|Me as a sneaky, sneaky thief.|
I love writing dialogue, so much so, I really should be writing way more screenplays than I do. This can be my downfall, though, because come editing time, I have to deal with three straight pages of dialogue where my characters are floating around in space. I probably knew where they were and what they were doing when I wrote the scene, but heck if I know that now.
-Characters sitting around, doing absolutely nothing except being themselves:
Another fun, but potentially problematic scene. I jump at any chance I get for characters to just sit around and let their personalities shine through as they talk about some TV show or bicker with each other. This usually means I end up cutting 10% of the book later because these scenes do nothing to move the plot forward.
-Super dramatic, "all is lost" situations:
Now these are fun and helpful, especially in my high-stakes fantasy novels. I love a little drama now and then, and the darker it is, the better. These are the scenes I can imagine as movie moments.
Again, 90% of this stuff gets edited out later, but it's still fun to write, because when I get going, I really get going. I find this great flow that allows me to write a ton of words, which is what I need, during a first draft.
We’re all our own worst critics—so, what about your writing are you genuinely proud of? Don’t hold back.
Again, it's something I love to write, and it's something I think I'm actually good at. This is probably the one and only aspect of my writing I've never had to work at getting better, because it came so naturally. Everything else is still kind of a mess, but I love my dialogue. My characters always have distinct voices and talk like real people would. I think part of why it's good is not only because I read a lot, but also because I watch a lot of TV.
-Writing characters I'd want to hang out with in real life:
I have to like my characters to feel invested in them, and that usually means I end up writing characters I wish I could be friends with. These are my favorite people to read about in other books, so I'm hoping that's a good sign about mine.
-The tight bond of friendship between characters:
I love gangs of friends who stick together to either save the world, put on a school play, carry out some heist, or any other grand plan. It's a fun dynamic to play with, because those kinds of friends would do anything for each other, but they also tease the others incessantly. My characters always have close friends who make regular appearances throughout the book and have great chemistry with each other.
What do you love about writing? What excites you? What makes all of this nightmare struggle worth it?
-Getting ideas for new projects:
The "ooh, shiny!" moment is arguably the most exciting stage of any project. It's brand new, so you aren't sick of it yet, and it's full of possibilities, so you aren't stuck yet. Getting bored with the project or not knowing what to do with it will come later, but the initial idea is always tons of fun to play with.
-Finishing a project:
There's nothing more satisfying than typing the final words of a first draft. It's a weird, bittersweet feeling, but after weeks of pushing through the tricky middle sections, it's so rewarding to finally get it done.
-Creating Pinterest boards/playlists:
This usually goes along with the brand new idea for a novel. One way I like to flesh out the tone of the story is to create a soundtrack for it and start messing around on Pinterest. It may not help with plotting much, but it keeps me excited.
-Getting feedback from critique partners that I made them laugh/squee/cry:
I love fangirling about other people's projects, so having someone fangirl over mine is beyond cool. I may not have a YA novel out in the world yet, but the few people who have read my writing and gushed about me make me feel like a real author.
What’s something you’re not as strong in that you’d like to improve?
Dear God, how does any writer survive writing a fight scene??? If you actually enjoy them, please, tell me your ways. Describing any kind of scuffle for more than a paragraph has me wanting to rip my own limbs off, and yet, I have to do it because that's what happens in a high-stakes fantasy novel. They're just so boring, even though they're supposed to be exciting.
I like the idea of worldbuilding, but actually creating new worlds is really, really hard. Who can keep track of those many rules?? Not me, that's for sure. I'm already confused enough about the details of certain things in my contemporary novels. But I love magic and mythical creatures and paranormal stuff, so worldbuilding is a must.
-Plots where things actually HAPPEN:
This is usually my downfall in contemporary novels. I'm too eager to let my characters just talk to each other and not really do anything, even though I'm supposed to be raising the stakes and escalating the tension. Fantasy is a little easier for me to make "exciting," in some ways, because I can have a lot more magic and bloodshed.
-Grounding my characters in a clear setting:
This kind of goes along with worldbuilding. Since I love dialogue so much, I tend to neglect physical descriptions of things, including the setting. It'll maybe get a sentence or two, but that's about it. Oops.
We talk a lot about “big” writing dreams (movies! shows! bestseller list!) but do you have a smaller, quieter dream for you and your work? What is it?
-Someone creating fan-fiction or fanart from one of my novels:
Again, someone fangirling over my work is the best.
-Authors I love reading my books and/or talking about them:
I would flip if Becky Albertalli or Rainbow Rowell or Marissa Meyer tweeted about my book or did a blurb for one (or J.K. Rowling, but that's a bit lofty of a dream).
-Seeing my book on display at a bookstore/library:
-Being a part of book conferences/event and meeting some of my favorite authors:
I love going to author panels, signings, classes, etc., so getting to be a part of one with other writers I respect? That would be amazing. Even if a little public speaking was involved, I could get past that to sit at a table with my favorite authors.
