Featured Fig: Carmen Verbas

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. Carmen Verbas is an 18-year-old published author and Pennsylvania native. Her first novel, GINGER, began as a NaNoWriMo project and was published earlier this year. You can read the first chapter of GINGER on Figment or buy the full book on Amazon.

Know a Fig who should be featured here? Tell us about him or her. Email admin@figment.com with your recommendations. Interviews may be edited and condensed.

The first chapter of your recently published novel, GINGER, started out as a Figment writing. How did Figment help you in the publishing process?

I posted the first chapter of GINGER after I was mostly completed with it as a NaNoWriMo project. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a challenge that takes place during the month of November; the objective is for writers to complete 50,000 words in one month. Though I had a job, a sport, and 4 college level classes, I somehow managed to do this. I didn’t know, however, whether or not what I had written was any good. I then remembered Figment and decided to post the first chapter onto the website. People on Figment offered me a lot of positive feedback, motivating me to keep going on this project. One person’s feedback even led to the altering of GINGER’s very first sentence. So you could definitely say Figment played a role in GINGER’s publication.

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

Writing. For some reason I do my best work after nine o’clock.

You work at a hotdog shop. Have your interactions there influenced your writing?

Actually, yes. After a particularly horrible day at the Hotdog Shoppe, I went home and wrote an entire chapter where my character worked at a similar place. Doing so was cathartic to say the least, and may or may not have resulted in chapter 26 of GINGER . . .

What cliché would you most like to see erased from YA fiction?

I would love it if YA literature was allowed to assume a more sophisticated voice. While querying for this project and others, I was frequently told that my work wouldn’t cut it because I used too many big words or that my main character sounded too grown up. Whose to say that teens don’t know big words or think like grown ups? Teens can be just as intelligent and serious as the authority figures in their lives. We deal with complex situations every day and should be able to write about it in as mature or immature of a voice as we’d like.

Which literary character are you most like and why?

Of all the characters I’ve come to know in my life—and trust me, it’s a quite a few—I would say I am most like Maximum Ride. Max is spunky with a rapier wit and a fighter to the end.  But despite her tough girl persona, her strongest trait is the love and loyalty she nurtures for her friends and family. I’d definitely like to think that this description applies to me as well.

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