Figment.com is an amazing site “where writers write, meet, create, share, and connect,” and each week Figment features one of their members. The “Featured Fig” is interviewed, and five of their creative works are highlighted.
This week’s featured writer is Starflower.
Below is the interview portion of this week’s feature article:
What do you enjoy most about Figment and its community?
- My favorite part about Figment is definitely the fellow writer friends that I’ve met. (You all know who you are, you wonderful people.) When I first joined, I was scared and had no idea if my work had even a semblance of quality. I encountered so much magical, beautiful, feels-inducing writing from other Figment users right off the bat that I got – to be quite honest – a little starstruck. But I found that if I just worked up the courage to talk to these people, we could have a conversation and even form writerly bonds through this website. I feel so fortunate that my Fig-friends are in my life and that they’re so supportive of my writing. I feel that I’ve been improving by leaps and bounds since we got in touch, and I’d be foolish to pretend that isn’t mostly thanks to their feedback and positive influences. I really don’t know if I deserve them. (Scratch that. I actually do not.)
What is your favorite story that you have shared on Figment and why?
- Right now, it’s probably a tie between “Transmutation” and “The Birdcage Room”. “Transmutation” was a flash-fiction entry I wrote for a Figment contest for a while back. I tried to set the notion of alchemy in a modern environment, combined with the destructive tendencies of a rich girl doomed to die. Alchemy’s always fascinated me – and I do love dabbling in magic, in all its forms. The words really flowed out of me for this, and despite its brevity, I’m proud of how it turned out. “The Birdcage Room” is a poetic, sort of surreal experiment that follows a girl named Alyss and her journey to the mythical Birdcage Room, where malignant wishes are held captive. It turns out the Birdcage Room is malfunctioning, sending ill-willed wishes all around the world. It’s updated very sporadically, but I’m writing it in free verse rather than prose. I like how it’s progressing so far, and I’m very not-so-secretly satisfied with some of the lines hidden in there.
Where do you find inspiration to write and keep writing?
- I’m definitely influenced by things I find aesthetically pleasing – things like fairy tales, clockwork cities, sea winds, and swords. These are often the things that lead to new story ideas. I have a problem with those, in fact. They spring up in the most ridiculous ways, and so at any given time, I have around ten different ideas in my head screaming to be written. I love turning fairy tales and myths inside out, and everything I write is a little tinged with magic. I’m also a very character-driven writer, so many of my novel ideas grow from the protagonist. However, most of my short story and flash fiction ideas begin with a single line or an insistent “what if?” question. But the initial spark is always the aesthetic of the project. “How do I want this to look and feel?” is my first question for a new idea. I find that Pinterest helps a lot with this (but takes away from writing time as well, haha).
What is the last book that you read?
- The last book I read was In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo. It was great – fiercely drawn art and even fiercer characters, with suspense and a healthy dose of creepiness. If you liked The Invention of Hugo Cabret but also like secret societies, magic, and macabre sensibilities, this is the book for you, period.
Do you have any advice for other Figgies looking to improve their writing?
- Honestly, I’m not sure if any advice I have is reliable, as my writing style and process are still very much a work in progress. But here are two things – first, break stereotypes and tropes, and second, concentrate on how your sentences are built when editing. This is speaking just as much from my experience as a reader, since that hugely affects how I go about writing. I loathe stereotypes and seek to subvert them however I can, which makes for a much more interesting plotline. Even just asking “how can I make this different?” is often enough to jump-start my stories when they’re dragging to a halt. The second point also comes from my reading along with writing. Special attention to prose and how well-crafted it is can make even commonplace occurrences unique and leave a lasting impression in the mind of a reader.
To view the entire article and the five highlighted creative works of Starflower, click here.
My favorite of the five: “The Birdcage Room”