A Chat with the Writers

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The two of us after splurging at MIBF 2016

Since we’re still working on the short stories we’d be posting here *insert nervous laughter*, we thought of interviewing ourselves so that you can get to know the duo behind Milktea Fiction better.

Milktea Fiction is basically a collaboration between two writers – Gianne and Pauline so that we’d have a space to publish our stories. We’re hoping to grow this into a community someday or at least to make this a legitimate thing. If you want to know more about us and our writing adventures, keep reading.

Why did you choose to start Milktea Fiction? How did you come up with the idea?

G: Milktea Fiction started as a suggestion for us to have this thing where we could continuously come up with stories we could share and maybe one day publish. I think I’d originally thought of it being a joke but we were actually crazy enough to take ourselves seriously. I can’t remember the exact details of how it started exactly, apart from it all coming up through a chat. I was pretty sure Pauline and I were chatting and then the next thing I know it was a call and we were laughing at how crazy this was.

It was a week before the Manila International Book Fair, I recall, and we were totally going. We needed some kind of challenge and it was to see if we could either write a new short story in a span of a week or add chapters to our novels. We honestly didn’t meet our deadline then, but the idea of Milktea Fiction, what we wanted it to become was too good to give up on. If anything, it prodded us to keep tabs on the kind of stories we wanted to make.

P: I remember coming up with Milktea Fiction because we wanted to print zines of our works and give them away to indie publishers present during the MIBF and we needed a brand name. We were both starting out with our careers then but we still wanted to pursue writing. To get started, we thought that, hey, let’s publish and get other Filipino authors to notice us. But mostly, as Gianne mentioned, we wanted to use Milktea Fiction as an excuse to motivate us to write (because we couldn’t print something out if we didn’t have any stories).

It was a just a spontaneous frenzy really. After a hyped up conversation via Messenger, we had a name, logo, email, blog site and social media accounts.

What kind of writer do you aspire to be?

P: I want to be the kind of writer that makes children believe in magic and adults find wonder again. I’m a strong believer of good things and I hope to be able to capture those in my stories.

With my stories, I hope that I’ll be able to give my readers the same heartwarming feeling I get from reading my favorite books (which are all about magic, youth and adventure, by the way).

G: I’ve always wanted to be an author ever since I found out I loved reading and it was an actual thing you could love, a hobby, and that there were these people that spend enough time trying to fill these books with stories.

Genre-wise, I think I’ve found my calling about a year ago when I started rekindling my love for Fantasy and Science Fiction as well. I remember asking my former English teacher whether I needed to be a Scientist to write them, worried I’d be way under-qualified because I didn’t get good grades in my Science class. She laughed and said I didn’t. It now dawns on me that to be a writer of any genre it takes reading and, next to that, imagination.

When I wonder what the heck I think I want to be I tell myself I want to be a storyteller. I wanted to make characters that are believable, that are human and people I would actually want to meet. I wanted to depict feelings and emotions and put them into moments that often people might take for granted. I wanted to make metaphors and subtle hints that would make me feel like what I just made means something. I just wanted to write in a way that it might seem real even if it was SF/F.

Oh, and hey I do want to write contemporary too.

When/how did you start writing?

G: I started writing, calling it legit writing, in sixth grade when I took a spiraled pink notebook and wrote this adventure story with me and my friends. It had no plot and my handwriting was terrible.

But I was making things up even before that. I would make short stories with markers and crayons in these empty scrapbooks my mom, who was an Arts and Crafts teacher, would give me. It didn’t occur to me then that I was practicing being an author, it’s just that I wanted to make those book things with the pictures. I wanted to make characters.

When I got to High School and an anthology for teens was part of our reading list, I discovered I could make cheesy love stories, put them all together and bind them into this one book. I was on a roll with shipping my classmates with one another and giving them new names, but it was obvious because I usually stuck to the first letter.

I also learned how to update chapters around this time because I got into writing fanfiction, which I am not ashamed of because it helped me break into the habit and I had my first real taste of having strangers react to the plot and the things I made the characters go through. If you’re wondering, it was Batgirl and Robin and it was very dramatic.

P: Like Gianne, I’d like to think I legit started writing in a notebook during second year high school. At the time, I was inspired by a classmate who created a novel about a bunch of kids who were sent to earth when their planets were destroyed. It only occurred to me then that you could do that, create a whole universe inside a notebook, and I was so fascinated that I tried to write in one myself.

Before that, I’ve been writing, somehow. I wrote in different notebooks different things – dairy entries, poems, songs and concepts. I remember attempting to write a novel before the notebook incident about three friends (vaguely based on the Barbie dolls we had as kids) but I couldn’t really count that since I only finished it in my head.

After the notebook writing, when technology slowly overtook society, I began typing my stories and posting them on Wattpad. My classmates then were very supportive and even requested that they cameo in my stories. Wattpad made it easier for them to access my stories rather than passing a notebook around in class. I finished my first novelette there and even gained popularity for a while due to the support of random internet strangers.

What are your writing habits/routines?

P: *nervous laughter* I don’t have a routine, but I do have passion. And when I’m passionate, I write all out. I give it my everything until I have nothing and I need to rest for a long time.

I write when it feels like it’s the right time to write, when it feels like I’m meant to write. (It’s because I believe that sometimes, you’re also meant to not write yet since there’s something you should experience first before you write a particular scene.)

