Sarah Elliot on her books

Sarah Elliot is the author of the books Volf Trilogy and A simple wish. Her writing career began when she decided to beat dyslexia. The author has many great messages to reveal of her books in this post and reading this would help the new authors too. Volf trilogy and The Simple Wish are available on Amazon.

Srah Elliot on her writing experience:

*I originally took up writing as a means to practice my spelling and sentence structure as I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was ten years old. I was always the type to want to learn, to be able to read those big adult stories that I was fascinated by and decided that I wasn’t going to be beaten by dyslexia. Initially I started off with fanfiction and just began writing up stories that me and my friends would play out depending on what we were in to at that time. We’d make up our own characters for each fandom and write stories with the established characters and settings and eventually I started branching off into making my own stories and it just kept on going from that point.

*Keeping my concentration is sometimes a little bit on the pressing side. I don’t usually get too distracted, but I can only concentrate on something for a certain length of time before my brain just goes ‘nope, done with this now.’ Thankfully though various writing challenges, I’ve been able to discipline myself with word counts that are managed and work for each story. This allows me to focus on the section that I’m writing for and allows me a lot of room for creativity. It also makes sure that I don’t go into ‘waffle’ mode too much because I’m limiting myself to the word count though there are many times that I’ve gone above or below it just depending on my mood. Naturally being dyslexic makes a thing lot more interesting, as my spelling and grammar are sometimes nothing short of horrific but thankfully having the time to edit and work through the pieces is a much needed godsend.

*For some of my works I’ve created the characters first, and the plot comes with outline for characters first, and the others the plot comes with the outlines for characters that I fill in after I’ve scribbled down the plot. I tend to like creating characters more, if I’m truthful, but I blame that on the fact that I’m into pen and paper role playing games (D&D) where character creation is essentially the first step. Because they’re the things that you have to use to drive your story forward, that you have to care for or hate if they’re the bad guy and I usually like to have them firmly set in my head before I start on a project.
I do actually write out plots and plan out stories, but I’ve come to learn that the best way thing for me with a plot is to have an starting point, an fixed ending point and a selection of things that I want to have happen on the way noted down. Then I just start writing and see which way the characters go…because guaranteed if I try and follow the plot exactly but the time I get to bullet point three, the characters have wandered off track after finding a dragon or something. So now I just give them a vague idea of where I want them to eventually end up and see what happens in the middle. It’s not a method I would recommend for everyone, but it works well enough for me.

*‘Volf Blood’, the last in the Amethyst Trilogy was the most challenging to write.
It was a slight mistake on my part as originally, I had written Silver and Gold together and at the same time and just thought that the final would come together once I was ready to go with it. But it wasn’t until I was actually doing the edit on Volf Gold from my publisher that I suddenly realised that I hadn’t even begun to write the third volume. By this time I was already going to conventions to sell my books and I had people wanting to know when the second one would be out and I figured quickly that if it went as well as the first one then people would want volume 3. So, I had to start writing the third volume which was all well and good, bar I did not have that many notes for it. I hadn’t planned it out prior and never really thought about what I wanted to have happen. I also had a character in the first book who was meant to be a major player in the third book, but I hadn’t written down what they were supposed to do either.
Thankfully I was able to find some early planning that I had done and get the plot together and sorted out, but it was a stressful eighteen months work to get everything sorted out. Thankfully it all worked out for the best and I was able to get Volf Blood out to meet the demand that came for it, but I learnt my lesson my planning out series and making sure to have plots done.
What really bugs me is that even to this day, I still cannot remember what that one character was supposed to do. They do have a role and they do follow everything through which is fine but it’s always going to be the one thing that bugs me for the rest of my writing life.

Sarah Elliot about her and her books:

*I’m working on a project which I like to call the mini-series. It’s a fifteen volume series, set in a cyberpunk dystopian world based off my home city of Newcastle upon Tyne. It follows Sehseh, a psycho cyborg Maid whose out on the streets cleaning up all the evil ‘Dust Bunnies’. It’s a mixture of 80s action/exploitation movies, anime and cyberpunk and is extremely violent and twisted.
It’s a step out of my usual comfort zone and something very different to the table but I’m really having fun with writing it. Currently on volume 13 and on the home run now with the ending in sight so that I am very happy with indeed.

