fun (climbing, archery, running, etc) you've been doing?
Well, I ran in junior high and high school; getting back into it has been really satisfying, because I had initially stopped due to joint problems. And I've been shooting--well, I got my first bow when I was sixteen (I still have it)--but there have been a lot of long hiatuses in there. I've been more consistent about yoga and weight lifting--that was easier to do in Nevada, where any kind of outdoor activity is just a loss seven months out of the year--although I have pretty much quit with the weights currently, as the climbing is giving me better strength gains than lifting ever did.
The biggest benefit for me of physical activity is that it's awfully good for your brain chemicals. Which is, after all, a health benefit, as is improved strength and wind and balance and confidence. I missed my athleticism. Also, climbing is just fun.
did Mebd like the glittery scurrying catnip toy we sent her?
Mebd, alas, spurns all toys except catnip bags and glitterballs.
Since I'm almost finished reading Dust (thank you so much and it rocks), what was your inspiration for it?
Oh, god. One inspiration? Pretty sure I can't boil it down that far. Books get built out of very complex patterns, for me, and assembled piece by piece over years until they finally fall into a pattern that makes sense to me.
I've had the character of Jacob Dust in my head for years, literally, and was just waiting for a place to use him. When I finally figured it out, the world just kind of fell into place around him. And I had a great deal of fun playing with the epic fantasy references in a science fiction setting.
Do you practice more to increase your strengths or weaknesses? Which one and why, and any other comments about learning and skillbuilding please.
I practice to increase my weaknesses!
Okay, well, here's the thing. When learning a new skill, generally speaking, one starts off with nothing but weaknesses. Slowly, one becomes better at certain aspects of the craft. And if you want to be good at something, you have to direct your practice towards gaining specific new aspects of the skill and then mastering them. However, you also have to be aware of your weaknesses and work on fixing them.
To resort to metaphor, if you're trying to play tennis, you need a good forehand, backhand, serve, and hustle.
On the other hand, we often (in my writer's group) talk about how "good enough" isn't. And that it's not the things you don't do wrong that sells a story--it's the things you do right. So you have to attain a certain level of competence in everything relating to a task you wish to excel at. And then you have to get as good as you can at as many aspects of that skill as you can.
When you start writing a story/novel, do you know how it's going to end? How far ahead do you "see" as you write?
Every single one is different. Most commonly, I figure out the denouement about a third of the way into the draft. The climax I usually write as I get to it. But sometimes I figure out the end first. *g* And on the novella I'm working on now, I have everything written except the climax and the denouement, and I'm totally stuck on how they happen. Which is why I am here answering questions.
You can ask a question here.