Interview: Writing and poetic process with Natasha Bredle
We spoke to poet and aspiring author Natasha Bredle about her poetry, being a younger writer with a cause and what inspires her.
About Natasha and what drives her storytelling
Jordan: Hi Natasha, thank you for sharing news about publication of your poems.
You’ve been a Now Novel member since February 2021. In this relatively brief time I’ve had the pleasure to give critique on two very different novel projects. One is about a teen struggling with her mental health and personal relationships. The other is about an ambitious sportsperson in the foster care system.
There’s a sense of empathy that comes through clearly in both stories, and your writing generally. You refer to yourself on your Wattpad profile as a ‘full-time daydreamer, poet, novelist, pet-lover, reader, student, LGBTQ+ ally, and planet activist’.
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself, what inspires you as a published poet and aspiring novelist?
Natasha: I fell in love with storytelling at a young age. I was reading ever since I learned the alphabet, and I was writing ever since my hands could grip a pencil.
I’ve always regarded storytelling as a kind of magic. I’m in awe of the way writers can speak universal truths through fiction or poetry. I’ve carried this fascination with me up to today, as I continue to discover my own voice in the art.
On writing inspiration
I draw inspiration from everything around me. Both good and bad experiences have found their way into my work. This is why I believe that no experience is ever wasted, even if it’s hard to see that in the midst of it.
And I’ve found that reflecting on my life through words, whether it be small bits threaded into fiction, or memories adapted into imagery for poetry, has helped me uncover and learn more about myself than I ever knew before.
I know where my values lay, which hopes and dreams I want to pursue, and what things scare me the most.
The key was making myself vulnerable – if just for one hour at my computer at a time – and in return, writing granted me these gifts.
On what makes a good story and working on writing craft
Jordan: That is a great point, openness to vulnerability (to taking your writing to places that might feel ‘too real’) often yields surprising gifts.
You list an interesting mix of novels among your favourites on the site. They include familiar YA publishing hits such as The Hunger Games. Also fantasy books such as The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill and Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.
What do you look for in a story, or what do your favourite stories achieve?
Natasha: As I’ve grown more dedicated to writing, I’ve become more and more critical of everything I read. I don’t doubt more than any of my peers or family members. But at the same time, I’m more forgiving.
I’m still relatively new to the novel-writing field, but I’ve practiced my hand at it long enough that I understand the challenges all authors go through to produce their works of art.
Like any reader, I’m drawn to a story with a good hook, but it’s the characters that make me read late into the night and stay with me long after the last page is turned.
From the writing side, I’ve studied articles and videos on how to create complex and memorable characters by giving them flaws, fears, desires, and misbeliefs.
As a reader, I generally love spending time with characters who can make me laugh, cry, or make me view the world in a slightly different way.
I especially love books that reflect the diverse world we live in, from inclusion of people with different backgrounds and identities to mental or chronic illness representation.
On writing and publishing poetry and poetic process
Jordan: I agree with that, representation matters. I know my own worldview has been enriched by reading voices that are ‘other’ to my own experiences.
We wanted to share about your having poems published in the July-August issue of The Incandescent Review, a beautiful digital journal for young authors. Congratulations on your work being chosen! It takes courage to submit and share one’s work publicly.
If we can talk a bit about the submitted poems, I love the striking opening image of ‘Transience’:
You crush the ant and a tornado
Snatches me from the ground, pulls me into
Its whirlwind of memories, so fresh, so startling
Natasha Bredle, in The Incandescent Review, July-August (2021)
Again there is an empathic voice to these poems that engages the reader. An underlying sense of care for ‘all creatures great and small’.
What are some of your poetic inspirations? Up until now, I had only had the opportunity to read your prose fiction.
Natasha: I’ve never heard of one set way people write poetry, so I’ll attempt to describe my process here. It often begins with a vague idea, which usually stems from something as simple as a word or an image that evokes some memory and stirs up my creative tendencies.
