Welcome to another Writers on Wednesday! Today, I’m joined by Aria Glazki. Enjoy getting to know a little bit about her process!
When did you start writing?
In a sense, I began writing short stories and poems back in elementary school. I actually had quite a few creative writing assignments throughout my education, which I think was lucky. I really started studying writing, though, in high school, working with writing prompts and pushing my boundaries. The first time I started a novel was during an independent study writing course my senior year, and then Creative Writing became one of my majors in University.
Are you a pantser or a planner?
I’m a percolator! The oft-ignored third option — I develop bits and pieces of an idea, the broad strokes of my characters and general points like that, but really let the story take me away after I start writing. Quite often, any details of my plan change, and sometimes I don’t even refer to the bits I’ve written down, as the story progresses on its own. On the other hand, when I get an idea for a future scene, I make sure to jot it down so I don’t forget it by the time I get to that part of the story.
Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
Usually, I start with a character or two, and consider how they meet, what brings them together. Then I start thinking through who these characters are, what makes them so uniquely suited to each other, or what explains the hints of their personalities or flaws that I’ve seen in my mind. Then, when I know who the story is generally about, I consider the practical pieces — what literally gets these people into the same room, what interests them about the other, what keeps them coming back, or what forces them together if they aren’t interested at first, all the way through to a very general idea of what it is they would want out of a relationship, or what they actually need in a relationship. Of course, sometimes it goes backwards, and I start with one character and that character’s needs for his or her personal development.
As I mentioned, I tend to write these pieces down, but frequently when I start writing, the details of how I thought I’d show things don’t quite make sense, so I figure that out all over again, as I come to know the characters better. The broad strokes, though, of who these characters are and what they want remain the same, while the rest is fleshed out as I write.
The writing itself, I do chronologically, which helps me avoid scenes contradicting each other, or bits and pieces of character development not coalescing. In my case, that really cuts down on the editing from a first draft to a readable draft, but it does mean not being able to skip ahead to a scene even if that’s the one playing in my head. Sometimes, though, that helps me push through a tough spot until I get to the scene I really want to write.
Which authors have influenced your work?
I think to a certain extent literally everything we read influences our work — if I dislike something another author did, I won’t do it; if I love something, I try to understand why and incorporate that. Much of this happens on a subconscious level, as material from books of every genre and from many authors aggregates into an understanding of “good writing.”
When it comes to a more conscious level, I’d say Susan Elizabeth Phillips for sure, because she really focuses on her characters and their personal depth, rather than on the plot points of the romance, so the story becomes more genuine. Some other authors do the same, of course, but she’s the one who sticks out in my mind and who also writes contemporary romances.
I try to have a similar focus in my work, as to me that’s the most fascinating bit: the people, meaning their motivations, emotions, flaws, and interactions. For me, real characters are the core of any good story.
What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
My closest release is Mending Heartstrings, which is about an up-and-coming country singer and a disillusioned writer who are drawn into a remarkable romance neither really believes to be possible. It is scheduled for publication this fall from Swoon Romance.
I also have a fun story about a muse who accidentally becomes mortal, and I’m actually just about to start my next project. Plus, for those interested in some poetry, my collection, Life Under Examination, is available for purchase.
Any tips for new writers?
Take courses or workshops, and join writing groups with more experienced writers. Really pay attention to what other people are saying — but then sort through the pieces that ring true for you in your writing. After graduating with a Creative Writing degree, I was entirely demoralized with regards to writing. I sincerely thought I could never be an author, but a couple years later, a story idea wouldn’t let me go, and now that book is scheduled for publication. So don’t allow the opinions of even “experts” to discourage you from writing if that’s your goal, just ensure you’re learning everything you can from their perspective and advice.
Any tips for old writers?
Break out of your genre! (Although really, what do I know?) But it seems to me that genre writers can easily become quite formulaic, even across story lines, and while this can be quite successful commercially, it doesn’t allow for any growth as a writer. Eventually, writing essentially the same thing with different faces must get old, so try creating something that can’t possibly follow the path you’re used to and see what you can learn from the experience.
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