1. Have you always wanted to be a writer?Yes. No. Meh, I’m not even sure I want to be a writer now. I love writing and have done it all my life, in the guise of various unfinished manuscripts and half-filled notebooks, so I can’t imagine not doing it. I don’t think I have the discipline to be a ‘real’ writer, though, because I’ve never actually finished a story. I hope I haven’t freaked out a couple of people by saying that; for the record, I have every intention of finishing Guns and Roses. I’ve just never really had a good incentive before, and I think it took people screaming at me to update to push me to write this far.
2. What is it about the Twilight Fandom that made you want to write ff for it? Have you, or do you want to write ff for other Fandoms?I am actually pretty new to fanfiction in any form. I’ve been registered on ff.net since September, and I only found the site in August. When I was waiting (none too patiently I might add) for Breaking Dawn to come out, I impulsively decided that if I couldn’t read the book, I could damn well write it for myself! I got to about Chapter 11 before I realised that I had no idea where the story was going and I was out of ideas. I remember naively wondering whether, if I posted it on a blog or something, anybody would read it, but dismissed that as a stupid idea. I chuckle at the irony now. It was only when I was reading reviews of BD that I discovered fanfiction through the recommendation of a disgruntled Twihard. I checked it out and got hooked. The rest is history.
Oh, yeah, I haven’t actually answered the question. I wanted to write because I just had a compulsion to and an idea suddenly came to me. I can’t see myself writing for any other fandoms because I just don’t know enough about them, and have never been addicted to a book as I was to Twilight.
3. What do you like to see in a review?Praise, and heaps of it! Well, that’s not exactly true. I love, as I’m sure every writer does, a review that seems reasoned, as if the reader has really thought about the story and what they want to say. Of course, the reviews that scream about how much they love the story are great, too, and I would rather any review than none!
Ooh, a really brilliant thing to read in a review is “I trust you.” Seriously, it makes my day. It means that not only do they enjoy the story, but they recognise that I know where I’m going and believe that I can pull it off. This is especially good as I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve when it comes to G&R and I need people to be on board!
One other thing: good spelling and punctuation in a review really lifts it. Clearly, I’m a grammar freak and every chapter I post is vetted really carefully by both myself and my fabulous beta, Cullenista. I don’t expect the same OCD tendencies from everyone, but it is nice to read something which is actually in English. I’ve had some truly spectacular reviews which seem to me more articulate and poetic than the chapter, and they are just a treat to read.
4. What do you do to avoid writer’s block? If it’s unavoidable, what do you do to surpass it?The best way for me to avoid that uncomfortably blank emptiness of mind is to stay engrossed in the fandom. Chapters come easiest when I post one and immediately begin writing the next. Obviously, this doesn’t often happen; when I post I’m usually completely drained and yet exhilarated, a condition that is not conducive to writing anything (when I’ve finished a chapter I usually want to update right then so I’m bouncing on my seat waiting for Cullenista to get it back to me). It can take up to a couple of days for that euphoria to fade.
If writer’s block settles its mantle upon me, however, it can be very difficult to pull back from it. Luckily, I’ve not yet had anything worse than a couple of weeks’ distress *touches wood*, but I imagine my strategy for dealing it would be the same. Basically, it involves planning: thorough, detailed and strict. I’ve already outlined the whole story and I know precisely where I’m going, although exactly how I’ll get there is up for discussion. When I write a chapter, I always need to know when I start what is to be achieved in it: what will happen, what will be conveyed, what is the point? I ask myself, ‘what does this chapter add to the story?’ It’s when the answer is ‘nothing’ that I know I’m in trouble. That’s when the old notepad and Barclay’s biro comes out and I plot and scheme until I have a bullet point outline of the chapter and how it fits into the story as a whole. I don’t know what would happen if this didn’t work; the thought fills me with cold dread.
I realise that I sound like the dullest, most pernickety writer ever to tread in this green and pleasant fandom, but having a rigid framework as I do gives me a chance to roam free in the actual writing, knowing that something is holding it all together. The planning is flexible as well – when I first began G&R I was expecting it to be six to ten chapters in length. The idea grew and grew and, well, I really should start working on the 33rd chapter now. Time flies.
Interestingly (or not, whatever) I rarely redraft anything I’ve written. I just hate to delete it and I save everything. I will add parts and get rid of others, tweak and refine, but I almost never just start again. I actually can’t think of a single time I’ve done that. I’m a conviction writer, really: it either works or it doesn’t. Bizarre, right?
5. Do you find that any certain characters are more difficult to write than others? What characters are your favorite to write?I write from Bella or Edward’s perspective and I’ve only ever done that. I suppose it could be considered a narrow outlook, but for me there is plenty to pick up on and work through. They are both immensely complex characters, more so than they are often given credit for being, and I like exploring that aspect of both their personalities, beyond the cliché of Bella’s clumsiness and Edward’s perfection. I particularly enjoy writing from Edward’s point of view, actually, because he has so many levels. While it’s easy for me to identify with Bella, having always understood why she made the decisions she did throughout the book, it’s so much more fun to delve into Edward’s psyche and see what’s going on in his head. I am fascinated by the way he torments himself, even in human form, and exploring that is remarkable every time.
6. What types of books and ff do you enjoy reading?Very different things, actually. In fanfiction, I look for a great romance (smut is good but only if it has a really strong plot to carry it through) and witty banter between characters. Sometimes I’m in the mood for just a little fluff, and other times I want something with more substance to keep me interested.
When I choose a book, to compensate for the ridiculous amount of time I spend reading online, I try to pick something overly intelligent. I’ve just finished reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, which was a real nail biter, and I’m now embarking on Sarah Waters’ latest book. As I work in a bookshop part-time, I have to try and keep up with the latest releases and so much of what I read is very recent.
Some of my favourite books, however, are more traditional: I love Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice, to cover the older section, and then some more modern classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Les Jeux Sont Faits. Books from my childhood are also fantastic, for example, Northern Lights, Little Women and Harry Potter. I used to devour books at a rate of knots but sadly I no longer have so much time. When I get a chance, though, there’s little better than curling up with a good book and losing yourself for a few hours. On a recent train journey to Durham, I read constantly for the three-hour journey each way, hardly looking up, and it’s such a rare experience for me these days that I enjoyed it all the more.
7. You really have a specific genre that you write. What made you choose this genre? Do you think you’ll ever try a different one? I love the current genre that I’m writing in; romance in 1918 was simpler yet so beautiful, and the war is incredible to write about. I really enjoy getting my teeth into the gorier chapters, such as ones that include battles, wounds or gas attacks, and if I don’t get a bit of blood into every chapter then I can be disappointed :P That being said, I’m an old romantic and every moment where Bella and Edward are together takes up three times as long as its equivalent when they’re apart. The language of the early twentieth century is also brilliant to immerse myself in as it allows me to give in to my more loquacious tendencies. Why say anything in one word when ten would not only say it, but describe what the character is experiencing through all five senses?
After this story is complete do you have plans to continue with another story?
Despite all this, I am itching to sink my teeth into a more modern genre. I honestly love writing G&R and will stick with it to the bitter end, but part of me desperately misses cars and phones of the mobile variety. I compensate in my real life, of course, but I ache to send Edward a text or drive Bella around. Hopefully my next project will encompass all these things; I have a few ideas but nothing concrete as yet. I find it hard to split my attention between stories, however, because I put so many emotions into writing each chapter, so maybe I’ll have to wait until G&R is finished to see if the ideas will lead anywhere. It’s exciting, anyway :)