How do you get yourself in the mood to write? Do you have a ritual?
I don’t have a ritual per se, but I do have little tricks that get me in the mindset to be creative. Sometimes it’s a particular playlist, sometimes it’s a long drive through the countryside. Most of the time, it just pours out of me like a waterfall and I have to scribble down baselines so I can go back and fill in the details. To be honest, I’m always thinking about characters and plot lines. Always. So, when I’m lucky, the mood finds me. But when it doesn’t, music is always my number one go to.
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“Do we really have to do this again?”
“Do we really have to do this again?” I asked, hands on my knees. If my labored breath came any heavier, I would pass out for sure.
“And again, and again until you get it right.” Nic folded his arms. “Without a strong mental fortitude, you won’t last five minutes out there.”
I groaned, rubbing my aching forehead with my fingers. My head throbbed. I could literally feel my brain pulsing against the walls of my skull. Begging and pleading for me to sit down. “I’m exhausted.”
“Do you think they rest? Do you think they care if you need a juice break? Now, try it again.” Nic ordered, his eyes full of fire. Ignoring the fact that there was a decade’s worth of training separating our abilities.
“You’re a dick.” I muttered.
He chuckled, “You’ll thank me for this one day.”
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What kind is your favorite character to write?
I love writing genuine characters. Which makes sense because in reality, I gravitate towards genuine people. I have always struggled writing people who have ulterior motives or people who don’t display their true emotions because that isn’t the kind of person I am. On the flip side, one of the best things about being a writer is getting to step inside someone else’s mind and see the world from a different perspective.
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What does your editing/revision process look like?
Once I have everything that I’ve plotted out written, I take a breather. I step away, play some video games, read a book, or just rest my mind for a few days. Sometimes a few days stretches into a week. When I feel rejuvenated again, I go back with fresh eyes and read the WIP in its entirety. Everytime I sit down and read through my writing, I always find something to change. Sometimes it is a little typo, sometimes I find a massive plot hole or something that doesn’t gel with the rest of the book. The truth is, no work will ever be perfect or ever feel finished, especially for writers. But a while back, a friend gave me some writing advice I have carried with me since then: If you feel like it’s the best writing you’ve done, it’s finished.
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Write five keywords that describe each of your WIPs.
Elements: Chosen family, grey morality, courage, survival, and resilience.
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Share a cool phrase from a WIP.
“Long tubes of bright white, flickering against the square tile ceiling. The one in the furthest back right corner was out, casting a shadow on the tall fern that stood next to an end table with old magazines. The addresses of the previous owners marked out in thick, black sharpie. That’s kind of what a hospital does when you think about it. Cross people out.”
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How often do you switch WIPs and do you think that’s a good thing to do?
It all depends on what pops into my head. I don’t switch back and forth very often, probably only because I don’t have more than a few WIPs at a time. I have a main one, usually Elements, that all my main focus goes on. The others are stand-alones that I play around with as a break from my main project. I always find it helpful to take some time away from your main WIP so that when you come back to it, you’re looking at it with fresh eyes. It makes the work less tedious and also helps you catch those little grammar mistakes or plot holes you may have skimmed over otherwise.
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What’s an old idea that you’ve discarded?
In the beginning of Elements, I had written a scene about a boat crashing into a jet ski at the lake. It was mainly just a shock factor and used to lead into an event that I still kept but segued into differently. I decided to cut the boat crash scene because it was long and it didn’t do anything for the plot on its own. Plus I liked the scene I replaced it with much better and what I went with instead opens the door to carry that particular plot point throughout the series.
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Make a new mood board.
Since the first mood board I made was for Whitney, I decided to make this one for her sister, Rayn. Rayn is very much the second most important character in my WIP, Elements. She and her sister are a team, they do everything with the other in mind.
How do you start a new story?
Bullet points. I like to make lists of the main story points that I’m interested in telling and then I’ll branch off of those into subplots. The thing that I move around the most is typically the order of events. I always have difficulty mapping out the order everything is going to happen in, but that’s because I’m impatient. With Elements, I made a short list of the main events for each book and then pieced together how each event leads to the next. Once I have a more rounded vision for main and subplots, I use a spreadsheet to organize all of it into individual chapters.
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