Today we are joined by Stacie Eirich @spacetodream
Hi Stacie! Thank you for joining us here on Myth & Legend this morning!
Hi Amanda! I've got my morning coffee with cream & a dash of Splenda -- happy to chat on writing.
How did your writing journey start?
I wrote a few short stories and plays as a child; I loved acting them out with my friends, dressing up and pretending to be crazy characters (not always human!) When I was a teen, I fell in love with poetry and began filling journals with my own poems. I was always a voracious reader, but even though I studied literature in college I didn't immediately consider writing as a career after graduating. For me, it was about love, and expression of that love.
What advice would you give to your younger self who is just starting to write?
Allow yourself the freedom to write whatever pops in your head. Try not to edit a thought, a feeling, an idea - instead just let it flow from pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You don't have to share every word, line, poem or story. Keep some of them only for yourself. And read, read often and widely - across generations, genres and cultures. Savor stories that you love; think and write about what made you love them. Then use your unique experiences and the world around you to come up with your own characters and stories. Above all - if writing is what you love, keep doing it!
How do you do character development?
I used to just jump into writing a story blind, not knowing much about my characters until things happened to them or they met some 'emotional crossroads moment' in the story. I discovered who they were as I wrote, which was exciting but somewhat dangerous! I think many of those first stories felt incomplete; I didn't really know what my characters needed or who they were - and it was a red flag for me as a writer, to take a step back and do some work before writing.
That work is, much like in an English class, a combination of research and pre-writing. I now complete a character sketch for nearly all my characters, in varying degrees. For a main protagonist, I ask and answer questions not only about how old she is, what her family is like, who her friends are, when and where they've lived - but also what her hopes, dreams, and fears are. Does she have any specific quirks or unique mannerisms? Who or what does she love or hate? What does she need or want in this story? I write short journal entries in my characters voices; I often write poems describing them. For my childrens fantasy series, The Dream Chronicles, I wrote both poems and songs for my characters.
Do you have any favorite writer's craft books?
Many! I love books on writing, from writers who practice the craft and share their creative process with others. Here are five from my bookshelf.
1) Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
2) Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
3) Escaping into the Open by Elizabeth Berg
4) The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates
5) Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
What music best describes my latest work?
As a lifelong singer and musician, I love this question! But that also makes it hard to answer, because music is constant and pervasive in my life - often informing my stories and seeping into my writing in many ways.
My latest work-in-progress is a historical piece set in the Bohemia of late 19th/early 20th century Paris. Before and during writing, I've listened to a lot of French music from the period, including the songs that would've been heard in cabarets, classical, vintage jazz and arias from the famed opera Carmen.
How do I get ideas for stories?
I find them everywhere! From places I've been or dream about going, people who intrigue and interest me, things I'm passionate about, things I wonder about. I also use prompts, often for a poem or piece of flash fiction that serve to 'get the juices flowing' before I begin work a longer story.
I forget who said it or wrote it, but I love the famous quote that goes something like: 'Ideas are all around us; we only need to pay attention.' It's a truth that I should probably frame above my desktop!
Which one of your stories is your favorite?
Hands down, my favorite is my three-book fantasy series, The Dream Chronicles! I began writing the first book, Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny, when I was in my early twenties but didn't complete it until over ten years later, as a thirty-something mother-of-two. I completed the third and final book, Dragon Kingdom & The Wishing Stone, in 2019 - and it's the fairytale adventure (starring a 12-year-old girl and her twin brother, mirrored after my own mother and her twin - and many magical creatures!) I always wanted to write.
If one of your stories could be made into a movie, which one and who would you cast!
Of course, this would have to be The Dream Chronicles! I'd love to see all my fantasy characters come to life on screen through the magic of animation - or even through the art of puppetry, which I love. For me, music comes to mind as well; I love the sweeping fantasy scores of John Williams & Howard Shore, and the playful sounds of Danny Elfman.
Who would I cast as my 12-year old twin protagonists, Suzie and Jack? Young actors Pixie Davies and Iain Armitage!
Thank you Amanda! I've had fun chatting writing over a cuppa, and hope my audience will enjoy a look behind my process. Have a great day! :-)
You too, Stacie! Thank you again for joining us. We look forward to reading your next story. Cheers!