TCWT: "How have both the people in your life and your own personal experiences impacted your writing? Do you ever base characters off of people you know?"
ZH: Definitely. The people in my life normally serve as inspiration for secondary characters or antagonists in my stories, while parts of me always seem to make it into the main character. As to real life events informing ones in the books... maybe for backstory, but that's it. I'm writing novels, not memoirs, so while my life is a jumping off point, my work diverges really quickly.
So yesterday had to be one of the strangest days of my life. I wasn't working on 7th Heaven, didn't feel motivated to write another one of my WIPs, and had no school to distract me and keep me busy.
Today, I decided that wouldn't happen again. Later I'm going on a trip to visit family and I'll have a long train ride ahead, but I'm unplugging myself once I leave home after spending hours-on-hours, for days, when I was finishing 7th Heaven. Right now I am drafting the first chapter of Tears of an Angel on my computer, but I'll be switching over to a notebook for the rest of the week to give my eyes a rest before I take a computer science course starting July 1st.
Anyway, for those who have finished a big project (novel, large paper, painting, sculpture, or something from another art form), how did you feel afterwards? Elated? Empty? A combination of both? (I was a combination, for sure). Sound off in the comments.
Oh yeah, baby! I did it! I revised/rewrote my novel 7th Heaven in less than 2 weeks and ended up with the wonderful, stunning, amazing word count of 60,000 words (there was a time that I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I did!) Now, I'm going to take a week off before I dive into editing. I'm so happy right now, that I'm delirious!!!
Can you introduce yourself? Hey! I'm Cait! I'm 19 and a homeschool graduate. I LOVE to write. I've been writing seriously for the last 4 years, and so far I've finished 10 books. I'm addicted to peanut butter, running, and the Avengers (Iron Man, people, seriously Iron Man). I live in Australia! G'day, mate!
What was your reaction when you learned you won our competition? Total surprise! I'd forgotten I entered! One of my friends commented on my blog, congratulating me, and I was (embarrassingly) like, "What? What did I win??!!" Least to say I was SO excited. I've been having a tough time with my writing, so coming 1st in a contest really encouraged me.
What was your inspiration to write THIS story? I was jealous of Tolkien and CS Lewis, seeing they had cool fantasy worlds and I didn’t. So I made my own. It’s changed a LOT since I wanted a traditionally fantasy. I added in inspiration from my trip to China (Kung-Fu is kind of awesome!) and my insane fascination with the Amazon jungle.
When and why did you first start writing (in general)? My little sister started writing. I could NOT let her do something without me, so naturally I started. We’re writing-buddies now. Which is plain awesome.
What's your favorite part of the process? Least favorite? Favourite and least favourite? I’m torn! I really, really love the first-drafting process because I can write whatever I feel like and not worry if it “works” or not. Second-drafting means I have to work hard and fix stuff (insert weeping and gnashing of teeth). But I feel really good when I have a draft polished. YAY! Moment of awesomeness! (I live in my delusion until my beta-readers get a hold of it…ah. Reality strikes.)
Favorite character to write and why? Favorite book to read for fun? Favourite character: Micah. He’s a teen assassin, wicked with the longbow, and sarcastic. What’s not to love? Favourite book to read for fun? I don’t have time to reread, but I do LOVE The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Dystopian is my favourite genre.
How long have you been working on this project and what stage are you at? Ah, I beat you then! I’ve been working on this book, on and off, for 3 years! Loooong time, I know. Every few months I decide it needs another rewrite. ;) I’m querying for agents at the moment.
Some advice for other writers? Any book recommendations for fellow writers? Don’t get hung up when your writing sucks. Just keep going. If you KNOW your writing isn’t as good as it could be, then you have good taste! And don’t let anyone crush your writing dream. If you want to be an awesome author, you go for it.
As for book recommendations, I definitely say read in your genre. If you’re writing Young Adult Contemporary, make sure you’ve read a lot of it. It’s important to know what’s “been done” and what’s considered “cliché” for that genre.
