Featured Fig: Carian Elen

What makes Figment Figment? Well, there are forums and blog posts and writing groups and featured books. But what really makes this place special are all of you Figs. So you should get some love.

In honor of our recent merger with inkpop, we’re thrilled to welcome Carian Elen Hughes Roberts to our user ranks. Carian is a fourteen year old inky-turned-Fig from North Wales, UK, and we’re so happy to have her on Figment.

Know a Fig who should be featured here? Tell us about him or her. Interviews may be edited and condensed.

Fill in the blank: “At 2 a.m., I’m most likely . . .

Snoozing away in bed!

You’ve mentioned that you’re a “wannabe-actress.” What kind of acting do you do? Have you ever thought about trying your hand as a playwright?

I haven’t done any acting as such yet, other than a bunch of improvised little dramas in class. But I’m going to be doing a musical soon–Wizard of Oz–and am planning on auditioning for Dorothy. One of the people running it said I had a good chance, so . . . definitely looking forward to that!

A playwright? No, I’ve never thought about it, honestly, but it would definitely be interesting . . .  You’ve gone and put ideas in my head now!

What’s your weirdest/most unique hobby?

Stargazing, I’d say. I have lots of books on Astronomy, a telescope, a Planisphere, posters . . . you name it. I’m just starting out, really, and am just working on learning all the different moons and constellations.

What is your favorite part about Figment so far?

Hm . . . I think I’d have to say the people. Everyone’s just so nice and welcoming, and the ones who aren’t are fun to argue with! Nah, everyone’s lovely. I really like the staff as well, they’re nice.

You get to invite three authors to dinner. Who do you choose and why?

Ooh, fun. J.K Rowling, because she was one of my first inspirations. From the age of six or seven, I wanted to write books just like her. I remember I wrote a little of a novel when I was eight called Mindy Bay and the something of something, about a witch raised by centaurs who then went to the school of Ducksweb on a magical bus. Don’t ask.

Eoin Colfer, because I love how he incorporates mythology and legends with the real world. I love fairies and the like! Artemis Fowl reminds me of Sherlock somehow. Anyone that’s anything like him must be awesome.

Lastly, I think I’d have to invite C.S Lewis. Y’know, if he were alive. Be a bit awkward to have a corpse at a dinner party, wouldn’t it? Tuck in everyone, just ignore the stench of rotting carcass!

. . . I’m sorry. I would invite him because he was a member of the Inklings, and I’d love to ask him about it. I’d ask him all about further tales in Narnia, and I’d ask if he liked the films!

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

“Sometimes we forget how great we are. Keep a running portfolio of past works for refreshing evidence of true talent.”

inkpop posted this on their facebook page, and I think it’s a great idea. The portfolio bit is a bit strange, but I think everyone should at least keep their first drafts and their first ever stories. You think you’re bad? Go take a look at how much you’ve improved.

You’re currently writing a novel, Saffron Sea and the Lost Tribe. Do you have any advice for writers who want to tackle novel writing?

To be honest with you, not really. I’m not the best writer, but I find that novels just come to me. If you think that the plot is good one and can be drawn out without making it sluggish and boring, you’ve got yourself a novel. Just don’t be afraid if it turns out to be a short story, I find they can sometimes be more powerful. Saffron Sea is easier to write as a novel, because big parts of the book are going to be a quest of sorts. It’s easy for a quest to be a novel.

In your opinion, what’s the best book-to-film adaptation ever?

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I feel slightly ashamed for choosing that one. They’re books for kids really, but I find the films are better than the books–funnier, and more realistic and believable.

If I have to choose a novel without pictures, I’d go with the Harry Potters.

You mention in your bio that you collect quotes. What’s your absolute favorite of all time?

Oh, I have many. I write quotes myself, but it’d be big-headed to post one of my own!

It’s such a short one, but . . . “I am different, not less.” – Temple Grandin. Many of us writers are outcasts, I think. Just a bit. I know that sometimes I get popular people sneering down at me and I just think of that quote. Or I hit them, either one. 😉

You’re well known for your reviews. What do you look for in other people’s writing? How do you write a helpful, constructive review?

Am I? Oh, that’s cool!

In other people’s writing basic grammar is a must. Mistakes like “your/you’re” and “their/they’re/there” just IRK me. A basic grasp of spelling as well. I know these seem like strange things to look out for, but if there are too many errors like this it just throws the whole story off for me, and I find it difficult to read on.

I have a template for all my critiques (that anyone is free to message me for, should they want to) and I break everything down slowly. The title, the pitch . . . then at the end I come to a conclusion and look at the writing as whole–the plot, the characters, use of language and descriptions. Then I hope it’s helpful!

4 thoughts on “Featured Fig: Carian Elen

  1. Yay! An inkie has become figment famous! And your an actor? Wonderful! You should DEFINITELY try your hand at being a playwright. Being a self-proclaimed one myself, I definitely encourage anyone and everyone to try it. The best way to start is taking a novel you’ve written, and write it as a script, then you start to get the hang of it. I’ve currently written 3 full-length plays, and a couple of friends and I are getting ready to tackle a BIIIIIG project. Best of luck to you!

  2. Oh! You’re amazing Carian!!
    I really loved this interview (:
    And you think you didn’t give advices, but you did, reading this made me smile and gave me some ideas 😉
    I admire you!

  3. Carian! How nice to see you here as well! Now all our squabbles about the humor section are for naught. Oh well. 😉

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