It started, as the best ideas do, with a vision. Stephanie Diaz saw a giant moon hanging in the sky, but rather than the benign shape of our own familiar moon, she saw a moon poisonous and threatening.
And so Diaz created Extraction, a dystopian world with a special dash of her own fascinations.
“I wanted to write a dystopian story with a strong sci-fi twist,” said Diaz, “since I’m kind of obsessed with space and aliens and stuff.”
Diaz began Extraction while earning a degree in film from San Diego University. Now twenty-two, she has three novels under her belt and no apparent shortage of energy.
Diaz needed no set outline to churn out her words, at least initially.
“I didn’t do a lot of brainstorming or even world-building before I started. I was a pretty big pantster back then,” said Diaz. “Which I regretted when I began writing the sequels. I figured out the major plot points for the book, sat down, and started writing the first chapter.”
Diaz has been writing for as long as she has been able to read, and made her first publishing attempt with a novel at the age of eleven. It may have taken ten years, but her younger self would be pleased to see her published. Her life-long love for the written word acts as her inspiration through good writing days – or bad ones.
“Sometimes I hate writing. I’m not going to lie. But reading other books reminds me of how passionate I am about stories. Also, there are some pretty rad people in my life that push me to keep at it.”
Starting as a young writer with a vision meant that Diaz grew with her writing. She changed her approaches to structure in terms as her novels went on to build her worldbuilding. She modified her ways of plotting to better streamline her stories as she writes. And now she feels far confident about the books she adds to shelves.
“I’d also like to think my ideas have gotten more original. I mean, they definitely have compared to those [Lord of the Rings] knock-offs I was writing in elementary school,” laughed Diaz. “But there’s still lots of room for improvement.”
And improve Diaz will, as she has no plans to stop writing.
“I hope my books will encourage readers to be strong and brave in the face of adversity, whether it’s an evil man trying to destroy the planet or a bully teasing you at school. I also hope my books will encourage a sense of adventure for worlds beyond ours,” said Diaz. “[And for aspiring writers,] read profusely, write as often as you can, and don’t let the rejections get you down. Go after your dreams with fierce determination, no matter how young or old you are — but also know when it’s time to let a manuscript go. Each book is a learning experience, and each book will be better than the last one you wrote.”