Storymongering with Braden Russell // interview

Saturday, September 19, 2015

  Hello, my writerly peeps! I am super excited to be here today with Braden Russell of The Storymonger. He ever so kindly agreed to let me interview him... We talked about his personal writing experience, blogging, first attempts at storytelling, and many other fun things! Before you read, be sure to subscribe to his blog & follow him on all the social medias!!

(My comments are in bold italics, and Braden's are in big print. )

   Hi, Braden! Thanks for coming by Plottinger Twist. 

Thanks, Hannah! It's good to be here. Love the name of your blog, by the way.

   Thank you! 

   I'm a big fan of your blog, The Storymonger. Out of curiosity, where did you get the name? 

I was originally going to call my website or or something boring like that, but somebody already owned the rights to all of those domain names. I remember brainstorming a long list of names. Some of them were really bad—I think Neo Bard and Storybrain were on the list. But The Storymonger was one of the names, and that one stuck. I don’t remember the exact thought process that led to Storymonger… Just blame a fit of feverish brainstorming!

   Haha! That's rather similar to the way the name "Plottinger Twist" happened for me... 

   You have a very unique writing style. When/how did you discover/develop your own personal writing voice?

I don’t think I can really pin down the moment I discovered my voice, because I didn’t really discover—it just happened as a result of writing a whole lot, and getting more comfortable with the process of translating my thoughts into written word. I’ve always been very sarcastic, had a very dry sense of humor, and I think that comes across a lot in my writing.

   What/Who made you finally realize that you wanted to write?

My dad always told stories growing up—he’d lay on his back on our trampoline, and my brothers and I would sit around him and on top of him and he’d tell these crazy stories. Sometimes they would be multiple choice stories (Did he A: pick his nose, or B: go intrepidly into the dark abandoned mine?) They usually ended with the main character dying gruesomely because we picked the “wrong” option.

So I always tried to mimic my dad—the first few stories I wrote were just me transcribing his stories onto our old Windows 94 computer. Then when I was thirteen, an older friend of mine named Katie wrote and published her novel, A Man Called Outlaw. I read it, and was instantly captivated, both by the book, (which was amazing,) and by the thought that someone I knew was a published author. I think that’s when I decided I wanted to do that too.

Katie has since published many more books under the name K.M. Weiland, and keeps a fantastic blog called Helping Writers Become Authors. She’s one of the best authors I know, and you should definitely subscribe to her blog and buy all her books.

   It's really cool that your dad was the one who inspired you to write. The "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories sound like they have nothing on your Trampoline Tales. lol!

 Oh, I'm actually reading through something of K.M. Weiland's right now! (Crafting Unforgettable Characters.) She is a fantastic writer!

   Can you remember the first story you ever penned?

Unfortunately, I can. It was called How Jery Rat Kild The Monstar. I wrote and illustrated it in marker. (Mostly red marker, because blood and stuff.) I think I was six.

   Hehe... Well, at least you didn't write one entitled "Princess Butterfly" & want to publish it!   *cringe*

   How many stories have you written?

I’ve written five novels, and somewhere around twenty short stories. Not terribly prolific, for the length of time I’ve been writing. I tend to be very slow.

   Here's to the slow writer's club! I take forever to finish anything... 

   Have you formally published any of your work? If not, do you have any idea when it will happen?

Other than on my blog, and in a few e-magazines, I have not as of yet. I’m hoping to self-publish a novella, The Weatherman’s Apprentice, in early 2016… we’ll see how that goes.

   I read the teaser chapter from The Weatherman's Apprentice on your blog and was very intrigued. I can't wait to read the whole thing!

   Along with your novel-ing, you also run a YouTube channel. How has making funny videos affected your skills as a writer?

I don’t know that the videos have affected my writing as much as the other way around. Writing has honed my sense for noticing the tiny details in situations, people, and places that often go unnoticed. I think this has helped me notice the funny everyday things that happen in our lives and turn those into corny little YouTube videos. I haven’t made any of those in quite a while, though… Someone needs to give me a good kick and command me to make a funny video.

   Ahem... Do it, Braden. Make another funny video!

   Do you have any current projects you are working on at the moment? (Writing or videos!)

Always! I’m working on polishing up my novella for publication, and outlining a new fantasy series of heist/detective novels with a renaissance-era setting. Also, I’m planning out a cyberpunk web serial that will be launching in the not-too-distant future.

Film-wise, I’m working on a speculative ten-minute video that is not funny at all. I have one more scene to shoot, and then I’ll be able to start editing.

