AND ALSO SCREAM AND FLAIL ABOUT MY NEWEST FAVORITE BLOGGER/PERSON BASICALLY WHO IS BEYOND AWESOME AND SHOULD BE QUEEN OF THE WORLD, AND MAKING EVERYONE EMBARRESSED FOR ME BUT #SHAMELESS. Huge meteor-sized shoutout to Cait @ Paper Fury!!!!!!!! You should totally check her out! If you’re a writer, you WILL NOT regret it, I swear. Well actually, if you’re anyone really. Cait writes about lots of things and is generally immeasurably awesome and stupendous, and possesses the ability to make you roll on the floor laughing even while being devoured by zombies, so there you go. Also, she’s Australian, which is cool but also mega sad because haha there’s no chance I’ll ever meet her. Ahem. Okay, mega-creep-fest basically over. She rocks. Check her out. Your life will get infinitely better, most likely.
What brings Cait up (besides the fact that I’ve been dying for a chance to flail about her here, obvs) is that she did this thing called “15 Questions About My #WritersLife“, and she said to feel free to steal them (see? Isn’t she awesome?!), so BOOM! Total thief that I am… Well, you shall see the results of my handiwork! Keep reading…
1. ARE YOU WRITING ANYTHING AT THE MOMENT? IF SO, WHAT?
Hahaha, AM I BREATHING?!?!?! Ahem. Yes. I am. See this post for more detailed descriptions of my projects. I am currently writing Ice Princess (the sequel to Follow Ever Rainbow), a story about Nymphs and their struggles against an agency that seeks to destroy them. Also contains heroine being controlled by villains for like 60% of the story, so #interesting. Also #cruel to the rest of the main cast but SO WHAT. That’s what they’re there for, to suffer under my malevolent hand. Right. Moving forward.
I’m also writing The Girl In Black, a (wait for it – I love doing this) YA Paranormal Sci-Fi Dark Fantasy novel. It involves Djinn, curses, cool futuristic weapons in a very uncool weapon-phobic futuristic world, DEATH (lots), ghosts, demons, like ilk, AND ULTIMATE FAILURE IN THE END. Sort of. I fix it, I fix it, I promise. Sort of. Just wait and see.
Oh, I should mention that my head story is about Werewolves. Where they’re the good guys. And humans are the deformed mutants of the tribe who turned all jaded and angry about their state and so made up their minds to make themselves into a new tribe. Ever since then, they’ve swollen in numbers and squashed the Werewolves into the tiny corners of the planet and convinced all their descendants that the Werewolves are the bad guys, the deformed, deadly, fiendish mutants, and humans are the noble Werewolf hunters. Lead is Werewolf (which is really fun), and her side kick is a guy who was originally trying to kill her, plus a little girl that kind of interrupted the whole killing thing. They eventually start a revolution of sorts and begin uniting the tribes and all that, but of course that’s not the interesting bits. Just the necessary side affects. Currently untitled, but whatever.
2. WHAT GENRE OF WRITING DO YOU LIKE BEST?
Uhhhh… let me think about that. Just kidding. FANTASY!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve tried Sci-Fi, but have only managed like four stories with relative success, and they all had strong fantasy elements, so there you go. Aside from that, I basically stick to fantasy. The Girl In Black is in many ways the most divergent I’ve gone yet (I mean, can I just say, ASSASSIN MAIN CHARACTER?!?!? She put the sass in assassin, too), and it still has that “Fantasy” in there. So yes. Fantasy.
3. GIRL OR GUY POV?
Out of approximately 90 gajillion stories (okay, at least a hundred no joke) that I’ve written (head stories included in that count, people, don’t freak out), only 2 have been from guys POV. I repeat, TWO. That’s a very bad average, I know, but I really can’t write guys that well. HOWEVER, one of my all-time favorite written down stories, The Wanderer’s Fate, is from a guy (Shade)’s perspective, and in first person! So! At least there’s that.
4. WHEN DID YOU START WRITING?
Writing, as in on the computer, was when I was 9 years old. Before that my stories (all in my head) consisted of dreadful fairy/sprite/leprechaun things called elves that basically did nothing but sit around the story being awesome and pranking the big dumb slow humans. At 9, I started trying to type up a story, but after about a year of trying, my fingers were far too sluggish for my impatient mind, so I went back to Headstoryville. But the content of those stories improved dramatically, though they had so much room for that it’s really not saying much. At 15, I did NaNoWriMo, and haven’t looked back. I’ve been writing down stories (and continuing the head story tradition) ever since.
