1) Where do you write?
When I was in high school, my parents’ computer desk was nestled in a hallway separating the living room from the kitchen. I had privacy without completely isolating myself from them. This is where I wrote a majority of my work. Now, I enjoy writing on the couch in my living room with the curtains open, music playing, and a mug of hot coffee.
2) What are your writing habits?
I don’t write unless I want to. This will probably change once I sign with a publisher. For now, writing is a form of personal and creative expression that I don’t want turning into a chore.
3) How do you write your first drafts?
Most of my work is written without a guideline. I enjoy writing what naturally comes to mind and critiquing once I have an understanding of where the story is headed. However, I wrote Battleground from a mental guideline because it’s inspired by true events. Also, I’m brainstorming a new novel about mental illness, and I can’t imagine writing it without a guideline!
4) Subsequent drafts?
I create a timeline while I critique to make sure everything from character details to the main story arc are consistent.
5) Do you keep a writing journal or notebook?
I sure do. I’m such a dork; I love scribbling out a scene on paper with lots of mistakes and rewrites and then transcribing that into my word document. There is something almost magical about that process I can’t quite explain.
6) How do you organize your journal/notebook?
I usually don’t; I just open a fresh page – or find a scrap piece of paper somewhere – and begin. I also doodle a lot. For my next project, I would like to write a majority of it by hand. I was given a beautiful journal and can’t wait to begin.
7) What’s your biggest challenge as a writer?
I put a lot of myself into my work. Once I finish a complete draft, I’m exhausted and need a while to rest. It’s been 5 years since I initially wrote and completed Battleground, and I’m just now feeling ready to begin another large writing project. Again, this will have to change once I’m signed with a publisher.
8) Do you have a good luck talisman? What is it?
Not that I can think of. I do write better when I match music to the mood of a scene.
9) Which writers have most influenced you or inspired you?
Oh, so many. Most are realistic fiction writers: Chuck Palahniuk, John Green, Allen Ginsberg, Sherwood Anderson, Tim O’Brien, Charles Baxter, and Poppy Z. Brite. My favorite novels are Peace Like a River and The Sound and the Fury. Actually, after reading the latter, I fell in love with the unreliable narrator device.
10) What genre(s) do you (aspire to) write?
I love writing YA literature. As I said in a video called ‘Character Sketches’ by The YA Publication Project: “You have all of these young people and they barely know themselves yet, and they’re all undergoing similar societal and internal challenges, and yet they all need to handle these challenges differently in order to succeed.” It’s an incredible transition I love hearing and writing about.
11) Any quirky habits you’ve developed?
If I’m working in a Word document and can’t write the next scene, it’s usually because my previous writing makes me feel anxious. When this happens, I open Notepad and write the new scene there. All of a sudden, this new scene feels separate from the original work (kind of like writing in a journal) without any red underlines. Anyway, after I successfully write the scene, I paste it into the original document.
‘A Questionnaire for Writers’ presented by PRESENTS OF MIND.
If you have any questions or topics for discussion, please comment below.