   Ooohhh... All of that sounds really exciting! I'm pumped to see all of it!

   Do you have a specific genre you enjoy writing/reading over others?

I enjoy reading almost any genre, though I tend to lean toward speculative fiction. (Not a huge fan of high fantasy or hard sci-fi—I prefer the softer, more hybrid-y stuff.) I love a good historical fiction.

I write spec-fic pretty exclusively. I think that speculative fiction has a tremendous power to ask questions and frame new ideas in ways that make people actually think about them. When people read about a world that is not their own, they approach the novel lacking many of the personal biases they would generally perceive the story through.

Also, I have no patience with research and prefer to just make up my own stuff. Maybe when I am older and wiser, I will have the patience to write a historical fiction or two.

   Have you ever participated in the infamous NaNoWriMo? If so, could you describe your experience?

I have no experience with the original NaNo, but I have tried the newer Camp NaNoWriMo. It is twice a year, in March and July I believe, and offers a lot more options pertaining to word goals and such. You also have the option to be assigned to a digital “cabin” of four or five other authors doing the camp, which results in a lot of good encouragement and camaraderie (and just a smidgen of competition). I’ve done it twice, failed the first time and succeeded the second. It was a lot of fun—I’d recommend it to anyone with a large amount of words they needed to write in a short amount of time.

   Do you have any authors that you look up to or aspire to be like?

I still look up to my friend K.M. Weiland a lot in my writerly doings. 

Also my friend and mentor Daniel Schwabauer, who wrote the Rats of Tira-Nor series and created the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum. 

Brandon Sanderson, author of Mistborn, is another big one. 

Charles Dickens is dead and has been for a few years, but I look up to him in a huge way and basically want to be like him when I grow up, without the ginormous beard and marital problems.

   What is something you have learned from blogging?

That I am never as prepared as I think I am, deadlines don’t just go away, and that I should never skip a double, triple, or quadruple check on something before I publish it on the internet. I’ve had some embarrassing moments from publishing a piece too quickly. I tend to be very haphazard, and blogging has been a good way of reminding myself of that weakness. I have to slow down and plan ahead. It’s been good for me.

I’m really not as uptight about promotion and social media and pushing my blog as I used to be. My blog used to take preference over my other writing—it doesn’t any more. If I don’t have a blog post ready for tomorrow, and I have thirty minutes to either write a rushed post or work on my novel, I’m going to work on my novel. It’s more important in the long run.

   If you could share one piece of advice with young writers, what would you tell them?

Read as much as you can—fiction, and books on the craft itself. Always study the craft. Go to workshops and classes. Gain a knowledge and respect for the “rules” of writing fiction, and only then give yourself the right to break those rules. But even then, keep them more than you break them. They are there for a reason.

   Could you tell us a random fact about yourself? (Not related to blogging/writing/books, preferably!)

I have a deep love for traditional Irish, Scottish, and Nordic music. Accordions, fiddles, flutes, and Nyckelharpas make me happy.

   Thank you so much for taking time to come by my blog! It's been fun chatting with you!

Thanks for having me! It’s been a pleasure.

"The Storymonger is more commonly known as Braden Russell, an aspiring musician, filmmaker, and novelist from Central Oklahoma. Very seldom is he as somber as shown in that picture. Also, he is partially colorblind, which is why he often wears clothing that is somewhat less than color-coordinated, which is why the aforementioned picture is in black-and-white."

You people can find Braden on his blog & subscribe right now!! Do it. You know you want to. Oh, and if you don't, The Storymonger will get you... Mwahahaha... :D

Leave a comment, question, or random observation! Hoping you all enjoyed the read! Lemme know if you have any suggestions for other interviewees! 


  1. Read all you can is really good advise for young writers :) Great interview!

    1. Hey, Opal! :) It was a fun interview... Braden has good advice!

  2. Ah, so I was reading this and it was really cool...and then I got to the bio and I think I follow Braden on pinterest!! And have for years! SO THAT'S COOL. I also love the blog name of The Storymonger. xD VERY NEAT. Great interview, too, I loved your questions!!

    1. Hey, Cait! :) Woah... I've actually done that before. It's always cool when it happens! (Actually, I followed Braden on YouTube for several months before I stumbled onto his blog by accident & it took me forever to make the connection. LOL!)

      Thanks for reading! <3

  3. Loved the interview! Thanks so much to both o' you for doing it.

    (And I follow Braden's blog, so no worries.) ;)



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