05/05/2017 by Siddiqui Fayesal
The first interview post was regarding Cheryl’s blog and how she manages to keep up the tempo with her writing and sketching. This one, here, is closer to my heart because in this one I am more of a fellow writer and less of a fan boy.
In the last post, I touched upon her multi-universes and how I go gaga over it. In this one here I have tried delving a little deeper to understand her methods with more clarity.
A writer’s process begins with an idea, born as a mere thought and then supplemented by narratives and plots and dialogues. The process that makes a written sentence a sentence is where the entire worth of a writer is determined. When I questioned Cheryl about her “process” I expected a simplified explanation of her complicated methodology.
She surprised me with just simplicity without any peripheral visions to greatness. She gave me nothing out of this world and its mysteries. Instead, she maintains that she didn’t do anything that could be remotely called a process or a methodology. She did tell me one thing and that was to follow the trajectory when it began, and it’ll build up as a process. In her own words, she,
“…wrote thousands of pages of drivel which really meant nothing, but in the end, it became the bones upon which the main story has been based upon. To maintain the story in one’s head is one thing but to translate it into a form where the reader enjoys it as much as you did, is the real deal. It only takes a form of obsession to keep going back to what you want to read.”
Write what you want to read!
An easy statement to make but a tough one to maintain and to maintain to an extent that scribbles and rhymes turn in an actual novel! Tough, I say. She shuts me up before I even get a chance to complete that thought. Reiterating her point, she vehemently subscribes to the thought that all writers should follow. Forget what other people think, and to write something that you feel is lacking, and which is necessary, for your own palate to consume.
“Censoring what one writes to please others removes the potency of a person’s work because it has been passed through various roadblocks to please a people that you have no idea about. It dilutes the essence.”
She isn’t without doubts. No writer is without conflicts, but she escapes from one creative conundrum with the help of delving into another creative exercise.
“When I can’t write, I draw.”
Her sketches are life like; not airbrushed to perfection, but visually artistic and appealing. It looks like something that has been made after putting in hours and raw efforts. I would suggest checking out her character album, but be a little careful regarding spoilers! Her stories arc a whole world and they’re interconnected in the most unexpected of ways.
Seeking an answer to dilemmas that plague every beginner, in whatever field, I ask her how! How is it possible to do what she was talking about? Not everyone has a backup plan. Not everyone has the audacity to be great at two things and use them to their advantage.
Begin by short stories, she says.
Test yourself, she says.
Concentrate on the appeal that began it all. Knowing what one wants to write, the basic outline, the barest of theme clearly helps. Give the reader in you a chance to lead the writer towards the plot and narrative. Join writing groups that gives constructive feedback.
My final question to her before I wrapped up was the one I love asking everyone with whom I talk about writing.
What leads her? The characters with clearly defined idiosyncratic psyches, or well-labelled plots and storylines? Was there a method to her madness?
Both, she tells me. It began with one and lead to another. There’s no difference when obsessions take over. It finds its own way.
Existentialism is a running theme in her work. She questions the very fabric of existence, life and mortality through the Guild Master’s General hoops through the timelines. She writes a tantalising plot in a world that spans centuries. The future holds evil and sadness but also hopes.
There is a severe swipe towards Crony capitalism and segregation through the portrayal of the organization of immortals attempting to take over the world, while the weaker sections try to fight it with their restricted and antiquated means. Though the world accepts diversity more openly, its dichotomy is a stark portrayal of constrained coexistence in the darkest corners when juxtaposed with the evil that is boiling over all over the world.
Cheryl’s work speaks volumes for the readers, but what it does to a fellow writer is that it opens up possibilities that were difficult to fathom to erupt from one source. Reading her posts is like a high that makes you wonder if it is remotely possible to be the owner of a palatial universe created in the confines of one’s head! In the real world, I know there is not a dearth of writers who have tapped upon the dystopian world but, the magic of Cheryl lies in the fact that she’s an email away.
I literally emailed her and she replied. I told her I loved the behind the scenes that she’s written and that I’d love it if she could help me understand how she managed with the universe and she was on board. I didn’t have to beg. After all, she has nothing to gain from my blog.
This was all for my pleasure!
I would not be exaggerating the claim when I say that she is someone who I look up to whenever I think of world-building and plotting a storyline. The sheer expanse of her imagination is to reckon with and something to aim for if one is a fan of this kind of writing.
Cheryl blogs at https://cherylmoore.wordpress.com and where fellow writers can drink in deep at the foundations of a grand universe in the making.