Each week we will be featuring one member for their outstanding contributions to the Figment community.
This week we’re featuring Katie Miller. Check out five of Katie’s stories along with her interview questions below!
What do you enjoy most about Figment and its community?
- What I really love about figment is how much it motivates. On the outside world, chances are you’re one of the only ones in your circle or community that writes novels or poetry (or whatever). It’s easy to get on a high horse with everyone talking about how impressive it is, but when you get on Figment, you’re just like everyone else. Everyone wants to be the next great writer, and it really pushes people to be the best and improve. Along with this, it can be easy for a group like Figment to turn into a competitive community where everyone’s out for themselves, but Figment is the complete opposite of that.
- Here in the Figment community it’s true everyone does want to be successful, but each individual wants everyone to succeed. Not only do they want to get published, they want you to get published, and you to get published, and you… They will help in anyway possible whether it’s through forums, reviews, swaps, or groups to help any Figgie be the paramount writer they always dreamed of. I guess that’s what I love about Figment. We’re all in this together.
What is your favorite story that you have shared on Figment and why?
- That’s a tough question. If I had to choose, though, my favorite story would have to be “A Past Not Forgotten”. Not only was this my first NaNoWriMo novel, it also exploded into a world more expansive than I ever thought possible. Soon, the one-shot story transformed into a seven book series with potential for off-shoots. Before “A Past Not Forgotten” I had written only one other novel, and I didn’t really consider myself good enough to be a writer, even though it’s what I always dreamed of. In fact, I was only thirteen when I wrote it. No one could be talented without a writing background, any opportunity for classes, and literally zero knowledge of the field, right?
- Well, “A Past Not Forgotten” changed that mindset for me. My best friend, Sam Hennings, read the story word by word as I wrote it, and she loved it. She loved something I did. People had the capacity to love it. I guess, “A Past Not Forgotten” built my confidence in writing and made me see that my goals weren’t so impossible. It basically made me a novelist.
Where do you find inspiration to write and keep writing?
- I find inspiration almost everywhere, but originally, I think my inspiration came from a sleeping disorder I had as a child. Sleep paralysis plagued me almost every night. I’d wake from sleep completely paralyzed and would witness vivid hallucinations that I was unable to react to. It gave me some pretty extreme anxiety, which is what causes sleep paralysis. Anxiety causes sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis caused my anxiety. It was an endless cycle that I couldn’t see an end to. I thought I was crazy, and I never told my parents until I was much older. I couldn’t see the end of my disorder, all I found were my fears and thoughts coming to life before my eyes.
- Eventually, I had had enough. I wasn’t getting any sleep. I was having trouble socially. I wanted it to stop. Basically, I explored my subconscious. I realized my hallucinations were directly related to whatever ideas were most prominent in my mind at the moment. Most of the time they were scary things like ghosts, aliens, or intruders. Using that idea, I thought, What if I thought about something else? It obviously didn’t seem too easy, but I figured it out. Before I would go to sleep I’d develop a story in my mind. I’d explore it completely and develop characters until I fell asleep. Then, when I woke up unable to move, I’d see something quite different. I’d see my stories.
- It was really amazing. I started to become excited about my hallucinations—which is totally nuts, I know. Well, it didn’t last very long after that. Soon, my anxiety went away, because I wasn’t scared to go to sleep anymore, and when my anxiety left, so did my disorder. Still, though, I had all these stories. I’d learned how to venture through my subconscious and mind. I could write. So, I did. I made dozens of stories, and thinking intently about stories became a habit that I did, and still do every night before I sleep. Now, though, it’s also been implemented throughout the day and has translated into five novels and countless short stories—even a few poems. All in all, I get my inspiration from everything around me. Because of the terror I experienced as a child, I learned how to transform anything into ideas.
What is the last book that you read?
- War of the World by H.G. Wells and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Do you have any advice for other Figgies looking to improve their writing?
- My greatest advice is to take something from everything and everything from nothing. There’s no waiting for inspiration. There’s no secret writing totem that produces ideas—there’s you. Your mind is incredible and has a greater capacity than you’ll ever know. Never let a conversation go undocumented in your inkslinger mind, never allow that conceptual album go uninterpreted, and never let that visual go without saving. Stories are all around you, you just have to take off the shades and get some glasses.
Congratulations again Katie and thank you for sharing your talent and inspiring answers with us! Be sure to check out some of her work below.
Description: (Book Three) The Rise.
Description: Magic. It sounded so perfect. The thing we only dreamed of as kids. The stuff of legends was now in our grasp. It destroyed science. Obliterated religion. And eliminated logic. The discovery was the single most amazing thing that the human race ever laid eyes on.
Description: (Book One) The Hunt.
Description: (Prequel) The Beginning.
Description: (Poem Edition)
Congratulations again, Katie!
Let us know who you think should be our next Featured Fig!
– The Figment Team