Our second interview is with the lovely C.L. Brierley! Thank you so so much for doing this interview. I hope you had fun with this and enjoyed it! Her award winning novel, The Bad Boy and the Angel
is up on the Interviewer Book list. So, go check it out and follow her! Hope you enjoy this week's interview.
1.) How did you get started on Inkitt?
A: So I was looking for a new place to write when I came across Inkitt. I’d seen its name before on other parts of the internet, and one day I downloaded the app on my phone and had a little look then soon decided to give it a proper go.
2.) How did you get started writing both in general and online?
A: Me and a few of my classmates were bored one day in class when we were 14, and we found Wattpad. I started reading there at first but then decided to have a go at writing a cringy hobbit fanfiction. I had enjoyed doing some writing in school before then but I got serious about it during high school when I was about 16.
3.) You've mentioned before you started out on Wattpad, why did you leave and how does that experience compare to the one you've had on Inkitt so far?
A: I left Wattpad after they introduced the update where you had to start paying to read more than 2 stories offline. This had been something that had been free on Wattpad from day one and it was the thing that really made it successful and standout. It really shocked me how they could do this unfair and greedy thing to its community. The unfair distribution of the money and more importantly marginalising it's users who are mainly teenagers who can't afford the premium to read offline disgusted me and it made me lose all the passion for writing and being on the platform. I had felt a little alone sometimes on Wattpad and had grown tired of the many more problems that had kept happening with how Wattpad's app and website had been working just to name some, but that update was the final nail in the coffin. This also exposed me to all the other problems Wattpad had which I wasn’t aware of beforehand, and altogether it just pulled the rug out of writing on Wattpad for me. It nearly took the motivation and joy for writing away completely, and I felt a little ashamed of being on a part of something that had treated it's community of users so poorly and been so terrible. If it weren’t for Inkitt I don’t know what I would have done or where I would have been. Inkitt has been so much better for me, I feel valued, I feel involved with the community, I feel safe, I feel much more joy and motivation to write, and in the year I’ve been here I have grown so much as a writer. I am aware that Inkitt may not have always been perfect, and like anything with technology it messes up on occasions, and other people may have bad experiences with Inkitt, but mine has been fantastic and I hope they just get better. I will always be grateful to the people who supported me on Wattpad and writing Wattpad made me realise that I want to be a writer, but Inkitt is the place for me.
4.) Reviewing stories is one thing that sets Inkitt apart from some of the others in its field and I know you used to do quite a few review swaps, what do you think constitutes a strong review?
A: A strong review for me is 3 things. Honest, kind and constructive. If we want to help each other improve as writers we have to be honest about how we feel, but also remain professional and be kind, even if you are reading/reviewing something you don’t like. Name-calling and being hateful in reviews is pointless. Giving the writer compliments about the story is also important even if it is just one little thing. Giving constructive feedback that details how a writer can improve their story is also important because if you don’t explain how to improve something may it be a layout or wording of a sentence, the writer is just going to be sat looking confused at their phone or computer or laptop thinking ‘what am I supposed to do?’
5.) You have quite an extensive catalog of stories on your account, which one was your first uploaded and any you'd recommend to someone first finding your account?
A: My first upload was fanfiction on The Hobbit I did as a teenager. It has all the makings of a cringy romance fanfiction and it is really terrible, but it is a nostalgic relic from my past. I would recommend people read The Bad Boy and the Angel and Creature Seers. They are both more mature, better written and are my proudest books. Creature Seers especially, that it my baby.
6.) How do you manage having more than one story up at a time or having multiple ideas?
A: I don’t to be honest, but over time I have learnt to set myself little goals each week and I push myself to work on a different story each week, even if I just write like a few hundred words of a part or do a bit of editing. If I get a new idea I’ll make a note of it for later, every writer should do that.
7.) I notice you have quite a few fanfictions up including one for Josh from the video game Until Dawn. How do you feel about the stigma surrounding fanfiction writers and what steps do you think us as a writing community can take to reduce that since some really amazing writers started out writing them and also have created some really cool stories?
