On occasion, I remember I’m a writer and should maybe talk about it.
Despite thinking about writing literally all the time, I often don’t blog about it because (a) that shy cinnamon bean over in the corner cowering behind the tulip bushes is me, and (b) what if no one even knows what I’m going on about!!! and (c) I know more of you are bookworms and probably want to read things about books and worms * and not so much what this psychotic frazzled bean called Fury and Paper is up to with her quill and ink. **
But regardless! Today I am gOING TO TALK ABOUT WRITING. In aimless and passionate shouting, probably. I’m actually partially stealing a tag from Dashie who did tag me, but it was on instagram — for #TheWritersTag. I’m sure I’ve done tags like this before but I don’t remember. So you probably don’t either. Honestly we can be just a small clump of forgetful Swiss Cheese *** together and it will be pleasant and slightly vague.
Also at the end of this post, feel free to ask me questions about writing! About my writing. Or about writing in general. Or about if we should stick to the title of “author” when the title of “professional feels destroyer” is free and needs to be used. Let’s just chat. And if you want to use this tag: GO FOR IT. Just link back to the hashtag on twitter!
* Except I’m raising you to be book dragons, so I hope you’re not failing me in that respect, my children.
** This is lies. I don’t have quill and ink. I have a Macbook Pro and 9 chickens with pencils to follow me around and take notes when I demand it of them.
*** Because Swish Cheese is full of holes??! GET IT?? GET IT?!?!? I’m so funny it’s ridiculous.
1. WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?
I’ve written 25 books, so it’s safe to say: basically everything. But I of course have my small devious list of writing weaknesses which I either include in every book or keep coming back to. And I shall share ALL with you.
- Fantasy is my #1 of all. ARE YOU SURPRISED? YOU SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED. I’ve written twelve epic fantasies.
- I’ve also written four sci-fi/dystopian/apocalypse books. I suck at them.
- And five contemporaries so be proud of me for not stabbing everyone to death with dragons in this.
- Then there’s one steampunk after which I decided NEVER AGAIN.
- And then three magical realisms. So basically fantasy but they get toast and WiFi too.
- I always write in 3rd person and present tense. Which is not that common, apparently?! But it’s my favourite to read and obviously favourite to write.
- I write a really intimate 3rd person, so you do feel like you’re in the character’s head (I FREAKING HOPE ANYWAY) but I like the distance of 3rd, because 1st always feels too self-reflective, ergo angsty.
- Why do we generally like the secondary characters better???? BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT IN 1ST. Boom.
- (Okay by “we” I don’t mean everyone likes the secondary characters better. But it’s common!!)
- I’d also say my style might be a bit of VE Schwab (or that’s wishful thinking haha) with a dash of Derek Landy and Amy Tintera and Scott Lynch, and I’d love to say a smidge of Maggie Stiefvater but….#wishfulthinking.
- Blood and stabbing. OBVIOUSLY.
- Dark fantasy, and the darker the better, mate. Don’t let my rainbow aura fool you.
- Dragons. Obviously.
- I have cake in EVERY single book I’ve ever written. Obviously.
- I love writing ghosts. Love it. I have an unreasonable amount of affection for ghost stories.
- Most of my books are brother stories. I LOVE BROTHER STORIES.
- I write a lot of mental illness and disabilities. Two very separate things, obviously, but I 500% believe fantasy needs more starring characters with disabilities and illnesses. Who are still badass.
- Everything is 78% monsters.
- I write morally grey grapes at every opportunity.
- Tragic stabby boys with soft sweet sides.
- Clever sharp girls with book addictions.
- Excellent and most fabulous hair.
- MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC.
- Smol precious cinnamon rolls who save themselves.
2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
I distinctly remember plagiarising the Three Little Bears when I was 6 and informing everyone I wrote it myself. It was illustrated too, so please. I had strong beginnings.
Then when my little sister was 7 and I was 12, she started writing and stapling together novels and got FAR TOO MUCH ATTENTION. So I started. I dabbled from 12 – 14 and then wrote my first actual novel at 15. I’d say it was maybe 40K long? MAYBE. I have no memory of this place. But I always say 15 is when I got serious about writing. So 8 years now. #HelpImOld
3. WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Well, going off the above, my true origin story is:
“my little sister was getting too much attention for writing adorable books so I started out of sheer pettiness and because of #siblingrivalry and I now am pursuing an entire career in it”
Typical, Cait. Very typical.
And like if you want a sappy reason too, because pettiness isn’t convincing enough for you??? Then we’ll go: because writing gives me a voice. And for someone who doesn’t speak up and generally struggles to communicate my thooooooughts — writing gives me all of that. PLUS I get to be anyone, do anything, and go anywhere I want. Which is ridiculously exciting.
And I can’t stop thinking up stories.
4. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?
