What have you learned on your writer journey that you wish you had learned earlier?
To not be so self conscious. I want to say I USED to be super self conscious about my writing but to be honest, parts of me still are. It’s not as bad as it used to be. I’d have anxiety over people reading what I wrote because I was so worried about whether or not they’d like it. Now, I’ve experienced people not enjoying what I wrote but I’ve accepted that it doesn’t change who I am as a writer or my worth as an artist. Not everyone likes the same books. People disliking my writing doesn’t make me a bad writer, it just means they are not my target audience. I’d tell my past self to worry less about everyone’s opinion and more on the story. Be confident.
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How do you feel about your old works?
And bonus homework: say something nice about past-writer-you.
Sometimes reading my old works can be a little cringy, whether it be sentence structure, word choice or simply content. Most of what I wrote in high school was so angsty and aggravated. All these big emotions that I was trying to process and now that I’m older, I look back on those and think how extreme I could be. But also how beautiful it is to see those feelings documented in such a raw form. Past-writer me was honest and gritty and I have a lot of respect for how she took things that were painful and was able to express them in a healthy way. I wrote about things I cared about and it showed underneath all those fragmented sentences.
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Fanfic or original, which fandoms/genres do you like to write?
I wish I was brave enough to publish my fanfiction. I admire fanfic writers. Some people like to say that fanfic writers aren’t “real writers” and that’s such a load of shit. Some of my favorite authors write fanfic. While 90% of my writing is original, I do fanfic mostly for fun and no one ever reads it. When you’re writing original fiction, you decide who your characters are, you make the setting, you create the tone but with fanfics, the characters and world are already built. That intimidates me. When I’m writing a character and it’s someone I created, I’m much more confident that I’ve accurately captured their voice and mannerisms. I’m always nervous with fanfic that I don’t have a tight enough grasp on the characters or that I’m not being original enough.
The fandoms I dabble in fanfic for are Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I’m a big ol’ Bioware fangirl and I have shed literal tears over those video games.
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Is what you like to write the same as what you like to read?
Yes and no. I love to read stories that are similar to what I create but I also love to read things that aren’t necessarily my thing but are well written. Life would be a bit boring if we only read one genre or listened to one type of music. Art is created to be appreciated.
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Describe what your character likes about the place they live, in their words.
“Never in my life had I seen trees as tall as the Dark Star Forest. This place was like a movie. Like a painting of what an artist imagined true beauty to be. Massive pine and fur outlining the small town of brick buildings and crisp pavement. This place was alive and not just from all the vegetation surrounding the town, but the streets let off an energy. A vibration that rose up through your feet and into your lungs. Looking around at everyone strolling the sidewalks, I wondered if they felt it too. If everyone else felt as drawn to this place as I did. Whatever reason this town called my name through the wind, I knew I could build a home here.”
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Do you write in past tense or present tense? Why do you prefer one?
Definitely past tense. I like to write stories as if they’ve already happened, and the main characters are telling the story from the future. This is what I went through and this is how I overcame it, kind of thing. I have yet to write anything present tense but who knows, maybe someday.
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I looked through old WIPs and I couldn’t find anything that I’d say was ‘dumb’ per se. Instead I decided to share my favorite conversational piece between my characters from the first book I ever wrote:
We continued to eat our meal in silence. I already had as much information as I needed.
“I’d kill for a cheeseburger.” I heard Emily whisper. “A double quarter pounder with extra cheese.”
“That sounds really good.” I replied, my mouth began to water. “With a large Dr. Pepper.”
“And French fries with extra ranch dressing.”
“Ooh and a huge slice of Oreo pie.”
“With garlic bread.”
“And a shot of jack.”
“With a line of coke.”
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Are you a plotter, a pantser, or a plantser? Would you like to be different than you are?
100% plotter. I have to know where I’m going to start a journey when I’m writing. I love leaving little easter eggs and bringing things into the beginning that carry all the way through to the end and the easiest way for me to do that is to have at least some kind of idea how things will end. That being said, not everything can be planned. I love those moments when an idea pops into my head that ties loose ends together so beautifully. Sometimes you have to wait until you’re in the moment for the plot to come together, which can be difficult for someone who is such a planner but so very worth it.
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Do you have filler scenes in your WIPs? How do you fill them?
I do. No story is all punchlines all the time. There needs to be the insight of downtime. The characters just being people. It lets the reader get close to them as individuals, lets people relate and connect to the characters.
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Come up with a new ending.
Oh god. Endings come in two forms: they succeed or their fail. So, why would I be writing a book where they all fail? I’m sure some writers do and I applaud them because I don’t have the stomach for that. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s say I do. Elements ends with the girls discovering the truth about their powers but it’s too late and they all perish in their crusade against their enemies. Bring tissues.
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