Friday, September 9, 2011

The Writer’s Coffee Shop is a great place to find original works. I came across one recently, The Weight of Roses by Sarita Dreaming. Now I know Sarita’s stories, I follow her fanfic stories, I Saw You Coming and I Want It Painted Black and she is also a Twitter “BB” of mine. Because of the association, naturally I was going to read it. Well, I was blown away. It really was a fantastic story. Absolutely no references to the Twilight genre, names, characteristics, or attributes. A true original. I did notice though, not many followers or reviews for the original work. I thought that odd. She has a large following, I wondered where her followers were? Did they not like the story or was it it because it was an original story, were they not interested? Many questions were now rolling around in my mind on the subject of original stories vs “original” fanfic stories, an obvious obsession of mine lately.

The Weight of Roses was entered in to the TWCS original fiction contest. To my personal delight, the story won! The prize, a contract with TWCS Publishing House. How fantastic is that?? Sarita Dreaming will now be a published author of original works. And me, being the stalker I am, I had a 1000 questions for Sarita. I needed to know how she felt, what about her fanfic stories, is she writing anything else, the list goes on and on. Sarita being the gracious person she is, entertained me and allowed me to interview her. I sent her a multitude of questions regarding the Fandom, fanfic stories, original stories, and what her opinions are. When they came back all completed, I was a grinning fool for days. I always liked Sarita. Always found her to be a nice person with her interactions on Twitter and always very gracious to her fans and followers. Her interview just reaffirms that.

"Frankly, AH stories using Twilight names really have nothing to do with Twilight, do they? They are original fics dressed up with Twilight character names."  - Sarita Dreaming

My Conversation with Sarita -

When did you discover Twilight?

Well, I kept hearing references to Twilight, but I had no idea what it was. One night the hubby and I rented the movie, and I was left… speechless, drooling and completely addicted. I ran to the library and took the books out, consuming them within a week. I bought my own copy of Twilight the movie and proceeded to watch certain key scenes over… and over… and over. I read the books again, then again. I neglected my duties. The house grew dusty… we ate a lot of takeout, or maybe it was cardboard—I wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

How did you find the Fandom?

Oh, the Fandom! I had joined a Yahoo group to further feed my addiction, and in our discussions about the conspicuously missing pages of ‘Breaking Dawn,’someone mentioned there were some fans who had written alternate versions of the honeymoon scene. Well, I was all over that! I read a few missing moment honeymoon scenes, then discovered ‘Wide Awake,’ and I haven’t come up for air since. My hubby did insist I start cleaning the house and feeding my family again, though. *grin*

Are you in the Twicloset?

I’m totally in the Twicloset. Only my hubby knows of my addiction, and even he doesn’t know how absolutely consumed I am by this. I’ve never been like this with anything else, so I don’t really understand it myself. It’s an addiction I’m not looking to treat, though. He He. I’m really funny about my writing. I don’t want anyone I know in ‘real life’ to ever read any of my writing. I even use a pseudonym for my original fiction because I’m afraid if I knew someone that knows me—say my mother or father—was reading my stuff, it would influence what I write.

Does your significant other support your Fandom life?

Yes! I am so blessed to be married to my Edward. He is just the most awesome husband and father ever. He knows all about my addiction, and he fully supports my writing even though I won’t let him read any of it. I’ve just recently decided to let him read one of my stories—none of my smutty stuff, though! Told him when I’m dead and gone, he can read all of it. LOLOL

Have you met Fandom people in real life?

No, but I have made some of the best friends of my life in this Fandom. I could start naming names, but I’m sure to leave someone out. You all know who you are, and I love you guys!

Why or how did you start writing fanfiction?

Oh… that’s an interesting one. My search for the missing honeymoon scene by Maggie Chambers is what led me to fanfiction. In my search for her, I found a site that was hosting anonymous one-shot contests. Maggie was a member, and I fan girled all over her. When I mentioned that I’d always dreamed of writing, she encouraged me to enter the contest. Since it was anonymous, I figured, ‘what the hell.’ And I wrote ‘I Will Wait,’ which was my very first one-shot and is still available on my fanfiction profile and my blog. I didn’t win the contest, but it sparked an addiction to writing, and the positive feedback I received encouraged me to keep writing.

How do you come up with your story lines?

Most often, I daydream them. Sometimes I have dreams at night about new story lines or about events for certain chapters I’m working on. Anyone who is familiar with me or my writing knows that I have no shortage of plot bunnies. When I’m starting a new story, I often let the idea just roll around in my head and incubate. Then the characters just ‘show up’ in my head and start showing me who they are and what they want me to write. I try to have somewhat of a plan, but I’ve learned to let my characters take the lead. I‘ve had to scrap whole chapters when I tried to fight against where they want to take me. My regular readers know that my characters often hijack my stories from me.

Favorite fics – Completed and WIP’s?

