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Elizabeth Price

2022 Writer's Games Winner
Second Place

The Writer's Workout conducted the following interview with Elizabeth Price in August, 2022. The Writer's Workout is represented as "WW" and Elizabeth is represented as "EP". Interview responses are published as received. 

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


EP: I was actually lucky enough to spend the last Writer’s Games (2021) as one of the judges. It was my first time hearing about the Games, and going into the first Event I had no idea what to expect. I found (very quickly) that I loved the community surrounding the Games—my fellow judges, the Writer’s Workout Team *waves*, and the writers were some of the most creative, thoughtful, and passionate people I’d ever met. I knew once the 2021 Games were over it was going to be difficult to stay away. I’ve always loved writing, and so I thought this year I’d try my luck on this side of things!


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


EP: I was definitely nervous about the crunch of the whole 72-hours thing. I don’t think I had ever conceived of a story, written, and edited the whole thing in such a short time. I find that I’m the kind of writer who starts writing oftentimes with an idea that’s too grand for anything less than 20 pages… Then, as the clock wound down, I had to learn how to wrap it up a lot quicker than I’d originally anticipated. But that’s the nature of this whole thing! Thinking on your toes! Being adaptable and willing to step outside your comfort zone!


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


EP: Before the first week, I had set a goal for myself: I wanted to submit something for every Event. It didn’t have to be long. It didn’t have to be good. But something to keep me writing. I just graduated in May, and this summer has been a bit daunting stepping out into the real world. I think the Games were something I was looking forward to every week no matter what other anxieties were lurking. When I was writing I was only thinking about the words—it was a pretty neat form of self-care.


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


EP: Sure, I mean it’s kind to compartmentalize everything all the time. There were some Friday nights when I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and start on an Event. Or some weekend mornings when I wanted to take things slow and watch an entire season of Derry Girls instead of writing. I finished a few stories during my Monday lunch break or in my phone’s notes app because the deadline was steadily approaching. There were definitely a few endings that weren’t as nuanced as I might’ve made them and I’m sure my spelling mistakes skyrocketed (sorry…)


WW: What was your favorite Event and why?


EP: I really loved the open-endedness of HERE COMES THE SUN. I felt like I had so much wiggle room when it came to crafting a story between dusk and dawn, but that also mean that there were so many avenues to explore. I think my favorite was BIZARRE BAZAAR (I had been secretly hoping for that one while prowling the Events list) because I was able to write something that was more focused on setting than characters and plot. I was able to dive into this world of the Bazaar so completely that it felt like the story happened all on its own—I just had to write it down.


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


EP: I think UNLOCKED was the most difficult Event. Maybe it was the week? I’m not sure. But I started my story over at least five times that Event. I think I might’ve been so preoccupied with hitting the Core Concepts and fitting into the event that I forced a square peg into a round hole.


WW: What inspires you to write in general?


EP: I’ve always had stories in my head. Writing some of them down helps me keep track of everything else. It’s a way to connect with myself. I’m free to be as creative as I can while solving puzzles and learning new things along the way. I love the people I have connected with because of writing (and reading more broadly) and while it can be daunting to be vulnerable by sharing what I write, I also think it makes my connections that much more genuine. It lets people see the real me. Wow—that was so cheesy…


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


EP: Fantasy and magic realism. I also have a sweet spot for historical fiction. I was able to tap into both of those during the Games, which I was very grateful for. Sometimes, though, using fantasy as my “jumping-off point” meant I’d put myself in a box pretty early on. I had to push myself to look at the Events differently, and in places, think about what really mattered to a piece. It sometimes gets too easy to hind behind the bells and whistles of dragons and magic and forget about creating realistic characters and emotions.


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


EP: It’s a little out of context, but I think it can be pretty universal… “Don’t be afraid to look the fool.” My freshman year Russian professor said that to me during my very first week of learning Russian. I think she meant it to be a “don’t be afraid to put yourself out there” kind of thing. While at first, it might seem kind of harsh, I think it’s important to remember whenever you’re trying new things. It’s okay to not be perfect your first time. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.


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

EP: Remember that it’s about having fun. Like, seriously, it’s really fun. You come out of it with a few new pieces that didn’t exist before (which is already really cool) and you also learn about yourself as a writer. Do you draft better in the mornings? Evenings? Middle of the day on Monday when you realize the whole thing is due in 4 hours? You can push yourself to explore new genres and scenarios in a non-committal, short-term kind of way. And you get to set aside life for at least a few hours and just write.

It is the policy of The Writer's Workout to publish interview responses as received.

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