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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you'll find a general summary of some questions I often receive in my DMs or emails. Many times I find there are a lot of repeats, so hopefully this FAQ gives a little more background on my processes as an author and content creator. Feel free to submit a question of your own at the bottom of this page, or head to the contact tab. I try to answer as many as I can time allowing!

- R. Litfin

  • What inspires your writing style?
    For a simple TLDR, if you're looking to compare how my writing reads, it would be a blend of Sarah J. Maas and Neil Gaiman, with a throwback to nostalgia similar to Tolkien. My writing has been inspired by many different storytellers through my life. Sarah J. Maas, Neil Gaiman, Leigh Bardugo, Rachel Smythe, and V. E. Schwab are big ones for me in recent years (I'm certain I'm missing a few even as I type this). However, going back far enough to around the time CORH was originally thought of, Tolkien was my first real fantasy influence as a child, and even though his work can be a little long-winded, his world building and stories have left a forever mark on my heart. Overall, I am perpetually striving to learn and grow in my writing. Something I had never done before publishing is that I now find myself noticing what I like and don’t like from my favorite authors and pieces of media. For example, the writing between my first book in The Chronicles of Royal High series, The Lost Noble, and its follow up book, Dragon’s Wrath, has a markedly better flow in regards to pacing and literary style. This refinement was partly due to noticing the media I was consuming, and partly from the trial-by-fire I endured in completing each book respectively (if only my ADHD self understood earlier in life that *actually* writing consistently made for *better* writing). And I am certain that my style will continue to evolve and evolve yet again as i continue to practice this craft through each new work I cut my teeth on.
  • How do you overcome writer's block?
    This is such a loaded question as there are many type of writer's block. Not all writer’s block is the same, and I could go on and on about the different types, but the type I’m referring to is when you KNOW what you want to write, know how the scene should go, but you’re stuck and just staring at that blank screen, unsure of how to start/build/write it out. This is where a layering method that I developed comes in handy for quickly writing scene work. Also yes, I have ADHD, so buckle-up and stay with me here. ;) If this is the kind of writer's block I find myself stuck in, then it usually means I need to expand on my initial book outline in order to find exactly what I need to establish for this scene/chapter; specific points of interest, plot points or breadcrumbs that will lead to bigger things, bits of dialog or phrases that should be said in the conversations that are happening, etc. I usually do this extension of my initial scene outline I with pen and paper, on a notepad/page(s), letting my mind run free for awhile. It’s often abstract and usually kind of messy and all over the page, but it’s MY mess, and it’s notes that I understand and can work with. Once I have most of these key notes on what I want to accomplish for the scene/chapter, I then use them to help me start to build out my scene in LAYERS: Dialog: Personally, I always start with the dialog and like building the scene around it, like a movie (though feel free to mix up the steps I’m listing here if it feels right to you in your own process). I don’t worry about anything else in the scene as I first make sure my dialog/conversations feel right and have a good flow (reading it out loud helps as I go). Set The Stage: I then add what I call “setting the stage”. That’s when I add the kind of stuff that creates the scene work. For example, a scene intro: “The castle chamber was dark and deserted, save for a pair of footfalls that echoed upon the stones of this most secret of meeting places.” Stage Business: After I pepper all that good, world/stage building stuff in, I then add “Stage Business”, which is the physical “blocking” of my characters. For example, it could be the way someone sighs, or how their eyebrow twitches on a certain phrase, or how their cloak rustles with movement as they reach to pour a glass of wine, or a hastily made crossing across a room. Note: After this step, I usually read the scene/chapter I just wrote out loud in it’s entirety, but you can move on and keep on writing if you’ve hit a flow (which I also do, too). However, I strongly encourage you to do the step below at some point in your editing processes. Read It Out Loud: READ YOUR SCENE WORK OUT LOUD. And then read it out loud again. Act it out to yourself like if it was a movie. If you want even more refinement, read it to a trusted friend if you can. Heck, if you don’t like acting, have a trusted friend who likes to act read it out loud to you. One of my trusted persons is my mom, and I swear I’ve read out loud everything in my books to her before it was ever published, scene by scene, line by line (I love you momma, lol). Doing this final step really helps in finding where the pacing might be off in the dialog/world setting, or where things could be added in to enrich the scene further. Out of everything, this is a method I swear by the most.
  • What do you love most about physically writing?
    What I love about the creative process is when I ride out a burst of inspiration. It manifests so suddenly at times, like a new clue just unlocked to the story that was there in my mind all along---like a plot point finally revealing itself in my head. So often it comes out of nowhere and I *must* grab the nearest thing to write with and get it all down. Usually that ends up being a notepad or scraps of paper (or I will just use the notes feature in my phone until I can transfer it later). As I write down everything I can, stream-of-consciousness style, it flows out like a mad scientist hit with a stroke of invention. Through it all I am usually beaming like an idiot, heart racing, and then I’m calling my parents or best friends to tell them all about it.
  • Do you have a favorite element that you like to incorporate into your work?
    I love incorporating facets of the actual elements in my writings! I love nature so much, specifically the sun, the forests, the mountains, the ocean, the stars, etc. I am so deeply inspired by everything in the natural and celestial worlds around us, and ethereal descriptions of those elements are noticeable in my writings!
  • What advice would you share with creatives just starting out?
    Write what you know. Write the things that inspire you, the stories that never leave your heart (they’re there for a reason). We all have a story to tell, and so do you. When you create and write for your own happiness, for your own satisfaction, for your own sanity, your soul and your skills as a storyteller will flourish. As well, the most important piece of advice I can give is to never compare your own “chapter one” with someone else’s “chapter 20”. Everyone has their own timeline, and because of that we’re all on our own personal journey. Comparison is the thief of joy, so keep that thief away and embrace your own journey, because at one point, that person you’re admiring and comparing yourself to had their own “chapter one” starting place, too. Know that even if someone else has a perceived “natural-talent”, they probably won’t get far if they don’t put in the hustle to succeed. Consistency in actually creating a finished product, combined with the humble determination to hustle, grow, and learn from the professionals around you, will always take you where you want to go in the end. Always.

This FAQ is ever growing and evolving. If you have a question for R. Litfin that you would love to see added, please fill out the form on the footer below!

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