I binge write, which is like 8+ hours per day of writing, for about 4 days. Then I DIE AT THE END. I start at 8am and finish around 11pm. (With breaks, you gumnut. I can do maths. Sort of.) I write the best in the morning when I’m fresh, but I write the most at night when I’m frantically getting to my word count goal.
My middle name is MADLY FRANTIC AT ALL TIMES anyway.
5. PARTS OF WRITING YOU LOVE VS PARTS YOU HATE?
- That moment when an outline comes together. I cannot even explain how PLEASED I GET. I feel ever so clever. Leave me alone in my delusions.
- Speaking of which…I just really love writing outlines. #nerd
- Finishing something.
- Being PROUD of my work. Which feels like only 17% of the time, you know?? But when you do write something and get the “oh…oh this is good” feeling…it makes everything so so worth it.
- Positive feedback. By which I mean someone saying “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU CAIT YOU’VE BROKEN ME”. My pleasure. Or an industry professional saying “THIS IS RATHER INCREDIBLE” because oh woooooooooow and thank you.
- Being so immersed in my world. When I binge write I only think about my book for like…23 hours per day. 1 hour is for snack breaks. I like to focus fully on my snacks. But in those times my characters feel more real than anything and it’s just ajfdksladjka.
- Surprising myself. Whether with a plot twist. A new idea. A character I didn’t think was going to do that…it’s just indescribable when you get A MOMENT OF EPIC and then have to silently wonder if it’ll ever happen again. Hahaha #NervousTwitching.
- How Scrivener refuses to recognise my naming skills. Or like…autocorrects me in the MIDDLE OF A SENTENCE. Seriously, Scrivener? That is not what I was saying.
- Not having an idea to obsess over! It happens rarely, but?? Sometimes my brain is BLANK. And then I panic, have crises, scream into the void, etc. etc. and am generally miserable. I must always be mentally working on a book.
- Rejection. It always feels personal.
- How slow everything takes. I’m a Super Speed Creature and the fact that editing is slow…submitting to agents/publishers is slow…waiting for feedback is slow…ARHHGHARHGHGHHGH.
- Self doubt. Well obviously. I hate hate hate hate when that gnarly little voice starts telling me I suck.
- Editing. HHAHAHAH HAHA HAH…hah..ha…
- All the sacrificing to the trees during the blood moon of the equinox one must do. I’m beginning to run out of humans to use???
- Falling down a plot hole and never getting up.
6. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK?
I don’t get writer’s lock! I KNOW. I’M SO ANNOYING. Because I outline so entirely thoroughly (we’re talking 20,000 word outlines, my pineapple fiends) I never get stuck while typing. However I get plotter’s block. Which makes me cry.
If I do get stuck, I know that (a) I need to put more good quality art into my life, so (b) I go read an EXCELLENT book or watch an epic TV show. I always keep hashing at it, though. Writers block is just lack of ideas and sometimes motivation. THINK THINK THINK THROUGH IT.
7. ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?
I just finished writing a lovely bloody novel where almost everyone dies called His Paper Graveyard. It’s about magical libraries, origami dragons, and a badass quiet librarian boy who is taking all the magic out of the world to save it while sorcerers say #no and make life rather miserable for him. IT TURNED OUT SO WELL I NEARLY CRIED. WHAT IS THIS. WHERE IS MY VULCAN SOUL. I’m disgraceful.
And I’m mentally plotting the FREAKING 5TH BOOK in an adult epic fantasy series called Glass Monsters. It’s basically about two princeling brothers who decide to rob every single nation in the world because LOL @ WHY NOT. (And also because they’re distracting everyone from going to war by making them broke. #nice) They are sassy, stabby little devils basically. It actually worries me how I’ve come up with 5 heists???? Maybe I should’ve been, like, a crime lord actually?? And also this is a super dark series and I’ve tortured them so much that by book 5 I’m actually running low on ideas. But no one’s been poisoned yet so — GUESS WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW.
8. WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?
- Write 2 novels and edit 2 novels. Which is hilarious because I’ve already written 3 and edited 0.
- Get something ready for betas. Which will involve editing and then anxious waiting. No I’m not freaking out. That’s someone else…
- Write a contemporary. Because I need to keep in practise and I’ve written three fantasies in a row and am kind of addicted.
- Write stories that are not kind or safe. Because stories are here to make you think.
- Write 40K in one day. I’m up to 33K. Soon, precious, soon.
- Figure out how to write while I’m sleeping. For practical reasons.
- Break some feels. Probably mine, but hopefully yours.
- Don’t be a nervous egg. Believe in yourself, Cait. YOU GOT THIS WRITING THING EVEN THOUGH IT’S HARD. YOU’RE GOOD AT IT AND YOU’LL KEEP GETTING BETTER. MAKE ALL THE EGGS PROUD!! #MotivationalEggMoment