On the Raven’s Wings is an interview series presented by Sumayyah of The Raven Desk blog. It interviews aspiring writers (both agented and un-agented alike) to get their perspective on writing, the business and life. This week, I have an interview with Meg of In Which a Girl, a fabulous book blog. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should!

Q: Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
A: I’m a fifteen (or sixteen, depending on when you’re reading this) year old teen who has spent most of those years in a state of perpetual confusion. Aside from braving the menacing halls of high school, I fill up the in between hours with reading. I try to write as well. Mostly I just procrastinate.

In terms of future aspirations, I’d like to own a chocolate factory some day (Willa-wonka style complete with edible fixtures and oompa loompas). And of course, I’d love to make my home in a crumbling castle, complete with a moldering library. And somewhat less improbably, I’d love to travel.
Q: What genre do you write? What attracted you to this genre?
A: *scratches head*

Hard question!

I’ve always considered myself a speculative fiction writer. Always. I thought I’d swing back and forth between middle grade and young adult fantasy and that’s all I’d ever write, period.
And then came the Battle of Great Insanity with my WIP, (WIP army carried out a bloody massacre against Writer Army, it’s still too painful to talk about) and somehow or other I’ve started writing contemporary. So I guess I’m a fantasy writer turned contemporary.

I write fantasy because that’s pretty much all I read. It’s escapism at it’s best and it’s just so, so fun. And I guess I write contemporary because my WIP demands it. Also, I enjoy finding beauty in places where I least expect it—and contemporary gives me free rein to do write about it.
Q: What are you currently working on at the moment? How was the story inspired?
A: I’m working on a contemporary coming-of-age novel with slight elements of magical realism. It’s funny, because it originally started off as a parallel world fantasy with elements of dystopia. I’m not altogether sure how it ended up like this. Also, I refuse to title it (this has nothing to do with the fact that I can’t think of a title :p). It shall forever be called WIP.

I’m not sure what it’s about either. I’m about 25k in and I don’t even have a smidgeon of a plot.

I do know that it includes: numerous descriptions of fall leaves, forced veganism, a lake that is a black moon in the grass, golden apples, broken fingers, a demented piano player, snow in September, a dog that believes it’s a horse, shoplifting, a Rain Boy, a Sun Boy, a near-death experience, lots of buttons, a car crash, and eyes like bruises.

And one very crazy main character to round it up nicely.

I don’t know exactly how the story was inspired. I suppose it was a combination of everything that inspires me. Broken half moments. Intangible memories. Music. Pictures in a blur of colors. Fragments of beautiful prose and beautiful books.

Q: Is there a place you like to go to write? Are there any rituals you stick to when writing a story?
A: I mostly write at the computer. I’ve tried by hand since I have this irrational fear of bright computer screens, but my hand writing is so atrocious that I can’t even puzzle it out.
So I write at the computer and try not to stare at the screen too long or question where the brightness of the screen comes from (trust me—that way lies madness).

And then I try to write. Crank up the music, start googling pictures, read bits of books I have sitting on my nightstand.

If I can manage a walk beforehand I also get wonderful ideas.

There’s also the matter of the snippets. My WIP is a mess of unrelated snippets. I can’t write in chronological order and I can’t outline.
Q: What is your favorite thing about writing? Why?
A:*crickets chirp*
*laughs nervously*



I like the interwebs that go along with it? The writing itself is a pretty painful process.

I also like improving and the creative aspect of it.
Q: If you had to pick a soundtrack for your current WIP, what songs/bands would be on it?
A: 10 Bands I Love (too lazy to do individual songs):

1. The Last Shadow Puppets
2. Franz Ferdinand
3. Artic Monkeys
4. Death Cab for Cutie
5. The Beatles
6. The Killers
7. The Coral
8. The Bravery
9. The Zutons
10. Belle and Sebastian

I also love classical music—mostly piano and cello. And of course Disney.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your current work? Who is your favorite character to write?
A: My favorite thing is…is..erm. The colors? I like describing colors more than anything else.

My favorite character to write is my main character, Mo. She’s absolutely nuts. It’s fun to write about crazy characters—-they’re so much more interesting than sane ones.

Q: What plans do you have for the future writing wise? Any new ideas in your mind?
A:I guess, to just write. For me, I’m more concerned with maturing my prose, improving as a writer. I think it’d be best if I waited, wrote more books before I rush into trying to get published like the feckless young fool I am.. It’s more important to me that my prose is at the level I want it to be at before I send anything out.

I have two SNIs. One’s about time travel, it’s set in modern day, and involves: a few dinosaurs, a boy with black button eyes, unrequited love, badly powdered wigs, failing history grades, and a psycho mass murderer. I think that will be my next project.

I also have a short little contemporary book in mind too. It’s one of those books that take place over one night. Just a bit of a SNI at the moment, but I was hoping to put off writing that for a bit.

And lastly, I have two empty, fully fleshed out parallel worlds (one loosely based on 18th century England but with magic) and one a magical dystopian that my WIP originally took place in. Now I’m waiting for characters to come along and fill those worlds up with their problems.
Q: What keeps you from losing interest in your work? How do you make sure you finish a project?
A: I don’t know really. I’m the slowest of slow writers: my first book took three and a half years and I stuck with it. I think it has to do more with my personality than anything: I can’t bear to leave things unfinished. So I just soldier on and time slips away and before I know it I’ve been working on some crap novel during the whole of my tender whippersnapper years.
Q: What’s the best part of finishing up a novel?
A: Knowing that you get to revise and improve it. I’ve only finished one, and at that time I was clueless and jumped into querying before I was ready. Now, I think the thing I’ most looking forward to is editing, improving it, getting feedback and more improving. And then starting on something new.

Q: What advice do you have for writers, both veteran and amateur?
A: Read, read, read. Read some more. I’m a firm believer that in order to write well you need to read well. And when you’re reading, figure out what you like about a book. What you hate about a book. What works and what doesn’t.

And after you’re done reading, write a book that you’d want to read. And then write some more.

Also, join a writing group or a writing forum. *cough* AW *cough* So that the friends you make there save you in your moments of insanity when you want to quit and cry and cry and hug your teddy bear and eat chocolate and stare miserably at a wall, curled up in fetal position, and bang your head repeatedly at a computer, and cry some more and delete your whole WIP in one fell swoop (whistles casually).

You definitely need group support for something as solitary as novel writing.
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