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Alyssa Beatty

2022 Writer's Games Winner
First Place

The Writer's Workout conducted the following interview with Alyssa Beatty in August, 2022. The Writer's Workout is represented as "WW" and Alyssa is represented as "AB".

Interview responses are published as received. 

WW: What made you want to participate in the Writer's Games this year?


AB: The challenge of writing five stories in five weeks. My goal for the summer was to start writing every week, so this was a great way to start. I have trouble starting a story without an external prompt, and a lot more trouble finishing one without a deadline. Hence my somewhat Pavlovian reaction to writing contests.


WW: Was there anything that you were worried or nervous about coming into this year's Games?


AB: Writing without anyone to read my work and tell me that I was heading off in the wrong direction. And no one to correct my terrible mistreatment of commas. 


WW: What kept you motivated to participate in each Event?


AB: I'm part of an amazingly supportive online writing group, so even without being able to share our stories or ideas, we could cheer each other on. Also, if I sign up to do a contest, I feel obligated to myself to submit *something*, even if I feel it's not my best work.


WW: Did life ever get in the way during the Games? How did that affect your writing?


AB: During Event 2 I was in the final for another writing contest. I spent all day Saturday writing and revising and by Sunday morning I didn't think I had another story in me. But I pushed through and got something on the page, and I'm really glad I did. 


WW: What was your favorite Event and why?


AB: Bizarre Bazaar. Sometimes you come up with an idea that is just fun to write from start to finish, and this was one of those. And it happened to be a weekend I had Monday off, so I had lots of time to tinker with it.


WW: Was there an Event that was more challenging for you than the others?


AB: Here Comes the Sun was a challenge. Which is odd because that's the event I was most excited about. For whatever reason I struggled to come up with an idea, and then to get the story in my head to come out on the page. 


WW: What inspires you to write in general?


AB: I endured a very long hiatus away from writing fiction. A decades long hiatus. Once I started again, I realized how much more complete and content I feel when I'm writing. I was always telling stories to myself anyway, sometimes, I've been told, under my breath on the subway. Getting them out on paper is much more socially acceptable. 


WW: What genre do you normally like to write in? How did that help or hurt you during the Games?


AB: I tend towards genre fiction, as well as drama. I'm very comfortable in sci-fi, although I didn't write any for the Games. I've been enjoying trying out different genres lately, so that definitely helped. It's much easier for me to come up with an idea if I don't come into it with a pre-set notion of what genre I should write in. I tried writing fantasy for the first time for one event and loved it. 


WW: What is the best advice someone has ever given you and who said it?


AB: Not advice given directly to me, but Alan Wilson Watts: "Stop aspiring and start writing. If you're writing, you're a writer." That helped me start writing again after a long time away. I have Terry Pratchett's "Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself" taped to my laptop, to remind myself that even when I'm banging my head against a metaphorical wall over a story, writing is fun.


WW: What advice would you give to people thinking about participating in next year's Games?


AB: Honestly, just do it! Have fun. Play with genres or characters you wouldn't normally use. Take risks. Write a story that *you* love. Write for every Event. If nothing else, at the end there will be at least five stories in the world that wouldn't have existed otherwise, and that's always a beautiful thing.

You can read Alyssa's dedication in the anthology.


We publish interview responses as received.

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