Slinkies editor, Laura Barry caught up with emerging writer, Abby Kong and asked her about writing and the meaning of life.
LB: Do you remember the name and the personality of the first character you ever created?
AK: It might not have been the very first, but the first I can remember was a rabbit in my one act play when I was six. I coloured an A4 piece of paper yellow and made my poor father stick it to his shirt as a costume.
LB: Do you have any unusual writing habits?
AK: I often write from first person, and plan as if I were an actor preparing for a role. I like to write work that’s as honest as it can possibly be, which entails knowing the character inside and out, and ‘becoming’ that character while writing. I suppose you could say that’s a bit unusual, even a little unorthodox, especially when I often write about very emotionally complex characters and situations, for example, I wrote a piece about a school shooting based on the letters and journals of the Columbine High shooters. Keeping myself in check mentally has come through trial and error, and a lot of practice.
LB: Any advice to share with other young writers?
AK: It feels strange to give advice when I’m so new to this myself, but I suppose I would say to believe in your ability, but accept your imperfections with open eyes and no delusion. Be both your biggest fan and worst critic.
LB: How do you approach a new story? With a clear plan of the narrative, or is it more of a ‘well, let’s see how this goes’, sort of approach?
AK: It depends. The idea for the book I’m currently working on came very much from our current political and social landscape and therefore took quite a bit of research, planning and structuring. More intimate works I tend to get myself into an emotional headspace and thrash it out with no structure whatsoever.
LB: Are you a procrastinator? A keen procrastibaker? An avid procrasticleaner?
AK: I am the queen of procrastination. Buzzfeed is an evil, evil place for people like me.
LB: ‘Kill your darlings’ – easier said than done?
AK: Tough question. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s just downright painful. As I am my own worst critic, I tend to agree with most criticism of my work. It’s the few ones I don’t agree with that hurt to kill, especially when it’s something that has come from the really personal experience of ‘being’ that character for the time I was writing. But at the end of the day, it’s about what’s best for the piece and for the experience of those who read it, so you do what you have to do.
LB: Is there one particular author or book that you look to as a source of inspiration for your own writing?
AK: There are way too many to just name one. Although I’m inspired by many writers, such as Dr. Seuss, Tolkein, John Green, Ray Bradbury, Meg Rosoff and J.K Rowling (odd mix, I know!), my writing isn’t inspired by them. I’m inspired by their greatness, by their approaches to writing, but they aren’t a direct influence on my style.
LB: Any advice for those stuck in a reading or writing slump?
AK: If you’re a writer who struggles with ‘writer’s block’ as much as I do, try a change of scenery. I hit a wall with the book I’ve been adding to for a few years, so I took a trip out to Stanthorpe in the dead of winter. The combination of below zero temperatures, gorgeous scenery and wine made for a pretty great creative environment. If you can afford the petrol money and a few nights’ accommodation, I’d definitely recommend it.
LB: What are you reading at the moment? Any recommendations?
AK: Currently reading Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and it’s just excellent. Such a well-crafted story, and really makes you think. Up next is American Sniper, which I want to get through before I see the film. Have heard so many mixed (and passionate) reviews on it, so can’t wait!
Abby Kong is a Law/Creative and Professional Writing student in Queensland, and feels very awkward writing about herself in the third person. She is a relatively new writer, and would use this space to discuss her previous publications and accolades if there were any (which there aren’t). At eighteen years old, she hopes to expand her writing abilities, finish her novel manuscript and graduate Law without the help of a therapist.
You can preview and buy the eSingle, ‘Repeat’ here :
Book available at Tomely