Lyndsay Ely (pronounced “eel-y”, as in those eels are looking very eel-y today) is the author of GUNSLINGER GIRL (her debut novel) and DEADLOCK REBELS: An Overwatch Novel, as well as a contributor in the upcoming OVERWATCH: HEROES ASCENDANT. Lyndsay spent her teenage years wanting to be a comic book artist but as it turned out, she couldn’t draw very well, so she began writing instead. She is a geek, a foodie, former publishing minion, and has never met an antique shop or flea market she didn’t like. Boston is the place she currently calls home, though she wouldn’t mind giving Paris a try someday.
I was a big reader as a kid, and can remember writing my own stories all the way back in elementary school. Writing was something I’ve always done, but it wasn’t until I took a class at a literary center that I really started learning about process and querying and the publishing industry. That class led to an invite into a local writing group, but it was still a slow process; I’d moved cities, started my own writing group, and spent several years working in publishing before I signed with an agent and we sold my debut novel.
I write fantasy and science fiction primarily, though I don’t like to be held to any single genre. My favorite stories—both to write and to read—blend multiple genres. But fantasy and science fiction will always be my main loves. Frankly, we get enough reality every day; I like stories that let me get a little break from that.
I prefer long form writing, like novels, but also do short stories from time to time. You’d think short stories would be easier, but it’s a huge challenge to create plots and develop characters with only a few thousand words.
My process is a little chaotic. An idea can start with a plot, a character, sometimes even just an idea for a scene, and grow from there. I’ve been trying to learn to plot in a more organized manner using outlines and tools, but when it comes down to it, I usually just end up writing and seeing what comes out.
This is a hard question, because being a writer is hard, even though I can’t imagine not doing it. But I guess I love the thrill of a new idea, and the thrill of finishing something you’re really satisfied with (especially when it gets a chance to find an audience!)
If you have a goal (to get a short story in a magazine, sell a novel, self-publish your stories) be willing to keep going even when it seems like it will never happen. Honestly, it might not. But the only way to guarantee that is to not try. One thing I always tell myself (and my writer friends) is you can’t sell something unless you have something to sell. Yup, as frustrating as it might be, you gotta write the thing!
Writer’s block isn’t something I generally struggle with. For me, it’s more often not being sure how to string two points of a story together, or getting frustrated when I know what I want to write but it’s not coming out as clean and clear as I want it to. Usually, taking a break helps. Or a shower. More story snarls than I can count have been sorted out in the shower.
Comic books were a huge part of why I wanted to become a writer. (Marvel, call me!) I love the merging of words and visuals, so when the opportunity to work with Storiaverse came along, it seemed like a really cool way to take a traditional format and put a new spin on it. There are different benefits and challenges to writing in a way that will work with the animations, and I love getting the chance to explore those!
Transmission, a cyberpunk story in a dystopian near future, is actually one of the earliest short stories I ever wrote. It’s gone through a lot of refining over the years, but it wasn’t until Storiaverse that I felt like it finally had the right platform. The story Is really about finding little bits of happiness in a doomed situation which, unfortunately, feels more than a little appropriate these days.
Sometimes there’s just no way to get the cool stuff in your head down on the page the way you want it. Animation helps solve that problem, not to mention deepens a reader’s experience of the story. I wish I could do animation, just like I wish I could draw comic books. Unfortunately, years of trying to draw (not to mention going to art school) made it clear that the visual part of storytelling just isn’t my forte!
Everyone should be able see themselves in fiction and media, period. I remember how much feeling represented in the books and comic books I read meant to me as a teen (and, honestly, that didn’t happen nearly as much or as often as it should have back then). And I’ve seen people literally stop in their tracks when they spot a character or story that potentially represents them. Feeling represented in stories is something everyone deserves, and when I write I try to do what I can to be inclusive, even if it’s only in small ways. There are stories and perspectives that are not mine to tell, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make readers other than those I share experiences with feel included.