- Friends who don’t read: I don’t understand. Why would people hate you because of your writing?
- Friends who do read: I FUCKING HATE YOU. YOU’RE A MONSTER. WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT?
- Friends who write: Recently I started getting death threats for my latest novel. I’ve reached the big time. I have become one of the top authors in the world. This is my big break.
My editor just did an interview! I love them so much and they definitely deserve all the praise they get! Thank you Mikki Noble for featuring Charlie on your blog ❤
Welcome to author interviews–the first of many, I hope. Lately, I’ve realized there are a lot of great authors out there that get buried underneath a pile of rejection letters and self-doubt. Social media is a wondrous thing, but it only gets you so far. Once a month I’d like to showcase a very special author and this week I was lucky to have my friend Charlie Knight answer some questions about herself.
She’s a sweet soul. Keep reading and you’ll find out for yourself.
MN: Charlie, why did you want to become a writer?
CK: The first thing I ever wrote was fanfiction when I was nine years old; back then, it was just a lot of fun! The creative release felt good and I really enjoyed letting the stories in my head out so that they could take on a life of their own. As I got older…
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Here’s some fanart I did for Marjorie Diaz of Cessily and Adorara. They’ve sort of become fan favorites so I figured I gotta draw my two favorite lesbians.
(My other favorite lesbian is Lucian because Adorara is bi/pansexual)
More about Marjorie Diaz
Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy hunts girl for sport.
Marjorie Diaz has no idea who Patrick Watkins is. When he saunters into her senior seminar class during her last semester of college, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with him.
She’s swept up into a whirlwind—and often times fairytale-esque—romance. That is, until his family kidnaps her and sends her to a place she never thought she would go again.
Now, with the help of her best friend Lucian Maravalle, she has to run for her life, and try not to think too hard about the fact that all of the important people in her life has been keeping a dangerous secret. A secret that could cost Marjorie her life.
Book one in the Marjorie Diaz series.
Cover art by Ariel LeAnn of Cat’s Paw Media
**THIS TITLE IS LGBT WITH A FULL LGBT AND POC CAST**
1. Real name → Desdemona
2. Nickname(s) → Des
3. Status → Online
4. Zodiac sign → Leo.
5. Male or female → Female. She/her.
6. Elementary School → Yes
7. Middle School → Yes
8. High School → Yes
10. Hair color → Red
11. Long or short → Short
12. Loud or Quiet → Loud
13. Sweats or Jeans → Yes
14. Phone or Camera → Yes
15. Health freak → No
17. Do you have a crush on someone? → Sure
18. Eat or Drink → Drink
19. Piercings → Yes
21. Water or Fire → Water
22. Love of your life or 4 Billion Dollars → Yes
23. First fear → It sure did happen
24. First best friend → Mindy
25. First award → Science
26. First crush → Scott
27. First pet → I did have one.
28. First big vacation → It happened
30. First big birthday → Fifth
49. Eating → Nothing.
50. Drinking → Water
52. I’m about to → Sleep
53. Listening to → My SO brush his teeth
54. Plans for today → Sleep
55. Waiting for → This episode of Cougar Town to end
58. Want kids?→
59. Want to get married?
60. What careers do you have in mind? Obviously writing.
WHICH IS BETTER WITH GUYS/WOMEN?
68. Lips or eyes → Sure
70. Shorter or taller? → Sure
72. Romantic or spontaneous → No thanks.
73. Nice Legs or belly?→ Not required
74. Sensitive or loud → Sure
75. Hook-up or relationship → No
77. Drama or Super Shy → No
HAVE YOU EVER:
80. Lost glasses/contacts → Yes
81. Ran away from home → Yes
82. Hold a gun/knife for self defense → Yes
83. Killed somebody → No
84. Been Heartbroken → Yes
85. Been arrested → No
87. Cried when someone died → Yes
DO YOU BELIEVE IN:
89. Yourself → Yes
90. Miracles → Yes
91. Love at first sight → No
92. Heaven–> Uh
93. Santa Claus → Eh
94. Sex on the first date → Neh
95. Kiss on the first date → Nooo
97. Is there one person you want to be with right now more than others → Yes
98. Are you seriously happy with where you are in life → Yes
99. Do you believe in God → Eh
1. Don’t Waste Your Reader’s Time
Dialogue is one of the most important elements to writing a story. Conversation between your characters can make or break a scene. Dialogue should never be to clunky or long-winded. Every line of dialogue needs to be presented with purpose. It needs to further your story or develop your characters.