I’ll just say that despite my age, I have a lot of memories to choose from. From there I take it to my computer. The blank page easily daunts me, so I try to congregate my ideas into a few lines and keep building up until I form a poem.
It sounds relatively simple, but most of the work is done in my head. Writing a poem is like trying to solve a puzzle, only you don’t yet know what the big picture is. To be honest, most of my poems surprise me upon completion. And if I’m lucky, they’ll delight me.
On writing about mental health and the empathic imagination
Jordan: Delight and surprise are two wonderful parts of creative process, absolutely.
I love that puzzle analogy. I attended monthly poetry writing workshops over two years as an English lit undergrad. What you said about puzzles resonated with me because writing prompts set for the group always created a strikingly different puzzle for each person. Sometimes the same prompt would elicit a hilarious response and a heart-rending one. The pieces supplied were similar but the ‘big picture’ in the end result was sometimes awe-inspiring in the differences of mood and image a prompt evoked.
The second of your published poems, ‘Memorabilia’, paints a beautiful picture of a mother-daughter bond. It conveys how a parent can ‘get you together’ with a single line. Also the discomfort of being in hospital. I loved the visceral line, ‘Charcoal. Gritty poison paste, slick on your tongue’.
Your work is full of characters grappling with struggle and you mention being a ‘mental health advocate’ on your Wattpad.
What drives you to champion self-care (and care for others) in your writing? It seems strikingly mature for a young author like yourself.
Natasha: I have an ongoing history with mental health, so I try to be as empathetic and supportive as possible when it comes to self care for others and myself. I’ve recently been recruited to be an ambassador at Robbie’s Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention.
Although I have yet to learn where this path will take me, I have a feeling it will have a lasting effect on me in future years. My own experiences, as well as experiences I’ve vicariously shared with others, are what continue to drive me to be a champion of mental health for people everywhere.
On reaching writing milestones and being a Now Novel member
Jordan: I truly commend that; taking what you have gone through or witnessed and using it to support others. There’s a transformative power in this.
You also shared on Now Novel recently that you are 25,000 words through your current novel WIP and have been active in offering constructive feedback to others. What have you enjoyed most about being a member of Now Novel so far?
Natasha: I can’t even express how happy I am that I found Now Novel when I was in the early stages of
writing my novel, An Interpretation of Dreams.
In the midst of covid, lockdowns had prevented me from joining any school or local writing clubs, so of course my ingenious idea to keep myself busy was to write a novel. Who knew?
But I’m so glad I took the dive, because I discovered a new passion for writing that has kept me afloat amidst over a year of uncertainties. But enough about me. Now Novel is a supportive and uplifting online community of creatives that understand the trials and triumphs of writing.
Now Novel’s story outline resource has helped me be productive and discipline in my brainstorming, as well as gain ground in writing the scenes of my novel. Most of all, I love chatting with the writers in the group chats, sharing and critiquing ideas and just getting to know the other humans out there!
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On Shakespeare and time travel
Jordan: I’m glad we could be a part of your journey, and help in the ways you describe. Thank you so much for sharing your writing and your thoughts with us.
Lastly, just for fun, would you complete the blank from the writing contest we ran in September for our Group Coaching course: ‘I was … when I saw … It was then that I knew …’.
Natasha: ‘I was practicing my Shakespeare when I saw the flying car whoosh past. It was then that I knew the time machine malfunctioned.’
Natasha Bredle is an aspiring young writer and poet. Her work has been featured in the Dove Tales Writing for Peace poetry anthology, the Cathartic Youth Literary Magazine, and The Incandescent Review, among others.
She volunteers as a creative arts writer for the INKspire online news magazine. When she isn’t dreaming up new ideas to passionately scribble down, she likes to take long walks, practice yoga, and indulge in various kinds of tea. Follow Natasha on Instagram @natasha_bredle for her latest writing news.
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