Collaborative Writing Challenge

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

Author Spotlight: 
October 2016 
Laura Waide

Every month I like to shine the spotlight on one of our participating writers. This month I am pleased to introduce Laura Waide. Laura had her final chapter selected to complete CWC's latest novel The Map, due to be released in December 2016. She also wrote two other chapters of the story. Learn more about Laura from the short interview below. 

1. What made you start writing?

I had a deep imagination as a child and started writing stories when I was in elementary school. My teacher even put my crude self-bound storybooks in the library for other kids to read. As a teenager, I preferred to write poetry. I had poems published in several anthologies, participated in the International Society of Poets at age 16, and won some poetry contests. I didn’t start writing novel-type stories until I joined the CWC’s Project 5, The Map. I was intimidated by the length of a novel at first, but after writing for CWC, I fell in love with it.

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

I use three things about equally. My go-to for hand writing notes and outlines is a lime green Lamy fountain pen. In the spur of the moment, I use the notes app on my phone to get words captured quickly before they vanish. When it’s time to use all of those notes in a chapter, my fingers keep up with my mind better on the computer.

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

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I started my first chapter for The Map. I fretted for days after I clicked send, wondering what was going to happen. When my first chapter was selected, I was ecstatic! ‘Happy dance’ doesn’t even begin to explain it and I was certainly encouraged to keep going.

4. What are you currently working on?

Since I wasn’t scheduled to write for The Map until chapter 14, I figured I would get warmed up by beginning my own novel. So far it is titled Fallon by Night, a novel about a secret society that tries to control reincarnation and use it to their advantage. I was able to finish the first draft before starting on chapter 30 for The Map. I hope to get it edited and sent out to publishers soon!

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

When I signed up for CWC, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I’ve always had a kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants side, so I figured, why not! It was fun, exciting, a little nerve-wracking, and joyous all at the same time. I did expect a challenge, and the project lived up to it!

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

I love to write while I sit at my daughter’s karate class. Something about the noise and all of the chaos echoing off the rafters lets my mind wander to that special place where it is completely open to creative inspiration.

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

I’m not really sure! My chapters for The Map are the only ones that anyone has read yet, so they would certainly be my best work to date. I hope my debut novel will be just as great!

8. You recently had your final chapter selected to complete The Map. Did you find writing this chapter more challenging than other stages of the story?

I felt that the middle chapter was more challenging than the last chapter. In the middle, there were several angles to the story and the characters. Choosing which angle to pursue was difficult. By the time the last chapter came up, everything had started to align and move toward the same general direction. I just needed to figure out how to tie the bow on the brilliant package.


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

If your passion is writing, just start. Start anywhere, even in the middle if necessary. You can fill in the beginning and the end later. Just as an object at rest stays at rest, a writer not writing will stay not writing. Get writing, build up the momentum and then ride it like a riptide.

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

I love science fiction and stories that don’t really fit into a genre. Sometimes I will read classics like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights to challenge myself, but I always come back to great sci-fi!

11. Inspiration point: Write 100 - 300 words of fiction using this randomly generated word -  Topple.

It took him twenty minutes, a step ladder, and a broom handle, but he was finally able to reach the wooden box. Its splintered exterior was fuzzy with lint and dust rained down on his head as he pulled it from the attic rafters. Its heavy weight surprised him and he nearly dropped it. Trying for balance, he juggled it like a drunken sailor handling a treasure chest full of gold coins. No coins rattled inside, though. The only sound he heard was that of the loose-fitting lid, wood scraping on wood, as it toppled off of the box, bounced down the ladder, and thudded to the carpet.

He maneuvered himself and the box down the ladder without a stitch of grace but with success none the less. He set the box on the floor and turned to retrieve the lid when something inside caught his eye. A flicker of light, more like a reflection he thought, disappeared as quickly as it flashed. He peered into the box, leaning over it to get a closer look. It sat empty. He shrugged and stood up, intending to get the lid, when it happened again.

Kneeling down beside it, he reached into the box and knocked the solid wooden bottom. The light flickered again, this time over his hand. As his fingers passed through the light, they disappeared. He jerked his hand back as if lightning had struck, but he felt no pain.

Curious, he bent his head closer to the open box so when the light flickered again, he would see where it came from. Keeping his eyes wide open until they burned, he waited for another flicker. Determined to understand, he paid no attention to time as he waited. When it finally came, the light showed only this – yesterday.

12. What is your favorite book and why?

Answering this question is like deciding which color M&M tastes the best! If I had to pick just one, I would have to say my favorite is The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper. It is a wonderfully written story with interesting concepts around natural selection and genetics. It is also the only book I have read cover to cover more than once.

13. What other interests do you have aside from writing?

I love all things creative, so making jewelry, crafting, and gardening all feed my creative side. Taking the time to be creative in some form keeps me going better than caffeine.

14. If someone was thinking of signing up for a CWC project, what would you say to encourage them?

I would encourage people to sign up and just see what happens! You really have nothing to lose. You will learn and grow as a writer whether your chapter gets selected or not. I needed the push to get my writing in front of people and to confirm for myself that I could do it. CWC gives writers the perfect avenue for that without the intimidating commitment to a full 60K+ words on your own. Also, plotting, outlining, and putting a ton of time into planning a project can tend to drain the excitement out of it. Writing in the truest “pantser” form got me putting words to paper like nothing else!

If you are interested in taking part in one of our projects, sign up now to reserve your place.