Glass Fiction Week is an annual celebration of QUT students writing fiction. As part of Glass Fiction Week 2022, we sit down with Sophie Tomassen, author of Home, Foraged, for a discussion about her writing practice. Read Sophie’s story here, and submit your details here if you would like a (free!) hardcopy of Glass: The Fiction Edition, which includes all five stories published during the week.
Tell us about your writing practice.
Practice? For me, it’s more of a dip-your-toes-in situation, where the water temperature is almost never right. Years of violin in primary school made me practise-averse; I was convinced that I could turn up having done some air-playing in the car to school and be fine. It’s not so fine with writing, so I mostly work on coaxing myself into sitting at my desk and opening Word. I usually end up opening Excel (I don’t use Excel) or PowerPoint (I have zero professional use for PowerPoint) or literally anything else but sometimes I end up with a few sentences.
Where do you do your writing?
As much as I’d like to think that sitting in a café gets my brain going, my usual writing spot is on bed. Not in bed, that’s illegal. On bed, sitting horizontal or lying with my head at the foot of the bed and generally putting my laptop in positions it doesn’t want to be in. However, most of my ideas only turn up when I have an ‘idea session’ at a conventional desk and write them down with pen on paper, so the bed is only for grinding words out.
What inspired your Fiction Edition piece?
Home, Foraged was a weekly portfolio piece that never got graded. It was based on my own cat, Plonky, who was a stray. When we first started letting her in, she would spend days with us but not nights, and we wondered what she was doing when she wasn’t around. Was she sampling the tuna from other families? Searching the lands for the best spot of sun? Fighting other cats? (Yes, she was. We could hear her.) Plonky is now an almost-full-time housecat, and I could only hope the same for Sir Fourpaws. I couldn’t let him languish in an old uni folder.
What influences your writing?
I am massively influenced by television series. If writing was as easy as watching a series, I’d be flying through words. Most of what prompts me to write are tiny little snippets from these shows: an unnamed background character, one of the 50,000 CSI episodes I caught a glimpse of on another train passenger’s phone, the way someone is filmed walking away from camera. Other than that, it’s music. I get frisson easily, so my ideas will often come from the feeling or lyrics of a song just at the point of frisson.
Best (or worst!) writing advice you’ve received.
The all-time best advice is: read widely. But everyone knows that one, so the one I tell my English tutoring students is: if you can’t read your work out loud without tripping, you’ve either copied someone else or been lying to yourself.
What’s your biggest, craziest writing goal?
I would love to be in a writer’s room, working on something involving Donald Glover, Phoebe Waller-Bridge or Taika Waititi. It used to be working on something for Marvel, but…Disney scares me.