1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you've worked with and why.
I obsess ridiculously over all my projects when they are in their primes. My favorite experience overall would be my fanfiction Landlocked, because it was my first time with a large(ish) fanbase who were all so kind and patient and all-around wonderful people. The fans make the project, I think. I can't wait to actually finish something so I can have that connection with readers again.
2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?
I have over a hundred. The last "official" count was 75, and that was years ago. I wonder how many new characters I come up with in a year?
Not that this is impressive: in fact, it's quite sad, since most of them are homeless. TT.TT
I actually have a good balance of male and female characters, though females are usually the main characters, at least in my earlier stuff.
3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you're writing about fictional places)?
It depends on the project. If the characters are humans born into normal, human families, they have normal names (like Quincy and Malerie). If they are mythological or their parents knew they were going to have powers of some kind, their names mean certain things (like Maurelle meaning "dark elf" or Brer being an allusion to a fable). Names aren't always that important to a story, so I'm fine with changing them if one just doesn't click.
4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!
When I was younger, all of my stories were essentially fanfictions about myself and my friends. At first I was the main character, starring in short stories where I was a spy. My first long story, though, focused on my best friend, Ashley, who is taken to a fairy civilization that is connected to her family garden by an inter-dimensional portal. She is some kind of prophesied hero and has to be trained to defeat some wizard who wants to take over because he's evil. The only original ideas I had were the 2 male characters, Bernie and some traitor guy who I think had a name ending in -loch?
There was a sort-of love triangle, but Ashley doesn't end up with either guy.
Somewhere in there myself and 5 of my friends show up to do nothing except be there. This book got 2 sequels, each more poorly written than the last.
5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about "youngest"?
I have a few kid characters, but the youngest main character I believe is Grace, a normal 3-4 year old girl who is dropping into the lap of a faun prince after finding a fantasy land on accident.
The oldest main character (who actually looks their age, and isn't a vampire or something) is probably Mark from my short story "With Feeling." He's a 30-ish government employee dealing with the dissolution of his marriage.
6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol' pen and paper?
I draw out a lot of my scenes with paper and pencil, but I write exclusively on the computer. I wish I had the focus to write in a notebook, but I make too many mistakes while I write.
I write anytime I'm in the zone. I need to be more disciplined about that. But I like to write alone in quiet.
7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?
Sometimes I listen to music, but it has to be music I've heard many times before, or I'll stop and listen to the song instead of writing.
8. What's your favourite genre to write? To read?
I like writing fantasy, all types: magical realism, urban, high, fairy tales... all of them. I'm dabbling a bit in sci-fi right now, and I've written regular drama in the past, but I need that fantastical element in there to enjoy it. The same applies to what I read, though I have read a lot of mysteries and superhero comics and romances in the past.
9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.
Usually it's something small: an image or a character trait or a gimmick. A lot of times I'm not trying to come up with a character, I just think "wouldn't it be cool if..." and then become obsessed. For example, I thought it would be nice to draw an overweight character for a change, not all the models I had been. Then I decided to make her Native American, because I was taking a class on it at the time, then thought it would be cool if she were cursed... she's still a work in progress.
The hardest thing ever for me is to design a whole new character on the spot for a certain purpose.
10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!
Ugh, this is a hard one... mostly because the situations aren't weird to me unless they are way out of context... I guess Val and Brer chasing a fire breathing cat around an organic pet store?
11. Who is your favourite character to write? Least favourite?
I love writing for Brer, my kitsune character, because he is so deceptively honest. He says exactly what he knows Val wants to hear, but you never know if he really means it. Because bottom line, it doesn't matter to him if it's true as long as Val feels better for it. He's also a snark master and sadistic. I can get away with anything with him.
My least favorite, sadly, is probably Ariel and Jim in Landlocked, because I am so afraid of getting them wrong. It's hard to balance the canon, my voice and views on them, and the fans' views.
12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building?
In a story people can actually read? That would be "Don't Fear the Reaper." I had to build a whole redheaded Reaper culture, which was really fun.
The most I've done on any project was an unnamed Sleeping Beauty story. I built up a fairy mythos including biology and prejudice, a kingdom's worth of superstition, magic mechanics, and a whole new mythos for dragons. It is intense, and super fun.
13. What's your favourite culture to write, fictional or not?
My two newest characters are Japanese and Native American, and I really liked writing about the Navajo in a short story that centered on Val, and look forward to doing more research so I can do these cultures justice.
I like writing about Jim Hawkin's space worlds, too. I have a few cultures I've invented, but I haven't written prose about any of them.
14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?
I don't like making maps until the whole story is written. Thankfully, none of my stories have needed a map. I think I tried it once, and quickly became frustrated with it.
15. Mid way question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!
I was inspired to write fantasy by Robin McKinley after reading The Hero and the Crown, which is not big on action until the last half, but is SUPER into character and world building.
Before I started high school, Eoin Colfer pulled me out of a loop of romance-reading with his Artemis Fowl series, which I am still an avid fan of, despite it being a YA series.
