Saturday, April 21, 2012

Interview: Annie from The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random

Today I have a special treat for you all. Meet Annie, a fellow blogger, avid reader, and fantastic writer. She's here (metaphorically) from her blog, The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random. Everyone give a warm welcome!


Tell me a little about yourself. What's your current project? Favorite book? The name of your blog? 

I'm Annie, a teenage girl, aspiring author, introvert, certified band geek, dreamer, and general lover of books.  I have a blog titled The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random, where I review books, give writing advice, and other assorted things.  It's so hard to name just one book as a favorite, so I'll mention several.  I've always been a huge fan of Christopher Paolini's Inheritence series, as well as D. J. MacHale's Pendragon series, Alison Goodman's Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, Markus Zusak's The Book Thief, and Patrick Carman's Thirteen Days to Midnight.  I've loved books and stories from a very young age, so I suppose that naturally led me to writing.  My current project is a young adult high fantasy novel titled Secrets of the Legend Chaser.  It's about a boy who steals dragon eggs while running from his past life, a lonely king, and an orphan whom everyone thinks is the king's missing son.  I'm currently in the revision stages, and as soon as it's polished and revised I plan to begin querying agents and pursuing publication, which has always been a dream of mine.

What was the first thing you ever wrote? If you can't remember a specific thing, what sorts of things did you start out with? (Poems, short story, start right out with a novel, etc.)

I wrote my first story when I was about five.  It was a short "book" about a dinosaur that gets captured and taken to a zoo (yeah, even my five-year-old self knew what a plot was, apparently), complete with marker illustrations and sequels.  All throughout elementary school and I wrote various short stories.  In middle school, I started writing poems (and I tried my hand at song lyrics) as well as stories.  I wrote in just about every genre--historical, fantasy, realistic, sci-fi, dystopian, paranormal, and more.  I've accumulated quite a collection of writing--I love to look back and see how much I've progressed.  During seventh and eighth grade I wrote two novellas (like novels, but not quite as long) featuring a four friends and their horses.  At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I looked at one of the short stories I'd written, titled Emerald Spark.  I realized that the main character's story went far beyond what was in those four pages.  And so Secrets of the Legend Chaser came to be.  It's my first full-length novel, and the first very large piece of writing I've had to revise.  

You're farther along than most of us in our current novels, do you have any advice for those finishing up their stories and starting to revise?

The first step is actually finishing the project.  I cannot stress enough how utterly important this is.  It may sound completely obvious, but this is a huge step that many writers can't get past.  It's so easy to not finish a project, to get distracted by a shinier idea and abandon your current work in progress.  If you ever want to be a sucessful published author, people are going to expect you to finish books.  Once a writer gets to the point where they can finish a full-length book, they have taken a very important leap.  Once they get there, though, they also need to learn to revise.  Revision is the key to producing publishable novels.  It makes the jumbled plot a smooth ride, it makes the awkward prose into a work of art, and it makes the cardboard-cutout character into a living, breathing person.  Before revising, though, you have to let the work sit for a few weeks.  It's hard to revise something that's still so fresh in your mind.  By distancing yourself from the novel, you enable yourself to look at it with fresh eyes.  And before you start revising, you need a plan.  Don't just dive in--figure out what needs to be changed, and how you'll change it.  A plan of action will go a long way towards making your revision sucessful.

What got you started on a blog? 

 I used to scan the writing help forum on Inkpop quite frequently, and I noticed that I was able to answer many of the writing-related questions that people had.  I also realized that I enjoyed this.  At that time I was getting more and more into following writing and book review blogs, so I thought I had nothing to lose by starting one myself.  And so The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random was born.  I figured that instead of just helping a few people at a time, I could type up an article on writing and let all my followers, and anyone else who stumbled across the blog, see it.  My blog also has another aspect to it--I also write book reviews.  This came about because I was already noting things I liked or disliked as I read books, and it really wasn't much more work to type these thoughts up after I finished the book.  In all honesty, the blog has been far more sucessful than I thought it would be.  It can be very rewarding at times, like when a reader leaves a comment saying how much an article of mine helped them out.  That makes me smile every time.   

Do you have any quick advice to share with the bloggers out there? 

Don't expect huge amounts of followers right away.  You don't gain followers without effort.  The way you get people to read your blog is to write posts that have content worthy of reading.  This seems obvious, but it really is the truth.  If you regularly churn out articles that are informative/entertaining/whatever the purpose of your blog is, there's a good chance you'll eventually gain a following.  Also, if you want lots of readers, get your name out there.  Guest blogging on someone else's blog, commenting on other blogs, and generally interacting with other bloggers are all ways to make people aware of your presence.  Don't worry so much about your blog's design--it doesn't have to be fancy as long as you have good content.  Also, use spellcheck, and read through your posts at least once before you hit "publish".  Please, please, please.  It doesn't take much effort, and it'll save you from embarrassing and unprofessional errors.  Write about things that have meaning for you, things you care about.  Just like with all forms of writing, if you don't care about what you're writing about, then your readers won't, either.

Why do you write? Or why do you keep writing? 

I write because that's who I am.  Writing, for me, is not a hobby, nor a pastime.  I need to put words on paper, just like a musician needs to have sound coming out of their instrument, or a painter needs to put paint on a canvas.  It's a part of who I am.  I love creating stories, and writing is the way I get them out of my head and into the world.  There are definitely things I don't like about writing, but for every aspect I don't enjoy, there are ten that I love.  I write for the exhilaration of typing those first few words, and the bittersweet satisfaction of "the end".  I write to walk that thin line between reality and imagination.  I write for the moments when my characters feel such emotion that I'm crying, too.  I write to create something out of nothing.  I write for that moment when someone reads what I wrote, looks up at me, and says "Wow."  I keep writing because of my passion for stories and imagination, and my tendency to daydream, and night-dream, and any dream in between.  I keep writing because my stories keep bouncing around in my head, and my characters keep nudging me to get their stories into the world.  Any writer can relate to the utter magic of writing, and in the end, I think we all write for the same reason--because if we didn't write, we couldn't go on. 


Thank you Annie for visiting and we wish you luck with your blog and writing! You can talk to Annie at her blog, The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random

Have a happy Friday and keep writing, because if we didn't write, we couldn't go on. I couldn't have said it better myself, Annie!


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