July 10, 2013

Yearbook Meeting #3: College Bowl

Hey, Misfiteers! Welcome to our new monthly feature in which you can get to know the girls behind the argyle a little better by attending one of our "Yearbook Meetings!" This month's meeting is of the Debate Team, and here's what we're discussing:

What specialized knowledge do you have, and how do you use it in your writing?

I went to religious Jewish schools for 13 years, followed by a year of seminary, so I've studied a lot of Bible. Now I'm obsessed with writing contemporary YA retellings of various biblical stories, because I think it's really cool to take the stories and commentary and characters and see what they'd be like set against a modern backdrop! I've also gotten really into cooking the past few years (though not as much as my husband has!) so write now I'm definitely making use of that as I set a book in culinary school! ~Dahlia

My day job is actually as a technical writer and editor, so I use a lot of that in my revision process as well as with my CPs. I'm not a great self copy-editor, but I love the developmental process of working out plot and story and characters.  ~Jamie

Sadly, it's all the emotional events in my life that have helped make my novels more real. My father's suicide prompted my last book, and going through that at 16 helped me identify with my main character and her friends and family. On a brighter note, I was in show choir so I can make singing and choir scenes accurate! ~Erica

I have a graduate degree in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies, as well as degrees in History and in Philosophy. It makes me *very* aware of all these things I don't know yet, but I am pretty comfortable with research and finding historically accurate details. Given my specialty subjects, it means I know quite a lot about logic, philosophy of language, history of ideas, and religion. I also used to be an archer and can probably work my way through roughly a dozen new/old/middle/ancient languages. All these things combined are surprisingly helpful when writing speculative fiction *g* ~Marieke

I've moved around quite a lot in my life (ten times in nineteen years alone, often crossing interstate/international boundaries) and use my many different experiences and knowledge of those places to form either a brand new setting from a mixture of multiple real places or use those places I've encountered as settings in my writing. I also write a lot of "road-trip" books (ie: where the character starts in one part of the US and ends in a whole other part at the end), and my frequent traveling and moving help in this area as well. ~Lyla

I've been an avid traveler for years, so I guess it's no surprise that I'm obsessed with writing about travel, and with setting stories in exotic places. In fact, I find myself thinking up new scenes or entirely new books just so I can use an especially fabulous location or a really interesting experience!
Other than that...does kissing lots of boys in high school count? Because I definitely use that experience over and over in my YA books! ;) ~Maggie

My degree is in Psychology, with an emphasis on personality and the brain, so I spend a LOT of time thinking about what makes a person behave the way s/he behaves. I think about what environments bring out certain traits, and what someone may go through to turn out a certain way. I think this helps a lot when I'm coming up with characters. It helps me understand them and develop backstories! ~Megan

Oh goodness. Where do I start? I've taught & studied a lot of things. My degree is in Equine Studies (horses). I'm a second degree black belt in Taekwondo and have also studied Japanese Jujutsu, Russian Systema, Sayoc Kali, and Hapkido. I've taught small craft sailing, kayaking, archery, and orienteering, been a lifeguard, done some spelunking and rock climbing, and taught High School Special Ed Math. I also have four brothers. The great thing about having so many interests is that it makes for all kinds of fun writing fodder. Plus it helps my CPs! ~Cait

Well, sad to say I don't have a ton of technical experience or anything, and I'm a complete hermit, so not a lot of travel experience. (But I can tell you all sorts of crazy stuff about suburban Indiana!) I'm also really in love with the universe, so all the research I've done into that helps when I write sci-fi stories set on different planets/in outer space. ~Chessie

There are so many things that have shaped my writing, though I'm not sure I can claim to be an expert at any of them! I think growing up in a big, close-knit family has influenced my character development, because I love exploring relationships between people. I have eleven first cousins and it was like growing up with eleven extra siblings - that's a lot of personalities! There are other landmark experiences too: transferring to public high school after 8 years in a Catholic school, being picked on by some really rotten boys in said high school, and of course, pieces of my travels (I LOVE to travel) will always work themselves into my writing. Drawing from experience helps make the story richer and the characters more believable. ~Gina

I have a journalism degree and that comes out in my writing style. I write sparse but flowery, which is my way of embracing and rejecting my journalism training. As one of five kids, and now a mom myself, I have a good grasp on family dynamics and I definitely draw on those experiences. I shy away from writing too much about things I know because I don't want too much of me slipping into my books. Instead, I do a lot of research. Maybe that's my writing superpower. Right now I know more than I'll ever need about how to infuse an hemophiliac with clotting factor. Hooray Google (and probably that journalism degree). ~Jenny


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