2018 Writer's Games Winner
Individual Portion 2
The Writer's Workout conducted the following interview with KM Shapiro in November, 2018. The Writer's Workout is represented as "WW" and KM is represented as "KM". Interview responses are published as received.
WW: What made you want to participate in the Writer’s Games this year?
KM: I had participated before and loved the challenge. I need something to keep me accountable when I write, and this has been such a great way to keep me writing at least a little bit when I get busy. I need the tension of a deadline, and I feel that helps me write better stories.
WW: Was there anything that you were worried or nervous about coming into this year’s Games?
KM: Time, always. I feel like life passes by in a whirlwind, and the Games forces me to carve out time for myself even when I feel I don’t have any to spare.
WW: What kept you motivated to participate in each Event?
KM: The great feedback I knew I would receive. I’m always looking to improve my writing and I rarely get to hear so many perspectives on a story I wrote. It’s always interesting to see which judges like a certain part while others think it could be done differently.
WW: Did life ever get in the way during the Games? How did that affect your writing?
KM: Yes, it absolutely did. I’m a fourth year medical student, so balancing patients, home life, and writing is always a challenge. There were times when it kept me from writing my best story and I knew if I had more time or less distractions that I could easily come up with something better.
WW: What was your favorite Event and why?
KM: Stuck Like Glue. I had never considered writing from the point of view of an inanimate object, but it gave me the opportunity to delve deep into a family’s day-to-day activities from an outsider’s perspective, but with insider information.
WW: Was there an Event that was more challenging for you than the others?
KM: Anything to do with historical fiction is a challenge for me. History was never my best subject, and while I do enjoy research, my weakness in that area often leaves my stories feeling like they could be better.
WW: What inspires you to write?
KM: Everything. Music, television, other people I see in everyday life, they all give me ideas that I use to create worlds. I love world-building and creating new stories, and I always feel like I have so many characters and places in my head that demand to be written into a great book or short story.
WW: What genre do you normally like to write in? How did that help or hurt you during the Games?
KM: My longer stories and novels tend to lurk around the science fiction genre. Shorter stories can vary. I write a lot of general fiction that I feel doesn’t fall into a specific genre. This did give me some versatility during the Games, as I was able to adapt my thinking to the necessary core concepts for each event while still writing within my comfort zone.
WW: Whose work do you find most inspiring? Why?
KM: Laurell K. Hamilton is a favorite author of mine. She stays true to herself with her writing and writes what she loves, not necessarily what the market demands. As someone who grew with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, it was refreshing to read a vampire slayer series with the originality she has put into it.
WW: What is the best advice someone has ever given you and who said it?
KM: An undergraduate professor of mine said that everything in life is a choice you make. Whether we realize it or not, we have control over everything in our lives, and we are responsible for 100% of the consequences, good or bad, of those choices. It really changed my perspective and the way I view decision making, and has helped me when I’ve reached a fork in the road.
WW: What advice would you give to people thinking about participating in next year’s Games?
KM: Go for it, absolutely. You really have nothing to lose and you gain so much insight and perspective into your own writing. A fresh pair of eyes on your work can help you with an idea you’ve been struggling with or an entirely new way of looking at a concept you want to incorporate into a story.
It is the policy of The Writer's Workout to publish interview responses as received.