Fan Club: Ask Katie (Writing)

Fan Club > Ask Katie

Below are questions that I have received from fans regarding writing in general. If you have a question that you do not already see on this page, fill out the Ask Katie form here.


How do you get idea for your stories because I am stuck on mine.

Please download my Guide Book - it is full of tricks and ideas to help you get started. Feel free to e-mail if you have any other questions!

Hi Katie, love the site! I feel I am a little older than some of the people who ask for help (I am 23) but I have just started a TR story and was wondering where is the best place to put a TR story on the internet? I have seen which is where I read stories but I didn't know if there were any specific Lara/TR sites. Would love it if you read it one day! Helen

Hi Helen, thanks for your question! I get questions from people of all ages so there's no such thing as being too young/old. Absolutely post your story on - I know there's a lot of Tomb Raider fans who post/read stuff there. Also, post it on as many Tomb Raider forums as you can. There's almost always a fan fiction/art corner where you can share your work. Of course you are more than welcome to share it on my forums as well. All the best!

Hey Katie, it's me CJ. I really needs some tips on writing because I'm writing a TR story called LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER AND THE TRIDENT OF THE BEAST but I can't decide who's gonna be the main villen and what is going to happen.

Hey CJ! First, download my Guide Book and read the entire thing. It talks about ways to be creative and come up with ideas. Get a piece of paper and jot down as many ideas as possible. You'll find one that sticks out that you really like, and you can take it from there! Have fun.

What are some tips about how to become a better writer?

First and foremost, the more you write, the better you'll become! So write, write often, and you'll improve over time. Hiring an editor is highly recommended, but if you can't afford one, having a friend/parent/teacher look over your work is also a great resource. Check out my Guide Book if you haven't already, and if you would like any other tips, please e-mail me!

Hi Katie my name is San. I like to write stories too and I was wondering when you are writing a story do you think about the setting first or what is going to happen in the story?

Hey San! Thanks for your question. It varies from story-to-story. In some cases I had a general idea for a plot, and it was a matter of then finding the right location for it to take place. Other times it was the opposite - I had read about a really cool area that I thought would be great for an adventure, then worked out a plot around it. There's no "formula" for writing - go with what you're comfortable with and you'll end up with a great story! Best of luck to you with your future works.

You once mentioned that if you enjoy doing something, you will always make time for it, right? Do you ever write when you're tired? Or take screenshots, for that matter?

Absolutely! You should always make time for hobbies you enjoy. Taking screenshots is "easy work" - it's a matter of playing the game and taking shot after shot. The real work with screenshots is going through 3,000+ that I've taken per level, deciding which ones to keep, editing them, saving for my site, and getting them posted. This doesn't take a lot of brain power so I absolutely have done it when I was tired, because the end result wouldn't be affected.

With regards to writing however, I have a "rule" for myself that I could never write when I was tired. Your brain isn't thinking as clearly as it would when you're not tired, and your creativity may suffer. Writing takes a lot of concentration and work, so if you're tired I wouldn't suggest writing. However, if an idea popped into my head I'd jot it down for later so I wouldn't forget, and when I was awake, could fully flush it out. Thanks for your question!

Hi Katie I'm 12 years old and for Christmas I got a laptop and the first thing I wanted to do was write a story as good as yours. So far I have written one story now about Lara looking for an artefact that Werner Von Croy is also after. I also write about classic Lara. My English teacher said I have an above sixteen reading age and she had me write a story and I did about tomb raider which she said was good. My Question is how do you think of all the stories because I can't think of a good plot for my next story. Thanks. By the way fingers crossed for your job at Crystal Dynamics. From Callum.

Hey Callum! That's great you're writing Tomb Raider stories. Like most things, practice "makes perfect" so the more you write, the better you'll become. It's a good idea to invest in a second pair of eyes to help edit your work as well. A friend, family member, teacher, etc. They'll point out things to you that you missed, and you'll learn from them! Keep writing and you'll only improve. As far as plot ideas, check out my Guide Book which should help you! Best of luck with your writing - and most importantly, have fun!

My first story I wrote on Lara Croft was 'Tomb Raider: The Mexican Artefacts' around the year 2008. But since then, I haven't wrote any others. What kind of adventures should I place Lara? Any suggestions?

If you haven't already, I suggest checking out my Guide Book on writing Tomb Raider stories, specifically under "Plots and Ideas". If you're having trouble finding a new location, why not pick up a few National Geographic magazines, or take a walk through your library and see what sort of interesting books you can find? Once you find an area that is of interest, it's usually pretty easy to construct a story around it. Good luck!

