What is your earliest memory of writing? I wrote my first novel when I was sixteen. I had just finished the last book in the Twilight series and thought, “I could write a way better story than that.” Man, was I wrong! Especially since I’d really started to like reading just two years earlier and had no idea how to write a good story. I fell in love with the process of bringing my story ideas to life. Writing has been a big part of my life ever since.
What do you think makes a good story, and what kinds of stories are you drawn to?
A good story entertains while also making you think deeper about the world. The stories that stick with me are those that explore deep philosophical themes. I’m also drawn to stories with characters that overcome insurmountable odds, stories where the writing sucks me in and allows me to walk in the characters’ shoes; I want to feel what they feel, see what they see, interact with their world, and slay dragons with them. I want to be swept away by the magic of a good story.
Tell us some of your favorite books, movies, and tv shows.
I like classics, like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre, also YA fantasy or sci-fi. Some recent favorite reads are The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg, Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, and Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian. They all deal with themes of life and death and have deep characters.
What is your writing process like?
Once I get an idea, I write it down in my notes app. Sometimes, my ideas are slow-burning, with just a sliver of a premise or a theme I’d like to explore; other times, the whole story hits me all at once. I do extensive planning before I draft, with outlines and storyboards and multiple sheets of character and worldbuilding notes. With some stories, however, I can just jump into the first draft. I’m a slower writer, so my first drafts take a long time. Revisions are faster.
How has participating in WGI workshops helped or informed your writing (if so?)
WGI helped me to understand what it is to be in a writing group. I love reading other people’s works and giving them input and that other people’s feedback is indispensable for honing your craft. It also helped to hear what professionals had to say about my pieces: what worked, what didn’t, where I might improve, etc. I’m so grateful to the mentors and mentees for all their work and feedback.
Do you have a “writing quirk”- if so, what is it?
I have to be completely alone when I write. Sometimes, I just read my writing out loud and it’s embarrassing if other people are around. Also, I can’t listen to songs with lyrics so, I listen to classical or Lo-Fi. Video game soundtracks are good especially when writing an intense fight scene.
How do you juggle writing with everything else?
I’m a planning and productivity fanatic, so I like to make to-do lists and schedule my tasks in Google calendar. I block off certain days for writing and I’m good about sticking to a predetermined schedule. On days when I don’t have writing scheduled and my writing brain won’t shut off, I’ll set a timer and write in an allotted time. I’m a freelance editor, so my hours are a bit more flexible. When I used to work three jobs at once, however, my writing days were sacred.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m working on a novel that I hope to query by the end of this year. Hopefully, an agent will pick it up and love it, and sell it to a publishing house.
Any tips, pointers, or guidance?
Don’t give up! There will be days when you don’t feel like your writing is good enough, or the words just aren’t coming. Take time off, join a writing group, watch some YouTube. But whatever you do, keep writing.