Sunday, August 19, 2012

Interview With Teen Writers: Part 1

As promised in my last post the teen writer interview! If you'd like to see my thoughts behind this little project you can see them near the end of my last post. Basically, I emailed all interested people the questions for this interview, they emailed me back with their answers, and then I combined them all into one post for your reading enjoyment. I've split it into two parts, so I don't overwhelm you with the sheer amount of reading. Now, before this gets into a rambling post filled with content from me (and not the lovely interviewees) let's get started!

The interviewees:
Jane Shaw
Elizabeth Watson
Ravena Guron - Ravena Guron
Dakota Densmore - My Frantic Scribblings
Bria - Pursuing Stories

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself (age, how long have you been writing, and what you write)
Dakota: I am 17(@ sunny, lol it's close enough), and I have been writing since I was very little, say 4?
Bria: My name is Bria. I am sixteen. I’ve basically been writing since I was six (I mostly plagiarized stories then), but got serious about writing (realized I could be a writer!) two years ago. I write stories with a bit of everything. Some have fantasy feels, some have a sci-fi sense, and some are stories about normal people doing normal things in a non-normal way.
Ravena: Well, I'm sixteen and I've been writing since I could hold a pen (I know... I'm so funny.) I tend to write science fiction or fantasy because I love creating new worlds.
Jane: Started writing in grade 6. I first started writing the stereotypical girl crushing on the stereotypical senior boy, because in my mind it made sense that the senior boy would like the freshman girl, of course once I got to highschool I realized how naive my grade 6 self was, but I digress. I then moved on to writing books where the main character suffered from some tragedy that left them blind. deaf or some other physical disability. I then moved on to writing story's where the main character was an orphan and they would go on a quest to find their birth parent's. As I matured I started getting into writing fantasy, and this is where I am now writing Urban Fantasy.
Elizabeth: I’ve been writing since I was 4 or 5 (around 15 years). I write a bit of everything. I probably won’t pursue writing full-time (can’t afford to), but I’ve always written in my spare time.
2. What is your favourite book/author (and yes you can give more than one:P)?
Dakota: Good gosh, don't ask me that! I'm the most--SECOND most indecisive person in the world!! But if I absolutely HAD to pick an author or two or else I'd DIE, then I'd have to go with Wayne Thomas Batson, Jill Williamson, and....Donita K. Paul. hmmmm....yes, let's go with them. :)
Bria: I don’t have favorite (I’m American, ha) books, just favorite authors. Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, John Steinbeck, and Joan Bauer are my absolute favorite authors.
Ravena: Argh! I can never answer these questions, because I'm terrible at making decisions. I always feel like I'm picking favourites, and that the books will get offended and cry (if, you know, they could and all.) I think I'm going to play it safe and say my favourite book is "The Lord of the Rings." The world Tolkien creates... oh gosh I have no words to describe how in awe of him I am. And, of course, the "Harry Potter" series (I'm cheating, I know.) It was a huge part of my childhood and Rowling's world building is wowza (am I getting a little predictable? Okay, here's a fun fact: when I turned eleven I waited for my Hogwarts letter just like everyone else. When it didn't come I told my parents I wanted a house elf for a birthday present instead. I got a pen (or something completely ordinary that wasn't a house elf.)
Jane: Favourite Authors: Ally Carter. Patricia Briggs, Alyxandra Harvey, Nalini Singh, Anee Bishop, Tamora Pierce, and Jane Austen! Favourite Book: I Hunt Killers (atleast for now) :) there are many others...
Elizabeth: Shakespeare, Jane Austin (Pride and Prejudice), Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Secret Daughter), J. R. R. Tolkien
3. What is the first thing you ever remember writing, that wasn't for school?
Dakota: BAHA!! Ah yes, I remember it well....I do believe I was four, or thereabouts, and had just completed my first-ever story. It was perhaps four pages long, two of those pages being drawings, and all written in crayon. It was about a family of people that suddenly got mad during dinner and threw all their food on the floor and in the toilet. I can't remember how it ended, tho.... But it was a happy ending, I know. ;)
Bria: If we don’t count the stories I wrote/plagiarized when I was six, it would be this story I wrote when I was nine. It was about a kid who liked to invent things. His name was Peter. He ran away from home because…actually, there wasn’t a reason. Anyway, he ran away from home with his little sister and they lived in a cave in the woods. Peter invented things to help keep them alive. Yeah, it was a cool story, and Peter actually won second place in a character-making contest with Scholastic Storyworks. I won a notepad.
Ravena: A "novel" when I was six about two parents who went to the beach with their two children and forgot them. It had about ten lines of writing, and lots of awful pictures. I even "published" it by getting someone to staple it for me. Thankfully it got lost.