In my stories (which are not Tomb Raider, although it would be fun to write some) I'm having trouble describing the settings. Like, what it smells like, what it looks like, the colors etc. Do you have any advice on setting description? Thanks.

This is something I've worked hard to further develop with my own writing, and my best advice is to practice. Read other books and see how the authors describe the setting. What do you like and dislike about it? How would you describe it differently? Better yet if you can visit the area you want to write about, do that and take notes. Write down all the details and really pick apart what you see in front of you. If you want to describe a setting outside, try thinking about: how the air smells, what temperature it is, is there any sun? what colours are present? what does it feel like? Answering these types of questions will help your mind to describe to your readers what you're visualizing. Great question - good luck with your stories!

Hi Katie luv the stories!! I luv writing but although my begining paragragh is absolutely awsome (though I say so myself) I just can't get the rest to follow. My english teacher gets dead annoyed and i get so cross. My aim is to write something that is for me but it just turns into some old garbage taking up space in the small memory of my neglected computer. What should i do? Oh and by the way my socks think you rock!!!! ;-)

Ah, welcome to the world of writing! Just when you're enjoying a nice easy ride you hit some bumps, maybe a brick wall or two! My best advice, and what works for me, is to sleep on it. Really, there's no time pressure - it's not going to matter if you don't write for a day, two days, a week, a couple of months. When I'm working on a story and I just can't seem to figure out the next part, that's exactly what I do. It's funny what your brain can come up with when you're not even sitting down to write. Never force it either - because you may be pushing aside a really awesome idea that's still in the works. Re-read what you've already written a few times. If you can't think of something that would come after, perhaps try re-working what you already have. Read other books, play games, watch movies - look for inspiration there and you just might be pleasantly surprised at what you can come up with! Good luck!

How do you write Lara? Do you watch the Cutscenes from the Games?

Excellent question! I don't watch cutscenes anymore, but when I first started writing, I definitely was influenced 100% by the games. How does she move, what does she look like, what does she say, how does she respond in certain situations? I've become so close to her character that I don't necessarily need to reference the games anymore unless I want to replay a section to make sure I've got the story 100% accurate. If you want to be successful at writing Lara, get inside her head, see how she works, BECOME her when you write.

Hi Katie! I write my own stories but I am having a problem. Normally Lara will return to Croft Manor in them but because of Underworld she can't now (sadly has burned down to pieces). Where else can she go (apart from a library)? Thanks

Don't forget Lara's REAL house! Tomb Raider 1, 2, 3. Remember that one? Crystal for whatever reason didn't keep up-to-date with her history and cut the house out from the games they've already made. In my stories when I'm writing about her home, THIS is the mansion I'm referring to. Replay TR1-3 for a quick refresher!

Hello Katie, I have finished your stories and they are amazing! What inspired you to write these Tomb Raider stories?

Thanks! I'm thrilled to hear you've enjoyed them. Pretty well all of my inspiration comes from playing the Tomb Raider games. I just can't seem to get enough of them - it's exciting to travel the world and search out ancient locales all while sitting at a computer! Lara resembles the ability to go anywhere, do anything, and it's exciting to write new adventures for her. Sometimes just having a small interest in something can spark more inspiration. For instance, my latest story, A Room in Waiting, I wanted to have a jungle-type setting. I researched some quick facts and stumbled across information about Tikal. That's all it took - another adventure born! I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed my stories and I hope you stick around for the ones still to come!

Got any tips for those who wish to write stories?

Tons! Read down this page, and do a search for "tips" and you'll see a bunch I've given. I'm also working on a "special project" right now related to this, so keep watching this page/stories page for it! :)

I think your stories are great! I personally think you have the *writing* gift! Will you maybe one day and start writing stories about different people or games? I love your style of writing and think you could take a really old character like Indiana Jones and turn him into the modern marvel! :D

Thank you for your kind compliments :) You're not the first person who has asked/suggested I write other stories. To be honest I can't see myself writing any other stories at the moment - my inspiration is all Tomb Raider related, but with that being said you never know what I'll decide to do in the future :)

Do you feel that you get more self-satisfaction from writing your stories or from other people reading and enjoying them?

I haven't ever been asked this before, and I think it's a great question. I definitely get a lot of self-satisfaction when I finish a story. For me it's a huge accomplishment: developing a new storyline, writing, editing, and bringing Lara to life on paper again and again. It's very rewarding to finish a story. On the other hand, it is also very rewarding when fans read and enjoy them as well. It is wonderful to know that other fans love my work and support what I do. It's a tough question, I'd have to say it's different satisfaction I get from both sides!