Pleading the fifth on this one. Too many to list, and I‘m sure to leave someone out.

What kind of environment do you like to write in? Where and when do you write and on what?

I’d love to take six months off and rent a cabin in the woods, but since I don’t have the luxury of sequestering myself? I write wherever and whenever I can. In the morning before work, on my lunch break at work, in the evenings. To get in the mood, I will pick a song that has the ‘flavor’ of the chapter I’m writing, and I’ll pop my ear buds in and lose myself. I’ll often play the song loud enough to drown everything around me out. I write on my netbook—it’s a small laptop with a full size keyboard, and I take it everywhere with me. I can’t write in the car, but I do beta work and editing of my own chapters while my husband is driving. I’ve gotten so used to my little laptop that I use it as my main computer. I often sit out at the table in my back yard and write. I love writing outside!

How do you find time to write?

Not nearly enough time to write as I’d like. I write in every spare moment I can find. If I waited for the perfect moment or mood, nothing would get written. I’ve given up reading in lieu of writing for the most part because writing has become like breathing to me—I need it to live.

When writing: outline or as it comes to you?

Um, most authors will probably be horrified by this, but I usually write as it comes to me. I do daydream of certain big events in my stories and know how they will end, but getting to those places is a journey for me to discover along with my readers. I have recently done my first outline for an entire story, and it was a scary and unfamiliar feeling. At least now I know I can do it that way, too, but my preferred method is to give the creativity free reign.

Whose POV do you like writing?

I write in many different POVs, but my all time favorite is to write Edward. Specifically, vampward. I love getting into broody Edward’s head.

How do you find inspiration when the ideas just won’t flow?/How do you get over writer’s block?

I recently experienced writer’s block with my story ‘I Saw You Coming,’ and it was a horrid feeling. In the end, I just pushed through it. I sat down and wrote a paragraph, just so I wasn’t faced with a blank page anymore. Then I left it alone for a day and went back to write another paragraph. I removed the pressure from myself by deciding I might scrap what I was writing, and then all of a sudden the entire chapter just started to flow. Luckily, I don’t have writer’s block often. If I’m blocked on one story, I’ll move on to update one of my others. Due to my addiction, I currently have four WIPs and a collaboration going. Yeah, I’m pretty sick.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start writing?

Just do it! Write something, and do it for you. Write what makes your heart sing, and don’t worry about pleasing everyone because it’s an impossible feat. Learn from constructive criticism rather than being insulted by it. There’s not an author out there that couldn’t stand to improve their writing. Important… get yourself a good beta and some pre readers because they are worth their weight in gold. Care about what you’re putting out there because it’s a reflection and an extension of you. Don’t put out something with sloppy grammar and punctuation that’s full of plot holes. Take pride in yourself and your writing. Don’t start a story and then not finish it. That’s probably the biggest no-no ever in my book.

Do you write professionally? Do you aspire to?

I definitely aspire to, and I’m working on my first novel right now.

How do you handle negative reviews/blog postings?

I’ve been extremely lucky and blessed that the worst things that have been said to me in reviews were criticisms of my characters for doing something the reader didn’t agree with. I have some very intelligent and thoughtful readers, and I’m very thankful for each and every one of them. The fact that they get emotionally invested over what my characters do is flattering. Many of them act as if they’re real people. I tend to ignore anonymous reviews; it’s my opinion that if you want to engage me, you will have the guts to show your face, so to speak. I think I’ve only had a few anonymous reviews that said something in a chapter was ‘stupid’ or ‘frustrating,’ but I rarely give them much thought because I have no way to interact with them.

If you could say one thing to your readers (fans) what would that be?

Thank you. Thank you for being so awesome, for reading my stories and leaving me such thoughtful reviews. Thanks for sending me PMs, nudging for updates, and for pimping out my stories. Many of my readers have become friends that I cherish. They tell me about their personal trials, share good news in their lives and offer me loads of encouragement. My pre readers started out as readers and have become some of the best friends I’ve ever had. Thanks also to the special angels who have encouraged me in the pursuit of writing my own original fiction. There are many of you, and I don’t want to leave anyone out. The gals who are always there for me no matter what, that I discuss and trust all my secrets and future plot lines with are Keye, Sandy, Wendy and Kat. They’ve all talked me off the ledge at one time or another, LOL, and I couldn’t imagine having better friends. My only regret is that they live too far away from me. Sorry, that ended up being a long, convoluted answer to what, on the surface, seems like a simple question. Smile.

One thing you can’t live without?

My family. They really are my world.

What part of the world do you live in?

The East coast by the beach. I love the ocean, and I can’t imagine not living near it.

Are you working on anything right now you would like to tell us about?

I’m working on writing my first novel right now. It’s called ‘The Weight of Roses,’ and the first seven chapters are up on TWCS as an entry in their original fiction contest. It’s my first full length original story, and I’m very proud of it.

