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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Author Insight: People or Setting (and a giveaway!)

What's more difficult to write, people or setting?

"People. They're much more complex and ever-changing, and it's tough to balance reality with likeability. We all have major flaws, but reading about them in another character doesn't always make for a fun story. I'm always striving to develop realistic but compelling characters--it's a huge challenge!" - Sarah Ockler, author of Bittersweet

"Oh – those are two of the bits I like.  Can I punt and say "plot"?

(I guess not.  Okay, Leah, answer the question.)
Setting, probably: It's so precise, and it has so many moving parts, each of which impact the other.  People I can sort of feel my way into, work intuitively.  Setting's always deliberate logic." - Leah Bobet, author of Above.

"Setting. In the worst case scenario, if I can’t figure out how to write a person, I’ll just make him or her like one of my friends. Settings are tough though unless you’ve actually been there, at least for me." - Aaron Karo, author of Lexapros & Cons.

"Setting is more difficult.  You want it to be evocative but not heavy-handed in suggesting the feel of the place and the emotion connected to it, at the same time there are the concrete parameters of the physical space." - Ann Stampler, author of Where It Began.

"If you’d asked me this a few years ago, I would have said setting, as I started out very uncomfortable with having to write descriptions of places (I often skip over them in other people’s books) and I’m such a non-visual person that trying to describe the way something looks can be torture for me. But as I’ve gotten better at evoking a feeling of place—and having more fun with it—it’s the people that I now see as a bigger challenge, maybe because these days I’m putting more pressure on myself to come up with truly believable, three dimensional characters who have a life off the page." - Robin Wasserman, author of The Book of Blood and Shadow.

"I'm gonna go with setting. Like I said, I set Ferocity Summer in an area I know pretty well. That's sort of like cheating. I didn't have to make anything up, even if I might have taken a few liberties." - Alissa Grosso, author of Ferocity Summer.

"I suppose I should say setting, because I think I'm a bit of a minimalist. But characters can definitely give you more trouble. Sometimes they just won't do what you intended them to." - Kendare Blake, author of Girl of Nightmares.

"People, to me, are generally more nuanced, and therefore both more difficult and more rewarding to write." - Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck

"Setting." - Cat Patrick, author of Revived.


 "Setting. Unless it's Under. Under was a lot of fun to detail. Otherwise, I always have to go back and make sure my characters aren't talking to each other on the equivalent of an empty stage." - Gwen Hayes, author of Dreaming Awake.

"People. Nothing’s more confounding than people. That’s one of the reasons I write — to gain a better understanding of human nature. The motivations, the rationalizations, the psychoses." - Nina Malkin, author of Swear.

Come back Thursday to find out whether the rest of the authors find people or setting more difficult to write!
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Ends May 2, 2012. 

Milagros by Meg Medina (signed)
The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind by Meg Medina (signed) 
Neversink by Barry Wolverton (signed) 
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (signed) 
Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (signed) 
Dreaming Awake by Gwen Hayes (signed) 
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg (signed)
Above by Leah Bobet (signed) 
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti (signed) 
Fury by Elizabeth Miles (signed) 
Popular by Alissa Grosso (signed) 
Swoon by Nina Malkin (signed)
The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols (signed) 
Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne (signed ARC) 
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi 
Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo
...and various swag. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wow, so may great books! Thanks for the giveaway!
    And that was a good question to ask the authors. I've never actually wondered about it until now.

  2. I would go with people being the hardest thing to write. You can just make the setting anything you want it to be, but a person has so many different dimensions.

  3. That is a very good question! I guess I always thought people were the hardest to write, but now I can definitely see how setting could be harder. Very thought provoking :) That is one awesome giveaway, thank you so much for the opportunity!