March 17, 2020
Nour Zikra is a writer and a YouTuber who has a degree in creative writing. She gives out writing tips and advice on her YouTube channel and inspires many writers with her comic writing skits. She released a fantasy novel late last year Divinity Falling and I have since reviewed it and loved it.
James: When and why did you start writing?
Nour: I started writing when I was 13 years old. That year in school, we were being assigned a lot of fun books to read, like Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. The more I read, the more I wanted to write something just as awesome as these books, and I guess that’s what created a spark for me to start writing.
James: Does your family support you writing?
Nour: My family supports my writing, but that wasn’t always the case. It’s not that they didn’t like my writing in the past. It’s more so that when you’re young and writing a novel for the first time, the people around you probably see what you’re doing as just a phase, which was my case. Eventually, once they saw how serious I was about the craft and how well I did in my creative writing courses, they took me more seriously and started appreciating what I do more. Now, I would say they are my number one fans.
James: What inspires you to write?
Nour: I’m honestly not sure what inspires me to write because a lot of different things can trigger my creative mind. When I was younger, the need to prove myself was definitely a big inspiration (or fuel). Nowadays, I could be listening to music, reading a book, or doing any mundane task and get inspired. In all scenarios, though, the inspiration usually just pops into my head without warning.
James: What is your main writing goal?
Nour: My main writing goal is always to have fun. If I’m not enjoying what I’m writing, then no one else will. At the same time, however, I don’t write my books with others in mind. I write for myself. If there’s a book I want to read that hasn’t been written yet, that’s the book I write. It’s a very selfish form of entertainment that just happened to also entertain others. But I am glad others can get enjoyment out of my writing too.
James: What is the book publishing process like?
Nour: Publishing a book is highly stressful, and it can lead to a burnout. I used to think that publishing was a lot like pressing a button: you click it and the task is complete. However, that’s not the case. There is a lot of research to be done, months of editing, tons of emails to various professionals, and the creation of a marketing campaign. It takes a long time to get a book out, and even when it gets out, the work doesn’t end. Despite all that, publishing a book is a worthwhile job.
James: Can you share one editing tip?
Nour: When editing your writing, edit in different stages. This process might take longer, but it is more thorough and effective. Go through your story and edit just the character development. Then go through it another time looking for any grammatical errors. Then go through it looking for plot holes or to add more sensory details. Then go through it again searching for other mistakes, and so on. This way, you do not get sidetracked or overwhelmed by all the edits and you ensure that everything is as close to perfection as possible.
James: How do you stay motivated to write?
Nour: I stay motivated to write by reminding myself that this is my dream and my job. The longer it takes for me to write, the longer I’ll have to wait to see my dream come to fruition. This way, I stop myself from being lazy.
James: How often do you write? And how do you find the time?
Nour: Right now, I’m in the middle of plotting a story and outlining, so there isn’t much writing going on yet. However, when I do start writing, I usually write on a daily basis with the exception of the weekend (because I am human and need a break). But of course, with my day job and my YouTube channel, it’s not always easy to find the time to write. So, what I do is usually sit down to write just three short pages a day (roughly 500 words, if I’m not mistaken). This way, I can write for a minimum of an hour while still meeting deadlines for my other work. And if I have a day that’s completely free of other priorities, I sit down and write longer.
James: Do you base characters off yourself and other personas you are familiar with?
Nour: I rarely base characters off myself or other personas I’m familiar with (though I do get inspired by personalities from time to time). However, I tend to write characters who are the way I wish to be, such as more confident, courageous, or outright blunt. Writing a character that’s completely unlike me is a lot of fun.
James: What is the most crucial part when writing a novel?
Nour: The most crucial part when writing a novel is allowing the reader to easily be able to jump right into the characters’ shoes. I usually do this by creating a relatable character and utilizing sensory details. Being able to empathize with a character and even imagine yourself as the character is what makes writing memorable.
– Become Aesthete –
– Follow Us –