For January’s Ink Splat, we had a delightful conversation with Rachel Delaney Craft, author of the short story, We Are Celia, and several award-winning novels. Rachel encourages fellow writers: “Don’t wait for inspiration to strike—go out and hunt it down! If you want to write a short story but can’t think of an idea, or if you’re stuck on how to fill that plot hole in your novel, try some old-fashioned pen-and-paper freewriting.”
Try a change in perspective for our January Writing Challenge!
1. Choose any animal.
2. Look around the place you’re in now.
3. Describe this place from the point of view of the animal you chose. What objects would that animal notice? Would they look bigger or smaller, depending on the animal’s size? What senses would the animal use that you might not be using?
An Interview with Rachel Delaney Craft
Tell us a little bit about the stories you write and some of your inspirations for your stories.
Most of my stories are “speculative” in some way, meaning they have some element of the unreal. They could be fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or anything in between. I love traveling and exploring nature, so I get a lot of inspiration from the places I visit. For instance, on my recent trip to Ireland I took a boat ride on the Atlantic and was captivated by the eerie atmosphere created by the crashing waves and towering rocky islands. This gave me the idea for a short story about a boy whose family gives ghost tours by boat and talks to ghosts in the water.
You have written a few folktale retellings. What is the process for doing a folktale retelling? Do you need to do research first?
Research is important, to make sure you capture the tale and the culture it came from accurately. But the fun part is, you get to put your own spin on it! I try to read the folktale from several different sources, see how each one treats it differently, and identify the core elements and ideas. Most folktales give a lesson to be learned or a new perspective on the world—to me, this is the “beating heart” of the story, and I want to preserve it. I start writing with this beating heart in mind, adding and changing the smaller details to give it my own personal style.
You are also an engineer. How do you make time for and prioritize writing in your life?
Honestly, it’s tough. Between the day job, writing career, and other responsibilities like family and friends, I pretty much always feel a little bit stretched. Being so busy has forced me to build my time management skills. I find it very helpful to set goals and deadlines for my writing projects—though they’re always a little flexible, because life inevitably gets in the way. I also set aside time on my calendar for writing, because otherwise I’ll find a million other things to do. You never love vacuuming or cleaning the toilet as much as when you’re stuck on a tough scene!
What’s a favorite writing tip that you’d like to share?
Don’t wait for inspiration to strike—go out and hunt it down! If you want to write a short story but can’t think of an idea, or if you’re stuck on how to fill that plot hole in your novel, try some old-fashioned pen-and-paper freewriting. Ask yourself questions and write down anything that comes to mind, no matter how bad it may seem. Trust me, after half an hour or so, you’ll find at least a couple gems amid your scribbles.
A special thank you to Rachel Delaney Craft for sharing with us! Read more about Rachel and her work @ https://racheldelaneycraft.com/
Rachel Delaney Craft writes YA, MG, and speculative fiction. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as Cricket, Spider, and Cast of Wonders, and her novels have won the Colorado Gold and Zebulon Contests. She also edited the anthology Wild: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. She lives and writes in Colorado with her partner, two dogs, and a succulent collection that is slowly taking over her house.
Find her on Twitter @RDCwrites or at racheldelaneycraft.com.
The Inklings Book Contest is Now Open!
3rd through 9th graders can submit their short stories or poems today!