5. DO YOU PREFER WRITING ON PEN AND PAPER OR DIGITALLY?
If I had to write with a pencil, or God forbid a PEN, on paper, the world would never see a word of my stories. I would literally seize up and die. So for the sake of my health, I only ever write digitally.
6. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WRITING?
Okay, before I answer this question, can I take a moment to point out the ADORABLY AWESOME spelling of “favorite”?!?! I love the way Brits/Aussies spell things. Anyway…
This is kind of like asking me what my favorite shade of gray is. There’s just soooo many wonderfully gorgeously awesome shades of gray out there (gray is my favorite color, FYI, in case you didn’t know), and there’s sooooo many fantastically incredible things I love about writing. Plus I want to avoid sounding cheesy. Actually, just forget that last sentence. Here we go:
I like sharing my stories with other people. I love watching their enjoyment of it, seeing them writhe in the
agony delight of my story, talking about the characters like they’re real… Ah. I just love watching other people read my stories. It makes me soooooo happy.
Also, writing keeps me sane and in a good mood. So that’s nice too. Especially for those around me.
I L.O.V.E. creating. I can’t not create. Forging worlds. birthing characters, shaping narratives, bringing a story to life. Over and over again. It’s literally magic. I never cease to be fascinated by the way the characters come to life and tell me how to tell their stories. I never get tired of watching a story go from lifeless seed, a clumsy half-formed rough idea, to vibrant breathing story, filled with life and adventure and love and pain and death and everything else… Just. WOW. I can’t even describe it. Or how I feel. It’s like nothing else in the world.
^That^ Is my favorite thing about writing.
7. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WRITING?
THAT MY STUPID FINGERS GET SO DARN TIRED. Take Cait, for example. She talks casually about cranking out 20,000 words in a day. My fingers/arms/wrists/entire physical self go on strike and shrivel up and die if I push 5,000. And the salt in the proverbial wound is that usually by that point, I’m warmed up and roaring along at a nice old clip, ready to charge on for another 2,000 words or so. But my fingers cannot even hit the proper keys and I can’t think straight from the achy pain so I have. to. STOP. How awful is that?
Ack, yes. It’s such a pity that writing has to be… well, written.
8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO WRITE? (NOVELS, POETRY, SHORT STORIES, ETC.)
While I have written poetry on occasion (I even shared My Head Is Full Of Things Untold with you), I never write novels in verse, and don’t do extensive poetry (my longest was like 3-4 pages and pretty terrible). I’ve also tried to write short stories before buuuttt… Unless I’m straining under a strict word limit (HELLO, annoying contest restrictions!), it always goes like this:
Me: I’m going to write a short story. It’ll be about a girl in the 1400s in France, involve a family feud, a magical talisman that was stolen, and a creepy underground place with sulfur lakes and undead people. I can do that in, what, 2,000 words? 3,000? That’ll work!
(12,000 words later) OH WELL.
True story. That’s Star of Ashdod, by the way. Don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on here. I did edit it down to 8,000 words, but I still felt crammed and wanted more room to really work with that story.
Short stories don’t sit well with me. I neeeeeeed more room to move and groove, people. It’s novels for this girl!
(Note: I am not an epically long novel writer either most of the time; I average out at about 50,000 words per novel. My longest is Mastermind at 75,000)
9. WHEN DO YOU WRITE BEST?
It didn’t take me long It took me pathetically long, of doggedly trying and trying and pounding my head against a brick wall, to realize that I literally can’t write before noon. If I try, I end up staring at the screen for hours on end and literally writing about 200 words I’m not joking. My writing prime hours (which I optimize for obvious reasons and let normal sane life fall by the wayside) are approximately 12 pm – 12 am. I *cough* sometimes write until 2 am… but I start to type all the wrong words, like wright instead of right, and I just have to stop and get some shuteye. I don’t normally end up writing for that entire time (since I sleep so late I’m barely awake), which I’d like to get into the habit of doing more (especially the first part of the shift, for reasons of sanity and sleep). But if I’m in the middle of a TREMENDOUSLY GOOD book, and “I’ll just read a little”, and two hours later… Well, you know the story, right?
10. WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE?
My bed. My room is my think tank. It’s the only place in the house quiet and secluded enough for me to get anything done, and it also contains my handy-dandy cool new chalkboard that has all my necessary story notes on it. I will have a desk in there at some point, but my bed is where I write now. It works beautifully well. Bonus perk of soft fuzzy blankets to cuddle in while writing. #bliss
11. WHAT IS YOUR BEST MOTIVATION TO WRITE?
Well, I want to say see above at my favorite thing about writing. THE CREATION. I MUST CREATE. Plus I’m always on the verge of a plot point I’ve been looking forward to for eevvverr so long, so that’s motivation right there. Also – I’ll be absolutely honest – I like the idea of “building a monument to last”. I want to share my writing with other people, complete strangers, people who’ll read my work and love it, or even just like it a little. I want to leave my indelible mark on the world. Does that sound too full of myself? Yes it does. I find it fascinating to think about my books living on and still speaking even long after I’m dead. And I truly (I wish this weren’t so clichéd! Because I really mean it!) get this thrill when I think of people reading my books, people I don’t know, meeting the characters I created and whose stories I had the privilege to tell. Ahhh, swoon. It’s like having a mutual friend, only cooler.
12. MOST WORDS YOU’VE WRITTEN IN A DAY?
Uhh *small voice* 7,000? And I thought that wasn’t so bad, until my brother casually mentioned how he wrote 12,000 words in a day, and I started reading people online who cranked out like 48 bazillion words a day. So yes. HELLO. It’s me. The girl who writes an average of 2,000 words a day on a good streak and has an all-time record of 7,000.
13. OUT OF EVERYTHING YOU’VE WRITTEN, WHICH BOOK IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME DO THIS?!?!?! WHY?!
Okay, we’ll break this down to make it easier.
Written-down stories, it’d be a close run between The Wanderer’s Fate and Follow Every Rainbow/Ice Princess (yes, I’m grouping those together). However, I sense that The Girl In Black may yet claim the prize once it’s finished. It’s sooo different from anything I’ve written, plus a delightfully damaged lead who just so happens to be so sassy she could out-sass my Rebels (which is really saying something), plus complicated plot layers and intrigue, plus lots of dying and nearly dying and things going wrong and magic, plus a sidekick (who isn’t exactly a sidekick, but whatever) who has really high morals so add that to assassin makes interesting… so yes. Anyway, I expect great and exciting things from it.
My head stories are frankly harder to rank, due to sheer number of them. But I’m have to say… *drum rolls please for something I’ve never said before* Probably Unbound.
I’m going to award you with a summary! Aren’t you lucky?!
This is actually the sequel in a series, and my only dystopian fantasy novel, based on the principle of basically “what if the bad guys won instead of lost in the first book?” Lore is – to make it quick – vampires are a subgroup of something called unbloodeds (see this post for more info if you want). They (unbloodeds) have magical powers and are nocturnal basically. Vampires are fallen unbloodeds, who have more power but its raw and less controlled. In the first book, the villain has discovered a way to overcome this difference by getting a mixture of blood samples from vampires with every type of power (the main character is the only one person with hers and the last one he needs). He successfully gets the mixture (long story, obviously, but it involves the MC being turned into a vampire and later cured), but they stop him in time. In Unbound, they *didn’t* stop him in time. Vampires rule the culture, humans are basically to the vampires like “happy cows” are to us. Well treated in a way, but livestock. They drain human life to regenerate their powers.
Humans have to earn the right to live (i.e. not get stuck in the cellars like so many bottles of wine to be drunk). They grow up training for the Trials, a sort of proving ground where you basically show the vampires you’re a survivor. You complete a series of challenges, and the faster and more efficiently you get it done, the higher score you get, and the highest scorers get to live. Also, no killing fellow contestants or you will be eaten.
Now here’s the problem: because the goal is to be the absolute best, you can’t afford to help anyone, and ABSOLUTELY can’t afford to be friends with anyone. That’s against the cardinal rules you’re taught before you can crawl.
Kyla (our lead) is a very well trained, top-of-her-region competitor. She knows her stuff and can trounce anyone in three seconds flat. She’s a rule follower. She intends to win.
Jonathan is the last pure unblooded, captured when the vampires busted the last unblooded hideout. He doesn’t have a clue about the Trials or how they work…or even surviving, really. The vampires, as a lesson to him and any others who might spring up later and as a joke for them, decide to throw him into that year’s Trials.
