Each week we will be featuring one member for their outstanding contributions to the Figment community.
This week we’re featuring Marissa LaPorte! Check out five of her stories along with her interview questions below!
What do you enjoy most about Figment and its community?
- The one thing I enjoy most about this community is the sharing of work and the constructive criticism I’ve received. I love being able to give suggestions to other writers and accept them with an open mind. This community of writers has helped me grow and it makes me feel like I belong in the community because they write, too. It’s a great place for writers to get together, and to show them they aren’t alone.
What is your favorite story that you have shared on Figment and why?
- My favorite story that I have shared on Figment has to be “The Gift of Towels”. This story was written a couple of years ago and it was among the first few stories I shared on Figment, but it still remains my most beloved piece. This short piece of flash fiction was written for the winter break flash fiction contest, and was chosen as the winner. However, just because it was my first contest win on Figment, that isn’t why I love the story so much. It is based on an actual event and it all started when I went to the “Angel Tree” at my local mall around Christmas time to pick an ‘angel’ off the tree. This tree holds little pieces of paper shaped like angels with names, genders, ages, and a short list of Christmas gifts that unfortunate children in our community have come up with written on them. After picking an angel from the tree, the individual then buys their chosen angel what is written on their list (it doesn’t have to be everything) and anything additional they wish to purchase for them. I looked over the tree carefully for the ‘right one’ and came across a young girl who had written only three things on her list: towels, gloves, and coloring books. This story was written for that little girl. She was born in my imagination at that moment, and now she lives through this story.
Where do you find inspiration to write and keep writing?
- Inspiration can be found anywhere, and writing is my passion. It is a love/hate relationship sometimes, and finding time to write proves to be difficult. I love to write, but sometimes I hate how I feel when I feel like I have to take time out of my day to write. It’s hard to explain because I don’t really understand it myself, but writing is something I enjoy and intend to make a career out of. Finding inspiration to write is something that happens spontaneously. An idea for a story usually ends up prompted by a single idea, phrase, or situation that gets mixed with something else and somehow I have myself some inspiration for a story or a character. Common situations where these epiphanies of sorts seem to appear are: when I am taking a shower, when I am half asleep, when I am listening to someone tell me something interesting or strange that happened to them, or when I go for a walk accompanied by an Mp3 player. These things never come to you when you are thinking about them. It’s like the magic wardrobe that leads to Narnia–it’s never there when you look for it. I find inspiration to keep writing from my college professors, high school teachers, my mother, and anyone else who says: “gee, you write very well.” This support keeps me going, but now that I have been writing for a few years I am strong enough to stand behind my work on my own, while still taking constructive criticism with an open mind.
What is the last book that you read?
- The last book I read was July, July by Tim O’Brien. Tim himself is a huge inspiration for me. The man is a genius and he knows how to write a novel that is labeled as fiction, but is as close to truth as anyone will ever get.
Do you have any advice for other Figgies looking to improve their writing?
- The best advice I can give to other figgies who want to improve their writing is keep writing. Yes, that is what everyone else says, but it is the very best way. Along with writing as often as you can, it is helpful to share your work with either a parent, teacher, close friend, etc. Writers tend to be shy and self conscious of their work. Believe me, I’ve been there. Reading what I’ve written is like looking into my soul for goodness sakes! I used to be terrified and embarrassed to share my writing. However, you cannot get better if you do not receive constructive feedback. As the writer of the piece, you have a disadvantage. You created it, so it must be good, right? No, there is always room for improvement, but never ever put yourself down. I also suggest reading Stephen King’s book: On Writing. After reading this book I have received a nonstop flood of inspiration and drive to write. It was world shattering for me. I say world shattering because you can’t fix something that isn’t broken. My ideas on how to be a successful writer were destroyed then rebuilt in a more stable manner. I highly recommend it. One last thing: rejection should make you stronger. If you submit to magazines or enter contests and get nothing out of it, just keep on keeping on because you’re on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.
Congratulations again and thank you for sharing your talent, inspiration and advice with us! Be sure to check out some of her work below.
Congratulations again, Marissa!
Let us know who you think should be our next Featured Fig!
– The Figment Team