AuthorTube Newbie Tag 2.0
Hey, everyone! You might have noticed it’s been a while since my last post. The shortest excuse I can give is: 2020.
What a year to try and debut my blog and AuthorTube channel. Yikes. It took me a while to recover from some stuff that happened last year, but I’m here today with a new post!
I’ve started working on scripts for the series on worldbuilding I promised, so that is in the works, but I also realized I never did the AuthorTube newbie tag. I figured I’d post my answers to those questions here in the meantime. I may be a bit late with this, but let’s do this anyway!
The tag was created by Jenna Streety. Credit where credit is due. And with that, let’s move onto the questions!
1. What’s your book’s pitch? If you have multiple works, choose your favourite!
I have completed five novels, but I’ll go with my historical fantasy novel, The Wolf’s Name, which is scheduled to be published end of 2022:
A “Tarzan and Jane” tale set in Victorian western Canada with magic, murder, and monsters. That's the pitch. If you feel so inclined, you can learn more about my novel here.
2. If you were a book, how would you pitch yourself?
Oh gosh. I think I’d be one of those books that can’t decide what genre it belongs to in the most cringey, haphazard way. Like, “this book thinks it’s a serious critique of power and class structures but really it just wants to play with dragons.”
3. What do you usually write?
Pretty much everything I write has some speculative element to it. I favour fantasy and sci-fi and will write anything from soft sci-fi to urban fantasy to epic fantasy with my own invented cultures and conlangs.
I love books with a strong thematic element that’s expertly woven into the narrative. I’m not going to say I’ve successfully pulled this off as well as I’d like every time, or maybe even ever. Some of my books are deeply thematic and some a little less so, but it’s always intentionally there at some level.
4. What’s something you’ll NEVER write?
Never say never, I suppose, but since I began writing novels, I’ve never had an idea that didn’t involve some speculative element. The great thing about the speculative genres, I think especially fantasy, is that they can easily borrow from or even outright follow the major tropes and plots from other genres. This means that if I ever get the urge to write a cozy mystery or a legal thriller, I don’t necessarily have to feel like I’m stepping outside my genre or author brand to do so, as long as my stories contain some element of the fantastical.
That said, there are certain kinds of tropes or scenes I’ll probably never write. As much as I enjoy a little romance in novels, I’m definitely not an erotica writer. (Which is not a slight against anyone who is.) That isn’t to say that under no circumstances would I ever include a sex scene of any kind, but I’d really truly have to feel like it was 100% necessary to include on the page, which is pretty unlikely given what I write.
5. What’s your goal for creating an author platform?
Part of it is just to put myself out there and be part of the writing community. I haven’t always been good about that, but it’s important to meet other writers and simply to be present in the community. This is a great place to share what I’ve learned, to learn from others, and to share in the writing process with my peers.
6. What made you want to start writing?
I can’t trace my interest in writing back to a single book or experience like some authors can. Even before I knew how to write, I would draw pictures and get my dad to help me write down the stories I wanted those pictures to tell. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when that desire to tell stories went away.
There was a time as an early teen when I thought that desire would lead me to become an actor instead of a writer, but after being in a few plays I discovered that a) I’m a terrible actor, and b) I preferred being a stagehand to a star.
It was also around this time I started getting into webcomics. Back then the webcomics community was much, much smaller than it is now. I fell in love with stories like Strings of Fate by Jen Wang (and I’m still a touch distraught she never finished that work), Saturnalia by Nina Matsumoto (same deal), Earthsong by Crystal Yates, and Inverloch by Sarah Ellerton.
In my last post I mentioned how I really struggled with writing because of a then-undiagnosed health problem that was causing me lots of migraines and brain fog and thus made it nearly impossible to write novels, but, while writing paragraphs of prose was too difficult, I could sometimes still outline plots and come up with dialogue. Webcomics became a great way for me to still be able to tell stories, even when my brain couldn’t handle the enormous task of writing a novel. I later went on to make my own webcomics, but I eventually realized comics were more of a hobby for me, and my writing one true love was novels.
