Our Author Profile series continues on the website today, featuring one of our youngest writers – 17-year-old Tesni Jenkins.
Tesni is an aspiring writer and poet who also enjoys playing and listening to music and spending time with her cat. Her wonderfully moving short story Soldier Boy was placed first in our Oct20 competition.
Here she tells us a bit about herself and her writing process.
Firstly, tell us a little bit about yourself, and the kind of stuff you like to write.
In terms of form, I like to write a bit of everything; novels, short stories, poems, song lyrics and screen plays. It’s hard to say exactly what I like to write about. When I write I usually start with a theme or an emotion rather than a plot, and so my writing is usually heavily character driven.
How long have you been writing, and what was it that first got you started?
For as long as I can remember, I have some (really terrible) ‘books’ I wrote – before I knew how to spell – in a folder somewhere. When I was in primary school (probably about 8 years old) I took part in these bonus lessons about creative writing, and I think that’s what really inspired me to keep writing.
What does your writing day/schedule look like?
I’m still in school at the moment, so have to fit writing around that. I wouldn’t say I have a schedule, I usually just write when I feel like I have something I want to say. I used to wake up at six in the morning to write before school, but I’ve fallen out of that habit at the moment.
How did you find writing during lockdown times? Has your writing day changed much from how it was pre-lockdown?
At the beginning of lockdown the fact that there was nothing else to do meant I would write a lot more. However, eventually inspiration ran out since nothing new seems to be happening in my life or in the world in general.
Tell us about the last thing you were working on. And also, a little about your very next project.
I’ve recently been working on a short stageplay about two friends who haven’t spoken in years meeting to fulfil one of those “if we’re still single at 40 we’ll get married” promises. At the moment it’s a messy string of bits of conversation I thought would be interesting, but I like it so far. I don’t know for sure what my next project will be, but I haven’t actually written any prose recently, so I’ll probably try to write a few more short stories.
What successes have you had in the past? How do you feel when you see your work in print?
Barely any! All I’ve really done before now is have a few poems in young writer’s collections through school, but even then it feels pretty cool. It was very exciting to see my name featured on the Cranked Anvil website, and to know that other people were reading something that I’d written was great.
Do you have a particular place where you go to write?
I usually just write at a desk in my bedroom. I like my space to be as clean/empty as possible when I write, since I feel crowded and distracted otherwise. I find it easier to come up with ideas of things to write when I’m outside so I’ll usually go for a walk in the woods to think up scenes or stories. I find I’m a lot more creative outside for some reason.
Do you have any tips or advice for other writers?
I think the best advice for writing I’ve heard is to always be looking for inspiration (I’m not sure where I heard it first). Inspiration can come from everywhere including your own life, other pieces of writing and strangers who you only see for a moment, so staying interested in the world around you and picking up on all the weird, funny or interesting things people do makes writing a lot easier.
Finally, some quickfire answers:
Planner or pantser? Pantser
Computer, pen & paper, or typewriter? Computer
Do you write every day? No
Do you have a daily/weekly word count target? No
You can follow Tesni on twitter @JenkinsTesni