Fiction sometimes comes from a single moment in time that sticks with us, is this the case when you sit down to write? Or do you plan each step? Is it formulaic for you?
I usually start with that single moment or image and build from there. I love to plan and find all the bits and pieces and work out how they come together. Most of the time the final product is very different from that specific plan, but that original idea always remains at the center.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
I’m an emerging writer, but I do have a piece being published with Penrose Prose this summer that I’m very excited about.
During the editing process, do you find it difficult to adhere to a word limit? And if you do, how do you manage to keep it within the parameters?
Definitely. I think especially with fantasy or speculative works it can be really difficult to keep the word count under even 5000 words because you need space to establish the rules of the world you’re working within and then to break them and build the story. I definitely tend to overwrite, but generally I try to just get a first draft out with as many words as the story needs, and then once all the content and structure is in place I go back and cut down.
What inspired you to write this one?
I saw a drawing of a girl standing in the waves and sort of hiding behind a rock, watching a group of sirens in the sea. I thought she looked really intrigued, but also really lonely compared to them. Sirens are obviously famous for their voices and luring people in, so I wondered about how it would feel to live in a world with sirens as someone who didn’t really have anyone to talk to and how isolating that would be.
Your physical descriptions are wonderful. What did you do, if anything, to perfect your ability to craft such scenes?
Thank you so much! I’m a very visual writer, so I spent a lot of time just looking through images of the ocean, the beach, shipwrecks, dark water, and sea shells, drawings of sirens and videos of waves. I spent a lot of trying to get in the headspace of someone who, as I said, doesn’t really have anyone to talk to, so she’s very observant and hyperaware of her surroundings, and she’s both haunted and fascinated by the ocean.
You can read Gabrielle Crowley’s fiction piece, “Corpse Queen” in Issue Six of The Ginger Collect.