At Dancing Bear Books we like to chat with the writers around us and see what they're up to. We recently caught up with writer, Bree Taylor and had the chance to ask some quick fire questions.
DBB: Do you find the process of writing agony or ecstasy?
BT: Depends on what part of the writing process I’m in. Nothing is more agonising than writing a first draft! But once I have it down and begin the editing and revising process it becomes ecstasy because I have a clear vision in my head and a goal I want to get to.
DBB: How would you describe your writing routine?
BT: My writing routine fluctuates between school and work, but my typical routine is just to write everyday. I’ll brew myself a cup of tea, open my laptop and trudge through it. 1000 words is great, but even if it’s 100 or 20 words, I’ll be happy. Progress is progress.
DBB: What’s your insight on traditional and non-traditional publishing routes?
BT: There’s pros and cons to both sides, but it really depends on your preferences and what you want out of your writing career. As I understand it, non-traditional publishing can give you more creative control, but you also have to navigate the process without as much support as you may get from traditional publishing.
DBB: What draws you to write the stories you write?
BT: I like writing stories with diverse characters and semi-political plots. I’m drawn to these stories because I grew up in a fairly conservative place, and I didn’t see myself or others represented fully. I feel like that has to change because everyone deserves to feel represented in literature. I’m a pretty political person, and since I can’t become a politician, the next best thing putting my thoughts on paper. I also like my stories to have a heartwarming ending because there’s already enough tragedy in the world, and we need a little hope once in a while.
DBB: What are you working on at the moment?
BT: I’m in the process of submitting a short queer myth retelling, but I have a 80,000 word speculative superhero story about a young man on the run from the military who finds a group of other people his age with superpowers. But instead of fighting the increasing corruption, they don’t think fighting is worth it. I’m in the editing stages now and will hopefully have a second draft done by the end of the year. I’m also in the very early outlining stages for an urban fantasy staring three queer, modern witches.
DBB: What’s the most important quality to have as a writer?
BT: It’s a tie between perseverance and coachability. You have to be able to pick yourself up after a rejection and stand up for your story and your ideas. But, you also have to be open to constructive criticism in order to grow. It doesn’t matter how good your work is, if you aren’t willing to work with others, you won’t go very far.
DBB: Top Tip for writer’s block?
BT: Music! I highly recommend orchestral soundtracks, (my personal favourites are Studio Ghibli and The Legend of Zelda). But, if all else fails, just write words on the page. Even if it’s just “(insert witty dialogue here)”. Don’t worry about being perfect. You can fix bad writing, but you can’t fix non-existent writing.
DBB: For budding writers, what's your top tip for learning more about writing?
BT: Get involved with other writers! Join a writing club, a group on social media, or take a writing course. There’s also plenty of authors on youtube that have great advice about writing and the writing industry. I recommend Jenna Moreci and Meg LaTorre - I’ve learned so much from them and their videos are a good starting point for new writers.
DBB: You're favourite go-to writing exercise?
BT: I’m a fan of the expanding paragraph. You write three sentences, then you add another sentence in between each of the original three. It’s great for expanding idea and you can go on ad infinitum.
DBB: Do you have advice for writers that are struggling with perseverance and rejection?
BT: You have time, and there’s no expiration date on success. You can get rejected 100 times, but it only takes one yes. Don’t give up, you can do this! Your story will find its place in the world.
Bree Taylor is an emerging writer from Canada who writes short stories, speculative fiction and fantasy. With a background in theatre, she loves to bring some dramatic flare to every aspect of life. She has an instagram, @bree_the_writer, dedicated to her journey and her work. She’s currently reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and is officially obsessed. Bree is a lover of books, video games, old gods, and earl grey tea.