Archive for February, 2014

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Carol Riggs


Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Carol Riggs! You can find her blogging at ArtziCarol Ramblings.

Welcome, Carol!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Carol author pic modified

Carol Riggs

I am an Oregon transplant to California, and am incredibly lucky to be able to write full time without having to have a “real” job. (Thank you, working hubby!) I write YA, speculative genres such as sci fi, fantasy, dystopian, magical realism. I love exploring the What If. Other hobbies/interests include quilting, walking, watching dance, music (I play a little piano), the beach, and collecting dragons. I also have a BA in Studio Art but the past few years my art has been limited because I’m so focused on writing. I’ve done portraits, website design, fabric art, and miniature acrylic painting. Oh, and Etch-a-Sketch “drawings”!


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

99.9% of my writing is done at my desk. I used to handwrite rough drafts back in the 1990s but now I compose at the computer to save time.


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I inherited my desk as a hand-me-down from my hubby, who got a bigger one. I like a fairly uncluttered working area so my thoughts feel more organized. Just the basic necessities around me.

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Carol’s Workspace

3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

Glass of water, box of tissue. I need scratch paper to jot down notes as I work. I need my computer glasses. I turn OFF email/social networking alerts so I don’t get interrupted.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I love that my monitor is wide enough to have TWO Word documents open side-by-side when I’m revising. I also love that my office is on the second floor–it’s like I’m in a treehouse because I can only see trees and the occasional fat squirrel out my window. I have a few of my dragons around me, and my “Nessie” (Loch Ness) dragon(ish) figurine on my desk.

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Carol’s favorite figurine: Nessie

5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Just water but occasionally herbal tea. I don’t like coffee or sodas (I know, I’m un-American). I don’t like food near my keyboard either; crumbs under the keys are icky! I’m not really a snacker anyway, just 3 meals a day.

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Carol’s favorite Escher print

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

As a child I read Nancy Drew mysteries; as a teen/college student I really loved Ray Bradbury–he’s so free and creative with words. In the 1990s I was entranced with Susan Fletcher’s DRAGON’S MILK trilogy, as well as Anne McCaffrey’s DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN series. Nowadays I’m intrigued by the writing styles of Laini Taylor (DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE), Maggie Stiefvater (THE RAVEN BOYS, LAMENT, BALLAD, THE SCORPIO RACES), Neil Gaiman (NEVERWHERE), and Victoria Schwab (THE NEAR WITCH).

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An old photo of Carol and her siblings reading

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Get the hubby off to work, shower, check emails and Facebook, etc. and am ready to write by 8:30 to 9:00am hopefully. I either jump right into revisions, or if I’m writing on a WIP, I re-read a few pages prior to where I stopped, so I can get the flow of the story. I tweak the previous stuff a little, then move into new territory.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write every day. When I’m  hot on a novel, I write 4-6 hours a day. That’s interspersed with critiques for my CPs, yardwork, appointments, etc. Emails and Facebook are distracting–and I’ve actually uninstalled Mahjong and Spider from my computer because I got too obsessed playing them.


4. Why do you write?

Because it completes me. I love being creative, and working with words. I love delving into the worlds and characters living inside my head. One of my fave parts is naming characters.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

Get critique partners who push you to grow, even though it’s painful. Go to conferences sponsored by groups such as the SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, where you can meet likeminded writers and bump shoulders with editors and agents. YA/teen novels are included in the SCBWI. Most American states have regional SCBWI events; you don’t have to spend the big bucks to go to the biannual national events.

Learn how to revise! It’s SO important, perhaps more so than writing a rough draft. Also, grow a thick skin and get used to rejection because it will keep happening at ALL levels; it’s part of the writing profession. Finally: never give up. I wrote 15 novels before I found an agent, which equals 10 total years of trying. Publishing is often a long haul. Don’t expect to be an instant Cinderella. It’s rare.





Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Carol!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.

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Story Sprouts Blog Tour

This January Story Sprouts co-editor Alana Garrigues and I visited other blogs to promote STORY SPROUTS: CBW-LA WRITING DAY EXERCISES & ANTHOLOGY.

50% of Story Sprouts book sales from November 2013 to the end of January 2014 was donated to Child Fund International, for their ongoing Philippine typhoon relief efforts. Our sales for these months weren’t as stellar as we’d hoped they’d be, but we did manage to get a total of $128.74, which means that our charity of choice received a total of $64.37.

If you missed any of our posts last month, don’t worry. You can click on the links below to check them out.

Alana and I would like to thank our amazing, wonderful bloggy friends who hosted us for our whirlwind blog tour. Here they are, in order of appearance:



January 3, 2014, Friday –  Karen Strong

Finding Inspiration Through Quotes


January 4, 2014, Saturday – Michael Di Gesu

The Many Roles of an Indie Author


January 6, 2014, Monday – Mooderino

Choosing a Title for Your Fiction and Non-fiction Books


January 7, 2014, Tuesday – Theresa Milstein

The Writer’s Workshop – From Blank Page to Published in Six Hours


January 8, 2014, Wednesday – Jemi Fraser

Story Sprouts and the Beauty of a Moment


January 9, 2014, Thursday – Cherie Reich

Vampires, Fairies and Dragons, Oh My!: Inviting the Whimsical into Your Story


January 10, 2014, Friday – Medeia Sharif

The Benefits of Free Writing


January 11, 2014, Saturday – Page Cravings

Story Sprouts Authors Interview


January 13, 2014, Monday – Julie Flanders

Using Photo Prompts to Spark Your Story Ideas


January 13, 2014, Monday – Natalie Aguirre

Story Sprouts Shout Out


January 14, 2014, Tuesday – Nas Dean

The Thrill of the First Time (Publishing)


January 15, 2014, Wednesday – Alex Cavanaugh

5 Movies Based on YA Books to Look Forward to this 2014


January 16, 2014, Thursday – Shelly Arkon

Book for Sale, Book for Sale! Hawking the Self-Published Story


January 17, 2014, Friday – Arlee Bird

The Benefits of Joining a Professional Writing Organization


January 20, 2014, Monday – J.L. Campbell

Using Archetypes to Create Your Characters


January 21, 2014, Tuesday – Christine Rains

Writing Groups: Why Writing in Community Rocks our Socks


January 22, 2104, Wednesday – Annalisa Crawford

Matched: I Now Declare You Writer and Editor


January 23, 2014, Thursday – Lisa Gail Green

Ten Reasons to Write for Kids


January 24, 2014, Friday – MJ Fifield

The Value of Critiques


January 25, 2014, Saturday – PK Hrezo

The Power of Names


January 26, 2014, Sunday – Mrs. Mommy Booknerd

Showcase: Story Sprouts: CBW-LA Writing Day Exercises and Anthology


January 27, 2014, Monday – Stephen Tremp

Assembling Your Publishing Team


January 28, 2014, Tuesday – Emily Ann Girdner

From Canvas to Page – Art & Literature


January 29, 2014, Wednesday – Lynda R. Young

The Five Stages of First Publication


January 30, 2014, Thursday – L. Diane Wolfe

Help! I’ve Gotta Edit!


January 31, 2014, Friday – Milo James Fowler

A Writer’s Poison



 Thank you so much to all of you for hosting us this January! We are so incredibly blessed to be part of such an amazing blogging community. You all rock!!!




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