• VK Tritschler

When is a draft, not a draft? ...and other lies we tell ourselves

As an author I find myself drawn to be very critical of my work so I can tell you all a small truth - I consider every single thing I write a draft. Regardless of what state it's in.

I read a quote from Terry Pratchett the other day where he said: "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." He is right. It's rough and uneven; it still has all its lumps and bumps, and sometimes it is just the ghost of a story yet to come. But I think that as authors we sometimes get so focused on the difference between what we have written and the idea of the story that is floating around in our brain waiting to get out, that we find it hard to give it a final stamp of approval. Is it done when you have had it edited, beta-read, re-edited, re-read? Or what about when you have distracted yourself by designing a cover, prepared a marketing plan and joined a new group on Facebook to learn about how to write a better book and used some of their ideas?

I think as authors we live in the perpetual draft phase. It's just a decision we make somewhere along that process to allow the world to read our incomplete work and hope they like it. So let's see what the other authors do with their works in progress this month.

This month's authors:

Mara Gan

Mara is a woman of fun and smarts. By day she teaches history to unsuspecting teenagers, and by night she writes books and travels to far-flung places. So I wanted to find out what makes her tick:

Having your vast experience in writing and a remarkable education on the subject, what do you think is key to writing a quality story or book?

I suppose it comes down to three things: Write what you know, write for yourself, and write a lot. Imagination is always necessary when writing fiction, but people, humanity, the details about characters- stick to what you know, and it helps make the experience so much more realistic and enjoyable. And write what you want to write; don't write because you want to sell books or be famous. Write because you have something you want to say, or because you have a story you need to tell, or because writing makes you happy. Your writing will be so much better if it comes from that kind of understanding.

And, like any skill, you have to flex it. Write a lot! It doesn't even matter what you're writing, but just write. Flex that pen. Or, you know, keyboard.

What does your average writing day look like?

Procrastination. Writing is what I do for fun, so it's what I do when I'm avoiding my other job. Writing is like therapy; it helps me untangle my brain, so eventually, I can think about that other job with more clarity.

Typically, I get into a zone and spend most of the day shushing my husband when he tries to talk to me because I'm hyper-focused on whatever bit of the story I've drummed up. I'll drink unhealthy amounts of tea, gorge on tortilla chips as my primary meal and stay up far later than I should, and when I finally get to bed, I'll toss and turn because more ideas have fired around in my head... It goes like that for a few days, and then I'll emerge, bleary-eyed, from my writing frenzy, and slowly re-adapt to being with humans again.

How do you build a character profile - is it planned, do you use ideas from people you have met?

A little of both. Some of my characters are amplified versions of people I've met, some are people I wish I knew, and some are simply personalities needed to make the story interesting. Characters shouldn't be malleable; they need opinions, and those opinions should be contrasted, tested, and challenged by everyone around them, so sometimes I'll design a character just too contrary to another one. Having someone test your character's beliefs helps them-and you- understand it better.

As for the two main characters, Meda herself has elements of my personality, but she is most definitely not me; she's the kind of person I wish I could be. I wanted to write someone who would help me be a better person, and she is my attempt at changing the way I think in some situations. Perseus has a lot of my personality, too, but only if my life and childhood had been very different.

Who is your author hero (either fictional or not) and why?

Any author with the discipline and brain space to write daily is a LEGEND. Those of us who have two lives- the author life and the day-job-life- can struggle to write daily, even if it's therapeutic and a story begs to be told, so anyone who can do that is my hero! But I have immense respect for Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? for her ability to weave together such a wonderful, almost-detective-like story in such a unique way, but have it be so approachable and relatable. I met her and she's also awesome in person. And while I am not, strictly speaking, a Potterhead, how can you not love and admire J.K. Rowling?

Mara loves to catch up with her readers via her social media accounts at:

I hope you can take a moment to offer support for her by checking it out, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!

Cendrine Marrouat

Cendrine is a lady of many talents. From photography to writing, she has spent her days creating art in many forms. So I was keen to chat with her about how she manages to get everything done.

With such a range of books and accomplishments, what would you consider your greatest success to date?

I am the kind of person who celebrates every little victory. So, I tend to tap dance a lot. ;-)

What do I consider as my greatest success? Reading this review about one of my books:

"In my sneak peek of Life’s Little Things, I got a chance to see some of the book, and fell in love. Marrouat’s writing reminded me of one of my favorite poets, Kahlil Gibran. My initial impression was spot on. Each photo is caption by a carefully crafted line or phrase that Marrouat wrote especially for the image. Reminiscent of Gibran’s nostalgic, vibrant, and soulful poetry and prose, the quotes for each photograph evoke the best moments in life. I found myself transported to memories I treasure but often forget. Reading this was like lazing in a hammock under a sun-drenched sky. It was a stirring experience in all the best ways." (Source: Kelsey Stone, Tibetan Lemonade)

Kahlil Gibran is my favorite artist. This is the best compliment I have ever received.

If I can affect one person positively with my work, my job is done.

What has been the lowest moment of your career so far, and what turned it around for you?

I have never had what you call the lowest moment in my career. I think that it stems from the fact that I have always been focused on and aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I also love challenging myself!

As an artist with a wide experience in several fields, there is never a dull moment. And I surround myself with people who provide me with enough fuel to be able to keep going without looking back.

How would you describe your process for writing poetry?

For the last several years, I have only focused on traditional haiku and my own poetry form (the Sixku). My process is always the same: I sit and pay attention to what I see. Then, I let my mind guide me to where I want to go with my words.

What prompted you to write books to help other authors, and what is one of your key takeaway points for new authors?

Because that's what art is all about. Art is meant to be shared with others and help them experience emotions.

If you just write for yourself, what is the point?

My main takeaway for new authors is to stop comparing themselves to the world. Be careful about the words you use to publicly describe yourself. Because this is what people will remember about you and ultimately the way they will see you.

Also, learn the importance of a solid marketing strategy.

Cendrine likes to engage with her readers via Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and her website. She also, uses Instagram and YouTube.

You can find links to all her social media via her website:

I hope you can take a moment to offer support for her by checking it out, and I extend my thanks for being interviewed!

I wish to thank you for taking the time to read and engage with me! Happy reading everyone! VK Tritschler

Grab your copy of Magic & Mischief here:





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