HEIDI'S PICK SIX
Trisha J. Wooldridge
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee in the morning (with milk and/or creamer). Tea in the afternoon. Milk occasionally at night… with libation. (Bailey's Irish Cream, Disaronno Amaretto, Illy's coffee liquor…)
4. What else can you do besides write?
I make arts and crafts… and play with animals! (More on the animals with question 10.)
I drew my own logo for A Novel Friend Writing and Editing.
It's my impression of my current housepets: Loki the Bunny (the very, very old bunny) and Nylis the Cat. I've also done cartoons for online courses and illustrated my own poetry chapbook. I hand-make most of the gifts I give, too: wood-burnt plaques and ornaments, decoupage cards, paintings, and decorated gift baskets.
My art isn't good enough to make the comic I have mostly-written, unfortunately, but it definitely helps with the scripting.
On top of that, art is fun and relaxing. When we do our annual Myrtle Beach trip, I bring all my painting supplies and can usually churn out a few paintings of mediocre quality - but that I still love.
5. Who are you reading right now?
6. Pop culture or academia?
Both. Most of what we study in academia was pop culture at some point in time. Shakespeare was very much pop culture, for example. Most of the authors we study were popular icons of their time. The Gothic and Victorian writers? They would go on tour! So would Mark Twain. Sure, there were plenty of shut-in writers - where else would we get that cliché? But really, their stuff was getting read by the "cool" people, the rich people, the people in power, the people who talked about what was "in."
Even if you look at history, you've got pop culture. The people we study? They were the cool people, the winners, the ones everyone wanted to hang out with, be with, be seen with.
Outside of critics and criticism, most of the people we study in academics weren't writing (or doing stuff) for the sake of being studied years and years later. They were doing what they loved for their existing audience, culture, and people of their time.
If more academics realized this, they'd probably be able to inspire those students who "have to take the course" a whole lot more than they do now.
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I work with horses, too. For 6 years, I've volunteered at the Bay State Equine Rescue (www.baystaterescue.org), where I continue to learn a lot about training and caring for horses.
I've also recently adopted my own horse! Calico Silver is my baby - and my fitness project. Riding and training a horse is hard work. As she spent the first 12 years of her life as a foal-making slave of pharmaceutical companies and then the following 4 years upon being rescued just learning that humans can be Nice People who don't treat her like a senseless commodity, she has not had a lot of training. So, we're working together to get in shape for trail riding.
Our current goal, if you don't mind me doing a little begging here, is to raise $300 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® foundation with Ride for the Ribbon - a 9 mile long trail ride. Up to 75% of the funds stay in Massachusetts to provide education, mammograms, and support to women with breast cancer. If any of your readers would like to sponsor me, Calico and I have our page here: http://komenmass.kintera.org/novelfriend
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
Both. For a long time I defined myself as a "pantser" (writing by the "seat of my pants"), but the more I wrote, the more I found that I did a better job if I did some planning ahead - and that, in reality, I was doing a certain degree of planning already.
Before I even sit down to write, I mull a story in my head for months, if not about a year (for novel length). That mulling includes me visualizing many scenes and conversations in my head, teasing out the main plot and the sub-plots, and a whole lot of getting to know my characters. I also give myself a rough idea of the Beginning, Middle, End/Final Confrontation, as well as the transition scenes between those acts. This is something I've always done but never thought about because it rarely, if ever, gets written.
New steps for me now include more specific planning: I make myself an elevator pitch - a 1-2 sentence description of the book that summarizes plot, theme, and character and matches the "voice" of the work. About a third of the way through the book (and whenever necessary) I do major research and write down my notes, write character descriptions, write a timeline (usually that includes backstory and what might happen next). About two-thirds of the way through, I adjust all those notes I wrote a third of the way through and add bracketed notes for things I'll have to change in revisions.
Additionally, when I'm co-writing (like for all of the Bad-Ass Faerie (www.badassfaeries.com) short stories), my partner, Christy Tohara, and I do much more planning. We discuss plot and character in detail beforehand and set specific parts that each of us will have to write, which translates into a strong outline. We definitely play with it more as we write. Our big lesson has been the importance of pre-planning, though, because it's easy enough for one crazy author to lose track of a story; if two crazy authors are involved, you're in trouble!
13. Celebrity crush.
David Tennant, who played the 10th incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who. I pray that I can get movie deals on my still-to-be-published novels while he can still pull off playing several of my most beloved male characters.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Trisha J. Wooldridge is a freelance writer, editor and educator from Auburn, MA and the readings & events coordinator for Broad Universe (www.broaduniverse.org). Her experience ranges from Dungeons & Dragons Online to animal rescue public relations. She writes about food, wine, horses, haunted locations, education, and she interviews bands like Voltaire, Within Temptation and Nightwish.
Her short story, "Party Crashers," co-authored with Christy Tohara, was in the EPIC Award winning Bad-Ass Faeries: Just Plain Bad (Marietta 2008, Mundania 2009), with a second co-authored short story in the EPIC Award winning Bad-Ass Faeries: In All Their Glory (Mundania 2010).
Visit her at www.anovelfriend.com.