A very interesting challenge called Confessions of a Writer Tag and delivered, quite unsurprisingly, as a tag from another writer. The lovely Breeanna Pierce tagged me for this challenge and since I love challenges, this post is the result of it. The challenge requires me to answer twenty questions in the form of an informal interview (my first ever interview).
When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?
My journey as a writer started late but that’s something I am at peace with, probably because I don’t believe that an early start is a necessary precondition for a good writer. Because of the late start, I didn’t come to the realisation that I wanted to be a full time author until December 2014.
What genre do you write?
I gravitate between Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I am never firmly on one or another. I also love dystopian tales and my worlds always have dystopian elements in them. My stories usually have elements of both and additionally a sprinkle of emotion and a dash of experimentation. I love writing emotional rollercoasters that follow the idea that black-and-white states don’t exist because there are infinite states between each binary pair.
Can you tell us a little about your current work in progress? When did you start working on this project?
My main project is an Urban Fantasy novel, which as of yet exists unnamed. It’s the tale of two women who face chaos and danger and have to make difficult decisions that will affect their future and the fate of the world in general. It’s a story of self-discovery, love, and sacrifice and I want it to be the first book in a trilogy.
I started working on this project end of January 2015. I am currently finishing the second draft, which contains heavy rewrites, as the point of view of my main character was wrong.
A second project that is currently in early first draft stages is a dystopian Science Fiction novel, set in an alternate/future Earth, where science and magic coexist. It’s the tale of two women who even though mortal enemies must work together to prevent a disaster of universal scale.
There are also the stirrings of a third book that is currently still inside the mental-discovery phase.
What was your first piece that you can remember writing? What was it about?
My first ever attempt to write something close to a novel-like story was about a werewolf who could control the transformation from human to wolf at will. I wrote it on an A4 pad and went as far as around forty pages before the project ended in a premature albeit natural death. The writing itself was immature and unsure. The story had no direction and perhaps that’s the reason it reached a point where it simply could not advance anymore. I abandoned it but still have the A4 pad somewhere. It’s a beautiful reminder of how much I changed as a writer through persistence and presence.
What’s the best part about writing?
- Pure creation. Words are magic and powerful.
- The emotional rollercoaster happens first for me as a writer and it instigates a journey of self-discovery as the story progresses. Imprinting the emotions to my words is what happens next.
- The characters exist as real people in my head and I get to know and discover them little by little. The same goes for the world they live in. I see it like a movie unfolding and the discovery is magical and unique.
- The challenge of overcoming my fears and irrelevant thoughts of inadequacy and doubt.
- The beauty of intent that creates a world through the abstraction of words.
What’s the worst part about writing?
There are no worst parts. Writing is a magical journey. I’m grateful I can write and express myself through it. The process of writing and refining a story is similar to the process a sculptor goes through: a rough beginning and then consistent effort to remove what doesn’t belong until what’s left is the final sculpture. In a similar manner, the various editing phases remove and reform the words until all is left is pure intent of creation reflected in a story. As such, it’s a non-stop creation process from start to end. It’s beautiful and I love every part of this journey.
What’s the name of your favourite character and why? (This can be from a book by another author or from your own work. Book crushes are perfectly acceptable here as well)
Alana Quick from the book Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi. I am in love with the entire book to be honest but Alana is one of the best characters I’ve ever read. As real and as diverse as possible, flawed and amazing at the same time.
How much time a day/week do you get to write? When is the best time for you to write (morning or night)?
As much time as I can, because I’m working a day job. I am happy if I manage to write every day but how much depends on many things, the main of which is the energy reserves I have.
I function equally well morning or night or middle of the day. Writing time is precious and as such, I treasure it and am grateful for it regardless of the time.
Did you go to college for writing? Or if you haven’t been to college yet, do you plan to?
I have a Creative Writing Diploma from the Open University. The courses helped me learn a lot about the writing processes and myself, as well as what I like writing about. A surprise for me was how much I loved script writing, something I want to revisit in the future. Of course, no course can make a writer. Becoming a writer is a non-stop process of learning and self-discovery fuelled by the intent to tell good stories and the presence through consistent writing throughout.
What bothers you more: spelling errors, punctuation errors, or grammar errors?
In my own writing none of these. Mistakes happen as part of the process of learning and perfection is a mirage. When I make mistakes, I take a mental note, learn, and move on without having feelings about those mistakes. Being annoyed or bothered would be the equivalent of judging myself and I am no longer doing that.
In other people’s writing, I don’t judge. The context in which errors happen, is usually unknown to me. Was it that the person didn’t have enough time? Perhaps English is not their first language? Who knows? However, I do expect a minimum writing quality for the books I buy, something a good editor always takes care of. Again, a few mistakes always slip through despite the best efforts of even the best of editors, so I don’t really care much for these, as I don’t believe in perfection. Having said that, a poorly edited (or not edited at all) book I paid for, usually puts the writer in a never-buy-again black list.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
What advice would you give to another writer?
Keep writing as much as possible and discover what works for you through experimentation. Don’t judge yourself through your writing, don’t expect perfection, it’s a journey of self-discovery and constant learning and that’s what matters.
What are your favourite writing sites or blogs that you turn to for help, tips or encouragement?
The best encouragement I’ve ever received was from the Writing Challenge participants, a beautiful community on Twitter where people help and support each other. This month’s challenge uses the #OctWritingChallenge hashtag.
I don’t have favourite writing sites even though I read many posts from various writing sites that help me understand different points of view writers have. Each writer is different and the way we write our stories is impossible to shoehorn into convenient “do this, all else is doom” rules. My constant effort is to understand what works for me and gain perspective on what other writers do. I will experiment freely and either adopt the things that work well for me or let them go.
Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies?
What is the best book you’ve read this year?
Ascension: A Tangled Axon Novel by Jacqueline Koyanagi.
What is the best movie you’ve seen this year?
What is your favourite book or series of all time?
Age of Five Trilogy by Trudi Canavan.
Who is your favourite author?
Too many favourite authors. My top list is Jeanette Winterson, Jacqueline Koyanagi, Sarah Waters, Susan Jeffers, Haruki Murakami. A lot more that I don’t remember right now.
What are your plans for the rest of the year in terms of your writing?
- I am going to finish the second and third drafts of my main work-in-progress (Urban Fantasy novel) and send it to beta readers.
- I am going to work on my science fiction novel.
- I am going to clarify the new ideas for a third novel that are currently in a fuzzy state in my mind.
- I am going to remain flexible and adapt my plans if it becomes necessary.
Where else can we find you online?
Shout out and gratitude
First, a massive thank you to Breeanna (Breeanna’s Twitter) who tagged me in the first place. You can read her own response to the challenge here. Nicolette Elzie (Nicolette’s Twitter) created this challenge and you can read the original post with the rules here.
Tagging is fun so here’s me tagging some of my friends:
Please accept my apologies if you don’t want to participate or have no time, but if you do, please leave the links of your posts in a comment below.
Are you a writer? Feel free to join the challenge regardless of a tag. And please share your thoughts in the comments section below.