1. What do you eat or drink while writing?
Isis: Sweet, peach, or milk tea. I don’t really eat while writing though.
Nicole: Usually just water. If I have candy I’ll have that, but it’s rare.
2. What do you listen to while writing?
Isis: I listen to my own playlists. I have one for “Aristotle and Dante,” “Point Pleasant,” and “Summer Storms.” If I don’t listen to any one of those then I’m listening to my “Slow Songs For the Soul” playlist. It just depends on my mood which one I pick. I hardly ever base my playlists on what I’m actually writing.
Nicole: Typically I write in silence. Sometimes I do get the urge to listen to music, and then it is usually tied with what I am writing. Either the words or just the vibe relates with the tone of the scene I am on.
3. What is your biggest distraction while you’re writing?
Isis: The internet. I tend to go on Tumblr and Twitter a lot while writing and then I forget to come back. Also just my phone in general.
Nicole: Any social media. Youtube. It’s very easy to do anything other than write when I write on the computer. If I’m handwriting I focus easier, but I still rarely do that.
4. What is the worst thing that has happened to you while writing?
Isis: Umm I guess just hating what I wrote? I usually have moments where I just doubt everything about my writing so that sucks.
Nicole: At about the halfway mark in any project, I start doubting everything about it, and I usually end up moving on to something else. So I have a bunch of half-finished projects lying around.
5. What is the best thing that has ever happened to you while writing?
Isis: The moment I finish a short story or novel. And also the moment I finish and I love my story. Loving my own stories is the most important thing.
Nicole: When I figure out a plot point or a character that had been giving me trouble. I love the planning stages of a novel when everything is new and exciting.
6. Who do you communicate with while you’re writing?
Isis: Nicole. She’s the only writer friend I have. But she’s been there during all of my writing projects so she’s the best person to bounce ideas with.
Nicole: Isis.A lot of the time I don’t even listen to her ideas, but just talking something out helps.
7. What is your secret to success and your biggest writing flaw?
Isis: I think writing constantly is the best course of action for anyone serious about writing. I know life gets in the way and sometimes there’s no inspiration, but if you’re like me, and you always have ideas flowing and stories to tell, then you just can’t give up.
My biggest flaw is letting my own criticism of myself stop me from writing. Every now and then I have serious doubts about my writing skills, so I stop writing even though I shouldn’t.
Nicole: Having an outline helps me a lot. Even if it is extremely vague, knowing where I want the story to go keeps me focused.
Self doubt is probably my biggest flaw as well. I always start thinking my writing sucks and is boring, so I give up. Or if I’m having trouble figuring something out, I give up because I figure it should come easier to me. Then I don’t write till I get a new idea. Rinse and repeat. Nothing ever gets done.
8. What is your inspiration? What makes you productive?
Isis: My inspiration comes at random. Sometimes I’ll hear something or feel something and I’ll be anxious to grab my laptop and write. I rarely ever write without inspiration. The good thing is I usually can draw the inspiration when I really need it, as long as I have enough time to write.
Nicole: My inspiration can come from anywhere. Any little thing I like or that grabs my attention from meeting an interesting person to a song to a picture to a quote to a dream to a TV show. Anything can give me ideas, and that makes me really productive. When it’s new and exciting, I will work on writing all day.
9. What is one thing that you do or that other writers do that is super annoying?
Isis: I have a huge pet peeve when it comes to writers not using dialogue in the correct, or normal, way. This is an issue in my workshop class mostly. Writers don’t know how to format their dialogue or use correct punctuation. It bugs the hell out of me. I’m sure I do annoying things myself, but that just gets to me.
Nicole: This is so nitpicky, but I don’t understand writer’s obsession with eyelashes. They are always long and curly. If they are describing a guy then any girl would kill for them. It’s one of the first things a character will notice about someone else, and I don’t get it. I also don’t get when a character will look through their eyelashes at someone. No one does that.
10. Are you willing to share something you’ve written?
Isis: This is from my current unedited short story. I’m still working on it, but this is one of my favorite paragraphs:
“On the sidewalk I was greeted by a windy morning after a short rain. The wet ground smelled of my childhood, a strange blend of dirt and gravel. I could almost feel all the scratches and bruises left after my bike rides in this same sidewalk. Before I took another step forward, a large black cat ran in front of me. I recognized Bib from my last visit. My aunt’s neighbor was a nice old man who’d had the cat since she was a tiny fur ball. I tried to see where Bib ran off to, since it appeared she was chasing something, but she had disappeared behind the bushes.”
Nicole: I wrote this the other day. I’m writing out some of the stuff that happened before the start of the novel that Isis and I am working on together. Leon and Ailsa are brother and sister and I love writing them, even when they are fighting.
“Why can’t you stay here?”
Leon sighed. It had to be close to the millionth time Ailsa had asked him that since he announced that he was moving to Oklahoma City. It was frustrating. Leon was sure she knew why. She just thought if she asked enough times that he would change his mind. But she wasn’t a child anymore, and this was more than her asking for more dessert.
“You know why. Stop asking.” He kept folding his shirts, and putting them in his suitcase even as Ailsa huffed and flopped down on his bed.
“Look, I know bad stuff has been happening this past year,” Ailsa said.
Leon snorted. Bad stuff? Like she was talking about getting colds and having the car brake down instead of the chickens getting their heads cut off and the goats getting set on fire. He didn’t think he would ever get their tortured screams out of his head.
“But,” she pressed on, “why are you leaving your family here?”
“Ailsa, don’t be so dramatic. It’s not like I’m abandoning you guys. Mom and Dad decided they liked living back in the country more than the city. It reminds them of Mexico. They’ve told you this,” Leon said.
“But I don’t like living here. I like the city better. Why can’t I go with you?” she whined.
“I’m not your parent, Ailsa. I don’t have to take care of you.”
Ailsa was silent. Leon made the mistake of glancing up, and caught sight of her wounded expression.