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Writing AMA: Tropes, future plans & more!

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

I wanted to answer some questions about the two anthologies we have ongoing - From the Wild and Shadow, and the writing process behind Huldah Media altogether. First things first, my name is Abbey Sim, the founder of Huldah Media and author of both of our current anthologies. These questions were written by Tumblr user @aylithewriting.

If you have a question you'd like answered, get in touch with me on Instagram - @huldahmedia.

Write or describe an alternate ending to From the Wild.

Rest assured, From the Wild is a long, long way from ending, but the story that it has evolved into does have some key differences from what I originally wrote, when I started officially working on the project back in 2014. This is mostly as a result of developing my knowledge and expectations around wildlife conservation and the workings of zoos around the world.

A pairing you might like to write for, but haven’t tried yet.

There is a potential love interest for Jumilah who is waiting in the midst of the cast of supporting characters. I think that they have a lot in common, but there are some obvious roadblocks to happily ever after. While Jumilah and this person aren’t necessarily endgame, I’m looking forward to exploring their dynamic more.

Got any premises on the backburner which you’d care to share?

There are some quite big plotlines coming up in From the Wild - although I don’t know if that’s a secret. I certainly look forward to sharing it with you!

Is there a story you wish someone else would write (or finish) for you?

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have someone else write with my characters. What aspects of them would they emphasise? Which secondary characters would they allow to shine, or fall away? Would it be awesome, or a complete trainwreck?

So, if you’re inspired to write Shadow fanfiction, fire away!

Outside of my work for Huldah Media, there are plenty of concepts which I would love to devour written by someone else’s experienced hand.

Do you have a guilty pleasure in what you read or write?

From a writing perspective, I think that my characters probably get married and get pregnant far too often! I did notice in From the Wild that I had multiple storylines at once about tracking down a long-lost father - both with Tallulah finding her biological father, her mother’s sperm donor, and Patrick reconnecting with his dad who moved away to Launceston.

In turn, these two plotlines link up with Sloane’s unplanned teenage pregnancy, with Patrick’s response to the birth of baby Joanna most definitely being caught up in not wanting to replicate his father’s abandonment of him. I think that subconsciously the storyline about Patrick’s father weaved itself into that existing storyline.

It also gave Jumilah and Patrick a fabulous excuse to hang out in Launceston! Overall, you could say that writing about zoos and breeding programs is somewhat of a guilty pleasure, insofar as that it’s a pretty niche subject.

In Shadow, I probably haven’t engaged with those themes of long-lost parents too much (yet!), even though they’d lend quite well to the focus on missing persons and the impact on their families left behind. On a more serious note, I’m acutely aware of the fact that there are a number of very serious issues which I address within my writing, and I never want them to come across as sensationalised or doing a disservice to the real-life humans who experience these tragedies.

How do you begin a story - with the plot, or with the characters?

Either, really - it depends on the story. For Shadow, I’ve long been really intrigued by the idea of living with active waiting, and being constantly aware of just how uncertain you are about what the future will hold.

Share one of your weaknesses.

From a writing perspective, I am relatively prone to simply leaving a plothole if I’m not quite sure how to resolve things, or how to write a particular part of the story. I am far too prone for getting distracted by the next ‘shiny toy’ within the work, rather than making sure that the prose and narrative is as coherent as possible.

Is there a trope you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole?

I personally struggle with the Convenient Miscarriage trope, because it’s routinely used for pregnancy-as-drama plot purposes without touching on any of the emotional ramifications of pregnancy loss. However, this trope inspired the storyline with Luna the Melbourne Zoo orangutan, as I wanted to explore the trope and its potentially problematic elements.

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