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An Exclusive Interview with Kiersi Burkhart, Screenwriter, Story Editor & RWBY’s Co-Writer

MinaRose2023 here with another interview this time with a talented writer Kiersi Burkhart.

Hello, how are you doing today?

Great, thank you! It’s a beautiful, sunny weekend and I might actually take some time off today.

When did you start writing?

I wrote my first “book” at about age 5. It was a “Clifford the Big Red Dog” adventure, written and drawn in a tiny notebook. That was the first time I remember writing anything. Getting a word processor when I was eight years old changed the game. I could type pretty fast even then, and soon I started churning out stories with silly illustrations I made in MS Paint. In fourth grade, I wrote twenty-six pages for a one-page short story assignment, and my teacher was convinced I’d become a novelist.

When did you think that writing could be a career for you?

Honestly, it didn’t even cross my mind until I was in my 20s. I always thought I’d be an illustrator, or maybe a designer. Writing was something I did for fun—I saw it simply as a creative outlet. I didn’t know if I was any good at it or not, I just enjoyed doing it. It wasn’t until I completed my first original novel in 2011 that I started seriously considering that pathway. My novel had some interest from agents, and I signed a deal with a publisher in 2012. (That deal fell through when the publisher went out of business.) That was really the beginning of seeing writing as a career. It’s morphed since then toward the screen, which in some ways is a better natural fit for me.

What kinds of things inspire you to write?

I just want to bring people joy and entertainment—and that includes myself. Mostly I write the things I would personally want to read or watch. If there’s something missing from the current media landscape that I find myself craving, I write that thing and try to fill the gap. If I can’t find a book or TV show to suit my particular taste at that moment, I’ll make it, instead. I think if you write for yourself first, others who share your tastes will sense your passion in the work.

When you started writing for RWBY, how did it differ from your own style of writing?

My writing is really all over in terms of style—I’ve written fantasy and adventure, thriller, children’s fiction, and romance. Learning someone else’s voice is always a challenge at first, and being able to write in the voice of dozens of new characters took a lot of research and many good notes from my fellow writers. But I’ve always loved writing action and fantasy with cool heroines, so in that way I felt like I fit right in.

What’s it like writing for a hit web series like RWBY?

I had some anxiety going into it, knowing that RWBY has such a wide and dedicated fan base. But working with Eddy, Miles and Kerry has taught me an incredible amount, and I feel like I’m a part of the show now as much as it’s a part of me. There’s no feeling in the world like watching an episode you wrote become a final, finished product. It’s magical and humbling to see every hand that went into the production. Then there are watching people enjoying it, responding to it, and having fun with it—I think I love that part the most. I especially get a kick out of the memes! Now that I’m four years in, I can say that writing on RWBY has been a truly incredible and unforgettable experience. I’ve had a blast getting to know the team, and working with the other writers to make a really fun show for everyone.

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