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#1 Slide


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Posted 24 March 2014 - 11:47 AM

Good morning, one and all! I figured it was about time I got one of these threads up, because I'm sure a lot of you have burning inquiries to put to me. That, or I simply like talking about myself and I've had an adequate sufficiency of coffee this morning to put that into action.


I've been on HPFF a good long while (I lose count, honestly - not necessarily a sign of my longevity so much as my memory), but forums are mysterious beasts to me, thus I only just got around to this.


So bring forth your questions, one and all, if ye has them! And I shall answer if I can.



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#2 Sarah the Ravenclaw

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 09:02 PM

Ooh! Pick me!!


1. What inspired you to write Ignite?

2. Did you plan the story out before you wrote it, or just wrote it as it came to you?

3. Where did you come up with the name Methuselah?

4. Why did you kill Methuselah? (i'm still a little upset about that)

5. What got you into fanfiction?

6. Do you have a story that you'd say inspired you to first write?

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#3 Slide


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Posted 25 March 2014 - 04:10 PM

Hi! I pick thee!
1. Wanting to write Ignite - or, wanting to write the Trilogy as a whole, because it was conceived as a trilogy, not a stand-alone story that grew. I wanted to try Next Gen fic but I also wanted to write a Heroic Trilogy in the epic movie vibe. Save the world, get the girl, kick the bad guy in the face, real zero-to-hero stuff. Inspired by things like Star Wars, structurally trilogies like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matrix, the Mass Effect and Baldur's Gate trilogies for games. That kind of Epic Hijinks. As such, I knew the first part had to be reasonably self-contained as a story, a formative experience, and writing Next Gen and starting at the beginning of this Becoming Heroes, I wanted it to be set at Hogwarts.
This immediately limited my options! How to have epic adventures with a tightly-knit band of 'heroes' in a bustling and well-populated and STATIC environment like Hogwarts? Especially for something which had to start out as reasonably low-key. So that's where the idea of the Phlegethon virus sparked up - it happened in Hogwarts, allowed me to establish the characters in the Ordinary World, then allowed me to up the crisis to one which formed my Band of Heroes without support against an implacable foe. I'm not going to lie, I spent a long time peering at my shelves of books and computer games wondering what 'trick' I could use to bring an appropriately epic adventure to Hogwarts. In the end, my gaze fell on the old Neverwinter Nights game, the first act of which is trying to find a cure to a plague which struck the titular city. Ah-ha! I thought. Just the ticket. And the rest was history.
2. I planned some. I knew the basic conceit of each of the Trilogy - Ignite, the plague. Starfall, the world-wide quest for the McGuffin. The Third... well, spoilers, but Everything Goes Epic. For Ignite, I always knew the cure would come about with the ritual cleansing of the origin site, though exactly how was a bit more up in the air; I'd hoped to find something other than the Resurrection Stone, but it kept creeping into my writing. My original planning went about:
1. Detention, Infection, Quarantine.
2. ???
3. Profit! (or, ritual to cleanse)
I had notions of the hijinks during the '???' like the House Elves, Radio Malfoy, but some things came to me along the way - the Acromantula hunt, the break-in to the Headmaster's Office. Even how Scorp and Rose got together was not planned at the start.
Starfall has been better planned. It's changed in little bits as it goes along, but the basic arc, places they go, what happens there have been written down from the start.
3. Methuselah was doomed to have either a really normal name like 'John' or, well, something like Methuselah. I went to Biblical names for inspiration because they have a lot of multiple-vowel names with heft, and settled on Methuselah partly because I remembered the name from one of the characters from the first Redwall book - an old sage, guide, and mentor to the protagonist. It had childhood fondness for me and in playing around with very simple last names to contrast with the long first name, loved the cadence of 'Methuselah Jones'.
4. The character was conceived to die. At least one reader's spotted the similarity between him and Mordin Solus of Mass Effect; while Methuselah grew considerably from that original splash of inspiration, the nearly emotionless, hyper-intellect with trouble connecting to people appealed to me as the Smart Guy of the gang, because I wanted someone who could outclass Rose without making her, well, redundant. And I liked the idea of that character being one who 'logics' himself into a heroic sacrifice, not through some sense of nobility but because it's necessary. Though it wasn't a wholly emotionless choice on Methuselah's part, because he did do it for his friends, and a little bit because he always wanted his intellect to really, really matter.
I also, as I've discussed elsewhere, wanted to kill him when he still had an arc to go through - his growth into understanding his emotions, his relationship with Selena. Death cuts people short, and so for the reader to really feel it in Methuselah's case, I had to cut his story short. He couldn't be a self-contained story who was complete and then died. For it to hurt, we had to lose, and an audience only loses if they are denied seeing more of what they want. It hurt as a writer, a lot, because I would have loved to have Starfall include Methuselah and Selena trying to figure out their relationship. Starfall would have probably been just as good a story if it didn't have Matthias, but instead had Methuselah in the intellectual spot. But it would have been different.
Also, I had to kill someone. I want death to matter in this story; it's such a hugely thematic part of the trilogy, the bridges between life and death, and for it to really have impact, someone had to die and stay dead.
5. I have been writing fanfiction a long time. From Deep Space 9 fandom to Baldur's Gate fandom and then to Harry Potter. So it's kind of hard to say how I got into it. As a kid, I guess, with the internet for the first time and finding that, crikey, people were out there writing stories I could read! I loved it for the Roads Not Taken at first, for exploring things - parts of the world, relationships - not seen on-screen or on the pages. Setting things 'right' that I disagreed with. As I've got older I'm less inclined to have a righteous 'I know better than the creators' feel to what i'm doing. But I've always loved writing, and so I've continued to find it a great way to create without feeling too stifled - I like to provide something of high quality, but frankly, fanfiction is more forgiving than original fiction. Or I'm more forgiving of myself in fanfiction.
6. Hard question, if only because of how long ago it's been since I started ficcing. There are professional writers I look at and see how much they've influenced my work - I read The Horse Whisperer and The Loop and see how Nicholas Evans has affected how I create characters, for instance. Though for stories which helped cement the kind of Harry Potter fanfiction I write, I would have to point the finger at Elsha's Dis series (I don't know if it's on this website! I followed it elsewhere originally), a truly charming alongside-and-then-passing-canon series (OOTP compliant and then pushing on into its own continuity) about a Theodore Nott who meets, befriends, and falls in love with a Muggle-born Hufflepuff girl. Certainly the first Potterverse OC fic I read which really swept me away, and made me contemplate Slytherins.
So the rest there was kind of history.
Thanks for the questions!

