andelyn kinsey, author of Before the Fawn, has graciously agreed to answer some questions for me! Before the Fawn has become one of the most popular full-length Jily fics very quickly, and for good reason. The plot is engaging, the characters are well-written, and the Jily feels are wonderful. Some chapters got a little carried away with the fluff, in my opinion…not like I’d ever complain about fluff normally, but I found some of the dialogue a bit out of character for what I’d imagine James would say. I’ve always felt he’d be romantic and have a way with words, but maybe note quite to the degree Andelyn wrote in some of her chapters. Either way, I’m definitely hooked on this story! The most recent chapters especially have been excellent!

Q: What advice to you have for other writers?

A: If you can, take a class on fiction (or even non -fiction) writing. You can learn a lot. Some basic things that make a story better are showing, not telling, how things happen. It’s easy to tell a story, it’s harder to make people picture it in their heads. Showing, not telling, makes a story good and it takes practice… so write, write, and write some more. Make notes and outlines to keep things straight, doodle… plot… play with the story. And read EVERYTHING you can get your hands on. Draw from what you like, learn from what you don’t… but keep reading and write when the inspiration strikes you.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration? What do you think about before writing?

A: I draw inspiration from people in general… I can’t really say. Usually, I’ll get an idea or a scene in my head and I try to build from that. But it’s really hard for me to say where my inspiration comes from, which is why I read so much and write as often as I can. It’s constantly building and changing, and that’s how inspiration grows.

Q: What are some things you look for when reading other people’s writing? What, to you, makes a good fan fic?

A: Good characterization. Something that makes the person real, gives you a connection to them or tells you more about them. Plot is important; the story has to move, it has to be working toward a point. Before The Fawn has been a bit easier for me to write than my other story since I know where it’s headed; I just have to fill in the gaps. Overall, what makes a good fanfic (or any story) worth my time is a plot that’s moving somewhere - a story that I want to resolve, characters that I love, and dialogue and description that allows me to picture things in my head.

Q: What was going through your head when you started writing Before the Fawn?

A: I was sitting in my living room during winter, watching this deer (a Stag, ironically) walk through our front yard… and the scene in Chapter 4 where Lily learns about James being an Animagus just popped into my head. I started building around that, and then it just wouldn’t stop. I felt so much relief when I was writing it down and getting it out, and at first I thought maybe it would be a one-shot, but then as it grew in my head I was like “Oh to Hell with it, I want to know more about them and I bet other people do too.” So there you have it. It’s still incredibly humbling to me to have so many reviews, and to find out that the story has been recommended to others was just… I cried. It was very humbling for me to know that something I wrote and enjoyed reading was being enjoyed by others as well.

Q: What is your favorite pairing/story topic to read?

A: I love James and Lily stories. It’s so tragic, and having children of my own makes it even more tragic for me to imagine. There’s also room for so much development in these two since we know so very little about them. It’s very neat to see where people take it. I’m also a fan of Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and pretty much most other cannon pairings. Remus was actually my favorite character from the HP series, so much so that I bought his wand when I went to the Harry Potter theme park a month ago, so I do like to read stories about him. I’m toying with writing one myself, featuring him and Tonks, but I’m going to finish Before the Fawn first. Outside of Harry Potter, I enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse series as well as The Hunger Games, but one of my favorite books is actually Myst: The Book of Ti’Ana. It’s based off a video game, and doesn’t have much of a fandom, but I loved the game and I LOVED the characters in that story.

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tagged as: Jily. qa. Author Q and A. writing tips.

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