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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke


A tan typewriter sits on a small round table next to a vase with flowers in it. #Author August 23
Photo by Luke Lung on Unsplash

I found this calendar floating around on Facebook and it's attributed to Mariah Ankenman. It's a way to get to know authors in a fun daily activity designed for social media, but as always, I like to mine these babies for blog posts, so I'm doing all of it at once. Read on, friends!

A calendar for August filled with prompts for authors to do
Image from Facebook, calendar by Mariah Ankenman

.・゜-: ✧ :-  -: ✧ :-゜・.

1 - Introduce yourself and what you write

My name is Kristina and I write Upper YA fantasy inspired by fairy tales, dark curses, magic, and love. I write novels mostly and dabble in poetry here and there.

2 - Plotter? Pantser? Plantser?

I guess I'm 90% pantser and 10% plotter. I have a vague bullet list of stuff I want to happen in general in the book, but no set way of getting there, so I just write until it figures itself out. I don't always like doing it this way, but I've done it this way forever and can't seem to ever fully plot a book before writing it.

3 - Playlist or silence when writing?

I used to listen to classical music, anime, video game, and film soundtracks while writing but I've gotten back into the habit of writing in total silence. I didn't listen to anything while writing Son of the Siren because I didn't want the music to influence the songs I was writing for the book, and when I started writing The Name and the Key again, I just continued writing without any music.

4 - Do you read your drafts out loud?

I don't read my drafts out loud because I tend to correct errors instead of catching them, so I use the text-to-speech reader in Word to help out with that.

5 - Where are you? Word count check in or status update

22,753 words into the book. I'm held up on a scene building towards a major event, but I'm just bored with the book right now and can't seem to motivate myself to work on it.

6 - What's your writing process?

I envision characters first and try to come up with scenarios that make them emotional; sometimes plot comes to me if I'm inspired by something like a fairy tale, but otherwise it's just vibes. I sometimes write bullet points of things I want to have happen in the book, but otherwise don't plot--I just sit at the laptop and write. If things get difficult during the drafting process I will sort of journal with myself in a notebook, having a dialogue with myself and asking questions until I can somehow work myself out of it. I save multiple versions of the book and never delete anything. I draft, get beta readers, revise, get new beta readers, and revise again until I feel like I've handled criticisms well and am happy with my final version of the book.

7 - Do you read other books while drafting?

I do read while drafting. I'm working on The Name and the Key now and all this time I've been reading. I usually try to read YA fantasy while drafting a YA fantasy, but I've had some issues with reading this year and have DNF'd several I've mostly been reading BL and comics during this time.

8 - Tuesday Teaser: Post a short snippet from your WIP

I don't feel comfortable posting snippets from my WIP because I'm worried about theft and AI scraping and all of that jazz, so you'll just have to wait patiently for the book to be out!

9 - Overwrite or under writer?

I always thought I was someone who overwrites because I always end up cutting so much from my books, but Son of the Siren surprised me … the first completed version was 79,000 words and I was told it all went by too fast and to slow things down, so I added about 6,000 words to the's since been edited down again and is around 84,000 words. I never expected I'd have to add to my book, but here we are. Sometimes I wonder if I'm underwriting The Name and the Key because I've cut so much from the original!

10 - Any of your characters inspired by IRL people?

When I wrote Melancholia (my original musical) they were, but I have since realized that this isn't healthy or nice for me to do, so I've vowed never to write characters from real life ever again. If you get something wrong or depict someone in a negative light, that person doesn't really have a chance to defend themselves after you've written them a certain way.

11 - Write every day or take time off?

I have tried to write daily many times but can't seem to do it, so I always take time off.

12 - Where are you? Word count check in or status update

Considering I'm writing this all out now, I haven't added anything new to The Name and the Key in the past 15 minutes, so word count is still 22,753.

13 - What's your MC like?

Lily from The Name and the Key is a very strong person who loves her sister (and occasionally feels some jealousy towards her). She is devoted and is overly protective.

14 - Biggest misconception about being a writer?

I think thanks to writers like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, people think writers can make tons of money off of their work, and that in general, authors are wealthy people (I think Hollywood is to blame for this somewhat). Most authors can't afford to live off of their writing and work multiple jobs, According to, the Authors Guild surveyed more than 5,000 authors and found "a $6,080 median for all writers, while full-time writers have $20,300 median."

15 - Tuesday Teaser: Post a short snippet from your WIP

As mentioned above, I don't trust the internet for posting snippets while the book is still a WIP, so I'm withholding all the sweet details.

16 - Trad? Indie? Hybrid?

I'm going the traditional publishing route (I'm agented, yay!), though indie has tempted me more times than I can count. There's just a lot of stuff I can't afford to front for self-publishing, and the reach traditional publishing has is far greater than anything I could do on my own as a self-pubbed author.

17 - Drafting or editing, which is your favorite?

This one was hard for me to choose. Drafting can be really exciting for me as well as torturous, but I think editing is less painful.

18 - Favorite format to read in?

As much as I love physical books, my reading method of choice has been eBooks for a while now, ever since I lived in Japan and English books became harder to come by. I like the convenience of an eReader and how I can have an expansive library in my pocket.

19 - Where are you? Word count check in or status update

Since I'm doing this all in one go, I don't have a new wordcount to share.

20 - What is the setting of your WIP?

The main setting of my novel is in a fictional country called Brinn in a seaside town called Mariner. The time period in the book is loosely based off of the Regency period.

21 - Does your writing support you financially?

No, and now that I'm a little more educated about it, I don't expect this to ever happen. I'd like to be able to live off of writing and do it full time, but I don't have high hopes for this.

22 - Tuesday Teaser: Post a short snippet from your WIP

No thanks!

23 - Favorite writing spot?

In Japan it was on a tray table at my couch-bed, and here in the US it's at my ancient writing desk I've had ever since I was a child.

24 - Who do you trust for writing advice?

Teachers and fellow writers. But I have to remember that some advice doesn't always work for everyone, and what worked well for one author might not work for me at all.

25 - Do you have abandoned writing projects?

I have an abandoned Hades + Persephone project -- I abandoned it because it seems like there's oversaturation of these stories right now.

26 - Where are you? Word count check in or status update

Again, I'm doing this all in one fell swoop so I don't have a new word count or new status.

27 - What tools do you use to help you write?

It's varied over time, but The Novel Factory,, and Microsoft Word are all tools that I have used to help me write. Plus 0.5 lead pencils and notebooks.

28 - Writing in pretty notebooks, yay or nay?

Ha ha! Speaking of! I have some pretty notebooks that I don't mind writing in, but if they are like leather-bound or hardcover, I feel less inclined to fill them up because I don't want to ruin how pretty they look.

29 - Tuesday Teaser: Post a short snippet from your WIP

No thank you!

30 - Have you ever written any fanfic?

Yep. I write mostly anime BL fanfic. I wrote a fanfic of Aoba, Virus, and Trip from DRAMAtical Murder that was certainly spicy, a thriller-esque story from Darker Than Black that I never I'm reading Heaven Official's Blessing because I want to write fanfic for it!

31 - Celebrate yourself and post something you're proud of!

After all this time, I'm excited and relieved that I have a wonderful agent to work with. I'm pretty proud of that.

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