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Thursday, March 3, 2011

More Author Insight: How to begin

  What's the hardest part about starting a new book? Do you have a trick to get started?

"It's like jumping into a cold swimming pool; think about it too long and you'll never do it. I don't think about it. I just open a word document and start writing on blind faith, often having no idea what the story will be or who's telling it. As a result, I have hundreds of Word documents with failed/abandoned stories, but this is also the method that led me to write Wither and the short stories on my website." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

 "Falling in love.  It's stupid, but I have to fall in love with a book in order to write it.  I have to let it consume me.  And I think that's how it should be.  Like real relationships, who wants to spend countless days and months and years with something you only kind of like? There's not really a trick to it.  When it's right, I just know it." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter.

"Setting aside time to be alone and simply write. I create a playlist to get my mind into the setting of the book - that always works." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"The hardest part is finding the character's voice. I can always hear them perfectly in my head, but when I write their words down, sometimes they look wrong. The same goes for plot & setting: I can always picture my books as if they're movies, but sometimes they just seem ridiculous on the page. I think writing the first 10-20 pages of a book are torture. I would rather edit than write a first draft any day of the week." - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

"I must, must, must have the right opening line. Usually from there, the rest flows. Okay, sometimes not. But usually." - Jackie Kessler, author of Rage

"I think the hardest thing is getting it all down before the initial heat of inspiration cools down a bit. I am always careful not to tell my current story to people, because I find, in telling it out loud to others, I lose some of the motivation to tell it on paper." - Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly.

"There’s nothing hard about starting a story, novel, song, poem, etc…or even coming up with an ending. For me, it’s always the same place – more than halfway through the tale and I start to panic. What if I can’t pull this off? What if I should have written X instead of Y? I have to push through the doubts and keep writing." - Judith Graves, author of Under My Skin.

"Starting is the easiest, funnest part for me. So many ideas, so little time! It’s wrestling with the muddling middle and turning the whole thing into a structurally sound narrative that’s the challenge." - Rae Carson, author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

"I always try to make the first draft perfect, which is impossible—and crippling. The hardest thing for me is letting that desire go and writing freely. I don’t have any tricks for overcoming this yet—mostly I just tell myself repeatedly to let it be flawed, let it be flawed, let it be flawed." - Veronica Roth, author of Divergent

"The hardest part is picking which idea is the most viable. I run all ideas through my agent." - Myra McEntire, author of Hourglass.


"Ooh, starting a new book is HARD, no lie! A blank Word doc can be very intimidating, so I sometimes suggest working with pen and paper first. Once you have a few pages, then worry about getting them into the computer.  (See: Getting a new notebook for each book I write! ) ;)" - Rachel Hawkins, author of Demonglass

"The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is my first book, and because I was entirely possessed by the idea of it, I didn’t find it that hard to start. Working on the sequel is definitely different, but having had to write a synopsis for the auction, I’m definitely not flying quite as blind this time around :)" - Michelle Hodkin, author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

"Figuring out when you've done enough research and brainstorming and knowing when to open the file and write the first sentence. It's all to easy to fool yourself by saying you're still "researching" when you're actually 'procrastinating' because you don't want to open that file and face the blank page. Sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the butt and write that first sentence." - Sarah Darer Littman, author of Life, After.

 "Starting isn't a problem. I get stuck somewhere around Chapter 4." - Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People.

"Starting is the hardest part because the task seems so daunting. There isn't a trick--you just have to suck it up and dive in." - Dia Reeves, author of Slice of Cherry.

"Usually starting a book isn’t difficult for me—it’s about fifteen pages in when I realize I have yet to come up with a plot that’s the hard part! My trick to get started is just to write whatever part of the story I know and fill in the details later." - Emily Wing Smith, author of The Way He Lived.

"I never have a hard time starting. For me, the beginning and the ending are the most exciting parts.  It’s the middle where self-doubt starts to creep in and I have to force myself to keep going." - Kimberly Derting, author of Desires of the Dead.

"I found that the key for me is having the right names picked out for my main characters--it takes me forever to pick *just* the right names--there's a lot of thought put into them, nothing haphazard about it--and if the names aren't right, the story won't come, and I'll be stuck on page one forever." - Kristi Cook, author of Haven.

"I’m ridiculously uptight about not starting a new story until I know a huge chunk of the plot, and preferably how it’s going to end.  So a lot of the time I carry characters and ideas around in my mind for a really, really, really long time until all the pieces come together.  Sometimes that takes years.  That doesn’t sound very productive, does it?  Maybe I should learn some tricks.  Right now there are two characters I've been thinking about since 2001 and their story STILL isn't ripe yet." - Holly Hoxter, author of The Snowball Effect.

Stop by Thursday to see if the authors are on the e-book bandwagon!

1 comment:

  1. I love all these, it's so interesting to get an insight into the different processes, thank you!