My induction into adult fiction came through Jasper Fforde, who taught me screw the rules, just have fun.
I also admire a lot of comic and webcomic creators, such as Neil Gaiman for his Sandman series, Kanata Kara for a subtle, heartbreaking, and engaging manga From Far Away, and Nicole Chartrand's Fey Winds, which got me into webcomics!
16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how "far" are you willing to go in your writing?
I like romantic relationships, but what I like more is unrequited love that may or may not eventually be requited (though it often is). A lot of my male/female character duos have the spark of "something more," but I couldn't imagine them dating. However, future events in the story may change my mind.
I am a conservative Christian, and while I don't confine my characters to these ideals, since that would often be out of character, I don't write explicit sex or glorify sex outside of marriage. Even if I wasn't Christian, though, I'm so tired of sex being the end game in fictional relationships I'd probably end the story before the relationship got that far, or make it impossible (one of my pairings is a human girl and a ghost who can't touch her. He can pretend to, but he can't feel her. Yeah. No sex till death for those two.)
17. Favourite protagonist and why!
Valerie Many-Shadows at the moment, because she has the most growing to do. She's self-depricating, hates her body, and has trust issues (for good reason). Plus, she's constantly battling a bloodlust and has powers she doesn't fully understand. She is the first character that I can express my insecurities through without sounding like a whiner or a Debbie-downer.
On the other hand, she is an independent person who is proud of her heritage, loves her family, respects others, and started her own charity organization. And she's a snarker. I LOVE writing snarky characters.
18. Favourite antagonist and why!
A half-baked antagonist I love to think about is an evil scientist who is only evil to monopolize the attentions of his girlfriend, a police officer. He rides a delicate balance, because he doesn't want to do something so evil that she dumps him, but has such an insatiable need to be seen by the person he loves that he will do anything to get her attention.
19. Favourite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!
ALL of my original characters in Netherworld. They were only supposed to be a weigh station for Artemis and Holly, but in the end I planned as far ahead as all the characters' grandchildren, long after Artemis and Holly left the story.
20. What are your favourite character interactions to write?
I like writing a character doing something completely crazy, and then the other characters' reaction. I also like writing when characters first meet, and their first impressions of each other. Also, SNARK. I LOVE WRITING SARCASTIC DIALOGUE.
21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?
One of them has a baby sister who he has to take care of, does that count? None of my characters have kids in-story, mostly because nearly all of them are single and younger. I don't think I'd ever write a character's children as minor characters because, realistically, they are not minor to the character. Even if the kids were absent, the parent would think about them constantly, which could get annoying if said kid wasn't a main character. I'm pretty good at writing kids, though, because I'm around them a lot.
22. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?
While I was in school, I had to churn out a story every month. On my own, I lack discipline and energy, so it takes YEARS and I hate myself for it.
23. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What's the most interesting way you've killed someone?
I was taught that plot is character driven, so a character doesn't die unless another character kills them or it is in their character to die. To be honest, I've seen it done so badly so often I put it off unless completely necessary. I did kill a main character in a story I didn't care for, but I did so with extreme bitterness toward the assignment.
The only other time I "killed" a character it was a fake out.
Killing a character is something one should only do if it is in character and the plot needs a big emotional moment, such as the death of Coleson in The Avengers. Not only was his death important to the Avengers and in character for Loki, but Coleson was a character the audience didn't want to die. That is also a must, or the reader will think "why do I care again"? There are exceptions to this, of course, but these are my strong beliefs on character death.
24. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.
Avery has a "dragon ward" that she doesn't really want at first. Val has Brer, who is sometimes a fox. Brer has Val, who is sometimes... everything. I think that's it, unless one or two of them had fish.
25. Let's talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favourite picture of him!
The biggest part of finding a character for me is drawing them over and over and OVER.
26. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.
In Val's case it plays a big part, but a lot of times I actually forget to describe my characters and have to make a conscious effort. It was easier with my earlier characters, because they all had crazy colored hair or tokens they always had with them. Now my characters are more subtle and changeable.
27. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there's nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.
Avery, from "With Feeling", has congenital insensitivity, which means she can't feel any pain. It's because of this that she is chosen to take care of a baby dragon, because no one else can get close enough to take care of it.
Timur, from Netherworld, had a mechanical arm.
Val has repressed memories due to trauma in her childhood, but I don't know if that's a mental disorder.
28. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!
I know a lot of my friends and followers on DA write, but unfortunately have not read much of their work. However, a person on DA who has had a big influence on me in a more artistic sense is .
A year ago, I was in a really dark place in regards to art, writing, and my self image. I don't know how I found her art, but it not only cheered me up, but inspired me. I thought all animation art was taking a more simple, stylistic route I didn't enjoy, but she imbues her characters with such energy and life, she gave me hope that I could succeed while still retaining my individuality, like she had. Since then I have seen and enjoyed a lot of different styles, but hers holds a special place in my heart, and I still revisit her pieces for inspiration or a smile.