*Though I am particularly fond of The Collector, my horror icon character whom I plan to do so much more with is one of my favourtie from my books as there are way many to choose from. She’s dark, mysterious and quite frightening to a lot of people and I just love getting to really delve into the darker side of the world and not really having to explain the nightmares that she makes. I’ve only done one short story with her, but I plan to do more once I get a few more projects sorted out.

*I have too many favourite authors because I switch genres a lot. Some of my favourites include Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett, Marissa Mayer, PC and Kristen Cast, J. R.R. Tolkien, J. K. Rowling and Isaac Asimov. Currently I’m not really reading anything in particular, as when I’m working on a project, I tend to find that reading just becomes me editing constantly and it drives me up the wall. I indulge in fanfictions mainly because they’re fun and stupid and I don’t have to think about them too much.
Once I’m done with my current project I want to get back onto the Lunar Chronicles as I was really into that and then I also have the Moomin books to read as well.

*My main dream was to go to Sixth Form College and then University, which I did successfully do.
I went to CCHS Sixth Form College, then went on to Northumbria University and got a BA in Media Productions. Then I went on to do a master’s Course in Creative Writing in Swansea University, in Wales. I started to want to become a published author in my teens and still have to pinch myself to believe that it’s real in the slightest.

*I love all my books and short stories; I couldn’t honestly pick one to be my favourite out of all of them because they’re all different and they all have different meanings for me.
If I had to choose, the one I’m most proud of myself for, would be ‘A Simple Wish’ as it was the first book that I published but it was also the first book that I ever actually finished writing for myself. It started off life as a fanfiction, then got played with for my university course and then had nothing happen to it for years. It was only when I needed a story to attempt to write for NaNoWriMo, that I remembered about that story and I challenged myself to write it. It was my first ever time completing the challenge and I had the first full draft of what became the first ever published book. It was definitely my first for a lot of things and it’s probably the one that I will always be most proud of because what it is and what it represented to me.

The author’s opinions on writing:

First drafts are the writer’s playground, where anything goes, and anything can happen. They’re the foundations that start everything off and yes, they are cringeworthy, usually make no sense, have more plot holes than bridges to fix everything together and are generally a mess but that’s what makes them fun. I like to keep first drafts of my works, usually because I go back and completely rewrite my ideas out, and sometimes if I’m at a loss for inspiration I’ll go back to read the earlies versions to recapture my love for the story or else find something that I’ve forgotten about.
I once got told that first drafts were the writers telling themselves the story and I adopted that motto for my own work because they very much are. I always like first drafts because they’re the rawest form of the work and it’s always fun to look back and realise how far you’ve come from the first words through to the final pieces.

Message to new authors from Sarah Elliot:

*Don’t make the assumption that it has to be perfect on the first go. There are two pieces of advice that I’ll give to new authors and writers. The first is the most obvious but it’s to write the piece you are writing until it is done. Seriously, just write the story as it comes, it doesn’t matter if pieces don’t make sense or if you go off on a tangent because that can all be fixed in the editing stages. The only times you should be looking back over your unfinished works is to check a fact that you may have stated – for example if you’re writing a zombie fic and you want Uncle Cid to come and eat Grandma Jo make sure that you haven’t already killed Uncle Cid or had Grandma Jo eat him already – or to see where you left a character off because they sometimes wander off and don’t tell you where they’re going. Otherwise keep on writing your piece until the story is done and let it tell you when It’s done. It takes some practice to get into this mindset and it’s not an easy one to do but trust me, it works.
The second piece of advice is simply to ‘be a fan’.
This always sounds strange and even I’ll admit that it’s an odd one but it’s something I was once told and it’s actually very true. Being a fan is not just about boosting yourself up and cheering yourself on, it’s about being a fan of the world that you’ll find yourself in. It’s about remembering when you were that fan, going up to your idol to get a book signed and that feeling you had when talking to someone. There’s nothing better than sharing that moment when someone buys your story and asks you to sign the book. Or that moment when someone comes back to you to ask you when the next one is out. It’s a magical feeling and something to be very proud of but I always am a fan of my fans and it’s always a reminder to me of where I once was. So be a fan of yourself, of the work you do but also be a fan of those who read your work…

because one day they may just be the people who helped you achieve what you thought was impossible and that’s something really special.

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