What gave you the idea for The Weight of Roses?

I dreamed of the prologue and wrote it. Once I had that written, I daydreamed about the characters in it and who they were, where they came from, how they got into the situation they were in. I let the characters roll around in my head a bit until they started ‘speaking’ to me. Once I had a handle on them, the writing just flowed very naturally. It’s almost like I’m getting a peak into another universe rather than just thinking up an idea. My characters are like real people to me, they live inside my head.

What is your reason for posting?

I posted the first seven chapters of the story on TWCS as part of their original fiction contest. It’s not currently posted anywhere else, and I don’t intend to post any more of the story publicly.

Are you posting original work anywhere else?

Not at this time. Currently, the only place to see the beginning of my novel is on TWCS under the pen name Sarita Dreaming.

How long have you been writing your own stories?

Since I was old enough to read and write. I can remember in grammar school, I would sit on my front porch with one of those marbled composition books and write stories. Over the years, I would start stories, but there were times I had a lot going on and dropped it. There was a very dark period of my life when I was in a bad place, and all my creativity died on the vine. I’m happy to say that those awful conditions no longer exist, that I’ve left that time in my life behind, and am in a much better place. I also had another hurdle to surmount. About five years ago, I was hit by a truck that blew a red light. Aside from breaking bones in nearly every region of my body, I had a severe head injury that left me with cognitive deficits. I’ve had to fight pretty hard to write coherently—the thesaurus has been my best friend—and I still have some issues, but I manage them fairly well. It’s always been my dream to be an author, and I refused to allow a little brain glitch to get in the way.

Have you thought about self publishing?

It’s something to consider, but I haven’t looked into it.

Have you contacted publishing houses?

I’ve submitted a few short stories to compilations, and I’m waiting to hear back on them. Other than that, I haven’t because I don’t have a complete work yet.

Is your goal to become a full time writer?

Definitely. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do with my time. Writing has become like breathing. It’s my ultimate addiction.

Do you work with a writers group?

No, I don’t.

How long does it take you to come up with the ideas for a story?

It varies, but usually I put the idea to my subconscious, and within a day or so I’ll have a dream or daydream. The idea might incubate for about a week before I start writing.

What tools do you use ex. whiteboard, outline, pictures?

My imagination. That’s really about it. On occasion, I will do some research on part of a story or a location of a story. I am using an outline for my novel, ‘The Weight of Roses.’

What is your opinion of FF writers who publish their FF stories and change the names, is it something you would consider?

Well, I know a lot of people in the Fandom find this to be a bone of contention. I don’t see myself doing this, although I’ve learned to never say never. It’s difficult to get readers to give original fiction a chance—which I’ve found out since posting a few of my chapters on TWCS—but if you just swap out Twilight names, everyone will read it! LOL To each his/her own. I don’t personally see anything wrong with it. I’ve heard other authors criticized for it, being called ‘sell outs,’ but that just sounds like sour grapes to me. If you have a chance to be published and make money, are you really going to say no? Frankly, AH stories using Twilight names really have nothing to do with Twilight, do they? They are original fics dressed up with Twilight character names. Hell, my one-shot, ‘In the Wings’—which happened to win two Singe Shot Awards—was an original short story I wrote for a fundraiser. I decided to adapt it with Twilight character names in order to post it on fanfic and get feedback on it. Yeah, I’m ass backwards, LOL. The one thing that does tend to tick me off, and I can’t understand for the life of me, is when authors remove their stories from fanfiction sites. If they aren’t publishing but decided not to write fanfic anymore, why take them down? Once you put something up on a public forum, it’s published in a way. As a reader, when an author essentially says, ‘Loved my fans, was happy to share with you, but now I’m taking my marbles and going home.’ it’s like a slap in the face. It’s not like everyone isn’t passing around pdf files with all your stories anyway, but you’ve basically flipped the bird to all your ‘fans.’ I’m sure my comments will meet with outrage from certain factions, but I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut for fear of someone not liking what I say. This is how I feel, which I’m entitled to, and due to the disillusionment certain authors have left me with, I know I will never pull down my fics. If I stop writing fanfic, they’ll be left up for everyone to enjoy whenever they want to.

How does your own stories in print/internet make you feel overall?

It feels amazing to know there are readers out there waiting for my next update, that they care about my characters and get so invested in what’s going to happen next. It’s the ultimate compliment.

Thank you Sarita for allowing me to poke and prod around in your brain. This was a thrill for me. To have your thoughts and opinions, makes me feel that much closer to you and your stories. As if my stalking tendencies couldn’t get any grander!

* Original interview ran on My Vamp Fiction, and I loved her responses so much, it deserved a second run   

Where you can find Sarita Dreaming’s stories -

Sarita Dreaming website –

Credoroza’ s Favorite Sarita Dreaming Stories -

In The Wings

I Saw You Coming

I Want It Painted Black

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