Posted on 03/30/2018 at 12:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
Is it nurture or nature? In the case of Anneli Purchase’s writing career, it very well could be both.
Purchase is the daughter of an excellent oral story-teller — hence the nature — and made the shift from short stories to novels after joining a writing group.
The author of five novels, which focus on relationships that develop in unusual settings, took some time away from creating as well as copy editing to chat with us recently.
SADYE: What inspired you to start writing?
ANNELI: A love of story-telling, reading, and teaching creative writing to my elementary school students first got me started.
After reading hundreds of books to my classes, I saw the patterns in the stories and wrote some of my own. It was loads of fun, so I kept pushing myself to do more and more.
My sister read one of them and said, “You should publish this,” and that got my wheels turning. I joined the writers club and started writing seriously.
SADYE: What’s the most difficult part about writing for you?
ANNELI: Working through discouragement, sometimes because of negative comments from insensitive critiquers, and a loss of self-confidence are my biggest hurdles.
I remind myself that we can never please everyone, and I need to keep writing, even if I feel it may not be good enough.
Eventually, with many rewritings, it will be good. In the meantime, no one but me needs to see it.
SADYE: What has been the most rewarding part of writing?
ANNELI: When I write a scene that, on rereading, evokes strong emotion, I know that it is good and I feel proud of myself for having written it.
When a scene makes me shudder at the horror of a character’s personality or something he has done, or when I get teary-eyed over something incredibly sad in a story, then I know that it’s good.
In one scene, I had planned the dialogue with a certain outcome in mind, but once the characters began to talk, and I wrote what they would naturally answer to each other, the characters took over control of the scene.
At the end of it, I sat there, stunned, and clapping silently, saying, “I didn’t know they were going to do that!” It was so much fun.
SADYE: Various magazines have published your writing-advice articles; what is the best advice you’ve received or your favorite piece of advice to give?
ANNELI: One basic piece of advice to aspiring writers: learn the parts of speech so you will know what a good sentence should look like.
When you’ve finished writing, hire a copy editor. It’s important.
SADYE: You’re a writer and a copy editor. Do you have to turn off either of those roles so that you can focus on the other one?
ANNELI: Being a copy editor is like a program running on “low” in the background while I’m writing. The creative part of me can still be writing, but the basic writing can still be correct.
Later, when the creative part is finished, the copy-editor is turned on “high” power.
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Categories: Author Interview