Movellys Winners 2017: Interview with the force of storms

Movellys Winners 2017: Interview with the force of storms

Our awards ceremony has just ended and now have a lineup of interviews with the winners to share with all of you 


Ladies, Gentlemen and all other individuals, we are excited to present an interview with the three-time Movellys winner and self-published author the force of storms! This year, the force of storms won the much-coveted ‘Movella of The Year’ award for her story ‘Paper Forests’. The Intelligence Division interviews her about her writing, her ambitions and what she likes to read and listen to in this the blog in our series of Movellys 2017 winners’ interviews.


Who are you and what do you write?

// I’m Tegan, a self-described pessimist with too much free time. I like words. I like them a lot. That’s basically all there is to know about me. My first stories consisted of little seven-year-old me finding creative ways to express emotions, and my most recent works are the same. I write about myself, and anything that manages to find its way into my mind.


What are you currently working on?

// I’m currently trying to finish off the first draft for ‘Paper Forests’ – I put the Movella on hold for a while because I wasn’t happy with what I had written and needed to edit it all to get back into the right headspace. Other than that, I’m rewriting some of my works left on my old account that I’m not ready to let go of fully. There’s some ideas and concepts that I still love, and I don’t want to abandon them.


What is your favourite thing you've finished to date?

// In all honesty, the only thing I’ve finished to date is ‘Beauty in the Breakdown’, so that’s my favourite by default. All the short stories that I’ve ‘finished’ are basically the prologues or first chapters to novels I want to write but don’t have the motivation or inspiration to put more words onto the page. But, out of all these ‘short stories’, I think my favourite is ‘Eighteen’. I tried to push myself by writing in a slightly different style – more poetic and a bit more telling – than usual, and the amount of positive feedback I got on it was overwhelming in the best way.


How did you find and why do you like Movellas?

// I think I must’ve found it from my cousin, somewhere around four years ago. I was alternating between Quotev and Wattpad as the sites I read and wrote on and found it impossible to receive any kind of acknowledgement for what I was creating. My cousin recommended Movellas for me. Many years and multiple accounts later, I’m still here. I like Movellas because it’s such an amazing community where I’ve had the chance to support and be supported by so many incredible creators. It’s a community that I love being part of every day, especially since there is no other writing website like this.


What are you currently reading?

// // All my most recent books are re-reads – the current one is ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ because I remember loving it but don’t remember why. I like having the familiarity of reading a book where I already know what’s going to happen, and I like reminding myself what happens in a series I read a while ago, but I also feel like I’m wasting time that I could be spending reading new material, especially since my to-be-read pile is not going away any time soon.


Name your favourite book at the moment.

// This is an easy answer: ‘The Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller. It retells the story of Greece’s greatest hero from the perspective of his best friend, staying true to the legends and filling in the blanks with a beautiful friendship and eventual romance that genuinely had me crying through the last thirty pages.


What is your favourite Movella?

// So, I’ve completely blanked on all the Movellas I’ve ever read, so I’m going to answer with some of my favourite Movellians instead, if that’s alright. Two of my favourite people on this site are Prodigy and Molly Looby and I’ve admired them ever since I was still using my ‘Tande’ account. Prodigy creates so many incredible stores – whether that’s on her own or as a co-author – and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Her plots and characters are addicting. Molly Looby is the same, but I’m also incredibly inspired by her published works in addition to what she has on the site.


How does media beyond your writing (i.e. music) affect your stories?

// Music will forever be one of my biggest inspirations for my writing. Song lyrics and simple observations and my main sources, in addition to random things that happen while I’m half-asleep. Most stories come from songs. Some stories come from Tumblr posts or Pinterest prompts – ‘Heart’ was inspired by seeing a Tumblr post about there not being many books about physical disabilities. One story came to life after I experienced one of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had, and I could (and still can) remember it vividly. But I find that there’s things that affect and influence my writing all around, even if it’s just writing about my surroundings or basing a character on someone that walked past me in the street.


Give us some background to why you write/make art and what you write/make art for (i.e. working towards a career in it, have a career in it already, just for fun)

// Usually, as a bit of a joke, I say I write because I’m not really good at anything else. There’s a small bit of truth in that. But, like I said earlier, I like words, and I like them a lot. My love of writing started because I’m not good at talking about my feelings, so I write about them instead.


Can you tell us about any longer-term ambitions for the future?

// As I’m writing this, I can see my bookshelf over the top of my laptop screen and I can see my self-published book tucked in amongst authors I’ve admired for years. The feeling is unbelievable, and my ambition is to be able to knock off the ‘self’ and just have a published book. It’s a dream I’ve had since I was seven years old, and it’s something I’ll always be working towards.


How do you approach research in your stories? The processing of complex emotion is central to 'Paper Forests' - how do you research this, and how do you approach writing it?

// My research is usually quite unpredictable: it usually comes down to me just researching oddly specific things that only appear in the story for a second. But ‘Paper Forests’ was different: I researched almost every single scene in the story, almost every single paragraph in most of those scenes. I was reading Twitter threads about personal mental health experiences, on Wikipedia being a sponge for anything about the afterlife, on Pinterest just absorbing as many images of forests and fantasy creatures as possible and trying to turn the pictures into words. My approach for writing the emotion came down to one main thing: don’t romanticise it. Mental health in modern media usually ends up being sugar-coated or presented in a way where it disappears as soon as romance appears, and that’s something I didn’t – and still don’t – want to do. I want to base the emotions on experiences of real people, including myself, and it needs to be real and brutal, but still hopeful.


What do you feel is the single most significant development or change in your style/approach to writing that occurred whilst or because of writing 'Paper Forests'?

// ‘Paper Forests’ is the first ‘big’ project I’ve attempted since ‘Beauty in the Breakdown’, and it’s definitely the project where I’ve ‘discovered’ myself. I started writing ‘Beauty in the Breakdown’ when I was thirteen, so I think it’s safe to say that my writing style has matured since then. In the past few years, I’ve felt less pressure to write what people are expecting and have just decided to explore concepts that I care about, especially since I’ve learnt so much more about different topics as the discussion in social media continues to grow.


Is there anything else you'd like to say? Any further hints you'd like to drop about what you're working on next, or any links to your work that you'd like to share?

// As I have no idea what I’m working on next, and I’m not really updating many stories right now, so I’m going to drop some writing advice instead. I’ve seen so many people recently – not just on Movellas – who have been close to giving up a project because it doesn’t have ‘enough’ views, because they don’t have a huge amount of likes or comments, because their stories aren’t performing as well as ones in more popular genres. But, you should feel comfortable writing what you like and what you are proud of, rather than thinking that you have to change in order to receive recognition.


Thank you to the force of storms for participating in this interview, and congratulations on your win! In addition, congratulations to everyone else who was nominated for the award – it is certainly no mean feat and we wish you all the very best in continuing your writing.


Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you in the next one!


Thank you to The Intelligence Division for conducting this interview and Chrissy Sky for designing the banner :)


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