inkpopper of the Week: McRae by Nature
Posted by inkpop on April 12, 2010
That’s how Carrie McRae (aka McRae by Nature) describes the experience of revising her book, Things That Break. We doubt the 23-year-old writer’s work really would have sucked if she hadn’t paid attention to inkpoppers’ feedback, but either way, it worked to her advantage—the fantasy book is currently ranked in inkpop’s top 10 most popular projects.
Part one of a trilogy, Things that Break centers around a character named Rhona Gustave, who is forced to leave her home country of Leotia, and travel into the enemy country Eastonia to figure out the mystery of her heritage. There, she befriends an Eastonian boy named Atticus, and together they face all sorts of dangers. “I delve into the spirit world, by creating beings known as the Seraphs,” McRae says. “They are spirits of the dead, sent back to earth to protect those they love.”
Here, the Ohio-based writer and inkpop Trendsetter talks about gathering random facts and getting and giving honest feedback.
inkpop: You did a ton of research about climates, old trades, and weaponry to write Things That Break. Got any cool random facts?
Mcrae by Nature: Did you know that the silk used for fabric comes from the silkworm’s cocoon? They remove the silk by plunging the cocoon into boiling water to kill the worm, then unravel the cocoon by hand. Talk about tedious work. I don’t actually write about this process in my book, but I learned this by researching the textile trade. The opening scene in my book is a scene where Rhona is at the textile mill where her mother works.
In your inkpop profile, you write, “I welcome criticism—it is my best friend and the only thing that will make my writing better. My book has, essentially, been edited by the inkpop masses and for that I owe inkpop everything.” What were some of the eye-openers you experienced as a result of the feedback you’ve received?
The rough draft of Things that Break was very rough. I went through four versions of chapter one. Even when I was completely lost, I think fellow inkpoppers still saw the potential in my writing and took the time to push me in the right direction.
When I joined inkpop, I noticed a lot of people’s profiles said things like, “I’ve been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil.” That was never me. I didn’t get seriously interested in writing until I turned 18. That’s when the idea for Things that Break came to me. I let it stew in my mind for years, trying several times to write it, but I never got past the first paragraph before I was attacking the backspace button. When I discovered inkpop in January, that’s when I decided it was time to write this book. I can’t even put into words the amount of knowledge I’ve gained from being a part of the inkpop community.
How’s your pledge to give inkpoppers honest feedback going?
Amazingly well. I’m surprised at how receptive most inkpoppers are to constructive criticism. I’ve discovered people really like it when I point out things that could be improved in their writing, but also offer advice on how to improve it.
There is a difference between talent and skill. Talent is something you’re born with– skills are learned. To be a great writer, you need both. Most of the people on inkpop are incredibly talented—I’ve been blown away multiple times. Constructive criticism is one of the ways to teach people the much-needed skills for writing, thus turning them into better writers, and everyone want to become a better writer. That’s what we’re all here for, right?
What are your ultimate dreams and goals?
My goals are to become a published author, become an editor, become trilingual, see more of Europe, learn to be more thankful, write a book that is turned into a movie, be a guest star on Glee (farfetched, I know) … that’s it for now, but the list is ever-growing.
I dream of success, speaking different languages, and cooking in five-star restaurants. I dream of being a great mentor and an anchor of hope to those around me, but most of all, I dream of being completely at rest with who I am as a person. Sometimes I think I dream too big, and other times, I think I don’t dream big enough. I’m a walking paradox, and I often to refer to myself as “tragically optimistic.”
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This post was written by Amy Schroeder (aka inkpopAmy)