G: I probably have a terrible writing routine of not getting it done right away, which is something I really need to outgrow. I find that I’m a better writer at night and for some reason between the hours of 10-11, after constantly trying to prompt myself that I should be writing, that the will to type or put pen to paper kicks in.

I could sometimes coax myself to write a draft in my notebook, telling myself it’s no big deal I could edit it later, during the afternoons and then all hell breaks loose when I do have to type it. Changes here and there would occur and it’s hard not to glance and maybe tweak at the previous chapter before getting new things in.

I fail to always bring a notebook handy, so I have a note app in my phone because my mind tended to wander into my stories, to my characters and their personal lives, to epic events and to more story concepts I would want to write in the future. If there’s a thing about writing that I enjoy, it’s coming up with concepts and finding out how it all fits together. There are too many notes in my phone now.

What kind of stories do you want to write?

G: Like I said above, I wanted to write stories with characters that feel real and the crazy plots and situations they’d get into. For me, the characters are what drives me to be into a story because they have to be able to take you with them along each page. If I’m not feeling friendly with a character then continuing a story may be a problem, with reading and writing.

I want my Characters to mean something as if the story is really a one to tell because they’ve really lived it. I would like to draw people into the dialogue and hear their words, their playful banters, their arguments their small talks, as if it could really be something someone would say in real life. I’m also really into world building because I’m a sucker for alternate universes and worlds and the What Ifs.

Also, if I could find the right balance between serious issues and a bit of good humor into a plot then I’m going the right way.

P: I want to write adult children’s fiction. Something that feels like ‘The Little Prince’, ‘The Graveyard Book’, ‘Navigating Early’ and ‘The Real Boy’. (Those are my favorite books, by the way.)

I believe that the best way to feel or realize something important is through the lenses of innocence and that’s just what I wanted to do with my stories. I want my stories to be youthful, magical and life-changing in a way.

I know that it’s a tough genre to break into but I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, I’d also work on young adult chick lit stories to get my ideas across. I hope I’d be able to write at least one good story, one that’s believable, realistic and natural (or basically one that would portray how I imagine love to be).

What’s your ultimate writing goal/dream?

P: I have a standard answer for this. I want to walk into a bookstore and find a bunch of girls flocking over one of my books from a shelf with my other works on display. I’d be eavesdropping about their impressions of the book and about who they ship with who.

The end game is to be published. I’m born to be a storyteller and I hope to serve my purpose.

G: My ultimate writing goal and dream is to be able to write a lot of books. Though, I don’t think I’ve been prolific since high school when I had no shame and I wasn’t at all that into specifics, I still hold onto the dream that I would be making more.

My all time favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones who I think is more known for writing Howl’s Moving Castle, but my favorite of hers is her Chrestomanci Chronicles. To be able to come up with whimsical and magical plots, fun and likeable characters, and finish novels as much as she did is my inspiration.

Also, Madeleine L’ Engle, my second favorite, had a way with putting together the kind of story with a welcoming atmosphere and I love the way she discusses faith and God. These ladies were able to write a lot of novels, created so many worlds and characters, and I wish to be able to do the same.

Any fictional crushes?

G: Obviously, because I’m all about the characters being real, it isn’t far to fall in love with them as if they were. I have a lot of them so I’ll just mention the top 5 from books.

Except one who’s from comics because he’s my most important one. Ultimate Fictional crush: Tim Drake (Robin III, Red Robin) from DC comics.

Top 5 Bookish Fictional Crushes: Park Sheridan (Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell), Christopher Chant (Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones), Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer), Millard Nullings (Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs), Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo).

P: I had to think about this for quite a while. Other than Leo Valdez (Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan), I don’t really have many fictional book crushes. I guess, most of the books I’ve read recently don’t really revolve around love so I focused more on the story other than the guys.

But if I have to pick for the rest of my top 5, they’d be: Jack Frost (Guardians of Childhood series by William Joyce), Day (Legend by Marie Lu), Jack the Sword (Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan) and Sirius Black (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling).

That’s it for this post. If you want to know more about us, just comment your question below and we’ll try to answer it!

It’s Not Exactly a Writer’s Block

(Written by Pauline Navarro)

We started Milktea Fiction seven months ago, and if you’ve taken the bait to actually check us out, you can see that we haven’t exactly made much progress since then. It’s only now that we’ve become active again in social media and in the blog. (And even with all the hype now, we cant guarantee that we’ll be consistently doing this already.)

We did this so that we can have an outlet for our writing. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s difficult to write even if you love doing it.

Other than adjusting to the corporate world after graduating college, Gianne and I have been busy pursing various passion projects. For her, she’s been writing numerous novels-in-the-making, some with side/supplementary stories of their own. She’s also been illustrating her characters and a few web comics. On my end, I’ve been blogging and writing that one story I couldn’t let go of. And, well, I’ve also been coming up with other creative projects related to music and video-editing, depending on my mood.

So you see, the problem sometimes isn’t that we don’t have the motivation to write or that we’re in a writing slump. We are writing, creating… other things.

There are just so many ideas and so many ways to express them!

Hopefully, this time, while our fire is still burning to create content for Milktea Fiction, we’ll be able to write lots and lots of stories and archive enough to keep the blog alive for when we start being potatoes again.

Do you experience the same thing? Did you ever take on too many passion projects that you neglected one? Share your story below. Wed love to hear from you!

P.S. We’ve resolved to publishing short stories and writing related articles for now but maybe, if we get a chance, we’ll be able to explore different types of content for you guys.