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#4 Whimsical--Diva


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Posted 29 March 2014 - 02:35 AM

Hey Slide!


You know, when I read the first chapter of Ignite, I remember disliking the characters. I especially disliked Scorpius Malfoy. He seemed too - frivolous, and not to put too fine a point on things, he seemed a bit cliche. I'd read so many Rose/Scorpius stories where Rose is depicted as the uptight Prefect and Scorpius as this adorable troublemaker (it's either that, or they make Scorpius a brooding, angsty teenager with a plethora of 'issues'). Albus being sorted into Slytherin and being best friends with Scorpius also had been done to death before, so yep, I was mighty sceptical. But I persisted with it, because I'd LOVED your previous stories - the Anguis books and Renaissance - and I knew I had to keep reading. And I'm so glad I did - because I absolutely loved how Ignite panned out, and Starfall is one of my absolute and all time favourite fan fictions. It's what keeps me coming back to this site. 


So a few questions for you:


1) What are some of the challenges - if any - that you've faced whilst writing Nextgen? How do you walk the tightrope between making some of the characters (Rose, Albus etc) to be very reminiscent of their parents and at the same time, making them individuals in their own right? You do it better than anyone.


2) You write original fiction. What makes you keep coming back to fan fiction? Why invest so much of your time writing something that you can't publish when you can be writing stuff that'll be on bookshelves?


3) Some of your most memorable characters have been OC's. What are some of the challenges that entail writing OC's, especially when it's hard to attract readers to OC centric tics?


