Hello! I asked people on my Instagram to give me questions regarding my writing! Ever since I was little I wanted to write and I’ve wanted to be an author since I knew the word for someone who is paid to write literature. I used to sit on my couch watching TV with my parents, laptop in hand, writing, and when asked what I was doing, I would respond, “Making a future living!”
Thank you very much for the questions! If you would like to see another post like this, or a more specific one in relation to books, let me know in the comments!
So here we go:
- “How do you format? Like how do you turn an idea or a character into a full blown story?” This is hard for me, because I generally start with characters and not plot. Plot has always been “less important” to me. And that’s in quotes because plot is equally important to a work, but more in the first draft, I focus on characters and work out the kinks later. When it comes to turning a character into a story, I write about them on a character building sheet Scrivener has, and then stick them in a setting and start. It’s not always the best, sometimes I have a bit of a plot imagined (like a general idea). For my current WIP, Ghost Story, I started with the characters, but did know it would deal with ghosts and angst. I put my main character, Ethan, in the nearby forest with his friend and had him talk about his issues with his dead brother. All of that had come out of the character building process, so this was easy. The rest of the book came as a result of that process. I actually like to say that the characters wrote Ghost Story for me. They made the decisions; I just wrote it out.
- “How do you get inspired?” Inspiration comes and goes for me. Usually, it’s from other books. I’ll be reading something and I’ll think, “Whoa! I want to explore that!” whether it be something completely unrelated to what I’m reading or something similar, like how I could be reading something and see that I want to write about a character with a similar background. If that hasn’t helped and I’m drawing a complete blank, I have a document with old plot ideas and Pinterest always has something! I even have a board for things that could potentially inspire me, like story starters or atmospheric pictures.
- “How do you get through writer’s block?” I…don’t. I’m not entirely sure how to handle writer’s block yet. I’m in a horrible bout of it right now as revising is going atrociously. I think what has worked well for me is honestly just waiting it out. If I spend enough time away from the project, I can come back and think, “Oh, this works better!” or I’ll miss it enough that coming back feels easier. I’ve taken a bit of a break from Ghost Story and in the meantime, got a lot of advice from writers at Comic-Con. I’ve since gone through the first few “completed” revisions and re-revised those, to prepare myself for making epic changes in what I already revised in the later chapters. I’m learning that a first draft is always terrible, that revising is meant to make it more like what I wanted it to be. And honestly? If you’re looking for a way to kill that writer’s block, look to VE Schwab, because her Twitter page, her Instagram stories, and what she said at Comic-Con has been my saving grace.
- “Plotter or pantser?” I’m actually neither! I once heard some authors refer to what’s called a “plantser.” A plantser is someone who “plants” the seeds to their story through a plot outline of the beginning and an idea of where you’re going. The rest, usually just the middle, is open for anything. It’s worked so far for me, because whenever I try being a plotter, I get bored of the story quicker, and being a panster usually results in something that makes no sense.
- “Are you gonna kill any of your characters and make us suffer?” Ha Ha Ha. So, in Ghost Story, I kill off someone (or more than one…), and my friends were very much Not Pleased. It’s all fun. 😉 So yes, I will make you suffer. Is it terrible that I was happy I made someone cry?
- “Do you have one writing project on the go, and if so, how far into the process are you?” As I’ve stated, I’m working on the second draft of Ghost Story, which in a nutshell, is about a boy whose abusive brother comes back from the dead asking for his life back. It’s my child. I love it so much…but revising is evil. However, in the least it’s going to make my story more of what I want it to be.
- “How do you come up with character names?” Okay, so, I have no idea where I got the name “Ethan” from aside from just liking the name. As for the other characters, I already knew their nationalities, so it was more a matter of looking at websites to find names that fit the nationality. That’s how I came up with Darya for my Russian character and Samira for my Indian character. When I’m creating them, I look at lists and see what names I think fit the character the best. When I saw the name “Darya,” I knew it was perfect for her, and same goes for Samira. As for Ethan, it came to me and it really fit. I did the same thing with his brother, Brandon. Unfortunately, I know Ethan’s and Brandon’s, but this story is very unrelated to them. When I created Darya’s older sibling, I found the name Nina, also Russian, and since I’ve loved that name forever, I was excited at the prospect of finally using it! Sometimes, when I create characters, I use names that are similar to my own (though this is not the case for Ghost Story). Let’s just be glad I don’t name them how I named stuffed animals and fish when I was little: after objects. I had fish by the names of Grape, Rock, Cyclops (because he had one eye), and Grass, and stuffed animals named Puzzle and Donut. At least I had creativity, right?
Anyway, that concludes this blog post! Thank you so much for the questions; I hope you liked the answers!