Interview with Angel Williams, WGI Participant
1. What is your earliest memory of writing?
When I was around 7 or 8. My mom wrote poetry and I wanted to do the same. I never felt like what I was writing was good enough. I decide to write in journals. I remember this one story I wrote about living what I thought was happily ever after was supposed to be. My 11th- grade English teacher, tried to encourage me to use my writing to cope with things I was going through and to be creative with it. But I still doubted my ability. When I was 18 years old, I found all my writings and burned them. I always thought that I could never be as good of a writer as my mom.
2. When did you first participate in a WGI workshop, and how has your writing or writing process evolved since then?
My first workshop I attended was in the Winter of 2014 in New York. I was terrified that whatever I wrote would be horrible. Surprisingly enough I was encouraged to complete a few of the short stories that was written over the weekend. I think having others read what I was writing help me realized that I should not have given up so easily. Since I have taken other classes and workshops to improve writing for TV/Film. I have one script that is near finish and I will be submitting for a fellowship. I am currently working on two other scripts to build a portfolio.
3. What do you think makes a good story and what kinds of stories are you drawn to?
Something that draws me in, makes me feel good inside, and has a great unexpected twist. I also like stories that I can relate to and time period pieces. Characters that are well defined and make you feel like you have known them all your life. I like when the story draws emotions out of you.
4. What are some of your favorite books? Movies?
I am pretty basic with books. I have not read much lately outside of screenwriting books. But some of my favorites are Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe; Coldest Winter Ever – Sister Souljah; and The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison. The last book I read was a book by one of the first mentors that I had at WGI, which was Bad Kid – David Crabb. Favorite movies, that’s hard because I’m a Rom-Com girl, but love a good comedy too. I guess it would include, Pretty Woman; The Color Purple; Notting Hill; and Love Actually. Those are the ones I can think of right now.
5. What inspires you?
Genuine people! People that are living their purpose and totally upfront. Watching my kids overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams. Seeing my fellow brothers and sisters in arms transition into what is not our normal and succeed. People in general inspire me because I learn so much about myself and the world around me through people’s words and actions.
6. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned from writing?
I am more creative than I thought I was. And I am pretty good at it. It is very therapeutic, which is one thing that I learned when attending the workshops. Being able to express myself through words, even if it’s fiction, has been very healing for me.
7. What is your interesting “writing quirk?”
Let me just say this first, I am a very odd person. I will do all sorts of weird things to help with processing my thoughts to paper. But I tend to create a voice for my characters to keep them from sounding alike. I was told in the past that the characters voice blend, so I speak like them in my head to hear the different tones and sounds of their voices. It also helps me create their personalities.
8. How do you juggle writing with everything else you have going on?
Being a disabled veteran, mother, and wife to a disabled veteran is hard, but as a unit we make sure that everyone has at least one hour in the day to focus on what they need to. I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband and kids that want to see me do what I love and to be an accomplish writer.
9. What do you like to do for fun?
Anything with my family. I also like spending time with friends and enjoying life. Baking and dancing, dancing while baking is always fun.
10. Any advice or tips for anyone struggling with writing?
Something that every mentor, writing peer, and presenter in a workshop has told me, WRITE every day. Even if for 20 minutes and it can be complete nonsense. Write about what you see outside your window, sounds around you, what your dog is doing, your kids, anything. These thoughts may come in handy when creating a character or world. Using writing prompts or pictures to help create a story. These are things that were taught to me at the WGI workshops and has been helpful skills I use today. It is also good to have a peer or mentor that is willing to read or listen to what is blocking you. Support within the writing community is great because it helps you realize you are not alone and that you too can overcome the struggle.