4) Matt. I love that character. Though he obviously takes more after his mum, doesn't he? I remember Gabriel at that age, and he used to be rather remote and distant and just more grown-up, I guess. Will he ever get over Rose? 


5) My last question for now - are Tobias and Tanith still together/married? Do they have kids? Sometimes I think I love Matt because I know his parents. And I think I remember mentioning once that Matt reminds me of Tobias a tad. If Tanith and Tobias did indeed have kids, I'd love to meet them.


That's all for now.



Edited by Whimsical--Diva, 29 March 2014 - 02:38 AM.

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#5 Slide


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Posted 29 March 2014 - 12:33 PM

Hey hey!


The first part isn't a question but I'm gonna answer it anyway.


Essentially: Yes. I'm not hugely well-versed in my Next Gen fic but I've done my dabbling and I, too, noticed all of the clichés that you did, the common tropes invoked. They were obviously there for a reason, there was obviously something which appealed about these elements, and appealed to a huge crowd, I just didn't like the way they'd often been done.


So, being an arrogant sort, I thought, "Let's do this right." Deconstruct what would really happen with ScoRose (because I really doubt they'd get disowned by their parents and the like for it), or what would really happen with a Slytherin Albus who's Scorp's best mate, or why an uptight Rose would really be so uptight. Despite the above I'm sometimes protective of clichés because what people often dislike isn't the cliché themselves, it's seeing something done badly or unimaginatively over and over.


But now, er, on with actual questions.


1) Number #1 uninvoked challenge of Next Gen is the huge freaking swathe of the extended Weasley clan in that generation. They're all there and I would imagine a lot of the family would be pretty close, and yet how do you handle something like a dozen kids without drowning in ginger? Kids whose backgrounds and upbringing are pretty well-accounted for, whose parents' personalities are quite accounted for. Of course my answer was, "I don't," but they're still in my head for the Stygian Trilogy. Especially James, Lily, and Hugo. Frederick the Younger is somewhere in my brain rattling about. But it was an argument for a plot device like Phlegethon - it got rid of them! I didn't have to worry about them!


Of the stuff you've mentioned: It's Hard. I suppose for the sake of a story I'm already making Draco out to be a worse human being and father than I legitimately think he would be in the canon, but I still wanted to keep it believable. Which meant that Rose and Albus had to have loving and stable and probably affluent upbringings, which for sixteen year-olds starts to already shove them in certain holes (especially when you're playing with archetypal roles). Rose was easier, because Scorpius came first as a character in my head and Rose came soon after, created very much to be his Belligerent Sexual Tension foil. Though she was someone I was really worried about as the first few chapters of Ignite are not kind to her - Chapter 4 wasn't meant to have a segment from her POV but it was apparent it was needed, and needed badly.


Albus has been the monster to write. To make him like his father and yet not, and without invoking any of the truly annoying clichés like being hated by his family for being in Slytherin (I just don't find it believable) or feeling overshadowed by his parents' achievements and trying to prove himself - when he was meant to be the down-to-earth counterpart for Scorpius. It's why he's been one of the weaker of the characters in the Trilogy; for a time he's been a bit neither fish nor fowl and thus slightly bland. The good news is that as the stakes are getting higher, I'm getting a handle on him and his morality and where he fits in with everyone.


There has, however, been no 'trick'. I don't sit down and list their parents' qualities and flaws and then jumble them up. That's not how I do character building; they come into my brain and we have a chat and figure out what needs changing and what works. Which is why Rose, who was pretty chatty, has a lot of her parents in her while not being a carbon copy of Hermione, and Albus, who was less chatty, was slower to cooperate.



2) Would you believe I've been trying to 'quit' fanfiction for about 3 years now? I finished Shade to Shade and was like, "Well, I have all of these ideas on what happens during Book 7, but I've got a manuscript to write." But even though 'proper' writing began, six months later came November and I needed a break from agonising over every single word and said, "I'll write Falls the Shadow for NaNoWriMo. It'll be fine." And I wrote 50k words of it and burnt myself out, and then had a year of being so unproductive it's not even funny. Crawled my way eventually to finishing the manuscript and found myself full of vim and vigour and thought, "I'll finish Shadow while I'm editing!" And I did, and the ideas kept rolling because I was just in such a creative headspace, and the gang's tale wasn't finished with Shadow and I had ideas for Beyond This Place. And I wrote that in three months, and then Ignite came along as a notion - as a bloody Trilogy - and I succumbed. My current plan is to finish Starfall (no mean feat), finish the untitled trilogy ending, and then leave fanfiction. Despite that I'm still writing the odd short story for the Anguisverse which might see the light of day Soon.


