To the Story of the Writer
History has reaped the countless benefits of those who tell stories. Of those who wield the untold power of the written word embedded in print, as well as the heart. Their word transcends even the ultimate barrier of time, as if their prose seeks out a soul for a tear, dollop of joy, a praise or a cheer.
What is the path one takes to become writer? Everyone has a different story. What laid the tracks before them? No two paths are the same. What inspires this particular breed of humanity? Come let us see–The story of the writer.
EVERYONE PLEASE WELCOME
Rochelle is a freelance editor, author, lover of quotes and the smell of real books. She has written Harry Potter fanfiction, three novellas, a short novel and currently working on her third manuscript. I personally know Rochelle as a fellow writer through our AWESOME Facebook group, Wordplayers. Which was created and supported by none other than the international bestselling Jedi Master K.M. Weiland.
You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or
what inspired you?
I’ve been a writer for pretty much my whole life. But I was exclusively a songwriter and poet in middle school and high school. I actually had a friend who signed my senior yearbook with something about how she knew I’d publish a novel someday and I laughed and told her I didn’t have the patience to write something that long. I graduated college with a degree in writing and literature and some AWFUL short stories to my name. It took me a few years to recover from the pressure of school (and realizing that I wasn’t a natural-born genius storyteller), but I decided I wanted to give novel-writing a try. So I did what any (in)sane person would do, and I turned to fandom. I knew from the aforementioned short stories that I wasn’t good at coming up with dynamic, believable characters or putting them into dire situations. So I thought maybe if I used some characters I already knew were dynamic and believable, they would remain dynamic and believable, and I wouldn’t be so scared to hurt them, since they weren’t mine. I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction for two years, graduating from 1,000-word stories about the main characters to, eventually, a 50,000-word story that took place 1,000 years in the future and involved entirely original characters. Then, finally, I felt ready to write the book I wanted to, which was a YA dystopian novel. That was two books ago. I’m currently working on a YA contemporary.
Wow that’s quite a wealth of experience there. I’d love to see your songs, poems and YA writings!
What’s your GOAL in becoming a writer?
To write sentences as beautiful as John Green’s are in a plot that keeps readers turning pages. On the level of “what do I want to accomplish for myself in this career?” I would love to be able to do even a small book tour to schools and book stores and maybe even get shortlisted for some award. That would be awesome. But obviously, those aren’t reasons why I write. Mainly, I feel convicted to write stories about people struggling with their faith. Young adulthood is a time when so many kids begin to question the faith of their parents and the way they’ve grown up, needing to move into a faith of their own. Usually, this time also involves things that contradict the Sunday School answers we grow up with. So my goal in writing is to ask the hard questions and try to provide answers. Usually those answers are bittersweet.
That’s great you know what you want to write and who your target audience is. Not everyone has that you know. Young adulthood is definitely a time of trial for a lot of young people struggling with their faith amongst other things.
“The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.” -David Schlosser
What 3 things have hindered you from completing your projects? (CONFLICT)
Pregnancy, young babies, and a day job. Most notably, I had the idea for my most recently completed MS in the summer of 2013. I started collecting ideas for a story in which everyone knows the day they’re going to die and got ready to write it for NaNoWriMo that November. Unfortunately for the book but fortunately for my life as a whole, in October I found out I was pregnant with my oldest child, and it turns out that morning sickness and trying to write 50,000 words in a month while working a full-time job aren’t really compatible. Surprisingly, I did manage to write 42,000 words for that book in 2014, when my daughter was between 4.5 and 5.5 months old, and finished it in the summer of 2015.
Rochelle that’s AMAZING. Keep writing! I really like the idea that you mentioned.
You fail only if you stop writing – Ray Bradbury
What keeps you motivated in achieving your dream? (DESIRE).
One of the main things that keeps me motivated is my writer friends. Two of my critique partners are 2016 debuts, and seeing their success spurs me on. They are awesome cheerleaders, keeping me on track and promising me that my stories have potential.
