Monday, July 02, 2007

Make-Believe Mondays With Meg Winston

Today on Make-Believe Mondays I'd like to introduce my friend, Meg Winston.

Meg, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you're working on now.

Meg: A dark, edgy little urban fantasy about the Wrath of Hell and her idiot apprentice. I'm a sucker for a happy ever after and these two just spark each other off the page, so it's been a joy to write. Tons of conflict, all of it smoldering, and a lot of black humor, which I love. Crazy sisters on smiting sprees, angry gods running amuk, lifelong secrets, and The Fates banning her from's been loads of fun to write.

Debra: The crazy sisters smiting had my attention before you went any further. (Having one sister, I can just imagine the trouble they might get into.) LOL

Ray Bradbury said, "We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out." How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Meg: Music, Google, forums, and my own filthy imagination. I consider every day research, which gives me a nifty excuse to look into all the wild and crazy things I'd never do, haven't done, or whatever in the name of ficton.

Debra: So many of us are armchair adventurers, playing that what if game.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Meg: The point at which they misbehave. At first they're nice and bidable. Do what I tell them, when I tell them. No snarking, no...anything. Then, out of nowhere, they'll say/do/think something stupid that requires me to work around their stupidity.

Debra: When they start talking back you know you're in trouble. ;)

Some very famous authors have played with the language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so, how?

Meg: I make up forms of existing words to suit what I'm working on. My gut tells me which root word best puts across my message, then I'll adjust the prefixes and suffixes until it suits the form grammatically required to make sense. Unfortunately, the resulting word isn't always an accepted part of the language. An example? Spot it if you can...*g*She blogged incessantly, spurred by diatribal vanities and the security of silent audience.

For the record, there's nothing I love more than finding someone who knows the language well enough to catch me when I do this and call me on it. I had a prof in college who caught every single one, even ones I didn't realize were actually words. What's more, he supplied acceptable forms, including grammatically correct synonyms. Obviously, I loved his class indescribably. I'm also terrified to let him read anything I have written since. *g*

Debra: He sounds like an excellent professor. I have always admired authors who are brave enough to play with the language.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Meg: Dreams? Nope. I bring my characters out to play when I daydream, but the stuff I come up with at night is woefully uninteresting.

Debra: As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Meg: Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne series. *sigh* Gilbert Blythe. *double sigh* The first book I ever got a library fine for was the eighth of the series, Rilla of Ingleside. Not that I'd lost it, but I couldn't find a copy in any of the bookstores near me and I didn't want to give it up because I was having serious re-reading joneses. The librarian and I compromised. I proved I still had the book and paid like $1 to "rent" it for the rst of the school year, which gave me a few months to order it from W. H. Smith.

Debra: Ah, yes. Anne of Green Gables. I read every single one of those. What a lovely thing for the librarian to do, and thank you for sharing that story. I wonder if she knows you are now a published author. Librarians are unsung heroes. I wonder how many of them nurture young readers in this way in between their quiet shushing.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination you could think of, what kind of story would that be?

Meg: I'd want to explore my characters beyond what I can do now. Just because they're perfect for YA doesn't mean they don't grow up to have fabulous erotic romance situations. Also, just because the first in the series is a romantic comedy, that doesn't preclude a subsequent story from being dark, or vice versa. Basically, I'd like to blur the line, take characters between subgenres within a series.

Debra: That's an interesting idea. And the YA readers might follow you there as they grow up with the characters.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Meg: My day job requires me to live by facts, to somehow absorb those facts and release them back into the world as a story. For me, it's less about dreaming myself a tale than it is about letting myself form the facts to release a different sort of story. Every story hangs on a conflict, some piece that doesn't jive with the expected, and no matter what sort I'm writing, I rely on my imagination to find that twist and make it a hook worth following. Everyone has that potential, but I've noticed a lot of people simply don't apply it as often as I do. I'd love to see more people find the random and absurd in everyday life - that's what makes it such a joy for me.

Debra: Meg, thank you for joining us here on this Make-Believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Please visit Meg at

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