But aside from the joke of being 'trapped' - I hate leaving projects unfinished - it's actually a great way to blow off steam. Perhaps I'm just not yet confident enough in my original fiction, but it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of strict planning, while I feel I can dive into fanfiction and rattle it off with a broad, scribbled scheme. I feel much more comfortable just hitting Wiki for a bit and producing the research behind Starfall while I'd probably have to spend hours in the library before I'd feel comfortable presenting that kind of a mythical/real world story for original fiction. Even if the end result would be much the same. Fanfiction has lower expectations (though I like to exceed them), less pressure, and I continuously get feedback and support by posting in a serialised form. When I'm up to my elbows in editing prose where I have to scourge all adverbs off the face of the world, and despising every word I'm penning, this is a serious boost to my motivation. "Of course I'm good, and good enough to make it," I tell myself. "People are enjoying Starfall, see?"


But no, I don't intend to stay in fandom when the Stygian Trilogy ends. Considering I'll be happy if Starfall is done by the end of the year and it'd probably be another year after that for the third, this is a pretty loose deadline.



3) I write, above all, for my own enjoyment. I love, of course, when other people enjoy what I'm writing, but it's rare for me to sit down and go, "I'm going to write a crowd-pleaser." Renaissance I actually did write to try to lure in some readers who might go on to read the Anguisverse. But I'm a character writer first and foremost; the concepts which spring into my brain, the plot bunnies, are rarely, "This happens here! Hilarity ensues!" It's usually a, "This sort of person is faced with this sort of challenge. How do they handle it?" And often that lends itself better to OCs than it does to canon characters. The biggest challenge is people not reading what I write. It can be very disheartening, and the Anguisverse only really took off because I was so invested in these guys I wanted to write it for me.


Otherwise the 'challenges' are more like fun. I get to build entire social groups with friends, enemies, lovers, mentors, all within a pre-existing setting. I get to go, "I wonder what would happen if I played with this element of JK's setting and this idea" and then create a character to match it. It's harder work because I don't have my relationship dynamics out-of-the-box like with fanfic of canon characters, but I find this entertaining, not an obstacle.


I suppose the big 'trick', or advice I'd give, would be to make the OCs relevant. Make them fill a niche which needs exploring, which people want to learn about, without them overshadowing any canon characters or their achievements. Next Gen really are the best of both worlds, though, which is why I was lured into it - they're OCs. At best we have guesses and fanon conventions of what they're like, but we don't know, at all. And yet people lap up Next Gen like nobody's business. So people are, actually, willing to read Original Characters. You just have to present it in the right way.



4) Matt takes more after Jen when it comes to being studious. However Jen Riley is patient and empathetic, and Matt's not hugely good on either. When Matt knows how to say just the right thing to upset someone, that's his father coming through. When he broods through a problem instead of tackling it, that's his father coming through. Gabriel wasn't really more grown-up, he was just more isolated. He was lacking some basic fundamental issues of how to relate to people and cope socially, and just hid it all through a veneer of smug superiority.


He will get over Rose. I have plans for the boy. Then again, I wanted to write a Triangle which wasn't sorted out by Murdering the Hypotenuse (Tanith-Tobias-Annie, Gabriel-Jen-Nick). It'll be a long and awkward road and that's what I want to explore.


But I'm glad you love him, because he's my not-so-secret favourite of Starfall.



5) I considered not answering this for Reasons. But I won't be so cruel. Tobias and Tanith are married and still together. They had kids a bit later than Gabe and Jen, I think they'd hit at least 30 before they started to. Tobias had left politics to return to journalism and so had the opportunity to take care of the kids and work, which was the problem beforehand - neither of them wanted to compromise their work for the children. Jen and Gabe's youngest daughter is in the same year as Tobias and Tanith's son, their eldest. I believe both Robert Grey (middle name Altair) and Sophie Doyle are Slytherins.