And links we can find you? Come visit me at Notebook Sisters! I co-blog with my little sister and we write about reading and writing (and, okay, we occasionally fangirl over superheroes). You can find me on Twitter and Facebook too. I also blog as Hulk at YAvengers. I’d love to meet you! Come say hi!
Can you introduce yourself? Hello there! I’m Emily Rachelle, from Emily Rachelle Writes. I’m the author of soon-to-be-self-published eBook novella Sixteen, and a teenage girl in love with God and the world He created. My favorite things include chocolate, pretty trees, the ocean, weddings, crafts, and books - rows upon rows of books, neatly lining library shelves or messily stacked in the corner of a bedroom. To get to know me better, check out my About page.
What was your reaction when you learned you won our competition? Haha, actually, I was a bit taken back. Adriana posted the link to the announcement in the Go Teen Writers Facebook group. I clicked over just to see and congratulate the winners - I’d forgotten that I’d entered! When I got there, I had to reread my name a few times before it registered. Then I proceeded to comment on the winner announcement and Facebook with laughter and surprise. The crazy thing is when I had to email you to ask for a reminder as to which story I’d entered the contest with!
What was your inspiration to write THIS story? When I first wrote it, I had just learned a lot about abortion and was mostly processing my thoughts and feelings on the issue. I gave the story a major facelift later, turning it less into a message and more into a story about relationships.
When and why did you first start writing (in general)? I enjoyed writing in elementary creative writing classes, so it just kind of stuck. Not writing never even occurred to me - it was a normal thing that everyone did, I thought. Now I know that writing is not for everyone, but not writing is still just not on the table for me. It wouldn’t end well for anyone involved.
What's your favorite part of the process? I love plotting and making notes ahead of time - how will this scene play out? What big secret connects these two characters? What is she hiding? What does he look like? What’s the perfect name - in meaning and origin - for her personality and background? I write thousands of words in notes before typing a single word in the first draft.
Least favorite? Definitely editing. I’m not too great at it.
Favorite character to write and why? I really don’t have a favorite character to write so far. I loved writing Nikki in Sixteen because she was fun, even if she was troubled. I loved Christy, her best friend, because she was a sweet girl and their relationship is not one you’d expect at all. In other books like Beila and the Griffin or Kaimalie and the Mermaid, I generally enjoy writing the main characters, but I also really love the supporting children - like the daughter of Beila’s friend Adele or Vivica the mermaid’s half-sister.
Favorite book to read for fun? My favorite book to read for fun varies based on my mood and especially what genre we’re talking. A few I’ve returned to more than once include A Family Forever by Brenda Coulter, The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye, The Red Gloves series by Karen Kingsbury, or any of the Christy Miller or Katie Weldon books by Robin Jones Gunn. Another author I’d like to point out - my personal favorite, although I haven’t yet reread any of her books - is Cidney Swanson. She writes YA sci-fi that I just can’t put down!
How long have you been working on this project and what stage are you at? Sixteen was started in late 2010... I want to say late fall? I finished it within a week or two if memory serves me correctly (10K words, keep in mind). I tucked it away in my computer until Mother’s Day 2011 approached and I decided to revamp the story for a Mother’s Day gift. That never happened; I ended up pulling it out again the next year, when I did give it to Mom. Now I’ve gotten back my edits from the lovely Rachelle Rea and intend to work on those when I have the time. My plan is to have it available for purchase on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords by late 2013 or early 2014.
Some advice for other writers? My advice would be to (1) read like crazy; (2) write always - even if you’re taking what feels like a guiltily long break from fiction writing, you can still blog, write poetry, keep a journal, have fun with fanfiction, just something with words; (3) and find a good writers’ community. You’ll know it in your gut when you’ve found the right environment for you; mine is definitely GoTeenWriters.
And links we can find you at? Oh, the fun part! Haha I’m at the following sites: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, and LibraryThing.
I'm a self-published author (because being a college student wasn't hard enough!) and spend most of my time doing homework. I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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