Branli Caidryn is a camera shy aspiring author, Science Fiction junkie, and social nomad extraordinaire; all while trying to find his place in this world. Having recently finished writing Project Horizon: Overture, he will soon enter the world of querying.
1. At what point did you decide you were a “writer”, and not just a (fill in your day job here)?
I think it started when I began my second book. Originally, on my first book, I wrote to pass the time. Sure, there were ideas and stories in my head brewing, but I never expected to really finish. It was something I refer to as ‘dabbling.’
Once I started on the second book I realized I needed to take writing more seriously and shortly thereafter considered myself a writer.
2. What is the first task you accomplished towards the goal of being a published author?
Seriously. I realized early on that in order to hone my skills I needed to study the craft. What better way than to read how others do it?
I also began attending a few writer workshops hosted by published authors and others in the publishing industry.
3. Do you have a blog? How do you use it?
I do. It helps me keep thoughts organized, a way to look back and see how far I’ve come. It’s primarily there to document my journey towards publication.
4. Do you use twitter, facebook, Goodreads, or other social media sites?
Twitter is really what started it all for me. It allowed me to spring-board my knowledge on writing and getting published. Facebook has also brought the twitter social circle in a more refined way, allowing me to more easily interact with authors, screenwriters, and even a few intern agents.
5. Do you have multiple accounts on any of the sites? Do you combine the personal and private or keep them separate?
I certainly have multiple accounts on twitter. One is my writer, one is very personal, and the last is dedicated to my book. I think it’s essential to keep things separate. For example, though I have a decent amount of followers on my primary account (mostly writers), I wouldn’t consider them a platform when I go to sell my book. That’s what the book account is for.
6. How important was it to you, personally, to establish a web presence as a pre-published writer?
This is sort of a double-edge sword. I have to be careful with what sort of image I’m setting up. On the one hand I’ve gotten to know many authors and even a few agents. On the other I often worry about the image I portray, worrying about my WIP, edits, or even complaining about work. Oy!
7. Many writers go through a stage when they hate the words they are writing. Is this true for you? How do you get through it?
Ha! All the time!
I come to loathe the project I’m working on and feel like abandoning it. I must admit I did this often in my earlier attempts at writing. I think it’s important to know when to take a step back, take some time off, or even move on to another project.
8. What is your favorite electronic or digital tool to use for writing?
My absolute favorite is Liquid Story Binder XE by Black Obelisk. I can create the most thorough character dossiers, outlines, and even timelines. I must admit that it’s an unfortunate underuse of the program as it has many more features, but it serves my needs. Creating worlds has never been easier for me.
9. What is your favorite non-electronic writing aide?
The ocean. It is the perfect blank canvas. I could stare at it for hours playing out a scene or story in my head.
10. What is the most persistent distraction from writing?
That would be twitter, though anything that connects me to the Internet is bound to distract me. I end up doing the social-media shuffle, from one outlet to another, somehow expecting things to change or see an update/notification.
11. What is your ideal writing environment? Have you been able to create it?
I’ve tried many different settings and have yet to find my ideal writing environment. I think it all depends on the mood and what exactly I’m doing. For example, when creating a first draft, I like music and perhaps a nice view. For editing, I require no music, absolute silence, and preferably a dark room with no windows.
12. Have you researched agents, or contacted any regarding representation?
I’ve yet to reach out to any at this point. Now that I’ve finished some final edits, I’ve only just started researching agents and publishers. The next step will be queries.
13. What have you learned about querying?
14. At what point would you consider yourself to be “a success” as a writer? At what point would you quit your day job?
I used to think that landing a contract and selling my first book would be considered success, not so much anymore. It seems that’s only step one in a long race with not only other authors but the long career ahead.
I would quit my job once the royalty checks come in and could keep me afloat.
15. How much writing did you do before deciding that you were “officially” a writer?
245k words… I finished a trilogy before I realized I wasn’t in it just for fun.
16. On your blog you mention a previous work that is either 2 or 6 books, depending on who you ask. Are these works that you plan to return to, or are they the “First Books You Hide in a Drawer Never to See the Light of Day” that so many writers have?
Ha! The 245k word project is technically a sequel, and though planned as one big book is now edited into three separate books, creating a trilogy.
The first book, now THAT is the book I hide in a drawer to never see the light of day!
17. What shifted when you switched from these books to your WIP?
The mindset behind my work has certainly shifted. As I write I’m more aware of the world I’m about to create, watching for story arcs, plot holes, and character development. I think I will have less work on my hands when I edit this current WIP.
18. Did you create a world for your WIP? How extensively did you work out the details of this world?
The details I think went a bit far than on prior works. I went all the way down to the politics, laws, and even started working on a sort of constitution. I studied social structures from different cultures and added that to my world. I also thought about environment, thinking about what fauna and flora would exist and why. Even the terrain was studied a bit, charting where deserts or forests would exist. Pretty heavy on detail with hopes it pays off in the end.
19. What else can you share about your WIP?
It’s exciting. Working on anything new is exciting and it’s a challenge as a writer to see if you can out-do yourself.
20. When the day comes that you are presented with a prestigious award, who are you most likely to forget to thank?
I honestly have such a bad memory, and my friends can attest to it, that I’ll be sure to sum the thanks with a simple, “and I’d like to thank all my friends.”
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