But the Anguisverse will ride again. I have all sorts of half-finished scribbles which I need to turn into finished scribbles, and seeing as my plans are nothing more involved than something in the Latet vein, an anthology of non-linear stories of The Rest of Their Lives written as I please, it's not an enormous commitment. But there are scenes I want to cover, incidents of their lives, including perhaps some insight into what they got up to during the Phlegethon Crisis. I also really want to write some stuff about Jen and the Lions and Gabe I skipped during Shadow, which is silly - but they're the most under-developed relationship and characters of the lot, so I wouldn't be surprised if the lion's share of focus went on them. Hopefully I'll have something Soon.


Though I really don't know how to write stories of That Funny Thing That Happened When Their Kid Was Five Years Old On a Summer's Day, so people are just going to have to assume that kind of Happily Ever After stuff happened.




Thanks for the questions and the interest!

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#6 nott theodore

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 08:23 PM

Hi Cathy!  I've just got a few questions for you :D


1. In Avalanche, how on earth did you manage to capture Peter's character so brilliantly?

2. What's your opinion on Peter Pettigrew?

3. How do you tend to approach characterisation in your stories?  Are you affected by other things that you read?

4. Do you always write your head canon?

5. How do you find the motivation to continue with your novels?

6. Which of your stories are you proudest of?

7. Do you have any routines for writing?  How often do you write?

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#7 Slide


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Posted 11 September 2014 - 09:50 PM

Yaaay, attention!



1) In Avalanche, how on earth did you manage to capture Peter's character so brilliantly?

Well, it's difficult to account for my brilliance; it just happens... but seriously. First, thank you. Peter isn't a character I give a lot of thought, and I wouldn't have sat down and written a story from his POV without the explicit inspiration. It all started with that over-empathising with the enemy, with the understanding that, in a civil war (which the wizarding wars basically are), one is fighting people not all-that different from one's self. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the idea of minimising death, minimising suffering, as a starting point on the path to evil, tickled me. From there, a lot of it wrote itself... and I shall get to the hows and the whys with future questions.



2) What's your opinion on Peter Pettigrew?

He's not a character I normally give a lot of thought. In canon he isn't presented in a very sympathetic or nuanced light and I honestly thought his ending, while thematically interesting - it's his mercy which kills him - was a bit flat in Deathly Hallows. I thought more would be made of his many years with the Weasleys, I thought more would be made of how and why he fell in with the Death Eaters. There were gaps in his character, I felt, and I wasn't especially compelled to want to fill them. 


But I have always been adamant that he was a Marauder as valued as any of the four, that he was a good friend, that he had the capacity to be a kind and compelling person. It cheapened the story otherwise, and I'm always going to be more interested in a nuanced tale of a true friend's betrayal than simply 'he was bad all along'. I feel canon told us it was more complicated, and didn't show it. Perhaps it is possible that Peter, in canon, was simply weak and scared and ran to Voldemort because of his fear. It wouldn't hugely surprise me if JK revealed it to be as simple as that, and I wouldn't weep too many tears because he's not high on my favourites list (despite being one of the few canon characters I've bothered writing fic about). But I always liked to believe he was originally a good friend of the Marauders, and his reasons for betraying them were complicated.



3) How do you tend to approach characterisation in your stories?  Are you affected by other things that you read?

Characters usually present themselves to me first of all in any story. I tend to write for the characters, the plot being merely the vehicle through which they are explored, tested. So there's usually one who springs to mind early in the planning process, well-formed if not already fully-formed. Then I tend to build the rest of the cast around what that story needs for a good, interesting dynamic. I keep two things in mind: first, that every character is the protagonist in their own story. Whatever's going on, they think of themselves in the same way the novel's protagonist does. They have reasons for what they do and they probably think of themselves as a good person. The second is that the characters carrying a story must have a central conflict. Will they overcome their weakness, who will they choose to be, will they succumb to a temptation - that sort of thing


I'm always influenced by what I read. Since starting writing in earnest, I find it hard to switch off my writer's brain when reading anything. It can make reading a very analytical, tiring process. It made going back and reading books I read as a teenager quite telling - I pick up a Nicholas Evans book, especially The Loop or The Horse Whisperer and I can see the lessons in character building that I took from those books, even subconsciously. Nowadays I tend to look out for more technical tricks, like how a character is presented to cause a certain emotional reaction in the reader.


