This week, we’re introducing you to Annie Devine (a.k.a. Brooklyn Fairchild) a 15-year-old New Yorker who is head-over-heels in love with Harry Potter, rock music, and writing novels. Know a Fig who should be featured here? Tell us about them. Interviews may be edited and condensed.
How did you first get into Figment?
I was part of the nearly nonexistent club at my school: the creative writing club. Yes, I know, how original. My moderator, a great English teacher whose name I shall not mention, said she read an article in the paper about this little website called Figment that was a community for young writers. This was in February, too, pretty soon after it was made, so props to the mods for getting publicized so fast! I was the only freshman in the club and I was a generally quiet person to begin with, so usually I sat at the back of the room and let the seniors talk, but the English teacher asked me, “Hey, how about you check this website out?” She was one of the few people I had shown my writing to. So, that night, I decided why not? I went on, signed up, and BAM! I was hooked. I wrote my first piece, “A Delicate World,” and then after that I hit the forums and got more involved in the community. I met people, made friends, read great literature, and from then on, I’ve become much more confident in my writing and more motivated to pursue a literary career.
You get to invite three authors to dinner. Who do you choose and what do they say to each other?
Oh, geez that is REALLY hard . . . well . . . um, let’s see. I’d have to say J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and . . . Christopher Paolini. Trust me, there are SO many others I would invite, but these three I really truly respect. When I read I don’t so much look for a perfect story that covers all the bases. I look for creativity, which is why I chose Christopher Paolini and Suzanne Collins. Both of them have such unique stories and I wouldn’t stop questioning them on how and why and what, etc. I bet they would get pretty fed up with me. And as for J.K. Rowling, she is my favorite author and such an idol. The idea for Harry Potter came to her on a train and then she suddenly became the most well-known author in the world. Of course, like most of the other people on Figment, I aspire to be like that as well, and I’d ask her what it was like being on top of the world like that. I’d ask them all if they ever wondered what life would be like without the Inheritance Series, the Hunger Games Trilogy, or Harry Potter. I often wonder what life would be like had I never written my first story . . .
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
It was from my sister, of all people: someone who doesn’t really write often, though she is on Figment (Headmaster Zefron (Kit)) because of me. I was writing the beginning of a novel (one that was unplanned and pretty awful) and I had been writing a single chapter for the past few weeks. My sister was the only truly dedicated reader. I’m sure she was buttering up her comments a lot. Saying, “It’s wonderful” or, “I love it” were only half-truths, I’m sure, but the one thing that kept me going was, “Don’t stop.” Because of her, I got through half of that [story] before I realized I was going nowhere with it. But then I got the same advice again this November during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t stop for her and now I have my first-ever completed novel and she’s helping me do the editing.
Which literary character are you most like and why?
You know, I really had to think about this. I decided to narrow it down to Harry Potter characters because I know that I could NEVER choose from the endless choices at hand. I think I would say one of the Weasley twins (my sister’s Fred and I’m George). See, if you couldn’t tell from the answer above, my sister and I are extremely close—and being two teenage girls, that’s surprising—and we’re always joking around and laughing. We’ve got inside jokes and can always make the other smile and I feel that she’s closer to me than any other person alive today. I know her inside and out, and I couldn’t ask for a better best friend. Sound like a pair of redheaded, happy-go-lucky Brits you know?
What’s the difference in your approach when you’re writing a personal poem vs. a short story or a fantasy novel?
Well, poems usually come out of nowhere. I get this really strong burst of emotion or a particularly enlightening thought, and off I go writing. Short stories aren’t often my favorite type of writing, and they are usually inspired by contests on Figment. I tend to go on and on when writing, so I feel I have to really restrain myself as I’m starting a new short story. That’s why I love novel-writing. I can sit down and begin to write, which is usually as far as my preparation goes. However, NaNoWriMo has really changed that now, and as I edit my novel from NaNo, I’m also writing outlines for a trilogy that popped into my head a few weeks ago . . . I’m being a lot more careful to plan out everything on paper/computer screen beforehand, rather than in my head so I can have a solid idea of where my story is going. It used to be “Let’s see where my words take me!” and now I feel I’ve matured a lot from that (thank God, because that obviously got me nowhere).
What inspired you to write your NaNo book, “The Pretending King,” as a fantasy novel?
Well, that is a funny question. It all started in a car ride on the way to school in the late spring of last year with my dad and sister. A song came on the radio and I listened through it and waited to the end to ask my dad what the band was. I had really loved the song, and I wanted to listen to it again. He didn’t know, so I listened a little longer and the announcer on the radio said it was The Pretender by the Foo Fighters (great song, go check it out!). I wrote that down on my hand and later listened to it again and again. Slowly, I memorized the lyrics and realized it was telling me a story. I saw a whole plot evolving in my mind’s eye with an evil ruler repressing a people, and a single man ending the reign. I began to form a vague idea of what I would write, but I was already working on a novel (that would never get finished), so I tucked those new thoughts away and saved them. They always came back when I heard the song, but I never acted on them. But then I heard of the magical month known as NaNoWriMo and I knew it was time to dig out those ideas from half a year ago and make them real. I spent days locked in my room, analyzing the lyrics and making every stanza part of the novel. If you read the novel and listen to the song, you’ll find parallels and toward the end I kind of quote the song. I love this novel like it is my baby and I have to say, THANK YOU to the Foo Fighters for giving me the inspiration to write it.