Don’t write scenes that lead to nowhere. Dialogue that dead ends without supporting your character’s attitudes or your plot alienates your reader. It is perfectly acceptable to write stupid shit so long as it goes with the tone of your story, but make sure it has a purpose.
2. Keep Everyone in Character
Dialogue is often where writers tend to do most of their exposition and world explaining in order to avoid pesky info dumps in the narrative. Dialogue is there to support you and push you through to the next part of the story.
However, any world explaining and exposition you have your characters spouting needs to be relevant to their whole “deal”.
Don’t have someone randomly start talking about a part of your story you need explained if it doesn’t have something to do with the character explaining it. Keep all of your dialogue and talking points specific to your character’s personality so the lines don’t feel forced or out of place. Everything should run smoothly from one sentence to the next and it should be concise!
3. Writing Dialects
Generally, showin’ the way people talk is frowned upon, but I say do whateva you want, sugah. If your character has a unique voice that is easily shown by writing things like “’lo” or “’ello” or “showin” or “sugah” then go for it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams.
However, avoid things that would confuse your reader like m’no’gonnah or other weird apostrophe laded words that could drag them out of the story. Unless your character is Scottish or Australian. Then strange slang and apostrophes abound. Do whatever you need to do to get your dialogue on paper.
But for the love of god please don’t be racist.
4. The “Said” Conundrum
A lot of my writing friends swear up and down that you should only use “said” or “asked” while writing dialogue. And that you should avoid using “whispered” or “exclaimed” or “ejaculated” (okay this one you shouldn’t use. I’m watching you J.K Rowling), but I disagree.
Write what feels comfortable for you, but don’t be afraid to use “said” where you can, just not TOO often. I get myself in hot water with my editor over this a lot.
Using words like “whispered” or “exclaimed” or “growled” can bring more depth to a scene. Especially if you’re trying to keep it simple and avoid unnecessary description (like trying to figure out how to explain someone was talking softly by writing “she said in a whisper” or trying to explain how someone is growling or hissing by “she said with a growl” or “she said with a hiss”).
The point is, write it however you want and fix it later :).
5. Dialogue Should Tell a Story
Dialogue is an important part of your story. It should be able to move the scene on it’s own. If you take out all your words and descriptions, does your dialogue propel the scene forward? Does it tell people more about your characters or your world? Does it offer insight?
If not then you need to start over. Dialogue scenes are supposed to be dynamic, insightful, funny, maybe even flirty without making people groan or roll their eyes (unless it’s a pun).
Read your dialogue out loud, have other people read it out loud. If there are any parts you tune out or skip or think are too long, cut them shorter. It anything makes you put your head in your hands and sigh, make it better.
And as always, keep being creative every single day.
Finally drew these two looking longingly at each other like the good lord intended.
Not all writing advice is created equal! This is just what works for me.
So you think you want to write? Well, there are some things you should know prior to getting started. Writing isn’t easy. People who think it is, are the people who never finish anything. That or they publish horrible books with weak plots that either become popular or flop completely.
I once spent three days researching and practicing five ballet poses to use two of them in my writing. Writing is a lot more difficult than you think it is. So if you still want to do it despite my warning, here’s how to get started.
One Does not Simply Write a Book
Start small. I wrote short stories, flash fiction, drabbles, news stories, blogs, articles, and social media posts. Each of these things helped me understand a little bit better how to write for an audience. That and every single time you write and are peer reviewed you have the chance to get better.
Write fanfiction if you can. Fanfiction is the easiest way to get feedback outside of college and writing news stories. In fact, I got my start in fanfiction. It’s where I got my most criticism and where I learned to grow as a writer. I’m serious. Without fanfiction I wouldn’t be the writer I am today.
So before you jump in to writing your epic story, I’d suggest doing something smaller. Books are a lot of work. I’ve written three and trust me. There’s a lot of crying and frustration and dumb bullshit you can’t escape. To date I haven’t even published any of them because I feel like they’re not my best work.
Writing is a lot harder than people give it credit for.