Are there things that pop up in your writing over and over again whether you like it or not? What are they?
-References to whatever current TV show or musical I'm obsessed with at that moment:
I can always tell around what time I wrote a certain scene because the characters will bingewatch "Sherlock" and I can go, "Ah, yes, that was a 2014 novel." It's kind of fun to find these when I go back to older projects. It's like a mini time capsule.
-Characters who are such close friends, all of my critique partners assume they're actually harboring secret crushes for the other, when in fact, they are not:
This happens more often than you'd think. I can repeat the "they're just friends" mantra until I'm blue in the face, but my entire critique group will stare back at me with amused smiles and say, "no they're not," despite the fact that I'm the author of the story.
-Certain names I use and reuse throughout different books without realizing it:
I have multiple characters named Izzy, Charlie, and Liam, off the top of my head, most from abandoned projects. I'm not sure how it happens, but it does.
What are some tropes that you unapologetically adore writing? What are ones you never write because you can’t stand them?
Tropes I love:
-Slow burn romances
-Apparently just romances of all kinds
-The Strong Female Character TM (so long as she has flaws and isn't emotionless)
-The protagonist sacrificing themselves at the climax of the book
-Villains with whom you can empathize
Tropes I hate:
-Love triangles (I write "fake" love triangles instead: two characters like each other, but one is convinced that someone else is actually the recipient of the crush)
-Tough guys with no feelings
-Love at first sight
-"I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding."
-The heroine doesn't realize her own beauty
If you could hop in a time machine and give baby-writer you one piece of advice, what would it be?
Honestly, I feel like I'm still waiting for grown-up-writer-me to come give baby-writer-me advice. But I guess the advice I probably needed to hear a little earlier was that projects aren't birthed magically perfect. They take a ton of time and lots of editing. I didn't realize how much of writing was rewriting until the past few years.
What’s the last book/last books you read that made you go "HOLY SHIT that’s some good writing!!"?
-Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
-The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
-A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
-Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
-Far From the Tree by Robin Benway
Do you have a book out? A book you’re working on? Tell me about it!
In typical Kate fashion, I am working on entirely too many projects at once, so I'll give you little snapshots into each of them.
-A fairytale comedy based on a Pinterest prompt I saw a while ago. A woman promises two witches separately her firstborn, so the witches share joint custody and go from loathing each other and the different parenting styles to eventually falling in love. One witch is your typical Glinda "good witch" while the other is a "wicked witch" (both with a twist, obviously).
-This one is also based on a prompt I saw (maybe on Twitter?). "Mamma Mia," except a young daughter learns her mom sold her soul to one of three demon lords and needs to find out which one she has to kill to get it back. I'm still trying to decide if I want to make this a full on lighthearted comedy, or something darker and more sarcastic.
-Captain Darling. My NaNoWriMo novel about Mrs. Darling following her children into Neverland and descending into villainy as she becomes the terrible Captain Hook.
-Captain Zahira and Her Wayward Crew. I say I'm writing this, but really, it's been sitting unfinished in my documents for months. I'll go back to it eventually, but I've got too many projects to edit at the moment to continue with this one. This was, yet again, based on a prompt I saw. A pirate captain is cursed to die within the year unless she gives her heart freely to another, but instead of searching for romance, she decides to spend her last year gallivanting with her ragtag crew, who all try to secretly set her up with different people along the way.
-'Til the Last Star Dies (probably to be renamed Angel of the Underworld). An immortal witch falls in love with a mortal witch hunter. It has everything: revenge, a magical emerald that has the power to unleash an undead army, friends turned evil, witches and demons, morally gray characters, and more.
-Ms. Holmes. A completely genderbent, steampunk Sherlock Holmes story with time travel. I wrote it when I was fourteen, so it's a mess, hence why I've been procrastinating the rewrite. But I still think it has a solid basic structure of what it needs to be, so I just need to figure out how to fix the plot.
-All the World's Afraid (which is a terrible title that doesn't apply to the story anymore because I reworked the plot). I finished the first draft last week and now I'm going at it with a red pen. The two teen girls playing Cosette and Eponine in their school musical fall in love over the course of the production, but both are convinced that the other could never like them back for various reasons. Lots of misunderstandings occur throughout the book, as well as a touch of paranormal happenings since the actress playing Cosette is convinced the actress playing Eponine accidentally cursed their theater by saying "Macbeth" during a rehearsal. It is yet to be determined whether that is true or not.
-Beneath the Moon and Stars. My YA contemporary romance between an aspiring musician living in a poor, abusive household and an aspiring painter living in a rich household with his severely dysfunctional family. It's a simple story, but it still has my heart, even though I'm pretty sure I have to give up querying it for now since I'm at thirty rejections now. Maybe it'll find a home sometime in the future.
Tag, you're it! Continue the trail of stolen tags by answering the questions on your own blog or in the comments. What are some of your favorite tropes? What keeps showing up in your writing, whether you like it or not?