Collaborative Writing Challenge

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
― Helen Keller

Author Spotlight: October 2015 
Rachael Steele

Every month I like to shine the spotlight on one of our participating writers. This month I am proud to introduce Rachael Steele, who is an upcoming writer who has now had chapters selected for 3 CWC Collaborative Novels. Rachael has been snapped up by a travel company as a resident writer, and is constantly testing her own boundaries when it comes to the art of writing. Learn more about Rachael from the short interview below. 

  1. What made you start writing?

I started writing again after many years of not picking up a pen when my good friend Laura Callender posted about a Collaborative Book project that she was starting and was looking for people to join in. I liked that it was a challenge within a certain time frame and that there was no pressure to finish a whole book. If your chapter wasn’t chosen at least you had a go, and once you start writing again you realize you need to practice, practice and practice.

  1. Do you use good old fashioned pen and paper or your computer?

I use my laptop or iPhone for all my writing however when the plot starts getting a little complex, I grab a pencil and notepad and jot down exactly where everyone is at and where I am trying to take them, though I write poems with pencil and paper.

  1. How did you feel when your writing was first acknowledged?

When my writing was first acknowledged I felt fantastic. I couldn't believe my chapter was chosen, and the feedback was always so positive. I often made structural or grammatical errors, but that didn't matter to CWC, they wanted the creative element and it seemed I excelled at it. As time passed I have learned and improved so much. The confidence boost also made me sign up for courses at the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute and start working on different genres.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two more collaborative book projects with CWC as well as starting a few starter chapters for future projects they may have in the works. I am hoping to have my blog up and running soon as well.

  1. How did you find writing a chapter for CWC, was it what you expected?

Writing a chapter for CWC was made easier with the help of the story coordinator. The chapter summaries are crucial to your chapter’s success as you can really see the different directions you can take the story in without it seeming to farfetched. Those summaries and notes sparked my creativity, so it was always enjoyable.

  1. Where is your favorite place to write, and why?

My favorite place to write is at home either in the study for when I need to really think or at the dining table sitting on my exercise ball that I do not exercise on. I feel I am lucky that I do not need complete silence, it just doesn’t happen in my household.

  1. What do you consider your best work to date? tell us a little about it?

It would have to be the final chapter of Ambition. It was my first time giving a final chapter a go and it was a real challenge. I felt a strong obligation to all the other authors who had worked so hard on their chapters of being able to tie up all the loose ends the way they would have liked as well.

  1. You have now had chapters selected for three projects, and your final chapter was selected for AMBITION. Congratulations, how do you approach the task at hand, and which story did you enjoy working on most?

Having chapters selected for three CWC projects has been an amazing confidence booster. I enjoyed each equally though at this stage, but I would lean towards Ambition being my favorite. I think it’s due to living in London for ten years so I found the setting and characters familiar. When I start my writing for a chapter, I read through all the summaries on the website plus reference notes. I then mull it over in my head for maybe a day or two, just thinking about different story lines and whether they would work or not, then I sit down and begin. I also use google just to clarify facts, places and times that I may be using for example: What types of suits were they wearing in 1923, colors etc.

  1. If you could give just once piece of advice to upcoming writers, what would it be?

My one piece of advice for upcoming writers is to read everything you write out loud. I read everything to my husband and that’s when I pick up on things that don’t make sense. Also reading tips and tricks on writing helps. I love Kat Hudson’s KLH Create works, plus joining groups on Facebook etc. Seeing what other people are writing about can be just the inspiration you need.

  1. What is your preferred Genre to read and write?

I would have to say adventure and romance. Though if you can challenge yourself with things outside of your comfort zone, then do it! I had a lot of apprehension about writing my chapter for Ark as it was Sci-Fi, but surprised myself that I really enjoyed it. Thats the great thing about CWC every book is something different from the last.

  1. You recently wrote a short story for an anthology, how did you find writing this in comparison to a CWC chapter? 

I won’t lie I found it really challenging. I don’t read horror or scary stories and never have. I tried to read a Stephen King novel in high school but had to take it back to the library, the nightmares were too much. I have a new found appreciation for anyone that writes this genre and will definitely read ‘Bit’ by a group of CWC writers attempting a Zombie Apocalypse type novel, and also ‘Calling the Reaper’, by a fellow CWC writer Jason Pere.

  1. Inspiration point: Write 100 - 300 words using this randomly generated word - Primitive

I'm inclined to talk about primitive behavior patterns of humans and how they have not changed over the years even though the world around us is fascinating. We still have our basic need of water, food, shelter and clothing plus love and nurturing in order to survive and even with all the technological advances these have always remained. If you have trouble sleeping when it’s a full moon, it may be down to the fact that in primitive times, humans would stay up as they were more likely to fall victim to attacks by wild animals. Primitive patterns will stay with us even if the machines take over.

  1. What is your favorite book and why?

I really don’t have a favorite book, I feel I am yet to find it. It might even be my own novel in the future!