I have been interviewed, which is one step to being famous...hehe. Well, it's only for an interview for an online writing circle. Critique Circle. Their annual(?) newsletter. But it's still quite an honour to be featured. Enjoy:
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: The Fantabulous Lizzie!We love you guys, honestly. Without our members CC would be nothing, and we have some of the best people in the world here. From time to time we like to highlight one of our members. Momzilla sat down with Lizzie, a long time member and asked her some questions.
Lizzie is a familiar username here at CC, both in the Children's/YA Queue, and in the Forums. She's always willing to lend a hand, is passionate about learning and in turn, always share what she knows. Liz has written well over 1000 critiques in her time here, no surprise as she's is one of our 'oldest' members, joining CC as a teen in August 2004.
What more can I say about Lizzie? I think she's a living, breathing example of the perseverance and strength it takes to be a writer! So, sit back and read on to learn more about who she is and how she does it!
1) Since joining CC, how many novels/stories have you written? Are any of them on the query road with agents or publishers, or been published?
I've written another three completed novels, and rewritten one of my old novels from scratch using all the valuable feedback I'd received from fellow critters. The first novel I wrote after joining CC was written using CC's Paragraph-A-Day tool, which I found worked quite well. I've queried a couple of my novels, although I haven't so far grabbed an elusive agent. Over the last couple of years, I've been less active because of time constraints with uni, but this summer I graduate and I hope to send out a bunch of new queries for two of my novels.
2) What genre do you tend to write and what types of characters do you like to write about? Do you find common themes reoccurring in your books?
Tricky question! I've experimented in quite a few different genres, though most of my completed novels are some form of fantasy. I have a YA and MG fantasy, and I'm currently calling my latest dark conception upper YA 'dark fantasy' because I really don't know what else it could be: possibly speculative, perhaps even literary. I've tried out adult fiction, and I have completed one adult crime novel, though I think I feel more comfortable in the children's market, in general. Whether that'll change as I grow older, though, remains to be seen.
3) What are your writing strengths, and how do you apply them to your critiquing style?
I've always been excellent on the grammar front, and I tend to be a rather nitty critter. I'm also quite logical so I'm good at noticing plot holes and logic flaws in other critters' stories.
4) You've been a member since 2004, close to when CC opened! What has kept you here all these years? How has CC helped you develop as a writer?
CC has helped me on so many ways. When I look back over my early works (even the novel I wrote as a Paragraph-A-Day), I can see such a difference in my writing style. It feels so much sharper and more concise, even in the first draft. Thanks to all my critters' help, I've been able to develop a style that really suits me, and because I'm still learning new things and still receiving so much useful advice, I'm still here. I would never sub a novel to an agent without running it past my critters first! As well, I always enjoy critiquing other peoples' stories, and I've made some really good friends here on the site. I can't imagine life without CC now.
5) Give us a blurb of your latest WIP! Is it in the queues now or will it be soon?
Haha, are you sure you want to know? It's a very dark and twisted novel... I blame my uni course feeding me far too much Greek and Shakespearean tragedy! It's currently in the queues, about halfway through, though I'm always happy for people to jump in. A blurb in a sentence or two: Zack (MC) thinks he is has an extreme case of something called photophobia, which would result in his death if his eyes were exposed to smallest ray of light. But when a bully grows suspicious about the condition and pulls off Zack's goggles to torment him, the truth is far worse than either of them could ever imagine...
6) You live in the UK but have traveled quite a bit. What was your favorite place to visit? How many CCers have you met in person?
I travelled to Vancouver last summer, which was an absolutely fantastic experience. I stayed with my closest buddy on CC for two weeks - Helen (Bookish). We had an amazing time and met up with Loralee and Roy (Grampy), two other Canada-based CCers. Loralee now has an agent and it was so fab to hear all her stories and soak in knowledge about life with an agent. I've met a few other CCers over the years, including Emina when I visited family in Chicago, and an old CCer Fiona (350spider) when she was in the UK. I've also introduced a couple of writers to CC including Kirsty, a good friend of mine from uni.
7 ) You juggle so many things-university, a job, family, friends, a social life, travel.and yet you still find room for writing. Give us an idea of how you manage it-walk us through a day in LizzieWorld.
Well, don't blame me if it's quite mundane. At the moment, I'm not really doing much writing, but I'm hoping to get a bit more done in the Easter hols. It's all work work work at uni. However, this term I've made a real commitment to CC, because I want to get my latest novel edited this summer. After a hard day's work of reading and writing essays, I'll spend an hour or so on CC, critiquing. It's a much more productive usage of time than watching online TV!
8) How long have you been writing, and when did you get serious about it? What advice would you give other teens looking to focus on becoming a writer?
I think all writers have stories of the little books they produced as small children, and I'm no exception: I think the earliest stories I ever wrote were about dinosaurs, which I co-wrote with my younger brother. I started on my first novel when I was ten, and I really don't know what possessed me to do that! But I kept at it and eventually finished it around three years later, got a couple of lovely rejection letters to deflate my dreams and then discovered CC. I've been here ever since, and it was at that point when I started to take writing seriously and to consider myself a writer.
What advice would I give to teens? Just to keep at it, I guess. It's a long slog unless you're really lucky, but don't be disheartened. You'll get there eventually. We all get piles of rejection letters, but don't let that stop you! I may not have an agent yet, but I know I'm a much stronger writer now.
9) Do you have a web site or blog where people can find you? Do you tweet?
I have a blog and I'm always very happy when people take a look in and leave a comment! Unfortunately, I don't blog enough to get much of a following, but I'm trying harder to do it a bit more frequently! I've yet to understand the Twitter thing: it just seems like Facebook but with fewer options...
10) Share a window into your soul.tell us something that most people don't know about you-maybe a special talent, a hidden superpower, something you fangirl over?
Hmm, I spent a few years as a vampire in my early teens...and I still have an aversion to sunlight. That was long before the current vampire craze swept the imaginations of YA readers. I was a PROPER vampire--I didn't glitter.:)
Thanks for the awesome interview, Lizzie, and for sharing a bit about who you are! I hope folks will keep an eye out for your work and check out your blog, as you have a lot to offer other writers. Good luck in all that you do!