1. What was the first actual work of creative writing you ever wrote? Preferably the piece that led you to think you would enjoy doing this again, or even for publication.
The first one I ever wrote was in first grade: Lunai Luna the Luna Moth; it told the harrowing experience of a caterpillar realizing it was tranforming into something else.
The first "serious" story I wrote I actually never titled; it was a space-opera adventure, written when I was about 10-11, featuring a space explorer with an intelligent (genetically engineered) dolphin companion, attempts at mystery, big space battles, Mary Sue, you can guess the rest. It was quite dire, though for a first attempt at that age I don't think it was really that bad.
2. Do you write under your own name?
My published work is of course under my name; it's memorable, it's relatively simple to remember, no reason to change it. I have a lot of fanfic and related stuff which is much easier to find under "Sea Wasp" as I've been known online under that name since 1977.
3. Why did you start writing seriously?
Sort of because I HAD to. I had stories I wanted to tell, and while RPGing helps me devise them, it's rare that the stories I play or run equal those in my head. Sometimes they do -- that's the best kind of gaming -- but there's no predicting it.
Nowadays, I actually can make money at it too...
4. Did you write or try to write in someone else's style? Whose? Or did you find your own voice from the start?
I mimic other styles fairly well (see Terminators of Endearment, Doc Smith Fashion, etc.); if I immerse myself in a given author's work, I will pick it up strongly enough that for a while it takes an effort to NOT write that way. That first early story showed far, far too much Doc Smith influence to be disguised, and unfortunately I wasn't Doc Smith, so it sucked. I tried off and on to learn from other people's styles by writing in them for a bit, but finally found my own style by making a conscious decision to steal only when I needed to, and only from the best. :)
5. What one artistic work of any media or writer most inspired you to write?
Almost certainly Doc Smith's Lensman series, though there have been other major influences ON my writing since.
6. Do you have any rituals when you write? Lucky clothing you wear? Music you must listen to? A writing place? Absolute quiet? Tell all.
I generally need significant amounts of time (several hours) as it usually takes me some time to immerse myself in the world I'm going to write. I always listen to music (either instrumental or if it has lyrics, lyrics in a language I don't know). I often assign particular pieces of music to events/scenes that I'm writing.
7. Do you reward yourself when you finish a project? How? Do you dole out the rewards at various stages of the project or save them for the end?
The reward for me is having people read the story and (one hopes) liking it. If it's a PAID project I always spend SOME of the money on myself, about 1/10th of it.
8. What word do you most overuse when you write, not counting common words like "had" or "the"?
I'm not sure about words. I mainly abuse harmless punctuation marks like semicolons and ellipses.
Hoping this weekend I can do some editing for Kathy, and catch up on game emails and LJ postings that I've not really had time for.