Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Today is a special day. Why? Because today I welcome the wonderful Natalie Whipple, writer and artist extraordinaire for an interview! (Also, the font size is being really difficult today, so I apologize if it shows up wonky.)
If you don't know Natalie, I honestly don't know what you're doing with all of your blogging time, because she's awesome and an inspiration to writers. No seriously, she writes first drafts faster than I can write a paper (it's kind of ridiculous- in a good way), and she's got some of the coolest ideas and is full of helpful advice and tips.
But you aren't here to listen to me ramble on about how amazing she is, you're hear to listen to her talk! So, without further ado, Natalie Whipple:
Alright Natalie, almost everyone knows that you’re represented by the amazing Nathan Bransford – we aren’t jealous a bit, nope, not one bit – and that you are a wonderful writer with a book on submission – which you won’t give us any details about. But what’s something we don’t know? Are you and Kiersten White secretly writing a screenplay together…about yetis and cyborgs?
Hmm, something you guys don't know? I am pretty open on my blog when I can be. And while that screenplay with Kiersten sounds amazing, I'm afraid we aren't working on anything together. Though I must say the two of us combined would make one seriously awesome writer. Could you imagine? With her wit and my, uh...weirdness...we'd rule the world. No, sorry, got a little sidetracked there. Um...something you guys don't know. Oh! I got it! I eat my Cup o' Noodles with a cheese stick. (This just goes to show how much I tell you people. I can't think of much writing-related that I haven't told you that I'm allowed to tell you. Does that even make sense? [maybe it's a little late to be answering interview questions.]) (It's never too late for interview questions! hehe) I heat up my noodles, then I stick a cheese stick in a let it get all gooey and then eat it. I know, probably a little gross and definitely strange, but there's a reason. I'm hypoglycemic, and it's important for me to eat protein with every meal to keep my sugar levels even. Protein slows the sugar down, so to speak, and helps it release more evenly through the blood stream. Thus, cheese stick with my Cup o' Noodles.
That actually sounds intriguing enough to try, I'll look into that when I can afford to eat again!
Those who follow your blog know you have an incredible talent for drawing as well as writing; is there one (type of) thing you like to draw more than anything else?
Well, I like to draw anime a lot. I've always been best at cartooning, and anime is the coolest cartooning. (At least in my opinion, hehe.) I may not be the best artist out there, but drawing is fun for me. (Amanda would like to interrupt to say that not only does she agree about anime, but that Natalie is pretty darn good at it!) It's my hobby, my escape. I don't let myself be too critical about it—I never plan on doing it professionally. I don't want to treat it as a job. When I was younger I could never decide which art to take seriously. I dabbled in so many things! Visual arts, writing, drama, music, even dancing. I loved everything—I was even pretty decent at all of them. So I was a Jack of All Trades, and a Master of None. Finally I chose writing, knowing I had to pick something to Master. I draw for enjoyment. For me that's cartooning. I get over-critical if I try realism, and I have enough areas in my life that require criticism.
Well, you're absolutely fantastic at it, and if you ever decide to do a graphic novel I'll buy it. You majored in Linguistics in college, was there something in particular that drew you to it? As an English major myself I find it fascinating.
I've always loved language, and in particular I loved English! But I quickly realized near the end of high school that it wasn't the literature I was interested; it was the actual language. Like, I wanted to know more about the grammar/declensions in Beowulf's Old English than the actual story. I wanted to know how Chaucer would have pronounced the Canterbury Tales, not what they meant about medieval society. Luckily, the year after I started at BYU, they opened the English Linguistics major. I jumped on it, minoring in editing. Farewell, literary analysis. Hello, morphemes and phonemes. Oh, baby. English is a very unique and amazing language—largest vocab in the world, most flexible at integrating new words/structures, and essentially a pure hybrid of a language. Seriously, English did not exist until the Germanic languages smashed into the Celtic. Old English was a creole (a mother tongue [as in new generation is taught it as 1st language] from two languages), that evolved from the pidgin spoken between native
and their invaders.
Throw in a little French in 1066, bam, we've got Middle English. Toss in the Latin Enlightenment Era and we have Early Modern. And so on and so forth.
Why yes, I could talk about this for hours, but I'll stop now.
I guess I felt like knowing how English works would help me be a better writer and editor. Perhaps I should have analyzed more plots, but it just didn't fascinate me like gender dialects and back formation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_formation). Britains
I wish we had at least a minor in linguistics; it's so interesting!
But back to writing, what is your favorite part of writing a new work-in-progress? Is it the rush of a first draft, the seemingly endless revisions, the time spent on Twitter talking with other writers about your Shiny New Idea, or is it something else altogether?
You know, this is a very interesting question for me right now, as I am kind of struggling with why I write and how much I really love it. I'm starting to realize I have to wear two hats as a writer—the Egotistical First Drafter and the Humble Reviser. You have to have serious confidence in yourself to pull out that first draft. You can't think about your mistakes or you'll never finish. Basically, you have to think you're the best writer in the world to get to "The End." And then you have to tear it all apart in revisions, admit you actually kind of sucked, and figure out how to fix it. It's HARD to switch hats. I go through this phase of doubt every time I have to switch. When I have to revise, I beat myself up for being so confident. Then when I have to go back to first drafting, I seize up for a while because I can't remember how to believe in my writing. I definitely don't like this phase, but it passes. I guess what I love depends on what hat I'm wearing at the moment. If I'm first drafting, I love when my characters surprise me or when I figure out pieces of the story I didn't know before. I love having this big pile of blocks and being able to stack them however I want. I love living in the world for the first time, when everything is fresh and exciting. If I'm editing, I love when things click together. I love when a character opens up and shows me their true story. I love finding the exact right word or description. I love that feeling of FINALLY getting it right.
If you could take credit for writing one book/short story/play/screenplay/poem/etc. ever written, what would you claim as your own? (Personally, I’m kind of torn between
, and Hamlet haha.) Penelope, Australia
I hate to be lame, but I don't think I'd claim anything! I've always been the kind of person who wants to do their own thing. I don't follow recipes when I cook—I make it up as I go. When I quilt, I make my own patterns because I hate using other people's ideas. I could never write fanfic because it just feels weird to use someone else's characters. There are a lot of movies and books and plays I love, but I don't wish for any of them to be mine. I can't imagine having written Phantom of the Opera, for instance, though I love the musical. I have my own stuff. It may not be as awesome as Phantom (okay, not even close), but it's mine and I like it that way. Even when I wish I could be better, I wish I could be better for MY ideas, which I so often fail.
And last question, what is your favorite
movie and why? (It’s a mean question, I’ll admit it!) Miyazaki
That IS a mean question! But I'm going with Kiki's Delivery Service. I identify with Kiki a lot. As a creative person, that movie resonates with me every time. When Kiki loses her powers and worries she'll never get them back—yeah, been there, AM there. I love that scene when she's at Ursula's cabin, and this artist is telling her to basically stop worrying so much. I need that reminder, and I need it often.
Thank you, Natalie!