Elizabeth: I wrote stories on a 90’s computer program called Storybook Weaver. I wrote about horses (my favourite animal).
4. What's your writing schedule (if any) and how often do you write?
Dakota: *chokes on and spits her drink halfway across the room and falls to the floor in an insane laughing fit* SCHEDULE??? Oh, you poor, dear, soul, you. Ah, I don't HAVE a schedule. My ADD and laziness won't allow it. I merely write when the mood strikes. That, while not being an efficient writing strategy, is more fun for me. ;) hehe
Bria: I try to write something every day. I don’t have a certain time or place because my schedule fluctuates and changes depending on school and church and my job and family and just life. If you want to know how I balance all of these things, the simple answer is: I don’t. Mostly I compromise on my sleep. As I like to quote: You can sleep when you’re dead. (Not that you should compromise on your sleep! Don’t get into that habit!)
Ravena: I write everyday, for at least an hour (by that I mean I try to. I'm lazy) When I can I write in the morning because that's when I'm "freshest." If it's a school day (and too often it's a school day) I'll write in the evening.
Jane: I don't really have a schedule I just write when I feel like it. Yes, I know it's bad, but that's what I do.
Elizabeth: I write every day, with few exceptions, for at least an hour. It’s part of my life as much as eating and sleeping.
5. Have you ever taken any classes/studied writing in some way? If so, how has it helped you? If not, why?
Dakota: Yes, I did take a class. Twice! The same one. ;) haha. I can't say HOW it's helped, b/c I have difficulty pinpointing that kind of stuff, but I know that it has. :)
Bria: Last year, I took a creative writing class at my school. It was interesting. We wrote a travel piece, illumination essay, play, dystopian, some poems, a children’s book, and a short story. What was really cool about this class was the community. We were all writers, so we all understood the voices and the story urges, and we all enjoyed talking to ourselves; basically, we all had the weird writer quirks and it was stinkin’ amazing! Lots of encouragement, definitely.
Ravena: I haven't taken any classes, because there aren't any where I live and if there were I probably wouldn't be allowed to go anyway. I'm planning on watching Brandon Sanderson's lectures (although I haven't yet.) I've also ordered Stephen King's "On Writing" (which has yet to arrive.) (A recurring theme... I'm not making excuses, I swear!) In Year Nine, when she found out I liked writing, my English teacher gave me a book which eased me into the world of publishing. That counts right?
Jane: I took a Creative Writing class in highschool. It helped me, by teaching me different ways to write, and the process that you can take to write a story. It also taught me about different types of creative writing.
Elizabeth: I’ve attended some writer’s classes and conferences. I went to my first one when I was 12. Everyone else in the class thought I was lost. I also took creative writing classes in high school and university. They’re helpful because they teach you a lot about writing “theory”. They point out flaws in your writing that you’ve never noticed. They also give you a chance to get feedback from a variety of other writers.
6. Who/what influences your writing?
Dakota: games, both fortunately and unfortunately. Fortunate in that it gives me a plethora of fantasy-type names and ideas for fantasy-type places, but unfortunately in that it messes with my plot lines. I end up picking up too many characters. :P
On the other hand, my friend Sunny is a great help to me in my writing, being both inspiring, helpful, and encouraging. :)
Bria: Life influences my writing. The people I know and the circumstances I live in influence my writing more than anything else. Honestly, people should be scared to talk to me, since so much of my dialogue comes from conversations with people.
Ravena: I would say every book I've ever read has influenced my writing in some way (although I can't exactly say how.)
Jane: I started writing when I was in elementary school. It was my 4th grade teacher who had everyone writing story's for English class. She was the one who opened my eyes to writing. I'm also a huge bookworm (I work in a library, for petesake), so whenever I finish a book I was always think wow I love the way this character said that, or that was cool the way she wrote that, and then BAM a story idea pops in my head.
Elizabeth: Tamora Pierce, Tolkien, and Austen
Stay tuned for anther seven questions next time (including questions on appropriate content and teen publishing) as we bring the teen interview to a close. Have you got an answers to these questions you are dying to share? Let us know in the comments.

What I'm reading: Jane by April Lindner
What I'm listening to: Mumford and Sons
What I'm watching: Alphas


  1. Can't wait to hear answers to the next questions now that I've met the teens. It's great so many of their schools offered creative writing courses.

    1. I know! Creative writing courses are the best:)


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