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Rivulet Interviews: Zoe

Rivulet Interviews- Zoe

Although I have never met Zoe in person, what they have chosen to share of their journey as a writer is delightful and a pleasure to explore and become immersed in! Here is a transcript of our conversation:

  • Amy: “How long have you been writing? How’d you get started?”
  • Zoe: “I have been writing for probably 15 years. Early in my life my grandfather would write stories for me, and my grandmother would read me stories. Reading and writing were a huge part of me growing up. After years of being read to and seeing stories written, I sort of decided I wanted to do the same. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but rather I wanted to share. Slowly I took over the reading time and writing stories went along with that.”

(That connection sounds incredibly sweet! I feel that we all need support from someone to begin a venture into writing at least once.)

  • Amy: “What is your preferred genre/style of writing? (ex. screenplays/historical fiction, etc). And why?”
  • Zoe: “Fantasy. I love the flexibility of fantasy. It is the genre that I am most familiar with. It is what I read, and it is the genre of game I play the most, so it is a writing that I am fully immersed in.”

(Zoe brings an interesting perspective on fantasy that I hadn’t considered before. Its flexibility is not often thought of in comparison to its established conventions. In the future, keep a lookout for an expansion on Flexible Fantasy!)

  • Amy: “How often do you find time to write in between classes and other responsibilities/hobbies?”
  • Zoe: “Currently I do not get much time to sit down and write, but I am always working on my story. Either taking small notes on ideas I have or drawing for it. I even have been knitting as my main character knits.”

(Method writing indeed can be an invaluable skill when creating believable characters!)

  • Amy: “Have you connected with other writers on and off campus? How so?”
  • Zoe: “I have talked with other writers and gone over story ideas. I think the thing I work on most with others is map design. I have talked to three other writers about maps.”
  • Amy: “What has been your experience with the Creative Writing Department on campus?”
  • Zoe: “I have had really great experience with Creative writing teachers on campus. I have received a lot of feedback and been given a lot of resources which have been invaluable.”
  • Amy: “Are there magazines, newspapers/journals, online or otherwise, that you read regularly? Which ones?”
  • Zoe: “I read a lot of reddit forums. It helps me get different ideas/ traits for characters. I usually read r/AITA. I mostly do this because a good villain thinks they are the hero, so listening and understanding how people would defend themselves and seeing how people react to that defense is incredible.”

(I really enjoy this take on villians. It’s something that I’ll have to consider in my own work!)

  • Amy: “What is writing creatively to you, and do you think UMF supports your vision?”
  • Zoe: “Writing creatively is writing without constraints or fear. It is writing the way you need to write to share your story. II think UMF does a great job supporting writing. There are a lot of opportunities on campus, the school could obviously do more but I always think that is the case.”
  • Amy: “When you begin a project, what process do you go through, if you have an established routine?”
  • Zoe: “I start with an idea sometimes it is a thirty-second clip that sparked a story. I then move to the “cobweb” stage; this is when I expand upon the idea. I write down character names and traits, I design characters and maps, I lay out big details that I want to include and organize them. I call it the “cobweb” stage because it is me cleaning up and organizing my thoughts or cleaning out the cobwebs. I then move to writing. This first stage of writing is more focused on writing the big events, so I take each of the (usually) sticky notes that have the big events I want to include and write that scene. After that I move to the second stage which is connecting all of the big events together. Once I finish that I edit and move to finalizing my draft.”
  • Amy: “Is there anything you’re working on that you’d like to preview for our readers?”

Zoe: “This is from my story A Queen of Beasts: 

“The sting went away when I noticed all of the people had two long scars that crackled like frozen lightning down their backs. So many of Davos’s people had these scars. The field was accompanied by a melancholy song, but none of the workers were uttering a word. They all were in tattered clothes but something sparkled on all of their ankles. 

“What is that around their ankles?” 

“There is no simple answer to that.” Davos practically whispered. 

“I don’t need a simple answer.” 

“This town didn’t always suffer peace, when I was a lot younger the fairies of the island were a constant threat to this town. Finally the people here had had enough. I lived with a different reputation then so they sent a message to me. I tore through all of the fairies. When they finally decided to surrender I had wiped out almost all of them. Those that surrendered had their wings torn off and were put into service to repent for their crimes against the town. Some like Sashee were allowed to have more freedom. The people working in that field wear silver bells around their ankles to remind them they can never escape. Those fairies got the worst punishment because they had taken the most lives.” The song made sense now it wasn’t from their voices but the bells that nipped at them, a constant taunt that they lost a war. The thought that Davos was so willing to tear apart people made my stomach twist into knots. Who was I working for? 

“What kind of reputation did you have back then?””

Thank you for your preview of “A Queen of Beasts”,  Zoe!

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