But I'm always here for the characters.



4) Do you always write your head canon?

Not always. Avalanche I would say is my head canon. The Anguis series is comfortably head canon for me. But I would say the Stygian Trilogy is not head-canon. I would like to think that the Trio lived happily ever after following DH, rather than were confronted with another global war 25 years later. I'm not sure that Albus Potter would be a Slytherin, and I'm not sure that he's a huge, athletic, charismatic nice guy. And while I am very fond of my Scorpius Malfoy, and while I am not a Draco fan at all, I think he would probably work out as a much nicer person after DH than I portray him to be in the Stygian Trilogy.



5) How do you find the motivation to continue with your novels?

Careful selection of which ideas I go ahead with, and which I don't bother starting. I have all sorts of unwritten tales in my head. There's usually a gestation period before I write; some don't survive that process. Sometimes it's a question of which story I'm interested in when I have the time to write it; I certainly won't start another novel-length fanfic at least until the Stygian Trilogy is finished.


Once I'm into it, it's a matter of discipline. I try to ride the wave of initial enthusiasm to scribble like a mad thing so that I pass the point of no return. Then it's basically shaming myself into refusing to give up! Renaissance was left fallow for about two years, untouched, and I suddenly decided, 'No, this will not do, I will not have an unfinished story on my page!' and somehow I managed to churn out another half-dozen chapters to wrap it up. But it's also why I don't have a lot of one-shots. I don't tend to think in isolated snippets, I think in character arcs, and arcs tend to need novels (for me, anyway). But also they are a distraction from getting that next chapter of the novel out. Finally, careful planning helps. Making sure I know what's coming next, and making sure I'm excited to write it, tends to help me keep up steam.



6) Which of your stories are you proudest of?

Ack, tough one. It'll be something from the Anguis series, probably Falls the Shadow. The Stygian Trilogy is intended as slightly trashy, cinematic fun. There's a wand-fight on the back of a flying stone dragon over Portugal, for example. But Falls the Shadow is my OC series at its darkest, the events concurrent with DH and depicting life in the occupation of Thicknesse's regime. It's the one I'm happiest with in terms of character arc,s in terms of how it explores and depicts established canon, and because it was written in the last few years, my prose doesn't make me cringe like the early Anguis stories sometimes do. It's not perfect and its sequel, Beyond This Place is certainly a more polished piece of work, but Beyond's value is mostly as an ending to my own little corner of canon. Shadow goes into main canon and explores it beyond what we see in the book, so I think it has more 'value'.



7) Do you have any routines for writing?  How often do you write?

To put it lightly, I don't work full time and I work from home. Or, well, from coffee house. Even if I don't have work to do, I go into town every day, I sit in my local Starbucks, I bring my laptop, and I write. Sometimes it's fanfic, currently I'm trying to edit one of my original fiction novels... sometimes I just get massively distracted by the internet. But I try to write every day for at least an hour, and if I have nothing better to do (I often have nothing better to do) I usually write for longer.


But I can't write at home. I don't know what it is. I need to be away from distractions of TV, computer games; tumblr and Facebook and all that are diabolical enough. But if I sit down in a bustling coffee shop with a nice, steaming mug, and get my brain in order, then I can write. I need to people watch, to have a world going by when I'm not staring at the monitor. When I did my knee in, I was horrendously unproductive for long, long weeks even when I was feeling okay, because I was housebound. Some people have writing playlists; I apparently need a black filter coffee and an unhelpfully small, circular table with lots of people bustling by me. 