I'm not sure if this questions has been asked before, but when do you decide what will be the title of your story? Before you start writing or if you are done with writing?

The only story I've ever titled before beginning to write, was The Evil House. Since then I always seem to title it last because I want to find a title that will best suit the story. Before I begin writing it's hard to say how the story will end up - I change plot ideas, add new concepts, etc so I like to wait until the end to name them. I also find this the hardest part!

(Edited for length) Hey, Katie! I love your stories! I would like to
have an advice from you. When I started writing the TR story, I don't start the adventure right away. It takes six or seven pages to read until adventure starts. So is it okay? ... So is this a fine way to write TR stories? Thank you!

Absolutely! There is no right or wrong way to write a story. If it takes you six pages for the conversation, that's ok. Don't focus so much on how many pages it is, but what those pages are comprised of. Read it through - is all the information important? Can anything be removed or added? Don't get hung up on the page number you're on, but what you're delivering in your story. Best of luck!

What idea made you write Tomb Raider stories; do family members know about this and freinds; what was the biggest award you had for writing stories?

I can't remember what made me write my first story, it was too long ago to remember the exact thought process, but the best answer I can give you is that I was a huge fan at the time and was completely fascinated with the games, and the character. I had never played any video games before that possessed such a strong character, and Lara really inspired me to write. I was never a fan of English or writing before, and I think to this day that I never would have started writing creatively unless I had played the games.

Yes! My friends and family know about my Tomb Raider hobby and they think it's great. They're all really supportive, my Dad has read all of my stories, and when the Tomb Raider Documentary was released I had relatives and other family members wanting to watch it so that was really awesome. None of them play the games but they are definitely interested with what I do and what I've accomplished.

The biggest award that I've gotten for writing, I would have to say is my montage from Core Design. I absolutely love it and it really inspires me to keep writing. To know that the makers of the games loved my stories is such a great feeling. I also get a lot of personal satisfaction with writing because it's a great feeling when you've completed a project. Lastly, and definitely one that's important are the comments I get from fans. It is so rewarding to receive compliments and I often like to read some of them before beginning a story - you guys inspire me to keep going! :) Great questions, thanks for asking!

I write my own Tomb Raider stories but how do you get them to carry on for (e.g. 31 pages)? I normally write 21 pages.

Remember the old saying that it's quality, not quantity? It definitely applies here. I don't think a long story automatically means it's good. If you can write the same thing but in fewer words and make it have more meaning, there's nothing wrong with that. When I started writing I was quite young, and hence, I think I wasn't able to carry stories for so long. I've been doing them for awhile now so my plots are getting more involved, the adventures are longer, etc, so that's why they are getting longer. With that being said, I never plan out how long I want a story to be. You'll know when it's over, so don't worry about the page count!

I really want to write my own Lara Croft adventures. But, problem is, I just can't make the story end and make sense. Please can you try and help me?

The best advice I can give you is to re-read what you've written, starting as far back as you need to, to get back into the story. When you get to the end, does it make sense? If not, what's missing? What are you trying to accomplish with the ending? Try writing it out, in point form what you would like to happen, and try to re-work your ending. I'm a strong believer that the more eyes on your work the better, so if you can get someone to proofread it for you, that might help too. Good luck, and don't give up - you're at the end! :)

I want to be an author when I'm older, I'm 11 years old and want to write an exciting book like Tomb Raider. How would I start it?

First off, congrats for wanting to start something great! Writing is really rewarding and it enables you to bring Lara to life on paper. My best advice would be to read lots of books. Start to get a feel of what authors you like. What's their style like? What makes you attracted to it? The next, and most obvious step would be to familarize yourself with the Tomb Raider games and really get to know who Lara is. What makes her tick? Finally, start creating a general plot in your mind. Where do you want her to go? What is she searching for? Write it down, and before you know it, you'll be ready to start your first adventure. Good luck!

How do you write a successful Tomb Raider story?

I guess it would depend how you define success :) For me, if I love the story, then I believe it was a success. To have others read and enjoy them are like extra bonuses for me, but I primarily write for myself. If you're happy with the piece of work you've produced and worked hard at, then I believe you've been successful :)

Hi Katie, I have read your stories but I'm French, so I don't believe that I have totally understood the stories. I was wondering if someone could translate your stories in French. It would be great!! Thanks in advance.A fan.

