5 Questions to… Keira „Blue” Barnes – Write out of the closet

Keira "Blue" Barnes - 21, Slovak, living in England - a fandom made screenwrier and a pathological shipper with a phobia of her own name. Her writing "career" started ten years ago and since then she' evolved from a fanfiction writer through many genres to what she is today ­a student of the University of Worcester's screenwriting course.

Kinga Budzyn: What is writing to you?

Keira “Blue” Barnes: Writing is a huge part of my life. I used to cope with it. I always had huge imagination, I remember that when I was totally little, I used to act out my fantasies in a fake English language, just talking wherever I went, because I couldn’t keep it all in my head. When I was in elementary school, the stories started to be continuous and I was having a hard time remembering them all and felt like I was losing important things if I didn’t, so I started writing them down. And then I found fanfiction, which probably saved my life and made me a writer. Writing always took me to a safe place. My childhood wasn’t the best, so having a sanctuary was necessary, and my sanctuary were stories – in any form, from TV through books to writing. And that didn’t change till now. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing an assignment or just thinking of any of my stories before I fall asleep, I need to have a story in my head at all times.

KB: What genres do you write in and what do you write about? Do you think an author should have a mission, a message to get to the readers through his works?

KBB: I used to write fanfiction a lot, so prose, started with Harry Potter and some other fandoms, but HP was always the biggest, and then 00Q (James Bond – 007 & Q) absolutely took me away from it and since then it is my biggest ship. I did some original stories at that time as well, tried to write a few books, but to be honest, I always felt like prose didn’t totally sit with me. It didn’t show how great my stories were in my head, and I wasn’t so good at descriptions and what I considered empty words – like those sentences after direct speech. I always felt clumsy, crippled. And then I went to uni, where I decided to combine my love for theatre (I’m a studied actress) with my love for writing, and went to study screenwriting. And I found myself. Minimum descriptions, lots of dialogue, written in a fraction of the time you need for a novel.

I think that there are places where you can write without a message. Fanfiction doesn’t need a message, for example. Many films don’t have any message. But if you’re writing something seriously and want it to be loved and not just read as a piece of vacation reading, something to take a mind off of things, something to forget, then you NEED a message. So many comedies were written without any point, but can you remember them? You can certainly remember those which had a point, which were making fun of important things, those that were funny because they made you think. And that goes for any kind of story.

KB: What forms do you write? What attracts you in them?

KBB: As I said, fanfiction is a big part of stories I write and read, and that is mostly to lose myself in a familiar world, with familiar characters, and offers what normal books and films mostly don’t – there is so much of it I can choose the stories that promise the most of what I like, and they don’t shy away from topics that are still not marketable enough to be mainstream. But since I write much more scripts now, that changes the topics I look for. I still want to push more minor issues into the media, so for example I have a TV show about different LGBTQ characters. But mostly what makes me want to write a story is the characters themselves. I love messed up people, mental people, strong emotions, weird relationships, traumas and dealing with them. My final project in uni is a film about a psychopath. My radio drama was about a love triangle between a boy on a wheelchair, his best friend and his father. You can bet it didn’t end happily ever after. I torture my characters, it’s how I show my love. I might be mental.

KB: Do you experience writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

KBB: Not really. At least my blocks don’t last long. I get inspiration constantly, even if I don’t want it, so if I start thinking about a story, I will probably come up with an idea on how to make it better. But sometimes what happens is that I start writing a script I knew I’m gonna write for months, and then find out I know exactly what happens in several places of the story, but lack some parts in between. Then I take a piece of paper and just start writing everything I know about the story, characters, world, and it starts coming back to me. Putting things on paper helps a lot, and I’ve heard that from big screenwriters, if on video or live (Steven Knight is a great guy, and he told us that if he ever has a writer’s block, he just sits down and writes – anything, even nonsense, but he writes and something will come from it, and maybe while writing something unrelated or related, you will think of that ONE thing you needed to end the block).

KB: What advice would you give to the newbie writers?

KBB: Write. Just write. If you think that is what you need, if it keeps you alive, just write. And read, as much as you can, because that’s how you learn. And you don’t need schools for writing if you read, because that is your school. I would write more, but I think Bukowski says it the best:

 

so you want to be a writer?

Charles Bukowski, 1920 ­- 1994

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.

unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.

if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.

if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.

if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.

if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.

if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.

if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.

if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.

the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.

don’t do it.

unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.

unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

An interview on writing done as a part of the “Write out of the closet” project.

Zdjęcie: Nina Mizgała