I love a nice question tag and I found one about writing that’d be nice to do while I avoid writing.
1. Tell us about your WIP!
Or Writing In Progress. I have several going all at the same time (mistake number one). I have two scripts going, one for a school capstone project that’s a parody of The Office. The other is a show about a group of six seniors trying their best make it through the year, but I think I’ll have to work on that one for years before it gets where it needs to be.
I’m also in the middle of finishing a short story for my creative writing class. It’s just about a girl who’s alternate universe twin completely takes over her life without anyone noticing. It’s due Tuesday morning and I’m only halfway through it as of Sunday night. Can you tell that I’m internally screaming?
I also have a bunch of smaller pieces that I’m doing half for myself and half upon request. Leave it up to me to create more work for myself. And I have a ton of ideas I can’t work on right now. *sigh*
2. Where is your favorite place to write?
My room is always good, but I can pretty much write anywhere as long as I have my headphones and high quality tunes.
3. What is your favorite/least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part of writing is when a joke of an idea becomes something really good. Some of my best works are from jokes between my friends or ideas I think would be really funny to be writing about. Agneau is a story about a cult that started as a school project. Self Titled is about a group of kids that like to pretend the rule a communist utopia. One of my best poems is about me not wanting kids. Objectively, that shit’s kind of funny.
My least favorite part is dialogue. I’m very poetic naturally, so it takes a certain mindset for me to find the rhythm that occurs naturally in conversation and to avoid having my characters sound like me.
4. Do you have any writing habits/rituals?
I always listen to music that is either soothing or fits the vibe of what I’m writing. If I’m trying to focus and get shit done, I get some tea with me or a bottle of water. If I’m just spitballing I write it down in a journal. If I’m planning to use it at some point, I type it. I really hate transcribing stuff.
5. Top five formative books?
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
We Must Look Up by Tommy Wallach
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
…in no particular order of course.
6. Favorite character you’ve written?
To preface, I’m partial to my male characters, just because for me they take more effort to solidify and not just use as plot tools. I love all of my characters pretty equally, but Joshua from Agneau is my favorite just because he took so much time just to formulate. In my head, Agneau’s final product would be in almost a “narrative biography” style meaning that the story would be completely centered around Joshua’s life as the son of a cult leader. It wouldn’t be chronological at all except for the first and last chapter too, so it was very important that Joshua’s character development was mapped out before I even started writing anything, and I’m very satisfied with it.
7. Favorite/most inspirational book?
All The Bright Places will always have a place in my heart just because I read it during a time I needed it the most.
8. Do you have any writing buddies or critique partners?
Not really, but I’d like to. I usually have close friends of mine read my work if I can’t screen it anymore because I’ve seen it too much. Most of the time I’m able to strip things down while also being reasonable for the most part.
9. Favorite/least favorite tropes?
I’m a sucker for the opposite worlds collide trope. It’s really hard to mess that one up and I think you can always do a new variation on it. I hate any story that implies that a character has to be fixed by someone. That’s stupid. People don’t do that. It just doesn’t happen.
10. Pick an author (or writing friend) to co-write a book with
I’ve been pitching to write with my friend Lauren for awhile now, but we’re both pretty chaotic at the moment. Otherwise, I can’t think of anything I’d want to be cowriting right now.
11. What are you planning to work on next?
I want to work on my short film script so bad but I don’t havre the time! It’s called Sugar and I had to drop it at the end of last school year because junior wouldn’t let me keep working on it if I didn’t feel like failing. Now I think I’ve finally worked through the burn out but I don’t have the time until 2019. Love. That. For. Me.
12. Which story of yours do you like best? why?
Agneau’s my favorite. It’s probably my best writing after Self-Titled.
13. Describe your writing process
First I have a morsel of a concept. Then I start to come up with moodboards/aesthetics for it to help me find the tone. Next I create a playlist to solidify the tone if it’s a bigger project. Then I draft something if it’s short prose or a poem. If it’s longer I start outlining the plot and daydream about it for weeks before writing anything.
Usually when I’m writing a draft I write for like a paragraph or two before getting distracted for ten minutes and then going back and editing what I’ve written before continuing. Not effective, but it does the job.
14. What does it take for you to be ready to write a book? (i.e. do you research? outline? make a playlist or pinterest board? wing it?)
I have to do a playlist for bigger projects, there isn’t another option. If it’s a topic I’m not already familiar with, I research based on my outline. I also do a few character questionnaires for the main characters so I can record all the info I know about them, even if it never directly comes up. It’s crazy helpful.
15. How do you deal with self-doubt when writing?
To preface, I write fanfic too (that’s how I started writing on my own in the first place) so there’s a strong contrast. When I’m writing my own thing, I usually have no idea if it’ll ever come out publicly or not so there’s less internal doubt. It becomes more like a “oh this isn’t working right now, so I’m gonna set it to the side and come back later to fix it.