I've been forunate enough to have two individuals translate some of my stories to Dutch and Czech. If there are other fans who would like to translate them to different languages, I would be more than happy to welcome that!

How do you come up with what to write?

I really don't know where my ideas come from. When I play the games or look through screenshots I can just see Lara doing so many different things. Since she's such a strong character, there really isn't anything she can't do! Sometimes I've come up with ideas from certain subjects that I'm interested in, and other times it has been inspiration from specific games. When I think of Lara there's just a plethora of adventures that come to mind!

When you are writing a story and you haven't worked on it in a couple of days, weeks, etc due to how busy you are do you ever go back and re-read what you wrote?

Oh yes! Even if I worked on the story the day before I will go back and re-read a certain chunk. I think it's especially important to do this to get back into the flow of the writing style you're using and to get your mind back into the story itself. Great question!

Hey Katie! Firstly, your stories are fantastic! I'm reading through them all again and really enjoying it! Anyway, I have an idea for a story myself and I was wondering, what's the best way to research a place (except for actually going there, of course!)? I want to set my story in another country but I just don't know enough about the place to make my setting sound authentic. Do you rely on the Internet or are there better ways? Thanks in advance and good luck with the new story!!

Great, I'm so glad you're enjoying them! That's great that you want to write a story, I hope you have a blast doing it. When I do research for my stories I use the Internet, I go to the library and take out lots of books, videos, anything I can find. Even if you end up with too much information in the end it's better than not having enough. For my 11th story I took out 5 videos, took notes from them, and tons of books. Good luck with your research and story!

Your stories are great - why don't you write what happens after Angel of Darkness? :)

I'm so glad you like them! I thought about writing a continuation of the Angel of Darkness, but I decided not to. I like writing along the lines of the games, with new adventures, etc, but it just feels weird to write the ending of the game. The Amulet of Power touched on what happened, but I feel that we'll never know what was supposed to happen because Core Design never got the chance to finish it. I think it's better that I don't write anything about it, because it's a nice mystery for all of us. :)

How do you come up with such amazing plot lines for your stories? What is your pattern of thought?

First off, thanks! I'm glad to hear you have enjoyed my stories. I'm not sure exactly how I come up with my ideas. Usually I just start with either playing some of the games, or listening to the music from the games to put me in the right mindset. When I think of Lara I can visualize her doing so many things, and from there I develop my storylines. I figure out where in the world I want to take her and then I'll do research on the area to see if I can find anything interesting. In my tenth story, Premonitions, the legends that were talked about were true. I like to mix a lot of the real history with my ideas to form my stories. I just am so inspired by the games and Lara that so far I've had an abundance of plot ideas! Thank you for your question.

When are you going to write the next edition? Which Tomb Raider Game is your favorite? Why? What did you gain from writing stories? I hope you write soon.

My favourite Tomb Raider game is either #3 or 5. I love all of them but I think I would have to narrow it down to those two. I loved the environments, vehicles in the third, and the storylines. What do I gain from writing? That's a great question - no one has ever asked me that before. I love writing stories about Lara, so it's a personal achievement to help make her come to life on paper. Completing anything in life gives you a sense of accomplishment and I'm always proud when I finish a story. Writing them takes a lot of work, so it feels great once it has been completed. Once people started reading my work I gained a new level of confidence in my writing. Hope this answers your question.

Katie, I think you've done well with the site. Do you have any Lara/Kurtis fics?

Yes I do! Check out, The Lost City of Tsumeb for a story with Kurtis in it.

In what short movie from Angel of Darkness is that picture that you got from Kurtis when he hold his hands up?

That picture is from the FMV where he lets himself fall over the railing in the Louvre.

How much research did you do for your stories? How much research does it take?

It really depends on the story, and the setting. If I'm placing Lara in an environment that she's never been to before I'll generally research as much as I can to get a feel of what the place is actually like. A story doesn't take an exact amount of research, though. I'll do as much research as I need to do, until I feel satisfied that I know what I need to write the story.

Do you get a lot of constructive critisism?

When I am just finishing up my story I usually get one or two people to read it and they point out things I've missed. Occasionally someone else has found a mistake and I'm very grateful for them pointing it out. On a whole though, not so much.

Lost City Of Tsumeb (heard of the place, although the atlas points it in a different direction) and I was so happy the way it ended. When you write, do you sometimes have trouble with the endings, or is it the middle or nither?

