Yvonne Shisley [yshisley]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I first read a lot of different types of books, but some of my favorites were Dr. Suess's classics. I have very fond memories of learning to read from my grandmother, who would take me to the children's picture book section in the library and let me pick out what books I wanted her to read to me that week. The first book I ever read myself, I actually cheated on. My teacher read "Hop on Pop" to my kindergarten class--and I memorized the words as she read it, so I went home that day and "read" it aloud to my grandma.
I started writing as a side project in middle school, first with a goofy script for a movie and then with a lot of angsty, teenage poetry. In seventh grade, one of my teachers assigned us a short story project where we actually had to write our own short story. I loved this project, especially when she had our classes' stories bound into books!
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
I don't really have a favorite genre. I haven't settled into one quite yet. I like fantasy and literary fiction a great deal, because in both I have a lot of freedom to make things up. One of my favorite types of pieces is the circulation narrative, something I was introduced to in an English class on the history of print. You can find a circulation narrative I've written here: http://myitthings.com/prolificmuse/Post/fashion/It-Shoes/The-History-of-a-Shoe/54525200702143736.htm
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
It usually takes me a little while to unwind after resolving to write to get started. I have to do the whole, "Clear your mind routine." I generally let my mind wander for a while, think out my thoughts, then I tell myself, "This doesn't exist on this piece of paper/in this word document. This is something you are making, not something you are living or doing."
What type of reading inspires you to write?
Inspired writing. That is, something where you can feel in it something extra, in the voice or the story. There's a charm in some writing that touches the spirit inside of me as a reader. It's that invisible art of media beyond what's written, in this case.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
Humor is a big ingredient to my stories. Irony is too. Honesty is another.
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
I like to write in the first person, but I think the third person is more suited to a lot of the stories I want to tell.
What well known writers do you admire most?
Thoreau, Emerson, Nabokov, Dickinson, Stein, Plath,
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
I think the key to a believable character is dialogue. I create mine by asking myself, "Would they say this outloud? Would a person say this outloud?"
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Alas, no. I have gotten much better over the years, but I am stil better at telling stories in writing than in person.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
I write for Lilian, my future-adopted daughter, who I will need to someday provide for when she asks for a pony.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
I would say yes to the first, no to the second. I do use writing to cope with the things I feel on a daily basis, but I do it to cope with things in retrospect. When something is bothering me, writing is more difficult, but afterwards, when the moment has passed, it's easier to think about if I reason it out into writing.
Does reader feed-back help you?
It depends on when it is given. Generally, I don't ask for it until I am finished with at least a draft of something because in the middle of a project, I tend to get distracted, caught up in the feedback and opinions. Part of that is also the selfish desire I have for attention becoming fulfilled and me losing interest.
After I finish though, I appreciate feedback a lot. It motivates me to get on to the rewrite or the next piece.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I have participated in a few competitions and even won one for "The History of a Shoe."
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Yes, my best friend gets to read my rough drafts, even when I think they stink. She's always honest and doesn't sugarcoat what she thinks, and she's excellent with grammar and spelling!
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
Always searching for, because it changes with your stories.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I am very slack with myself lately, which may or may not reflect my productivity. My schedule has been all over the place personally for the last two years, and my writing has suffered. I believe getting into a disciplined routine where I force myself to write for a certain amount of time each day again or do nothing at all will help me get back on my game.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Dictionaries and Hello Kitty.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I write on the computer quite often, but I also like the feel of a clean notebook. The first page of a notebook is always my favorite. I always prefer to correct on paper with a red pen. It makes it very official.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
I am addicted to Facebook, unfortunately, but I also play World of Warcraft to talk to a lot of friends of mine about little things.
What has been your experience with publishers?
Very little. Right now, I am writing for love, because my husband pays the bills, but eventually, publishers will come, and I will be terrified but determined.
What are you working on now?
I am actually working on a comic strip right now, because I like to think I can draw too.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
Save them for a while. After a few years, go back and look them over again. Sometimes, there's this rare find in something I've kept that I will never show anyone, but can use. If it doesn't strike a cord with you the second time you look, then you can throw it away. Sometimes though, I keep it and look back a third time, but usually never again after that.