A: Probably wherever the story gets really clever. For instance, two moments that stick out to me in book one are when Zaria and her friends are imprisoned in Trolgar and what happens when Zaria, Olaf, and the Wild Hunt are on the scene for the delivery of the quest object. In the first, I had to answer how do they escape? It came by realizing how the room was already described. The solution was right there! For the second moment, I always knew there had to be a reason the mountain-trolls and the river-troll didn’t get along but would keep their distance. It couldn’t be just magic. I was reading the news when the idea of politics came to me as the solution. Sometimes the answer is in your face, you simply must step back and give your work a little space. Writer’s block to me is the inability to see the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest. Some space and a fresh look can make the big and small pictures appear.
A: For Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest I was about halfway through the first draft when it became clear to me I needed to utilize a timeline. I stopped writing immediately and opened a new document and then I read from the beginning. I sorted out the days and events I had already done and then kept the document handy for future events. That time I hadn’t made a mistake, but I could have, and it became a real time-saver later.
A: Yes, give yourself a deadline or end goal. You’re going to want to meet it and possibly exceed it. There’s lots of wonderful stories about writers who have finished a book in mere days, or completed massive amounts of prose for the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) What works for you?
A: How you write it. Do you think it through? Look for the ways to enhance a story or world? Do you research? Do you plot? Do you allow for spontaneity? Writing is personal and it is fluid. What works for you is not what works for someone else be it either in the telling or the reading of it. Faults aren’t always bad. You can embrace them and run amok and produce something very fine indeed. Not everyone will get it, but some will love you for it. A perfectly engineered book is also delightful. When every thread is wrapped up to perfection and an author makes it appear effortless (which it can be…sometimes…) it is beautiful and deeply satisfying. Just be passionate about your topic or story and the rest will follow.
A: I queue my book playlist, and find a song to start the day or hit shuffle. Sometimes I reread the last scene, but if I do reread, I only allow myself to make nominal changes to it before continuing. Editing, as I’ve heard, is the biggest time suck to your writing process if you let it rule you before its time comes. I’m careful to not do too much of it until the book’s first draft is done.
A: I write until I reach a stopping point, which is usually three to four hours into the process. If I deviate from writing to do research, social media, e-mail, or blog then I stay at the computer longer and try to get in those solid writing hours.
A: I sit on the loveseat in the office and write on my laptop, or I sit on the leather couch in the family room and look out the window, or I sit on the balcony and write with the breeze rifling through my hair, or I sit at the bar height dining room table and prop my feet on the swivel chair rungs. That’s the great thing about a laptop you can write nearly everywhere.
A: After work on weekdays, middle of the afternoon on weekends.
A: Nearly so. If it’s not writing then it’s editing or researching how to put the book together in all the formats I desire to publish.
A: Getting into the habit of writing a little every day. The first few chapters will be your toughest chapters to write. You will probably question your sanity for starting the project in the first place. You’ll doubt yourself and wonder if it is possibly any good. You will wonder who would read it. Why would anybody care? Trust me when I say don’t give up and keep going. Once you get past these bumpy chapters the rest is smooth sailing by comparison. Writing will be easier because after the first few chapters you have a narrative and a world that is being crafted. It’s easy to add to a world, a lot harder to think one up. You can modify the world as you go to adapt to the characters and situations.
A: Starting before you’re ready to start. If you wait to be ready you might never start. If you wait until you know your story and all its nuts and bolts you might never start. Don’t worry if your idea isn’t fully mapped out because you don’t need a perfect outline. Nobody reads that except you. If you wait until all the research is done and you’re a subject matter expert (SME) you might never start. It is better to start and have to redo something than to not start. A blank page is scary, but a page with words on it already is not. You can tackle it a lot easier because the creative pressure is almost fully gone. Starting was the hardest part for me. I had a couple of false starts, but you know what? A false start is still a start. If it doesn’t work figure out why and try again.
A: Depends on where I am at in the writing process. For instance for the book Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest I took a lot of time in the beginning to research Norway – climate, locations, photos, maps, things to do, etc. It’s not as good as being able to experience Norway in person, which I do hope to do one day soon, but it’s a good start. The key to writing is giving yourself permission to not be a subject matter expert (SME.) I started using the research immediately and took whichever elements suited my purposes (i.e. – artistic license.) If I waited to use the research until I was positive I could distribute the information like an SME or a native of Norway, the story would never have been started and it certainly wouldn’t have been finished. Sometimes you have to put the research away and just write.