Right now I’m actively avoiding three prompt requests because disappointing people is on the line. The self doubt is REAL fam.
16. Cover love/dream covers?
Here are some of my favorite book covers I’ve seen:
I love making covers for my stories but I can’t do digital art the same way so it’d be cool to find and artist to collaborate with.
17. What things (scenes/topics/character types) are you most comfortable writing?
I write about the suburbs a lot (I wonder why), and I find it easier to write about adolescents. I think writing characters around that age doesn’t really have to do with the fact that I’m that age, because I’ve always done that. I think it’s more because I can play more freely with the duality in childhood and adulthood without the character being considered strange or unnatural.
Teens are also more likely to make dumb decisions.
18. Tell us about that one book you’ll never let anyone read
Grapes of Wrath? I don’t think it needs explanation.
19. How do you cope with writer’s block?
I’ve learned to just purge write, even if it feels like all my ideas suck. The reality is that writing isn’t easy. If you want to write something, it’ll be more like pulling teeth than picking flowers. Sometimes you have to just get through the shitty first draft.
My issue is just writing anxiety.
20. Any advice for young writers/advice you wish someone would have given you early on?
Keep a journal! Write everything and anything you want. You want to try poetry? Write some sick poems. You want to write a trilogy about wizards? I’ll be happy to see it when you do. You can write literally whatever you want, you just have to put in the time. Also, don’t be afraid to write what you know or write about yourself.
21. What aspect of your writing are you most proud of?
I’m really good at description and inner monologue for my characters.
22. Tell us about the books on your “to write” list
I’ve already sort of explain Agneau and Self-Titled. I can go more into movies and shows I want to write. I want to write a feature length film based off the album Melodrama. Instead of it just being about a break up, it’s about a group of four girls helping one their friends recover from a bad relationship while at a house party. The whole story runs of the course of one night.
My other idea is based off Paramore’s back story to writing the album After Laughter. That’s all I’m gonna say for now.
23. Most anticipated upcoming books?
Spoiler alert: I’m not a big reader right now. I don’t have the time or energy to eat food, let alone enjoy a good book outside of classwork. I’ve also never been good about being active in the literary scene. The only art scene I have followed closely is music, and I still don’t follow the mainstream really well.
24. Do you remember the moment you decided to become a writer/author?
I don’t remember a moment. I remember carrying around a tattered blue composition book and writing out the beginning of a novel whenever there was down time in class. That was in the sixth grade, and I still have it.
25. What’s your worldbuilding process like?
I keep it all in one notebook or folder on a flash drive. I collect photos and write notes about rules, authority figures, maps, main characters in the story and they’re role in that society. I don’t have to world build often since I write realistic fiction most of the time.
26. What’s the most research you’ve ever put into a book?
Agneau. I spent a month reading about cults and cult behavior.
27. Every writer’s least favorite question – where does your inspiration come from? Do you do certain things to make yourself more inspired? Is it easy for you to come up with story ideas?
I wouldn’t say it’s easy for me to come up with story ideas. I’m just really receptive to ideas coming my way. I get inspiration from songs all the time, whether it’s lyrics or just the sound. Pictures can give me ideas. Funny or strange phrases. Concepts that hit me randomly or ideas that have been occupying my headspace (hence my bloggy posts). People. I’m blessed to be surrounded by interesting characters that are just begging to wiggle themselves into my imaginative space.
When I write based on people, I’m not always trying to express my perspective on them or scenarios or anything like that. My last poem was based on a persona and an emotion and visual I wanted to attach to them. Who’s to say if it was real or not?
Also I’m a Maladaptive Daydreamer, so all my idea grabbing tendencies revolve around that compulsion.
28. How do you stay focused on your own work and how do you deal with comparison?
I’ve developed a distinct writing style, so trying to compare myself to other writing styles I admire would be like comparing apples and grapefruit. I also know that other styles that I admire just hold things I can learn from and adapt into my own thing later.
29. Is writing more of a hobby or do you write with the intention of getting published?
I always write to publish. I just don’t publish everything I write.
30. Do you like to read books similar to your project while you’re drafting or do you stick to non-fiction/un-similar works?
We’ve addressed that I haven’t been reading. But when I do , it’s rare that it
31. Top five favorite books in your genre?
Refer to Number 5.
32. On average how much do you write in a day? do you have trouble staying focused/getting the word count in?
I can write up to a thousand words (4-5 pages double spaced) in one sitting. I’m working on upping my writing stamina at the moment. I’m getting more consistent about reaching over 2000 in two hours if I just don’t stop.
