Meet the Winners: K.C. Norton

Next week, I join the rest of the 2013 Writers of the Future winners in Hollywood for a week long writing workshop and gala. I’m getting excited! But before I head out, join me in rounding out the dozen with second quarter winner, K. C. Norton.

Stuart: Welcome aboard. Tell me something surprising about yourself.

K.C.: I like to scuba dive. Apparently this surprises people – I guess they assume that when I’m not working, I’m curled up in a hole to write, which is true roughly 51 weeks out of the year. Open water diving is the closest I’m likely to get to space travel, and almost as alien.

Stuart: No, there aren’t many other activities where you get to hover upside down. What got you into writing?

K.C.: Reading, definitely! I read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings when I was really young, and then fell in love with the world of Harry Potter. I loved exploring imaginary worlds. I spent a lot of time by myself as a kid, and my family didn’t have a TV, so I spent a lot of time telling myself stories. Writing was a natural progression from there.

 Stuart: I imagine so. And how’ve you evolved since?

K.C.: Well, I started writing stories with plots. I wrote my first stories when I was ten, and thank goodness most of them have vanished into the aether, but I have a few things that have stuck around in various files and binders. A lot of my early work was based on things I’d enjoyed reading. For example, I read ElfQuest, and then wrote a story about elves who ride dragons – not original, but a little different. The more I write, the weirder my stories get, and hopefully they’re more original now! That said, I do write a lot of retellings of older tales… my WOTF story, for example.

 Stuart: Are you a pantser or a plotter?

 K.C.: I cannot plot to save my life. I have to have a draft out before I go back to make it coherent. When I plot, everything sounds awful and wooden. When I just fly by the seat of my pants, I find myself including weird details that end up being important later. Occasionally I’ll have a whole story come into my head at once, but I don’t know all the details. Other times I’ll write a few pages and wait months and months until the story comes together. When people ask me about “process,” I cannot tell a lie – I don’t have one. I would like to have one. Plotting sounds very convenient. I envy people that can plot consciously in advance.

Stuart: Describe your writer’s cave.

K.C.: I mostly write in my bed. I have a writing desk set up in my living room, with a super comfy chair, but my dog complains when she can’t snuggle me, and when I lie in bed or sit on my oddly small couch she can squeeze herself in beside me. Otherwise she goes batty.

Stuart: Do you have any unusual talents or hobbies?

K.C.: Like, do I play the nose harp? Alas, no. I do occasionally fire breathe. And I studied archaeology in school. I can tell you more than you probably want to know about Greek and Egyptian mythology or random architectural features. Other than that, my hobbies are reasonably normal.

Stuart: Star Trek or Star Wars?

K.C.: Must I pick one? I love Star Wars, but in my heart there are only three movies, and there will only ever be three movies. (Han Solo was my first love.) And TNG is pretty good, but I’m a die-hard TOS girl. I do not acknowledge any captain more recent than Picard. My apologies to George Takei on this subject.

Stuart: Oh I don’t know. I thought Captain Janeway was pretty impressive. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

K.C.: Flying. No doubt about it. I would fly all the time.

Stuart: Everyone says flying, but no one considers the bugs in the teeth. 😉 Do you ever dream about writing?

K.C.: I dream about stories that I later write down. I don’t dream about the act of writing – when I dream about work, I dream that customers are in my apartment and I have to serve them drinks. I think I’d prefer to dream about writing.

Stuart: Ha ha. I remember when I was a kid, I worked at a burger joint. I used to have nightmares about all the beeping timers. What was your favorite toy, growing up?

K.C.: Oooh… well, I had a Gizmo doll, from Gremlins. I tortured that poor stuffed monster. That’s a close tie with my Littlest Petshop menagerie. I think I had every cat available. Come to think of it, I think I still have them. I would spread them out all over the living room and talk to myself for hours.

Stuart: So sweet! If you adopted a wardrobe tag, what would it be?

K.C.: I would probably wear a monocle. Or a dapper hat.

Stuart: I like the idea of a monocle, or maybe a nez perce. Do you have a quote that inspires or amuses you?

K.C.: I love Neil Gaiman. His books are crazy awesome, his comics are sweet, his screenplays are outrageous, and his reading of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham is Oscar-worthy. It really changed how I read the book. But the best advice he ever gave me (and the rest of the world) was: “Cat exploded? Make good art.” It’s funny, but then on days when your cat actually does explode, and you don’t know what to do with yourself because your life is a wreck… well, now I knew where to go from there.

Stuart: Thanks, K.C. See you next week!


 Learn more about K.C. at