Publish Small, If You Can
I’ve written a whole slew of blogs and news stories. I’ve been published on several different websites for poetry and editorials. You don’t have to self-publish short stories to add published work to your repertoire.
You can also send short stories into magazines or self-publish novellas. I’ve been featured in a few anthologies in the past. That’s another great way to get the word out about your work. And it’s a great way to grow as a writer. A lot of anthologies employ their own editors so you can get a taste of working with them.
Editors are merciless. I’m lucky that by the time I started writing for anthologies I had already experienced a lot of criticism online for my work. Editors will rip you to shreds and you have to accept it. Because honestly they’re trying to make you better and help shape you as a writer.
P.S. It is okay to cry.
Read. Read. Read.
You don’t have to read fiction to write fiction, but you do have to read. Writing isn’t easy and when you’re developing your voice, it’s important to understand how books and stories are written. Read books about writing, read articles, read Wikipedia, read something until you understand the basics of how to write a story.
You should also read books by other authors. Read books similar to the ones you’d want to write. It is 100% okay to base ideas on another writer’s book, but all of your stories should be your own.
You should be reading tirelessly!
Everything you write needs to be well-researched. That’s the bottom line. Just like reading, you also need to research anything and everything you want to put in your book. If you have first hand experience, great, but if you don’t? Research the shit out of it.
I’m an avid reviewer of Wattpad stories and Fanfictions and I’ve had a whole slew of writers tell me “there isn’t much information on this topic!”
Don’t play with me. I know how to use the internet and I know how this shit works. I’ve been researching stories since I was 12 and if I can find information on it, so can you.
If you’re writing something like what it’s like to die or what a specific mental illness feels like and you don’t have first hand experience go to Ask Reddit. I’ve done this hundreds of times. All you have to do is post a topic then wait for people to respond. If no one does, try to see if someone has asked the question before and read the testimonials on that.
Most of the time people are willing to share their stories and experiences. There is no excuse for you to have poorly researched stories. Not in the age of technology.
If you genuinely can’t find anything on your topic or it is extremely difficult to find what you’re looking for, I promise you that there is a book for that. In fact, I had to buy a book on poisons and poisoning to write Wixen. I needed to know what a safe dosage of Belladonna and Mandrake were and what an unsafe dosage was. I spent several days trying to find it on the internet before caving and buying this book.
I also own several books on witchcraft and runes and I’ve employed the help of several different witches to offer insight. There is literally no fucking excuse for you to not research your stories.
Not All Word Processors are Created Equal
Number one thing people ask me is what I write my stories in. Honestly? I use Google Docs. It’s easier to share and get feedback. Plus you can block people from copying and pasting your work, etc.
Some of my friends swear up and down that Microsoft Word is the only thing they’ll write in. Some people use Notepad or Wordpad or any number of things. Pick the one that feels most comfortable for you.
Though I don’t recommend using Notepad because it doesn’t have spellcheck, but that’s probably just me. Not to mention you can’t format it. Unless you’re exporting it as an HTML file, but I don’t recommend that? Just don’t use notepad, promise?
Anyways, quick helpful formatting tips: Add page numbers to the bottom of the page. Center or right. Try to avoid left because that puts it in the crease of the page. Also change the background color of your story to something you can easily look at. White is going to hurt your eyes and burn you out. I use gray, blue, green, and pastel pink.
Outline or Write a Vague Idea Down
You don’t have to outline every single chapter, but you do need to have a vague idea of where you’re going with the story. It can be as short as half a page or as long as 200 pages. Just get something down. I promise this will help you so much in the long run.
I also use journals and the notes on my phone to write down any idea I have when I’m somewhere where I can’t sit down and write. I always carry a journal and a pen on me at all times. I’ve collected over a hundred of them in my lifetime. I write a whole fucking lot.
Write Every Day*
You should be writing every single day. Whether you want this to be a hobby or if you want to make a career out of it, you need to write at least 100 words every day. This is the only way you’re going to get better.
It doesn’t even have to be anything pertaining to any ongoing story. As long as you’re writing. Don’t ever stop.
*I'm gonna be honest with y'all. I don't actually write every single day. However, I do do something creative every day. Like drawing or baking something cool or outlining a story or writing a blog. Do what works for you!