Writing Life Q&A

Q: Why do you write? 

 A: That can be a tough question to grasp when a passion is so engrained in you. I write because I feel there are stories I need to tell, and if I don’t tell them my mind will overflow with them and I will not be able to think of anything else. I have always had a deep interest in exploring the human condition, interactions, and the universality of human emotion. I absolutely love it when ordinary people make a difference and/or prevail extraordinary struggles and circumstances. Those are stories I feel I have to tell in hopes that I may disrupt the monotonous “brain blockage” we all suffer from in our modern world. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what truly matters or told of situations that deserve, no, demand, our attention. I write because I can’t not write, I need to tell their stories.

Q: Where and when do you write best? 

A: I write best at night. In the morning, I usually feel overwhelmed with all the pending items on my to do list. I make the best use of my time by eliminating as much as I can from the list that way there is nothing to distract me when I feel it is the right time for me to write. For a reason that I cannot understand at this time, I find myself to be more analytical of life, human behavior, and personalities in the evening—maybe that is because I am not a morning person. I am only partly joking.

I write best at my desk. I love that it nestles up to a window, and although the view of our apartment building parking lot isn’t much, I can watch the trees sway with the breeze and the birds sing on the rims of my pots. I also have strategically placed items on my desk that are sentimental to me; they help make my writing area a place that is grounded in my memories.

Q: What has been the most successful piece you’ve ever written, and why? 

A: The most successful piece I have written thus far is a short fiction story called “The Weight of Truth.” I have found it to be my most successful piece yet because I have grown so much as a writer through the months I spent writing and revising it. If I was to lay the first draft beside the final draft, I could highlight new techniques I have recently discovered and began exploring. As I am still a flourishing writer, this piece will be surpassed by others as I continue to grow, but I can still look at it and admire the challenges it posed and the growth that resulted.

Q: What skills have you mastered, and what still eludes you? 

A: I would honestly say a skill is never truly mastered; we are always honing our current understanding and execution of a technique, but there are certain techniques that are stronger than others. I would say I have a strong connection to exploring and capturing the universality of human emotion and the extraordinary circumstances of ordinary people—this is important to me, so I have worked hard to emphasize this in my writing. I also like to create lively, vivid, original descriptions of people and surroundings. I like everything to feel true to life and something that a reader can close their eyes and visualize but in a way they might not have seen before.

I am still working on pacing and structuring my story so that it feels linear and fluid. Sometimes I feel a section is a little too slow when, in contrast, I have been told I really need to slow it down and savor it more. Also, I sometimes am not sure of how to properly deliver flashbacks and change time sequences in clear way—at least in my opinion.

Q: What is your revision process? 

A: It is very important to me to take time away from a draft once I have it in a place I am comfortable with. When I say comfortable, I mean I want to make sure I have explored a character and the plot as much as I can at the current time. Although I may not look at the manuscript for days or even weeks, my mind is subconsciously exploring the characters and their interactions with each other. I have said, “the more you look the less you see,” what I meant by this is that if we keep fretting over every word in our manuscript we may become oblivious to areas that are lacking and hurt the piece more than just a missing phrase. Once I have taken time away from a manuscript I am able to set fresh eyes upon it and notice if I have neglected a character or skipped over an important scene. I take time away from the manuscript after each full revision.

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