We have the same motivations! Having great writer friends and being fueled by their successes is quite invigorating. Birds of the same feather tend to stick together. We’re not alone!
What’s your ANTAGONIST? What’s in the way?
My biggest antagonist is honestly laziness. Writing books is a lot of work. Some days (*cough* like today *cough*) it’s easier to stay in my pajamas and watch my kids play instead of doing the hard work of writing, revising, and rewriting a story worth telling. Now that I work from home, it should be much more doable to get things done. But I’m not the kind of person that can be trusted with a lot of free time.
I can completely relate to this struggle. It definitely requires discipline and character to whip out a complete manuscript. Sometimes its hard being your own drill sergeant.
Why do writers give up, quit or never complete their projects, and what would you say to inspire them?
Honestly, if someone would have told me in 2012 when I started writing my dystopian novel that I’d be sitting in 2016 working on my third book and yet I was still agentless and book-deal-less, I probably would have given up. I was so sure my first novel would sell and do well that I actually made plans for when I’d quit my day job based on when I was going to query it. (This is me laughing at my past self.) Still, there isn’t much I’d change about the past four years. Yeah, I’m working on my third manuscript, but in the meantime I’ve had two beautiful children, made some awesome writing friends, learned a lot, and, to my biggest surprise, kept getting ideas for stories. Writing is HARD, and it’s a long game. To anyone who wants to quit, I would just say, “If you want to keep writing, even just a little bit, keep at it. Keep practicing, even if the writing is only for you. You never know what could happen one day. From what I’ve seen, the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace… until. When you hit that ‘until’ things start happening so fast you forget to breathe. So enjoy the slowness, enjoy getting to know your writing style, and especially enjoy learning, because if you don’t enjoy learning, there is no way to enjoy writing as a career.”
YES. This is great info. Totally soaking in this statement. I agree, writing is more like a marathon than an all out sprint. Thanks so much for sharing!
You can connect with Rochelle on twitter at @RochelleDeans, or on her website at Rochelledeans.com.
“…enjoy the slowness, enjoy getting to know your writing style, and especially enjoy learning, because if you don’t enjoy learning, there is no way to enjoy writing as a career.” ~Rochelle Deans
The six golden rules of writing:
READ, READ, READ, AND WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.
~I will write my way into another life. – Ann Patchett
Writing is such communicable beauty; a mutual flight of feeling between author and reader. -Benjamin Thomas
“Writers aren’t exactly people….They’re a whole bunch of people trying to be one person.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Whatever you do….keep writing.
7 thoughts on “Contemplating the Writing Life with Writer Rochelle Deans”
My songs actually play a huge role in the YA contemporary I’m writing now, so, God willing, one day you WILL get to see my songs! Thanks for the interview! I enjoyed it. 🙂
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Awesome, thanks Rochelle!
Great interview, I’ll pop over to Rochelles site.
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Hi Lorraine! 👍
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Excellent interview, Benjamin and Rochelle!
With two little ones, I don’t know how you have time for much else, not to mention writing books, songs or otherwise, Rochelle…you’re a multi-talented young lady!
Don’t be too hard on yourself for “laziness”, there’s a pretty good chance it’s actually “being a tired mom”. Hang in there, you’re light years farther than I would’ve gotten when my bunch were littles.
P.S. – you have a gorgeous smile there!
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I know that photo is so mesmerizing. Rochelle, Ingrid is correct, you’re awesome. Having children, working AND completing 3 books is completely mind boggling. Give yourself a high five, your kids too.
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Thanks Rochelle for sharing your insight with us. I’m so intrigued by fan fiction. I love that you used it as a confidence stepping stone until you realized that your writing is worthy enough to stand on its own. I’m certainly in my own version of “Fake it til you make it” right now. Hats off my dear. We will all be watching for great things coming from your corner!
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