Like delicious yeasty bread dough sitting in the sun, I too am in the process of rising.
But, like…as an author. Instead of as a loaf of bread. (Although if I was bread I would 100% be sourdough; this is just fact.) I’d like to think I’ve been slowly rising as an author over the last 7 years, since I decided this is what I wanted to do with my life. This has basically involved writing a lot, crying, writing more, and stacking up boxes to stand on because I can’t rise alone. I am very smol.
And look while we’re talking about height, I want to point out that if you’re over 5’1, you are a monster of the skies. What’s it like to actually reach cupboards???? Can you get things without climbing shelves??? DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH THE TREES UP THERE???
The real questions have been asked.
I’m stealing (politely!! and lovingly!!!) The Rising Author tag off Louise who is fantastic and currently rising like bread dough too!! Go us!! So basically here I go to talk about WRITING. And my books! And me! All of our favourite topics in one post.
And it’s handy if I actually blog about writing since…you know…I have THAT BOOK coming out and all that. In 82 days in case you aren’t counting down as you should be.
I have had many many weird things happen that centre around other humans + my writing. I think this is partially because I somehow have a poster stuck on my back that says “HEYYYY!! STRANGE THINGS COME @ ME!!” which is great. (Except not really.) (Also why did no one hire me for Stranger Things smh.) So here’s a sampling:
- I once entered a contest to get a query critique and the author hosting told me not to query this book it wouldn’t work. (8 months later that book and that query got me an agent.)
- I won another contest for a 10K critique and had the judge email back: “So I didn’t like a single thing about your book and let me tell you about it.” WHICH IS NOT HOW A CRITIQUE WORKS AND THANKS FOR SCARRING A 17-YEAR-OLD WRITER SO THEY DIDN’T WANT TO WRITE FOR A LONG TIME.
- But happier things!!
- Someone once said my writing reminded them of Maggie Stiefvater (!!!) which is the freaking best compliment ever, but weird because I’m definitely not that good ah ha hahahha. But still. Thank ye. (INSERT HEART EYES)
- My book, A Thousand Perfect Notes, has been pitched as Jandy Nelson meets Rainbow Rowell before and holy heck. More heart eyes.
- It feels as weird to be complimented as insulted. WHY IS THIS.
If we move past the book I tried illustrating when I was, like, 12 about a dog named Chops, it’s a toss up between:
A) this time I wrote a zombie book that was just. so. boring. I let everyone get eaten early because I couldn’t even bear continuing writing.
B) I tried writing a middle-grade and couldn’t figure out how to amp the tension up so I LET THE LITTLE GIRL GET HIT BY A CAR….I just…I mean this was years ago but cAIt.
C) When I was a very very smol teen I had a boy fall into a magical world where he met a talking rabbit to infodump about the universe. Once I finished info-dumping (FOR 3 CHAPTERS) I just looked at the fact I had a giant talking rabbit and decided: no.
Honestly have you all lost faith in me yet???? PLEASE DON’T. I SWEAR I’VE IMPROVED.
I can breathe, but that’s pretty much pushing it. Look I even suck at just acting like a genuine human when I’m writing!! I get hyper-focused and only take breaks for walks/food/general human maintenance…but I’ll literally write every waking minute. I can’t read + write. I can’t listen to music + write. I can’t talk to people + write.
Although I confess I’m actually planning to see if I can draft a novel, while NOT super-speed writing. It’s a goal for this year! Can I be a normal human?? Let’s see.
I actually love the way this is worded! Because usually questions are like “fancast your characters” and holy HECK do people actually imagine their characters with faces???! Wild. Mine have hair and general blobs where their bodies are and that’s about it. #ImaginationLevel: Pro
So if my book (A Thousand Perfect Notes) was a movie it would…
- In honour of being about music, it’d centred around the soundtrack, like Baby Driver!
- So all the scenes/beats/dialogue/movement would be in time to music. I would be so onboard with this.
- It’s a book that contrasts happiness vs sadness a lot, so I’d have the scene colours reflecting the moods.
- The teens would be played BY TEENS (wild again)
Oh do I ever. Honestly the book I’m writing now (shh secret project) has about half the important scenes take place in the kitchen. And A Thousand Perfect Notes itself has an entire chapter dedicated to a quest to find cake. What do you expect, ok?! I pretend to be a book blogger
BUT AM I REALLY JUST A FOOD BLOGGER IN BOOK CLOTHING.
REASONS I LIKE TO INCLUDE FOOD:
- because I get hungry
- food is relatable so we like reading about it
- it gives characters something to do while talking
- can help with world building/culture for fantasy
- also establish whether your character is rich/poor
- because I get hungry
WHICH ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE YOU MOST SIMILAR TO?
Considering how frighteningly dysfunctional all my characters are…please let me say NONE. Ahem.
But ok I do end up building them around relatable things, like anxiety and a love of cheese and the ability to walk into a crowd, spend 4 seconds, and then leave again.
ACTUAL EXAMPLE OF HOW I CREATE CHARACTERS
ME: I want you to be nothing like me because that’s weird.
ME: now when you go–
ME: [whispering] dammit
WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS DO YOU WISH YOU HAD NEVER CREATED?
Hmm, I don’t think any actually. Although there are some I threaten with being smacked off the page if they don’t listen up. But since when has any character ever listened to their author? Ha.
DO YOU LET OTHER PEOPLE READ YOUR WRITING?
WELL THEY’RE JOLLY WELL ABOUT TO. In 82 days all my secrets are going to be revealed. And I’m wholly chill about this whole thing and not fleeing to Antartica at all.
I’m excited and terrified to be a published author, OK?! Bloggers and authors have a history of needing to stay separate…so how do I be both?! And after all my years of talking about writing, giving advice, critique books, reviewing books, and misusing the human language because I use libraried as a verb…expectations might be a little high around here. But you know what?! That’s okay! I hope you all love my stories, but obviously some of you won’t and that’s fine! (Just don’t tag me in negative reviews lmao.)
But I’m proud of my story. I’m downright proud of all the work I’ve done. I’m proud I didn’t give up. I’M PROUD.
I am a little less proud I spent a whole manuscript saying “backflash” instead of “flashback” because I don’t know how to word. But alrighty.
WHAT’S THE ODDEST THING YOU KNOW ABOUT ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
I know Beck’s full name AND YOU DON’T and ohhhh wow it’s an odd one.
WHAT IS THE VERY FIRST STORY YOU REMEMBER WRITING/HAVE RECORD OF?
I’m sure I still have my illustrated disaster of my dog called Chops. And there’s a ton of Narnia fanfic hidden deep in my wardrobe (AS IT SHOULD BE BECAUSE #AESTHETIC).
WHAT THINGS DO YOU LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT?
I just added this one (shh excuse me) but I wanted to finish with a list. Because I love lists. And I love writing. And there are simply a million stories I want to tell in this universe. So! Here are some things that constantly come up in my work or that I want to write about someday:
- Siblings! My heart beats for sibling stories.
- runaways and hidden people
- bookstores and bakeries
- mental illness, particularly anxiety because #hi
- pirates (I haven’t yet but I WILL)
- themes of worth and being wanted and finding your people
- dark things and violence (because I like to unpack what damage it truly does)
- mixed with the cutest fluff scenes and banter
- cake, obviously
- dragons, someday
- people falling in love with people they can’t have
- soft boys and sharp girls
- learning how to be human shaped
- small towns and dark forests
- oceans and cliffs and falling
- dark powerful magic and also everyday soft magic
- also yellow
- I write a lot of things to be yellow it’s very satisfying the hufflepuff (that I bury under my Slytherin) rises too