I did have some problems getting the location for the story. I found several different maps with different locations of Tsumeb so I picked the one that occured most often! I usually don't have trouble with the endings because I have a good idea on how they're going to end. With the stories that have a clue leading to the next one, I sometimes do have trouble with them. The biggest problem I have is figuring out where I want her to go, location wise, in the next story.

You wrote three different types of stories, One Being Sci-Fi (well, sort of (A new World A New Life), the other Fantasy, (The Evil House) and the rest Adventure. Obviously you research more on your Adventure Stories, but which one do you enjoy writing the most?

What a great question. I'm not sure which ones I like writing the best, because they're all really fun to write. I do research for all of them so that really isn't a deciding factor for me. If I had to choose though, I'd probably say adventure.

Are your stories a series? Because you said we have to read them in order although I don't see why.

Yes, they are a series. I suggest to read them in order because some do continue from others. It's not a big issue if you don't because you probably won't notice a difference.

Do you think you'll write about other things that interest and inspire you? Maybe, in a few years time or so?

I've been asked this a couple times but I still don't really have an answer. I plan on writing stories for a little while longer, but I can't give an answer about the future...let me get back to you on that one!

Do you write when inspiration comes or do you seek new ideas?

What a great question. I have a rule that I always follow when writing. If you don't have any ideas, don't write. Whenever I finish a story I find I am always asking myself, "So what's Lara going to do next?" and if nothing comes, that's ok. So I usually wait for an idea to pop into my head, but never try to force anything just for the sake of writing.

I told you once that I was writing my own tombraider story, about Lara' daughter, Lore. My friend proofreads it, but I would like someone with more experiance to do it as well. Would you like to do it? If so, how can I send it to you?

I don't have time to read everyone's stories and edit them, but if you e-mail me with the story I can see what I can do. You can send them to Good luck with the story!

In one of you're Q & A's it says you wrote you're first story on a 20 hour car ride but in another one it says that it takes about a month... what's up with that?

Sorry it was a bit unclear. My first story didn't take as long as the others because it's a lot shorter. After writing my first story, I really buckled down with the rest. I do research and tons of planning before I even start to write. That's why I said on average it takes just over a month to write, therefore including the pre-planning. Also, during the trip I wrote for hours at a time, but when I'm writing at home I only write for short periods of time. Good question!

Was it hard for you to think up your stories? What events seemed to inspire you?

None of my stories were hard to think up. When I get an idea, the only hard part is writing it all down fast enough before I loose it! So far there haven't been any *events* that have inspired me, however, when I think of Lara, tons of images pop into my mind. I can picture her doing many things, which results in ideas for my stories.

How old are you now, and when do you plan stopping writing TR stories? Will you head a differnt direction?

I don't like to give out my actual age, so lets just say this: I am older than young Lara, but younger than Lara. I haven't actually planned on stopping writing. I've been writing Tomb Raider stories now for just over 4 years, and I'm still having fun with them. It's a hobby right now, so as with any hobby, some of them can get worn out. I hope to continue writing stories for a little while longer, though! As for heading in a different direction, anything's possible. But as of right now, my biggest hobby is writing -- and I'm going to stick with it!

How long does it take to write these? When will another one come out?

It really depends on the story. "The Evil House" was a short one, so it took far less time to write than say, "Sweat, Strength, and Determination." Before I even begin writing a story, I plan it all out. I get the plot sorted out, as well as the characters a head of time. I also do research before beginning to write! After I finish writing the story I have to type it all out, then the editing begins. On average I'd say just over a month. I will have news on my upcoming story in my mailing list and will be posting it on the site when another story will be coming out.

Do you have tips writing a story? Because I'm trying to write stories too, since the first Tomb Raider then I was 7 years old now I'm 14 years. But I never really finished a story. 'Cause it doesn't really work out the way I want it.

Yes! I certainly do have some tips for you. When I write a story, I write it for me. Perhaps you're too concerned with what others will think of it? If so, you've got to put that aside. If they don't like it, so be it. If you write it for you, and *you* like it, then most likely it will turn out to be successful. And, remember, not everyone will like your story either -- everyone has different tastes. Before you start a story, try planning it out on a piece of paper. What's going to happen in it? Who are the characters? Where is it set? These sort of things get your mind thinking more in depth of the story. It's much easier to write when you've planned it out than if you're writing from off the top of your head. Most important of all, don't give up! Once you've started a story, stick with it! If you find you are running out of ideas, leave it for awhile. Come back to it. I have done this several times. So don't think that you *must* write something for the sake of getting words down on paper. Good luck with your story!