Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kari's Queries, part 15

Here we are, with the very last of the queries. Yes, I know it's not Friday, but with all the snow days everybody's been having, I have no idea what day it is anyway.

I've had a lot of fun with these this semester, questions ranging from serious to silly and everything in between. I hope the kids have had as much fun with it.

Starting with their next semester, we'll be changing things up a bit and I'll be taking a look at some of their writing. I'm so excited about this! (I can't tell you how stoked it makes me to see kids writing.)


Are there any books that you wish you could have published?

Anything that made over a million bucks.

I kid. A little.

I'm gonna interpret this question to actually say "Are there any books that you wish you could have written?" And the answer is, TONS!

Sometimes, it's a book that so sucks me into its world that I just can't help but want to stay and play myself. Stacia Kane's Downside series is one such. (And Stacia's my friend, she knows I'm a raving fangirl when it comes to Chess and Terrible) I'd kill to be able to take what she's created and fiddle around with it. And I don't even mean the characters. Just the world itself is so rich and so full of potential. I can't wait to see what else she does with it in her future novels. (P.S. If anyone's interested in a free story download, at the bottom of that page I just linked there's a free Downside short story that's really good!)

Sometimes, it's a book where I say, oh wow, the idea was awesome, but I would have gone a totally different way with it. And that doesn't even mean that the other book was badly written. It just means that something in it sparked a glimmer in my admittedly warped brain, and it would have been amazing to have had that idea first. I remember thinking this about Neil Gaiman's American Gods. A wonderful book in and of itself, but after reading it I kept thinking of all the things I could do with the idea of gods walking the streets of the modern world. Some of those urges went into Muse, now that I think about it, though Muse is far from modern.

And, I will say it, I even wish I could have written something like Twilight. Now, whether you're a fan or not, regardless of what you think about the characters, or the plot, or the writing quality, the Twilight series has undeniably left its mark on the world. A zillion raving fans waited on pins and needles just to find out what happened next. They suffered with the characters, they fought, they came out victorious (or not, depending on who you were cheering for). I can only hope to someday create characters that touch so many people so deeply.

When you write a book, do you write it chapter by chapter or do you just start writing until you hit a block?

My current process is to write chapter by chapter, following an outline that I've prepared ahead of time. I find it very helpful, when I hit that block, to refer back to the outline and remind myself of all the things I need to hit in any given chapter.

Though, in all fairness, I have been known to write "Stuff happens here" on my outline, and just leave my brain to fill in the giant hole later.

I have tried writing out of order in the past, and I find that it makes things much more disjointed for me. With the outline-chapter method, I can make notes of things I need to fix in later passes, and just keep going.

Don't take this to mean that this is THE way to write. You could ask a hundred writers how they write, and get a hundred different methods. I know people who break out in hives at the mere thought of an outline, and others who would hyperventilate if you told them they had to write without one.

You have to find what works for you.


And we'll call that a wrap! Like I said, my fun with the high school kids will continue soon, in a slightly different form. And hopefully, I'll figure out when Friday is so I can get stuff posted on time.

For those keeping track, I turned in my revisions on A SHOT IN THE DARK about a week ago, and I'm pretty darned pleased with them. Which probably means I've screwed it up somehow. I'm intending to get back to writing Book 3 this week, and I'm always on the lookout for title ideas if anyone happens to think of one. (hint hint)