Each week we will be featuring one member for their outstanding contributions to the Figment community.
This week we’re featuring Valkerie Thomas! Check out five of her stories along with her interview questions below!
What do you enjoy most about Figment and its community?
- I think I love Figment’s supportive tendencies the most. When I first became an active member (somewhere around September of 2012), I was terrified of posting anything. Everyone seemed so far beyond me in skill, and there was this nagging idea that I could never compare. Eventually, though, I worked up the courage to start sharing my work, and the response was overwhelming. People were genuinely interested and offered up a wealth of excellent advice. Over the years, this hasn’t changed at all. Comments tend to be bursting with encouragement, which every writer needs, and the reviews are packed with both tips and new information that can guide a story down the right path. Overall, Figment is characterized largely by its dedication to helping writers grow, and I’ve never seen a site so consistently positive. It’s great!
What is your favorite story that you have shared on Figment and why?
- I think “Keeping Time” might be my favorite piece. I wrote it for the contest concerning Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds (we were prompted to write about a reluctant hero), and I invested hours in perfecting the plot. In the end, I settled on a very different course of events than what the original draft had contained, but what had changed most was my main character. She became so much more lifelike to me in the process of writing and rewriting and rewriting again, and I learned that a good plot is wonderful, but that the heart a story is often rooted in the characters. Since then, “Keeping Time” has always been an excellent reminder to me that I should cherish my characters and develop them as fully as possible; if I’m invested in them, hopefully my readers will be, too.
Where do you find inspiration to write and keep writing?
- As of late, I get a lot of inspiration from my favorite shows and books. Some have very unique characteristics and well-developed worlds, and sometimes I pick and choose among my favorite characteristics to create something new. After that, I’ve found that music (especially high-energy instrumentals) does wonders for imagining new scenes to take my work in directions I hadn’t previously considered. I’ve also discovered it’s hard to go wrong with staring at the ceiling and letting my imagination run wild in the middle of the night, as that’s produced some pretty good “what if?” situations. If all else fails, though, there’s nothing wrong with a good one-line prompt. Those are my favorite.
What is the last book that you read?
- Once again, I read Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. I can’t count how many times I’ve read that book and its sequels, but I absolutely adore the whole series. There’s wit, there’s magic, there’s honor among thieves, and almost anything that could go wrong does go wrong. I doubt I’ll ever find another book I love as much as this one, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy heist!
Do you have any advice for other Figgies looking to improve their writing?
- Never ever give up. Read as much as you can. Reread as much as you can. Ask for help when you need it, and ask for help even if you don’t think you need it. Be curious, take chances, and don’t be afraid to make changes; sometimes that scene just has to go, because a better one might take its place. Above all, look at your progress. If you practice writing as often as you can, then you’re bound to have made improvement. Compare the old and new. When you finish doing that, go back to writing so you can improve some more. It’s a process, and sometimes it’s a long one, but it’s worth it. Above all, though, have fun and write about what you enjoy! Making progress is a lot easier when you love what you’re writing.
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, Valkerie!
Let us know who you think should be our next Featured Fig!
– The Figment Team