Thank you for the questions! And, no, I can't give concise answers. :D

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#8 Lost Muse

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Posted 12 November 2015 - 10:45 AM

Hello there! Just stopping by for some random questions :)


1. How do you combat writer's block? 

2. If there's one dead HP character you could bring back to life, who would it be and why? 

3. You show an interesting insight into the lives of Slytherins in Latet Anguis in Herba. What inspired you to write it? 

4. Out of all the stories you've written, which one do you think was the hardest to write and why? 

5. What advice would you give to a writer aspiring to publish OF? 

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#9 Slide


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Posted 24 November 2015 - 10:33 PM

Ooh, thanks for the questions! It works better if I notice they're there. *coughs*
1. How do you combat writer's block?
Two ways: Fight it, or don't fight it. Fighting it is obvious; I sit down and do more planning, in case I'm struggling because I'm not sure what happens next. Or I free some time, get some coffee, and just make myself write. Write ANYTHING. Sometimes that gets thegears moving.
Not fighting it takes its own techniques. I don't stop writing and let myself fall into TV show and video games or I'll never start again. I load up playlists full of the right music and go for walks, or long drives. I figured out the mechanics of the current climax of Oblivion stuck in a traffic jam on the M6.
Of course, sometimes you just need to give yourself time off, but it's too easy to turn that into more procrastination.
2. If there's one dead HP character you could bring back to life, who would it be and why?
That's really tough, for one specific reason: I want to bring back Lupin AND Tonks. I understand why JK killed Tonks when she killed Lupin (though disagree with her reason for killing him at all), so perhaps I could get Tonks back in as a loophole if I saved Remus.
But if I can't get them both, I'll bring some kindness to the family and bring back Ted Tonks. Let Andromeda have her husband while she raises her dead daughter's son.
3. You show an interesting insight into the lives of Slytherins in Latet Anguis in Herba. What inspired you to write it?
Hard to say; I started it over ten years ago! But I'm always drawn to underdogs in stories, and Slytherins are the dramatic underdog in that they have no reason to always be seen as villainous as they're presented; even the more ambiguous figures are just that, ambiguous. Nothing specifically inspired me, but I wanted to write truly good Slytherins, heroic Slytherins, without sacrificing the shades of grey which would be intrinsic to their environment in canon.
4. Out of all the stories you've written, which one do you think was hardest to write and why?
Probably Oblivion. No story has given me more difficulty in the plotting, which I could have perhaps fought better if I'd done a smidge more dedicated planning. So I did spend a bit of time flailing in the dark, wondering where the middle of my story was going. But aside from poor organisation, it's the end of a series I didn't expect to be half as popular as it is. I have to tie up all the themes, all the plot-threads, all the characters. Even unresolved elements have to be satisfyingly unresolved. After three years of work, that's a tremendous amount of effort. Not to mention pressure to not let my readers down.
I'll tell you in a few weeks if I pulled it off. ;)
5. What advice wuld you give to a writer aspiring to publish OF?
In a nutshell: relax. I learnt a hell of a lot about planning and editing and holding myself to a higher standard as a writer from my OF. But I also spent time going, 'This is PROPER writing, it must be BETTER.' And the time fussing over being Better is usually time working yourself into a tizzy, agonising over every word, failing to get things written. While I did a lot of world planning and plot planning (especially necessary for a science fiction thriller), I got the most done when I remembered I had to ultimately treat it like fanfic, and kick back and have FUN.
The rest will come.
Thanks a bunch for the questions!

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#10 BellaLestrange87


    Keep Calm and Huck It

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 03:52 AM

Hi there!   :110:


1. Your stories are incredibly well planned out. What does your planning process look like? so I can use it myself :jazzy:

2. You manage to write really quickly (300,000+ words for Starfall in a year) Do you have any tips and suggestions as to how you stay on track without getting distracted? :xthumbup:  

3. Of everyone you've written, which character is your favourite (OC or not)?  Why do you like them?  

4. What would your dream job in the HP world be?  

5. What would your ideal Christmas gift be? :stock:

6. Once you finish posting Oblivion and writing the Marauders novel you're working on, what do you plan to write after that?