A: The stigma is understandable when you look at fanfiction stories like 50 shades and After, and it sucks that they overshadow the cool fanfiction stories that are actually very unique. I think we need to do more to share stories that aren’t the same old same old, and also share fanfiction stories that could actually make really cool original stories if you just edited out the things that make them fanfiction like certain famous people in them for example. Letting those outside the writing and fanfiction community know the majority of fanfiction is just done in fun and just fans being fans. Writers who want to write fanfiction I think should really go for new ideas, so long as they make sense, they are entertaining and don’t have questionable things going on. That last one is why there is a lot of stigma around fanfiction. I think writers who do write it should also mention when explaining fanfiction that it ain’t all about teenage romance fantasies, and I think writers who have fanfiction stories written about their work should embrace them. It shows their work is making an impact, that they have devoted fans who are really into their work, and that they are inspiring other people to write!
8.) Your story, The Bad Boy's Angel, is entered in the Candy Heart Awards, how has your experience with user run contests been and what would you say to those debating on joining one?
A: They have been mostly good. Some have had some teething problems, some I have seen have some strange rules and could have been organised a bit better as there was confusion, but I have benefited from putting myself out there and taking part. I would say to people to have a go, what have you got to lose?
9.) What gave you the idea to do the monthly Writer's Lift? I think it's a great way to help lift up writers here.
A: I believe writers should support writers. And this is a way I can do that. It is also a way that is more about community and less about advertising and selling. People engage more with a community because it feels good and friendly. I have taken part in writer’s lifts on Twitter and I’ve seen benefits from them. Thank you for that too, I hope more people do them.
10.) How would you classify your writing style as?
A: A work in progress that tries it's best with lots of detail in descriptions, interesting characters and plots people hopefully enjoy.
11.) How do you come up with your ideas? Are there any things like songs or other things that help you write?
A: I write in genres I enjoy like fantasy, romance, zombie horror, fanfiction. I will read or watch or listen to things in those genres and think, what if I did this? Obviously not stealing from others, every writer takes inspiration from others. Sometimes the ideas will just randomly come to me. I was working on another story that was more like an epic fantasy with magic set in a fictional world when I came up with Creature Seers.
12.) How do you combat writer's block? Are there any things that help you more than others?
A: I am very lucky in that I rarely get writer’s block. I like to jump about from story to story when this happens. I will go from editing one story to researching another to re-visiting an idea for a story I scribbled down once a long time ago or quickly typed into a word document because I have a brain like a sieve when it comes to ideas. If this doesn’t work, I’ll go away for writing a bit and listen to music, or go out somewhere for a walk, or watch some entertaining and educating stuff on YouTube, or watch a tv show or a film I really love or even play video games. Just relax basically and let my brain refresh before going back.
13.) What do you think are your strengths as a writer? Weakness or things you feel you could improve upon?
A: My strengths are character creating, I love creating characters that challenge me and I love creating characters that have a serious growth through a story. I also love getting feedback from people. Even if it is critical, I can take it. I will engage with people who leave feedback by asking questions do get more detail and figure out if how I can improve with it. This does lead to one of my weaknesses because when I get feedback that is bad and I challenge it by asking the person giving that feedback ‘could you explain why’ or ‘could you go into detail about this thing you said’ and I don’t get a response from that person, it makes me get confused and also sometimes makes me have self-doubt. Another weakness is that I can be slow and a little lazy sometimes as a writer, but I set myself little goals each week to combat that.
14.) Any writing or Inkitt goals you have?
A: My main goal is to write Creature Seers and get it published. I would love to do it through Inkitt but if not through Amazon. That's the dream and I'm working towards it.
15.) Any authors or books you really enjoy on Inkitt?
A: Oh there is so many people I love. J. Alleyn Winchester and Gin Kira, they both write in fantasy and mythology like me and both have brilliant stories. Lady Rowan’s Blood & Curses was a sensational read. Dembie Rose is amazing at erotica, Calibers in your flesh by VisceralVodka had me on the edge of my seat. I also love R Allen Lancaster, John K Sutherland, Laurie_writes_stories, honestly I could go on forever I met so many wonderful writers here.
16.) Any advice you'd give to authors thinking about picking up writing or starting to write online?
A: Try to write every day, if you come up with a new idea make a note of it, be nice and respectful to your fellow writers and readers, don’t put up with people giving you hate or being nasty to you about your story, but understand that you are going to get negative feedback no matter what you do. And also, have fun and go for it mate!
17.) Final thoughts?
A: I hope I did good. Never done this before. Thanks for putting up with me, this is great.