Meet the Writer is a feature for which I interview authors who identify as women or nonbinary. We talk less about a single book or work and more about where they’ve been and how their lives affect their writing. Today, please welcome IgnitedMoth (she/her). IgnitedMoth is a digital artist, horror fanatic, and fantasy writer who is working on polishing a manuscript for publication. Learn more about IgnitedMoth and her work on her website.
Grab the Lapels: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
IgnitedMoth: For as long as I can remember, stories have been a huge part of my life. My mom says I used to make up little stories for fun before I could actually write them down myself, and my dad says I was so eager to read and write on my own that I would cry about it until I learned to do so. Books were magical to me and I loved everything about them. Needless to say, not much has changed. I started making my own little story books in elementary school, which eventually turned into me writing longer chapter books and comics as I got older.
GTL: How have you developed creatively since then?
IM: My attention span has never been the greatest, so I really have to write about things that I enjoy and try to shake things up a lot to stay focused. I used to be a notorious project hopper, very rarely ever finishing one project before I was moving onto something different. Thankfully, I’ve been able to work on this issue. When inspiration strikes, I just jot it down somewhere safe, so I can explore that story later on without the fear of forgetting it.
GTL: What is your writing process like? Which do you favor, starting or revising?
IM: I’m definitely a planner — to the point that I sometimes have to reel myself back in to get down to actually writing the story. I love worldbuilding and have only more recently recovered from a chronic case of World Builder’s Disease. I usually start out thinking of a story like a puzzle. I’ll put all my pieces I know I want in the story out on the table, and then I shuffle them around and find what order they fit best in. From there I can figure out what I need to do to fill in the gaps in between. I also think about who my characters are and how each of them would handle the obstacles set in front of them and how they will interact with one another. Sometimes the plot leads me to where I need to go, and sometimes the characters do. It isn’t uncommon for my characters to completely hijack the plot that I originally had planned and make it their own.
Despite being a planner, I do like to see where my imagination will take me, so starting a new project is always a lot of fun. Everything is so fresh and shiny, and there’s the constant excitement of new ideas as they strike. Revising tends to be both incredibly satisfying and hellishly torturous. I can get obsessive with revisions similarly to how I used to be when it came to worldbuilding, so I am still in the process of finding that healthy balance to call something finished and be satisfied with it.
I’m extremely lucky to have as great of a support system as I do when it comes to my writing. My parents, a couple friends, and my husband are always there to cheer me on and give me a push when I need it. Having my best friend Ashleigh be a beta reader for the first draft was a massive help. The initial reason being that it made me accountable to finish the draft in time for her to read by the date we’d decided on. It was also great to get someone else’s feedback since it had literally just been me staring at this story for months. I know things in my head about the story that a new reader would not if I don’t present the characters and information correctly, so it was great to see what info I was able to successfully convey to the reader, as well as the things I needed to elaborate on more.
Ashleigh is a huge book worm, so I was really excited for her honest feelings about the story I’d written. Even though we’re best friends, I know she is someone I can trust to be brutally honest when she needs to be, because it isn’t being mean if she points out any issues — it’s helping ensure my story turns out the best that it can be. She’s also great at reminding me not to get too into my head when writing, and to always have fun with it. I loved reading through her notes and discussing things that, up until then, had lived only in my head. It was exciting to have someone know the characters and places I’d been creating.
I have more people set to beta read the next draft when it’s complete, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the different types of feedback I get from them as well. It can be terrifying having someone read your personal work, almost to the point that I’d compare it to handing over your personal diary even, but it’s so worth it for the feedback.
GTL: Are you writing anything right now?
IM: I am! I’ve recently completed the first draft of a novel I hope will eventually see the light of day. I grew up with an early understanding of death and the finality of having to say goodbye from a young age. I wanted to explore the themes of death and grief in a dark fantasy story where I could play with myths and legends as well as my own imagination.
I’m still working on a title, but it’s a tale of omens, death, and a theater that promises the impossible. If I had to give a little blurb for the story it would be something like:
It was supposed to be just another routine night of work. Get into the theater, collect the souls of the dead, and get the hell out of there. But for disgraced reaper Arthur Beasley and his omen Lux, all hell breaks loose after they encounter a mysterious girl with the rather inconvenient habit of cheating death. Caught between a rock and a hard place, they have no choice but to bring the girl back with them to try to find some answers in the Crossroads, a city between the land of the living and the true afterlife where reapers, omens, and necromancers dwell. What unravels is a slew of angry death deities, conspiracies, hidden truths, and chaos all centered around a girl who should not exist.
GTL: If you could change places for a day with any one of your characters, who would it be, and why?
IM: Oh, man, I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a sadist when it comes to my characters. (Sorry, guys!). I suppose if it was just for one day, I’d choose to swap places with my character Lux. She is the first character introduced in the book, and since she is an omen, she is capable of shapeshifting between different animals long-since recognized as omens of death, and she can sense aspects of the supernatural, which would come in incredibly handy in the world I’ve created. Unfortunately, omens tend to get a raw deal in society in my book, so that’s mainly why I’d be hesitant. That, and I doubt I’d be as enthusiastic about fighting demons as Lux does.
GTL: Do you think there is a specific “achievement” a person must “unlock” before she can be called a writer?
IM: I think to be called a writer, you just need to write — either for yourself or for others, but either way, just keep writing. Getting published is often the dream, but it isn’t the only thing that makes a writer, at least not in my opinion. Plus, there are so many great things that can be accomplished through writing besides making money and getting your name out there. It’s a great tool for documenting and sharing information, and it can also be extremely therapeutic. Writing has been a constant lifeline for me over the years, and even if I were never to get anything published, I don’t think I could ever regret the time I’ve spent being creative and making stories.
GTL: Thanks so much to IgnitedMoth for sharing her writing journey, and I’m going to keep my eyes and ears peeled for when her novel is published!