33. What’s your revision/rewriting process like?
After I’ve written, I usually do a quick read over to fix anything that doesn’t line up with where I ended (I don’t plan plot/outline essays). Then if it’s a more important work that’s up for publishing or competition I wait a little bit until I can look back through it with fresh eyes and work sentences or dialogue.
34. Unpopular writing thoughts/opinions?
Plot planning isn’t that important unless you’re world building. The classic story structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution) or the three-act structure creates bland stories. And finally, writing isn’t a talent—writing is a skill anyone can workshop with time, patience, and dedication.
35. Post the last sentence you wrote
A large gust of wind pushed him gently from behind until he was flying—flying from oblivion, flying from his destiny and falling into goodness and truth.
36. Post a snippet
He rose from the cracked wood of their kitchen table, black sleeping gown hanging loosely from his skeletal frame. He had lost weight over the moon cycle as well despite his mother’s best efforts. His usual pinafore and black dress shirt had grown baggy, and his hair was beginning to fall out in his sleep.
He feet moved sloppily around his bedroom, moving to his vanity mirror desk that held the family emblem. He placed the gold finch around his neck, the bird rusted and hanging farther down his chest than it used to be. He looked up at the old TV he used to watch when he was younger, his hands grazing the empty sides of the bench on each side of him. On the right side sat blond locks and a devilish grin and the left the only angel the Community had ever seen.
The blood had not been scrubbed off of his bedroom floor. It trailed like a path out of the small space and out the door of the Family home, only ceasing at the dark ash circle staining the dusty earth in the middle of the Community grounds.
Joshua did not speak anymore. He would only trace the same word over and over, leaving the sightless mark on his arm, on his stomach, in the air.
37. Do you ever write long handed or do you prefer to type everything?
I only free write in long hand just because I share a lot of what I write. I don’t really have a preference, it’s just that my handwriting is messy and hard to read.
38. How do you nail voice in your books?
I can see and hear all of my characters outside of writing them. As far as advice goes, you shouldn’t be forcing words into a character’s mouth, they should be controlling the words that go on the page. Liste to your gut. You know if Becky should or shouldn’t be saying “sup brah” or not.
39. Do you spend a lot of time analyzing and studying the work of authors you admire?
Not really? Whenever I read, I pick up on writing style since I’m not great with skimming. I pick up skills in weird places. My poetry writing improved when I became obsessed with Lorde’s lyrics in Pure Heroine and then got really involved with Twenty One Pilots music. My world building improved by reading fan fiction. The dialogue and dynamic for the series I’m writing was strongly influenced by the dynamic on New Girl. You can learn from literally anything as long as it’s authentic and not copying.
40. Do you look up to any of your writer buddies?
A little bit but not really. It goes back to the comparison thing.
41. Are there any books you feel have shaped you as a writer?
42. How many drafts do you usually write before you feel satisfied?
For scripts 5000. For poetry about 3. For prose probably 2.
43. How do you deal with rejection?
I shrug it off at this point. I’m not for everyone, and in our society rejection feels liberating for me. It’s better than people tiptoeing around my feelings.
44. Why (and when) did you decide to become a writer?
I started writing on my own accord in the sixth grade because I wanted to transcribe the characters that occupied my brain. When you’re in middle school you’re interests become your identity.
45. First or third person?
Third! I love writing narrative and omniscient. You can have a lot of fun with detached narrators.
46. Past or present tense?
Past. I have a tendency to use too many verbs in present tense.
47. Single or dual/multi POV?
Single. Multiple POVs rarely come off not try-hardish. It’s too much of a shitty YA move at this point.
48. Do you prefer to write skimpy drafts and flesh them out later, or write too much and cut it back?
I always write too much and have to cut back. I write like a poet.
49. Favorite fictional world?
How about the real one? I’m joking, sort of. I like when writers balance our reality with a fantasy aspect (magical realism).
50. Do you share your rough drafts or do you wait until everything is all polished?
This blog is all of my semi-rough drafts.
51. Are you a secretive writer or do you talk with your friends about your books?
I stay not talking about my writing with the important people in my life. The only person I tell about my writing is my friend Lauren, but we always talk about our characters.
52. Who do you write for?
Myself sort of. I like writing for people like me who just want to see authentic characters have their story shared. I also write more towards young people because I think that’s the demographic who needs me to writ the most.
53. What is the first line of your WIP?
54. Favorite first line/opening you’ve written?
He always felt jittery entering the library, like he was eating from the tree of good and evil, letting the bittersweet juices from the apple of wisdom dribble down his chin.
55. How do you manage your time/make time for writing? (do you set aside time to write every day or do you only write when you have a lot of free time?)
I write during my creative writing class, but usually it’s just when I have any sit down time.