  :xlaugh:  :xsmile:  :xcool:  :xsantajump: :xpres:  :xsleigh:  


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Currently Writing: Chapter 25 of Seek and Chase

#11 Slide


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Posted 13 December 2015 - 06:14 PM

1. Your stories are incredibly well planned out. What does your planning process look like?
I wish I had one cast-iron method! A lot of the time it's just writing down ideas as they come to me, and fleshing out the detail. Sometimes I do have to sit down and really punch a concept before it becomes something more cemented. I usually won't start a story until I know at least the first two steps, and the last. The middle often comes to me in the course of the writing, but it's good to have AN idea.
If planning's going easy, it's entirely digital. Not Fade Away has planning folders; documents for characters, huge class lists - I know the name of every member of Lily and the Marauders' year. When planning's tough, I find it easier to get my ideas down on paper, so I can scribble in a non-linear fashion, arrows pointing to little things, snippets of concepts scribbled in a corner. If I'm REALLY struggling, I write on cue cards. Ideas go on separate cards, and then I sit down with a stack of them and play with the order of events. Usually used in action scenes; I did it for Starfall's fight in Tomar.
2. You manage to write really quickly (300,000+ words for Starfall in a year) Do you have any tips and suggestions as to how you stay on track without getting distracted?
Be self-employed? Ha, no, seriously, having the free time was a major contributor. The other was that I set myself 'office hours.' Whether I had a professional project or not, I left the house almost every day to go to a coffee shop and write. Occasionally the internet would distract me, but it meant no games, no TV. So I'd write for two or three hours most days.
It's harder now, being a student, not having as much free time. The key is to keep planning, I think, and I find my music playlist for Not Fade Away tremendously helpful - I don't listen to it when writing, because I find songs with words distracting, but I listen to it while walking, in the shower, while driving. It means I spend a lot of 'downtime' just thinking and storming on the project.
3. Of everyone you've written, which character is your favourite (OC or not)?  Why do you like them? 
Just one favourite? Boy. Ron's my favourite canon character, I think because I find him so often maligned by writers and I rather desperately want to give him a break. I also think he still had the furthest to go as a character by the end of DH, so I really enjoy being able to continue to develop him while still feeling true (as much as I can be!) to canon.
Of my OC/might as well be OCs... um, favourites in no particular order are Tobias and Scorpius, as the two Protagonists, mostly because they're the guys who wrote themselves most, came to life the most in my head. I could write anything about them and they'd make it a pleasure.
Otherwise, it's down to Selena Rourke (a total show-stealer), Jen Riley (the only minor character to DEMAND a promotion to primary cast, and earn it), and Eva Saida. I think, in a kind of snooty, academic way, Eva is the best character I've ever written. She is the most complex and the most morally nuanced, and she is the only character I'm really SAD to step away from with the end of the Stygian Trilogy - I know the others are okay, but really, I could keep writing her story.
4. What would your dream job in the HP world be?  
Magical historian. HANDS DOWN. Let's Indiana Jones this world. This answer probably surprises exactly 0 of my Starfall readers.
5. What would your ideal Christmas gift be?
An all-expenses paid trip across the world. I've been groundbound for too long; I want, Desperately Want, to travel again and see more of the globe than I have.
Otherwise, I'd really like a good hot water bottle.
6. Once you finish posting Oblivion and writing the Marauders novel you're working on, what do you plan to write after that?
Oh, wow, I have NOT thought that far ahead. I only started thinking about Not Fade Away when I was about halfway through Oblivion; I remember writing notes on it while travelling for my brother's wedding in late June, so the Stygian Trilogy was almost finished before I seriously began to contemplate what was next.
So I know I'll change my mind. The only long-term idea I have left which has much merit - or hasn't been scavenged for parts - is a story set after DH in some fashion to really get into how much the magical world changes with regards to barriers with the Muggle world getting weaker with more Muggle-born acceptance, and the rise of technology of the late 90s onwards making the Statute hell to keep and in many ways giving Muggles a superior quality of life to wizards.
Unless Fantastic Beasts inspires me, otherwise it's leaving fanfic for original fiction. I do have a third scifi thriller to get on with, after all.
Thank you so much for the questions! Especially the festive touch! :D

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