As I mentioned in my other post, when I was an adult, I eventually learned that the culprit behind my migraines and brain fog was gluten. After removing that from my diet, my brain was finally, finally, able to delve into writing novels.
7. What’s your publishing path? (Self publish, traditional publish, hybrid, haven’t decided yet, or just write for fun?)
Every route has its pros and cons for sure, but for me the main goal is traditional publishing. I like not having to be in charge of every little detail of getting a book into people’s hands.
That said, I could see myself becoming a hybrid author. As much as I just said I don’t want to be the one responsible for every aspect of publishing a novel all the time, that doesn’t mean that sometimes I won’t enjoy having that amount of control. I write both YA and adult, so maybe down the road I could have my YA novels traditionally published and self publish my adult novels. We’ll see!
8. What content do you bring to the writing community?
Like I mentioned in a previous question, I’ve been bad about getting involved in the writing community, so I’m still figuring out exactly where my place in the community is. I do have an Instagram account that I’m terrible at using and a Twitter account where I spend most of my time commenting on other writers’ tweets. (I also have my AuthorTube channel.)
One thing I hope I don’t bring is more unnecessary rigidity to the writing community. I’m not here to tell you my way is the best or the only way. I don’t think this mentality is helpful to new writers who may come to the table with a variety of backgrounds and needs. I can say that, as a person with a disability, it was incredibly difficult for me when I first started trying to learn from established authors. They all seemed to be quoting the same rules that were just counterintuitive to how I processed story.
Thou shalt not take a holiday.
Thou shalt write only with the three act structure.
Though shalt not have writers block, and if thou shalt, it shall not be real.
It took me a long time to realize that sometimes these rules were more a part of writer culture than they were about how to write a compelling story, and in some cases they may actually be damaging to some writers.
(Now, there are rules about writing that exist for a reason. I do think it’s important for new writers to learn what the rules are and why they exist so they can understand which rules are okay to break, when they’re okay to break, and when breaking a rule is going to hurt their story.)
My goal with this blog is not to tell any of you that you must write the way I do but to collect different approaches to writing craft so that you can experiment with finding out what helps you.
9. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
One of my biggest writing struggles is not taking enough breaks, to be honest. I mean both taking short breaks during a single writing session and taking days off from writing each week. It’s really easy for me to burn out because I haven’t made sure to look after my mental health by including time in my schedule that’s purely for leisure. Writing is fun, but it’s still work, and I’ve learned the hard way that not giving my brain enough time to relax can end in disaster.
10. What’s your best writing skill?
My best writing skill is probably actually not so much a writing skill, as it’s editing. I’m quite the over-writer, but I’m ruthless with the chopping block. I love taking sentences from my first draft that were passable but not great and making them leaner, making them more atmospheric, more revealing of character or worldbuilding, more thematic, just more.
11. If you’ve been writing for a while, what’s your best tip?
My best tip is to practice thinking critically, not just about your writing, but also about what you read, what you learn from other authors, your own habits and tendencies as a writer, and so on.
12. If you’re new to writing, what is your biggest question?
I’m not exactly new to writing, and my biggest questions are ones I know are still hotly debated in the writing community and have no agreed-upon answer yet. So, onto the next question!
13. Are you looking for any new writers to follow, betas, CPs or other types of writer buddies? If so, tell us who you’re looking for and connect with them in the comments!
I’m currently brainstorming for a new novel, so I won’t be looking for new betas for that project for a while, but I currently don’t have a CP. So, there’s that.
Mostly I’d love to get to know other writers and make writer friends. So, if you want to be my (writer) friend, hit me up!
That’s it for this post. I hope you got to know me a little bit. Definitely leave a comment or look for me on Twitter if you want to be one of my writer friends!