When he shows up on sight, he’s totally lost as to what’s going on. He spots Kyla, and guesses from her equipment and stance that she knows what she’s doing, so he approaches her and asks for help, some pointers, a rundown of how the Trials work. Her answer is cold and simple: Rule #1: don’t help anyone. Rule #2: no one is your friend. Rule #3: trust no one. Rule #4: get through, and get through fast. Follow the instructions at each stage. Rule #5: win…or die.
Kyla struggles not to admit to herself, but she feels sorry for the kid, especially once he volunteers how clueless he is about what’s happening. Jonathan is really easy-going and innocent, too trusting, too friendly for the Trials. She knows he’s doomed to die. But she steadfastly sticks to her rules… and breaks #1 by telling him how things work and the cardinal rules. But that’s okay, she tells herself, because he’s so clueless it can’t harm anything. It’s not like she’s actually helping him through it.
Well, you can probably guess what happens. In the first stage, Jonathan nearly gets “killed” (where it is about to be a clear kill and the referees intervene and pull you out. It’s an automatic fail), and Kyla saves him before she even stops to think. “Don’t get used to it,” she tells him. In the second stage, Jonathan uses his power to totally kill the challenge, and ends up helping her along. She reminds him that he shouldn’t be helping her, and he just shrugs. “You helped me.” They become unofficial teammates, through a very touch-and-go process, and eventually, Jonathan explains everything about the vampires and unbloodeds, and reveals that he has the key to crippling their refined powers, returning them to regular old vampires. Without the right powers in existence, they wouldn’t be able to recreate the mixture. Maybe, just maybe, the humans would have a chance at overthrowing them.
Long story short, when they get out of the Trials (both taking top spots, thanks mostly to Kyla), they break into the heart of vampiredom to do the deed (in the process of which Kyla actually gets turned into a vampire and put out of commission), epic boss battle between Jonathan and the villain. Villain is killed, vampires crippled, Kyla cured, and several vampires also choose to be cured. Fast forward for an epilogue in the future, where the vampires have been overthrown, either killed or cured (turning them back into unbloodeds). Everything’s happy again! Yay! Confetti!
Sorry, but that just could have gone on forever. I loved Jonathan and Kyla together: Jonathan is a little bit like a smart version of Pooh, very huggable, well-meaning, and doesn’t know the meaning of “enemy”. Kyla is terse and withdrawn, businesslike and good at what she does… slightly like Natasha in The Avengers movies? That’s the best I can think of, anyway. Yeah, so Natasha and Pooh… very interesting.
ANYWAY! That was a very long answer for a very spiteful question. I like a lot of stories for different reasons. It makes it SO HARD to choose!!
14. WRITING METHOD: SLOW AND STEADY OR LIGHTNING BOLTS OF INSPIRATION?
Bit of both. I plug away most of the time, but every now and then it just hits me. BOOM! I know exactly where I’m going and how and I need to do it like yesterday. So I writewritewrite like crazy for a few days… and kind of sink back into the regular rhythm. But mostly “slow and steady”. Maybe “moderately average speed” is better than “slow” though. Not as catchy, I suppose?
15. WORST SPELLING FAIL?
Um, sadly, my friends, unlike so many others I’ve read about online, my google searches are boring (best is things like “how much does a bullet wound to the shoulder bleed?” and “how do you make Greek fire?” and “world map” because my geography is horrible), and my spelling errors even more so. They tend to be auditory errors for the most part (e.g. “here” vs. “hear”), although sometimes (more frequently recently) it’s words where if you get the order slightly wrong it spells another word. Real examples that I actually did:
Expect/except (I did this allllll the time throughout one manuscript! SO ANNOYING)
Sacred/scared (this is my personal favorite: “Do not sacrifice that goat! It is scared!” I crack up every time)
Calm/clam (I remember the sentence that this one happened with. It was a moody scene where the character was in the throes of grief and trying to cope. She goes outside for [oversimplification] a walk, saying that it would be long, “…but it would help her find a clam.” I kid thee not, that was word for word how I originally intended to word it [except with “calm” in there instead]. And then I made the typo… It was pretty funny.)
Aaaaannd that’s A WRAP, folks! In good old-fashioned Robin Hood style, I will follow Cait’s excellent example and say “STEAL, MY COMPADRES!” Poach these questions for yourself as you please. If you do, I’d LOVE a link to your post in my comments so I can read all your answers! Or if you don’t want to do a whole post, you can just comment with some answers here! I’d love that too!!
See you around, folks!