Q1. What inspired you to write flash fiction? And what was the inspiration for Asteroids?
While I was waiting to receive my manuscript back from my editor, I didn’t want to stop my daily writing, yet I knew writing another book during the waiting period wasn’t how I operated. I like to finish one story before jumping to the next. It’s a way to keep myself connected to my characters, as well as staying submerged within the world I’m writing about. So, to keep my “writing muscle” strong, I would write daily short stories that incorporated the elements I enjoy writing about. They typically ranged anywhere from 5 to 10 pages. After about a week I began researching avenues that would allow me to share some of the stories I felt were good enough to share, and that’s when I stumbled upon a handful of magazines and websites that paid writers for flash fiction. Now, I had to trim my stories down to meet the requirements. Flash fiction is usually 1,000 words or less, so I had to say farewell to any words that didn’t add to the heart of the story. It was difficult, though I’m usually not one to over describe with flowery language, but my style is definitely more descriptive than what I turned over to the editors of various flash fiction magazines.
The idea for Asteroids wasn’t hidden deep within me. The topic of teen suicide prevention has been an aspect in my life since high school. I was involved with a few organizations that did, in my opinion, a tremendous amount for the community, including for the families that lost their children to suicide. I wanted Asteroids to reflect how the smallest of efforts, words, and actions can impact those who may be battling a war within themselves. A war that many, if not all, of us are blind to. Every suicide I can recall, rather it be someone I knew or a celebrity, creates an outburst of the comment (or one similar), “I had no idea he or she was suffering.” And that is the root of Asteroids.
Q2. What would you say is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
My mind instantly began squishing my thoughts into slivers after considering this question! But to pick only one answer. . . . I think training myself to write when my motivation seems to be on an extended vacation is extremely difficult. In my experience, motivation for writing a book comes on strong in the beginning, then quiets once the process starts. Of course I’m thrilled to explore and tell the story that I spent weeks, if not months, plotting, but that alone really only counts for so much drive. It becomes about dedication, work ethic, and the simple act of sitting down and writing when life tempts me with a thousand other things. Also, I feel this is true for many because as the author of the story, you know (or should) what comes next, the twists, and how everything ends. It’s a great thing to know, but if the first page is Point A and the last page is Point B, then digest the idea of running a marathon with the pace of a snail.
Q3. Do you plot and outline before writing a story?
I do! I find the more details I have fleshed out about the story, characters, and setting(s), the faster, and sometimes better, I’m able to write. I do the hard, slower work of crafting how the story will flow before I ever begin writing it, which then allows me to write without the nagging question of “What happens next?” popping into my brain every 5 minutes. What has worked well for me is if I’m not 100% happy with the story after plotting, then I don’t move onto writing it until I am. I’ll spend the time and dissect why I’m not happy with it. Usually I can fix it by editing some of the details, characters and their backstories, etc. I believe I’ve saved myself an abundant amount of time by doing this because the risk of getting 50-75% into the story to find out it just doesn’t seem to work isn’t a worry for me. I know the story works. I know I’m happy with the details and characters because I groomed them during the plotting stage.
And yes, I have tried writing by the seat of my pants. It’s a great skill for those who can do it! But I simply couldn’t. I, on multiple drafts of the same story, would get close to finishing the manuscript and realize I had thought of better plot points, characters to add (or take away), and many things in between. And once you change one thing, it can cause the need to change a ton of things.
Q4. Why do you like to write fantasy?
I’ve actually been asked this quite often over the past 8 years. I think those who grew up with me ask this the most because I really wasn’t into fantasy as a child. It wasn’t until I was approaching 20 that my mind became infatuated with magical stories. But to answer your question, I write fantasy because I get to explore new worlds filled with anything my imagination can create. As long as I’m able to make the world make sense to the readers, then nothing is off limits. I get to find out what it’s like to fly on the back of a dragon; how unbreakable a mental bond can be with an intelligent creature of my choice; what magic can be used for.
Q5. Are you working on a sequel to the book that publishers are currently considering?
I am not. The book in question wasn’t written with a sequel in mind, which I believe publishers will see that as well. I do have many, many, many ideas that are similar to the book being considered, though. Some I have already plotted and have no doubt that I’ll write one day, while others need more fine tuning. But I am currently working on a YA fantasy that would technically be somewhat of a prequel to a planned trilogy. I don’t like to give much away, but I promise the world I’ve created is rooted with ancient magics, bonds, and beasts.
Thank you all for your support and questions. I look forward to hearing from more of you!
Don’t forget to follow Cody on social media to stay up to date with his writing.
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