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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What kind of traits make a character interesting?
Flaws. When I’m writing my characters, I definitely think about what makes them unique, what gives them strength and motivation. But what I find the most human is their flaws. Maybe they have a temper or maybe they self sabotage. I personally didn’t feel like my main character of my current WIP was a well rounded individual until I pinpointed what made her a great character, but also what made her slightly infuriating. Whitney has tunnel vision. She gets so wrapped up in what they’re trying to accomplish with their powers, she doesn’t see the immediate effects her actions are having. She’s gotten so used to doing everything herself and carrying all the weight of her situation on her shoulders, she will exhaust herself before she accepts help.
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What comes first, plot or characters?
Characters, usually. I mean they go hand in hand and are definitely developed alongside one another, but I almost always come up with a few main characters first. Who they are, what they care about, what they are doing and how they are doing it. Then I build around that. I feel like who we are as people affects our actions more than anything else, our reactions and our personal beliefs. Plot can be as simple or intricate as the writer pleases but it always comes back to the characters for me. Our choices and the consequences leading us into the next chapter of our lives. Of course, sometimes things happen to our characters that they have no control over, but you can’t carry on the plot without knowing how your characters will take what happens to them.
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Post your favorite line of dialogue that you’ve written recently.
“You’re the sun, Whitney, and I’m just some rock floating through space with no choice but to be pulled into your orbit.”
I have mentioned before how sappy I am, yeah?
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The relationships you write, what kind of power-dynamics do they tend to have?
I don’t write a lot about significant power dynamics. Like sleeping with your boss or having one person in a relationship hold power over the other. I’m a Libra and a feminist, I like good balance. That doesn’t mean everything is equal and pretty all the time because that isn’t realistic but I try to keep things in the same ballpark at least. Forbidden romances can be fun and they definitely have their place, but there’s a fine line for me.
So far in my WIPs there really aren’t power dynamics in my main relationships between my protagonist and their love interests. The obstacles they have to overcome typically stem from things like, being together is dangerous because I have enemies who will hurt you to hurt me, or we shouldn’t tell anyone we’re dating because of drama/conflicts with our families or friends.
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How do you describe sounds?
I like to relate sounds to other senses. Nails on a chalkboard that makes your teeth tingle. Screeching tires on the asphalt makes your blood run cold. Our five senses are so intertwined that it’s impossible to experience one without the others. Sounds can set the entire mood of a scene, whether it’s raining outside or even a complete absence of sound. Silence is often more haunting and eerie than a blood curdling scream. Silence allows our minds to fill in the blanks and when our minds wander, we usually go to worse case scenarios. Like thinking someone is going to murder us while we’re in the shower kinda of paranoia.
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Do you prefer to write fluff or angst?
Why not both? A little angst is what makes the fluff so good! If I absolutely had to pick one, then I’d probably pick fluff because I’m a hopeless romantic and I love the sappy stuff. But would we truly appreciate the sappy stuff if there wasn’t some level of angst to go with it? I don’t think we would. Love gets taken for granted so easily. Knowing it could be taken away from you or having issues come between you as a couple and overcoming it together is what strengthens those bonds. For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a massive fangirl and I love video games. One of my favorite aspects of Bioware games in particular is how all of their in game romances have a level of angst. Can your relationship recover from you coming back from the dead after two years to work for a terrorist organization? It certainly can, and that angst of being apart and then reconnecting is what makes the reunion so sweet.
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