It’s difficult to pin down exactly when I began to write and take it seriously, but I do remember why. I had just discovered fanfiction, and as I always do, I figured that I could do it better than anyone else. I think I was about 13/14, but I really don’t remember.
I picked up a lot from other fanfic writers, but I generally just wrote what I wanted. It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I began to write my original stories and I realized just how little I knew about writing. Luckily for me, I was already hooked and I couldn’t stop.
My sophomore year of high school (age 15), I met one of my dearest friends, Vivian, a fellow amateur author.
She encouraged me to write and provided some much-needed criticism. She has been a never ending source of reality-check, “You copied an episode of Criminal Minds, Nikki.”, and “If these characters get together I will shoot you in the face.” She’s been reading and dealing with my thoughts on The Decoder since the beginning and one day, when we live together in our crappy author apartment, I will gather all of my spare change and buy her Egyptian cotton sheets or something like that.
As for my actual style, I’d have to say that my biggest influence is Rick Riordan. I cracked open The Lightening Thief when I was 16 and in the worst mood of my life, and within two pages I was laughing my head off and in awe of how quickly a first-person story had enraptured me. It was exactly the kind of story I wanted to read, told exactly as I would have told it. I began to break down and analyze his style (yes, I’m aware of how weird that is), to figure out what makes it so appealing. While I cannot possibly master his style, I have adapted it to my own work, and I finally found a way for me to write without stressing.
When it comes to storytelling, there’s a long list of incredible people I could cite as inspiration, but it all traces back to the creators of Avatar: the Last Airbender, Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. I’m not joking. From breaking gender stereotypes, plot tropes and trolling the fandom to the point of tears, those two men changed the way I thought about stories. A:tLA was a big part of my life when I started to write, but I didn’t realize how much it had actually influenced me until I took a look at the themes in The Decoder, as well as the other stories I had plotted past age 16.
I’d love to go into more detail about it, but I don’t want to spoil the plot. I can say, though, that they taught me about vibrant characters, creating unique cultures, twisting a plot until it almost breaks and so much more. ”If the fans can figure it out, it isn’t good enough.”, is something I can honestly imagine them saying, and now I’m saying it as well.