I've got a question for you.
Which is worse - Friday the 13th or Monday the 13th?
I'd say that at least this Monday is pretty darn good!
I've got Dylan Brennan dropping in to chat!
Dylan Brennan is a 16-year-old up-and-coming writer living in London. He's an avid reader, musician, student and gamer but writes a chapter whenever he seizes the chance. Due to a long-held passion for the fantasy genre, the intense boredom of the 2020 pandemic inspired Dylan to begin work on 'Noble: Betrayed', an epic fantasy novel serving as the first instalment of the 'Noble' series.
Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars 100%!
Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity? Depends on the execution. Some reboots have been fantastic (Marvel and Bond come to mind) whereas others have been not-so great.
Coffee, tea, or cacao? Tea is my personal nectar.
When did you write your first book and how old were you? This one is my first book! I began writing Noble: Betrayed during the pandemic when I was 14 years old, and finally got it published last October.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I spend a lot of my free time reading, practising instruments and playing videogames with friends. Of course, I am also still a student, so free time can be very hard to come by sometimes!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books? How hard it is to describe fights! Fight scenes are a lot easier in visual media than in a book since in a book you must make the reader imagine every sword-stroke and every step that is taken, while simultaneously keeping it interesting and not blandly stating every piece of action. It was surprising because I had never previously considered the craft behind fight scenes in literature.
Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they? Reject the common philosophies like ‘Show, don’t tell’ because the reality is none of them are always true and it depends on what your story currently requires. Plan your story thoroughly before writing, it will save you a lot of time if you are the kind of person to constantly rework what you’ve written and greatly reduces the probability of plot holes. Finally, don’t be afraid to innovate!
Do you like to create books for adults? I’d say Noble: Betrayed and future novels will probably all aim to be for people aged 15+. I want adults to be able to enjoy and identify with aspects of my novels, however, as they all tackle real-world issues that tend to go unexplored in the genre I have written the story in (Noble: Betrayed explores domestic abuse in a fantasy setting, for example).
What is the first book that made you cry? Wonder by R.J. Palacio. That story is incredible and should make anyone with a heart cry.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Energise, constantly. Writing is one of the things I do to cheer myself up, as it lets me detach my brain from reality and let it wander into my fictional worlds.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Hurt, but an ego that is too small can also cause equal hurt. Writers need the right amount of ego to ensure that their writing is of the best quality.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I did juggle a couple pseudonyms but none of them stuck out to me enough. I decided to just stick with my own name in the end.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? I think that feeling emotions strongly isn’t what is required to be a writer, it is the ability to imagine the strong emotions that your character feels. It is true that writing from your own emotions helps, but if you can truly immerse yourself in your character’s mindset there is absolutely the potential to write an intense scene just as well. So yes, they could.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections between each book? Noble is a series, with Noble: Betrayed already out, Noble: Divided coming soon and a third instalment being planned. However, the rest of my novels such as Master Misfortune are planned to be standalone.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I spent time doing work experience at a legal chambers where I spent a lot of time reading legislation and I think that was the moment where the power of language really hit me – every single word has the power to be interpreted in thousands of unimaginable ways and can, in some instances, mark the difference between life and death.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel? Martyn Pig by Kevin Brooks. I think it’s an essential novel for teenagers to read because it paints adolescence in a realistic light that the education system often attempts to conceal.
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else? What is your preferred format? I am open to everything. So far, I have written one novel with drafts for at least three more, and I have written plenty of poems and short stories. Screenplays are something I’d certainly be open to attempting.
Are you traditionally or self-published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the other? I am self-published but the reality is there are no differences as long as you’re willing to put the work in – you can achieve equal marketing and sales to what a publisher would provide for you if you do everything yourself.
What do you have coming next? Now that ‘Noble: Betrayed’ has just released, my attention is currently turning to my much-shorter novel ‘Master Misfortune’, a romantic tragedy about the consequences of becoming addicted to the fictional. I have already finalised about 2/5 of it. After that, the Noble sequel ‘Noble: Divided’ will be my main focus.