I first became aware of Kristen Tsetsi through the Paper Rats on youtube. She and RJ Keller do this absolutely hilarious thing called Inside the Writer's Studio. I stumbled across it when I really needed to laugh and to find a bit of empathy for the writing life. If you are a writer and you are reading this, you need to be aware of this hilariawesome thing.
Of course this made me curious about her writing and as part of my b-day present to me this year I bought and read her book, Pretty Much True.
It is with crazy fangirl squee-glee that I present to you Kristen Tsetsi!
Q. What’s the best/worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
A. Best: "Write what you know." This is a controversial piece of advice, but it makes sense when you step away from it and don't apply it to every little written item ("I've never been in a spaceship! Does that mean I shouldn't write about spaceships!?"). What I think it means is, "If you've never experienced unrequited love/real panic/loss/longing/
Of course, the advice only applies if you're trying to tackle any one of those themes. If the story floats more on the surface of things, it won't matter as much.
Worst advice: When, how much, where, or why to write advice from any writer. Especially "why." One author writes"You must want to write so badly that it hurts not to. If you don’t write today, you ought to feel guilty. If you don’t feel guilty, you aren’t meant to write.”
Technique advice, I'm all for. As for the rest, you do what works for you; I'll do what works for me. And don't presume to know what makes anyone but you a 'writer.' (More on this here.)
Q. Rhyming or free verse?
A. Your question tempts a little rhyme, but I'm at work and have no time. I like them both, I guess, but then - it really all comes down to when. Some poems beg for bouncing sound, and some don't, so much. Maybe the content itself isn't so "tidy" as to fit into a rhyme.
Q. Safety features or Safety Dance?
A. The dance sounds like more fun.
Q. Writing wardrobe?
A. Warm feet and loose pants, when possible. Cold feet are distracting, and legs move around a lot when you're sitting for hours at a desk.
Q. What were you doing right before I started asking you a bunch of inane questions?
A. Transcribing an interview I did with a woman who runs an animal sanctuary for an article I'm writing.
Q. What’s on your desk right now?
A. My phone, copies of interviews my editor wanted me to read for an upcoming series, a pen & highligher-holder coffee cup, my ever-present ice water, and animal sanctuary fact sheets and catalogs.
Q. Favorite food thing of the moment?
A. It is, has always been, and shall forever be pasta.
Q. Indoors or outdoors? Why?
A. Indoors. Don't get me wrong - I'm into flowers and trees and all the smells and birdsongs, but I love the coziness of inside. And that's where my cats are.
Q. First thought when confronted with waking up?
A. Confronted!? I love waking up! It excites me. Some nights I can't wait to go to bed just so I can get up for morning and coffee.
Q. If you could collaborate on a project with anyone living, dead or imaginary, who would you pick?
A. Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen, Newlyweds, Nice Guy Johnny, etc.). 1. I love movies, enjoy screenwriting, and have always wanted to have the access necessary to have a screenplay produced, so he'd obviously be helpful in that capacity. 2. I love Burns' characters, the relationship tension he introduces, and the ease with which he with tenderly explores uncomfortable situations while simultaneously making fun of them. I'm a huge fan of uncomfortable situations, flawed characters, and maybe most of all, putting love under a fluorescent (rather than rose-colored) light. Getting to collaborate with him on the writing of a screenplay would be dreamy.
Q. Tell us about your current creative project/s.
A. Currently, my novel Pretty Much True... and my short fiction collection Carol's Aquarium are available for readers everywhere. I'm not working on anything creative at the moment because work-writing takes up too much of that energy. But I have high hopes for the future.