mood: groggypandora/ipod: "oxford comma" by vampire weekend
Apocalypsies co-founder Lynne Kelly, a sign language interpreter and a writer of novels for children and young adults. Lynne is represented by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary and Media Representation, and her first novel, CHAINED, is out now from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. You can follow Lynne on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
I'm so excited to be continuing this tour! I think there's something intrinsically needy about writers when it comes to talking about their process, probably because the creative process is such a vague, intangible thing to begin with, we like to talk about it because in doing so, it becomes less elusive and more concrete.
Or I just like to talk about myself. :D
Regardless, here's a little insight into my ever-capricious "Writing Process!"
What am I working on?
At the moment I am chin deep in edits for GET DIRTY, the sequel to GET EVEN which is the first book in my new Don't Get Mad series for Balzer + Bray, on shelves September 16, 2014. GET DIRTY was bumped up a season, from Fall 2015 to Summer 2015, so I had to write the entire book in 60 days, and now I have three weeks to turn around the first edits.
If anything, a schedule like this brings your "process" into laser focus!
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I pitched the Don't Get Mad series as "John Hughes with a body count" which I kind of think says it all. Basically, I'm doing funny teen emo angst with romance and dead bodies. So comedy-suspense? Is that a thing? No idea.
Why do I write what I do?
I try to write what I would have wanted to read when I was a teen. While I loved gothic romances, my first love was always scary stories (I dig the creepiness of Thornfield Hall over the Jane-Rodchester romance any day...) I loved reading books that scared the crap out of me, books that I desperately wanted to put away, but literally couldn't stop reading. So I've tried to tap into some classic horror tropes - demonic possession, trapped on an island with a serial killer, evil twins - that strike that chord.
How does your writing process work?
I don't know? HAHAHAHHAHA.
Okay, seriously. The initial book idea can come from anywhere. At the moment, the SHINY NEW IDEA I'm thinking about was inspired by an episode of A&E's Biography that my husband wrote, directed and produced 15 years ago. After the idea nugget takes hold, I usually do some research, starting online while I amass a reading list. Since this would be an historical novel, it will require more research than a book like TEN, and I'll start sneaking that in over the next few months, taking notes in mid-sized spiral notebooks.
Research influences plot in my world, so while I'm reading, the plot bunnies are working hard, bringing it all together. At that point, notes turn into an outline.
My outlines are a mixed bag. Usually, I have a pretty firm outline for Act One, and a good idea of the climax of Act Three, and maybe some tent poles for the rest of the book. But I do give it room to develop because things will change as I write. Characters morph, plot points become more or less important as relationships change, and I need the space to let that happen.
When I'm writing a draft, I treat it like a job. If you haven't already seen it, check out my spreadsheet writing schedule for the first draft of GET DIRTY. I basically write every book like this, though on a slightly less masochistic timeline. I just need to get out of my way and get the words on the page, and I absolutely refuse to go back and edit as I write. If something big changes, I make a note and keep moving forward. I find 15 minute writing sprints are my gold standard - I set a timer and don't do ANYTHING else online for those 15 minutes. I can usually knock out 350-500 words per sprint, which makes my daily word count goal seem more tangible.
After I type "the end" I usually print out the entire manuscript, then out comes my trusty red pen. I try to read the whole book through in like two days, so it's all fresh in my mind, and I slash the hell out of it. Red pen is awesome - I can say things like "Fix! This is stupid!" without actually telling myself how to fix it. That's for later.
When the red pen notes get incorporated into the manuscript, that's where the magic happens. Meaning, I can't quite articulate it. Something just comes together in my brain, and I start fixing all the crap that's wrong with it.
And that's it. So not glamorous, right? Especially when I'm usually doing all that in my jammies.
I've tagged two of my favorite people in the world to continue this blog tour!
Carrie Harris and I both write scary/funny books and we share a love of Agatha Christie. BAD TASTE IN BOYS, BAD HAIR DAY and SALLY SLICK AND THE STEEL SYNDICATE are all on sale now, and DEMON DERBY (blurbed by yours truly) will hit shelves this July!
Stages on Pages founder Stasia Ward Kehoe is, like me, a former performing artist. A ballerina for years, Stasia now writes gorgeous prose novels about the performing arts, including AUDITION and THE SOUND OF LETTING GO.