Writer Q&A 2020 No. 8: WhiteSheWolf

@WhiteSheWolf, as she’s known on Twitter, is a blogger and member of the #writingcommunity. Her Inciting Event blog can be found here. Many thanks to her for taking the time to answer these questions!

How long have you been a writer?

WhiteSheWolf: Jeez, forever. Honestly, as long as I can remember. I have undated journals with terrible child handwriting that I think are from the early 2000s (I’m a 90s kid).  

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

WhiteSheWolf: The written word has always been my security blanket. I read voraciously as a young kid too but I don’t know when I put two-and-two together to realize I could be writing the stories I read. My elementary school regularly had authors visit the school library, I have to think those talks early on opened the door of possibility. 

Are you a full-time writer? If not, what’s your day job that helps pay the bills? If yes, how do you keep the process fun instead of feeling like it’s…ugh…work?

WhiteSheWolf: I’m not a full-time writer. I have a 9-5 office job in the information technology field that keeps a roof over my head. The balance is hard. Some weeks, when deadlines at work are approaching, I get home and my brain just melts out my ears: I can’t think creatively to save my life. The best tactic that I’m terrible at keeping to, is waking up early to carve out 30-45 minutes in the morning to pour words into a blank page as I sip my coffee. I am NOT a morning person, but thinking creatively first thing does help me return to whatever ideas have been simmering all day when I get home.  

Do you have a family? How do you balance quality time with them and with your creative process?

WhiteSheWolf: I do not have a family in my household. My parents live close by and I help them out regularly; but I don’t have to balance a significant other or children. My hat is off to the (majority?) of writers who balance family and writing. If you have notes for me for the future, accepting advice now!

What’s your favorite genre to read – and why?

WhiteSheWolf: Fantasy. Secondary-world setting fantasy, to get specific. I didn’t say “Epic” because it’s not the grand story of world-changing decisions that draws me in. It’s being transported to a place I could never experience except through the page. I feel like fantasy, because it is removed from the traps of reality, has the ability to speak about truth of the human experience other genres can’t touch. Also…I love dragons. 

Share some works that were influential for you – and why?

WhiteSheWolf: Tamora Pierce, specifically the Protector of the Small quartet, because it taught me that you don’t need to be gifted with special abilities to make a difference. Tamora Pierce in general was my entry into fantasy as a child, so her work holds a special place for me. 

Shoutout to the Dragonlance novels, specifically Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman for being my door into adult fantasy. Getting into these books gave me the courage to roam the fantasy section in bookstores, where I didn’t always feel welcome, especially at first. 

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks — I was in an adult fantasy slump; one of my worst reading slumps ever. I didn’t want to read. Nothing in adult fantasy was speaking to me or capturing me. And then I picked up The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks. This was my entry into grittier, darker fantasy, and also reignited my love of the genre. Weeks continues to hold the coveted position of favorite author for me. 

What drives you to write? What do you get out of it?

WhiteSheWolf: The story. The characters. And the necessity. As an adult I tried for the first ~5 years of my full-time work life that writing was just something I did as a kid. Creativity wasn’t for me. Looking back, I wasn’t a happy person. Writing is an outlet. It makes me appreciate the beauty around me and though sometimes (most times) it is a slog, my life is better when I write.

Are you powered more by character inspirations or plot ideas? Why is that?

WhiteSheWolf: This changes. For my current work-in-progress, which is a novel in the fantasy genre, the characters came first. I built the world around them, to bring out the nuance of their stories. For short stories, I’m almost always driven by a concept. A quote, a song lyric, an idea, an image. I have no clue why.

What do you do for fun? Interesting hobbies? 

WhiteSheWolf: Besides the typical reading of things and watching of stuff, I practice kyokushin karate, which I hold a 2nd degree black belt in. I’m also an avid consumer of video games and everything Marvel comics. 

What advice do you have for would-be writers?

WhiteSheWolf: Write. Just do it. It is hard. But whether it’s journaling, recording voice notes on your iPhone, jotting down stories on Post-It notes, get yourself to write. The more words you produce, the more you’ll start developing your voice and understanding your craft. You also have to read. It doesn’t have to be the classics. Read what you like. Write what you like. The biggest fan of your stories should be you, first and foremost.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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