I reckon one of the first things people comment on when they read my poetry is the grammar. Even if the poem itself is pretty mediocre, you can guarantee the grammar will be near pitch perfect. Capital letters at the start of every line, appropriate commas, full stops, semi colons and other forms of punctuation in all the correct places to aid reading - you name it, I do my best to do it. Free verse and I have never really got along - my battle for the rights of the Lesser Spotted Comma has ingrained a true case of Grammar Nazi Syndrome that refuses to step aside, even for the most noble artistic purposes.
And it doesn't stop at poetry, either. One of the first things I revise upon editing a work of prose - be it school essay or 300 page novel - is the grammar and flow of each sentence. I get angsty at clunky sentences, start chewing my nails when misplaced apostrophes appear in signs around my boarding house, and perform something between a Hulk-esque metamorphosis and an epileptic fit over text-speak contractions in locations outside a text-based environment.
I even wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph once, complaining about the grammar in a paricularly poorly written column at the back of the paper. They didn't publish it, but I would not rest until I had made my point.
And just when you thought I couldn't get any worse ... it turns out it's not just grammar that I'm pernickety about. I'm a control freak to the Nth degree - calling me up impromptu to work at your shelter for orphaned blind kittens, simply presuming that I have already agreed to this, will result in the painful removal of your innards. Through your nostrils.
I like my life planned and sorted out, so I can keep on top of everything. Blame a hectic school life for this - I'd never get ANYTHING done without my routine and, being the High Queen of the Procrastinatos, I need it, literally, to function.
It was only a matter of time before this strayed into plotting my stories as well. As I've not had much time for writing the stories themselves due to a very busy life, I've spent much term-time sorting out the worlds inside my head - especially that of Cumnor, the land where my Aeserion Trilogy takes place.
As of this organisational process, I officially have:
~ Individual documents set aside in the "Character Profiles" file, setting out everything from your generic Roleplay-style Basic Information document, right down to their personal quirks and habits. I've even got a document for "Cannon Fodder" - all those poor minor characters whom I will have around for a few chapters, then mercilessly maim and destroy for my own amuse- sorry, for the sake of the plot.
I'm contemplating renaming the document "The Redshirt Chronicles".
~ Documents set aside in the "Aeserion Background" folder, denoting the history of the two countries - from the arrival of the missionaries who brought the country it's triumvirate of goddesses, right through the civil wars, trade crises and economic whoopsies and horrific manglings of language that lead to the start of the Errion-Skathain war. And lots more carnage after that too.
~ A special timeline thingymajig from Cathryn Leigh, which has helped solve my chronic timing problems. Now, when I make Florien ride from the north to the south of the country, I can at least know how long it would take, and dole out saddle sores accordingly.
~ A truly magnificent map of the country - again by the wonderful Cathryn Leigh - so I can tell exactly where the other countries that I reference are geographically, as well as seeking out appropriate rivers to drop my unfortunate heroes in.
But what is this - I have no plot outline? Surely I must have just missed it off the list - a terrible control freak like me cannot have overlooked such a crucial article in her attempt to micromanage absolutely everything to the extent it will one day drive her insane and she'll end up locked up in a single room in a mental asylum bouncing around trying to categorise the padding on the walls of her cell?
On that front, I will say just this.
The plot bunny. It 'sploded.