Writer On Writer is a series by Swila Clubbers for Swila Clubbers, interviewing people in the community who are setting the standard for the rest of us.
Fun Facts about Kyandreia:
- She was born on Halloween.
- She is double-jointed in her shoulders.
- She is the oldest of six children.
What is your favorite screenplay you’ve written? Or what are a few of your favorites? And why?
My favorite screenplay that I’ve written is Final Conversation with Khovid. Final Conversation with Khovid was my sixth Swila submission and it was the first screenplay where I felt “it." That rhythm. That je ne sais quoi. That unnameable but definite feeling that writers feel in the pit of their stomach when everything just “clicks.” As I wrote Final Conversation with Khovid, I felt like I had a better grasp on the craft, like I knew what I was doing.
All my insecurities, doubts, and fears melted away.
It was also a lot of fun to write because I repeatedly broke the fourth wall. My next favorites would be Double Hockey Sticks and Honey Bunny because I did not know that these stories were in me. I was terrified but excited that I could surprise even myself with the content I created.
Are there any characters that you developed in exercises that you have continued to write in other screenplays/personal projects?
I plan to write an animated TV Pilot based on the characters I created for my eleventh Swila submission, Double Hockey Sticks. I was shocked that the characters of Carl (the demon) and Keegan (the douchebag) came to me. I’ve never written anything like their story. When I saw the prompt to write a screenplay based on the color red, my brain immediately was like, “Let’s go to Hell.” I don’t know why. It’s not a recurring thought, thankfully, but it was so much fun to imagine who goes to the bad place and why. I cannot wait to play with these characters, and their twisted world, on a larger scale.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I first knew that I wanted to be a writer in the fourth grade. At this point, I had read enough incredible books that I wanted to write my own. This was also a period in my life when my teacher was teaching us how to write effectively. I took the tools of learning how to write expository, narrative, and informative essays into my creative, composition-notebook bound adventures.
What is your earliest memory of writing being a means of expression for you?
When my Grandma Yolette died in 2009, I wrote a poem for her funeral. I wasn’t necessarily a poet at that time. I think that I only wrote poetry because of school projects. However, after writing my grandma’s poem, I realized that writing, specifically poetry, allowed me to express what I would otherwise keep to myself. I became known in my high school for my poetry as much as I was known for my saucy, composition notebook stories.
What novel’s/novelists have inspired your writing throughout your life?
Good books inspire good writing. Here are some of my favorites that changed my life and my writing:
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
What films/filmmakers have inspired your writing throughout your life?
Similar to good books, good movies inspire good writing too. My all-time favorites:
- The Incredibles (2004)
- My Girl (1991) Black Panther (2018)
- Major Payne (1995)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-8,TV Series)
What are your personal writing goals?
In addition to publishing more books, literary series, and novels, I want to write for Film and Television.
I want to create content that stays with people for the rest of their life.
I want to create content that makes them laugh and moves them to tears. I want to create content that gets better after each read or watch. I want to create content that I am proud of and that empowers millions.
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
I would move to L.A. with my dog, Noble. In L.A., I would apply to screenwriter jobs, fellowships, workshops, and conferences- meeting people in the industry, gaining knowledge, and actualizing my most ambitious dreams. I would meet people and write and laugh and dance and just be 24 for once.
What would you do if you knew you would fail? And what is worth it to you anyways?
Write. Writing is always worth doubt, fear, and failure to me. I’m always going to write and write and write until failure is in my rearview mirror. Every day, I tell myself that my success is inevitable and these words are true for as long as I work hard and focus on my goals. I am okay with failing sometimes, because I know failure comes before success.
If I push through the failure and the rejection, I will be rewarded for my dedication, passion, and resilience.
What is your idea generating process? Do you like to have designated time to generate ideas or do you go about your life and have moments of transcendent inspiration, ideas for stories you HAVE to write?
Ideas find me. I’ll be driving, cleaning, or showering, and I’ll hear a voice whisper something absurd, funny, or profound. Then, when I’m done driving, cleaning, or showering, I pull out my notebook and record what the voices said to me. My ideas are also informed by circumstance. Big events and life changes inspire my writing. I often use writing to process information. If I’m not following a mysterious voice into the dark, I’m pulling myself out of it.
I know that I HAVE to write when I feel “full." When I require emptying.
Do you outline before you write? If so, do you use treatment style, screenplay format, long hand, something else entirely?
I rarely outline before I write. I usually use the writing process to show myself where I want togo. I have a notebook full of ideas, a loose sequence of events, and lots of dialogue but everything crystallizes during the writing process. Then, everything gets better and sharper during the revision process.
What is your dream environment for writing (disregarding cost or any other prohibitors)?
Go with me here. I have this fantasy where I am writing on the beach. I’m in this glass office (¾ sides are made of glass, the back wall is like a chalkboard/whiteboard). The sun’s rays cannot penetrate the glass. I can see sunlight on my skin without feeling its burn. The air is breathable. I can open the door and leave with ease. I cannot hear outside but outside can hear me, if needed. There’s a desk, books, notebooks. It’s not an incredibly massive space, but it looks roomy. Homey. That’s the dream.
I would love to be able to write at these “work spaces in beautiful places." I would want these offices to have a solar power roof component and portability to reduce environmental impact too. Sometimes I feel suffocated when I write in Barnes and Noble or at home. I want to go to the beach but then the wind blows my papers away or rain begins to fall or birds attack. Can you imagine watching rain fall in one of these glass offices? I think I would be moved to tears watching rain as I wrote. I think we could put these offices in deserts, campgrounds, etc. It’s a strange concept but it’s one that I dream about often.
How do you feel you have grown as a writer since your first exercise submission?
When I first started screenwriting, I was so scared of the craft. Now, I do what I want. I bring in the lessons I learned as a poet and as a children’s book author. I have fun. I play. I have grown so much that I am more confident in my skills and bolder in my pursuit of my goals.
I am less afraid to take chances and to break rules.
In what ways do you want to continue to improve as a writer?
I want to keep building on my confidence. I want to build myself up every single day despite rejection, uncertainty, or failure. I want to be kind to myself as a writer and to keep writing stories that challenge me, empower me, and inspire me. Then, I want to carry my confidence into rooms where there are paying opportunities.
I want to know my worth so that I do not accept anything less than I deserve.
What are you proudest of in your writing achievements?
I am proudest that my writing has connected me to communities. Writing is lonely. I often crave the company of other creatives. I love connecting with people who lift me up and who allow me to repay their kindness. I adore exchanging ideas and geeking out about life’s poetry. I am also proud that I have published two children’s books, Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: James Armistead Lafayette and Choose Your Own Adventure SPIES: Mary Bowser, that have connected me to students, educators, and writers from all over the country.
This is why I am so grateful to be a part of Swila. It’s so important to find people who understand you and who are more empathetic to the difficulty of a writer’s life.
What do you want people to take away from your writing?
I want people to take away a sense of hope. I want people to find hope in the stories that I tell as well as in their ability to tell their own stories. I want people to read my writing or watch my work on screen and believe that their own truth, trauma, and triumphs matter too.
I want people to believe their success is not only possible, but inevitable.
Follow Kyandreia on Instagram: @kyandreiajones
Always be writing.
Tell better stories.
Never give up.