ggns
ggns:

One of the books I took to read while I was at jury duty earlier this week was Tithe by Holly Black. Luckily for me, the book was excellent. Not so luckily, I finished it in the first few hours I was waiting. But, that left me a lot of time to sketch out these two in my notebook, and so here is my interpretation of Rath Roiben Rye and Kaye Fierch. Definitely going to be checking out the rest of the series. *nodnod*

They’re SO GREAT. Roiben is kind of adorable here.

ggns:

One of the books I took to read while I was at jury duty earlier this week was Tithe by Holly Black. Luckily for me, the book was excellent. Not so luckily, I finished it in the first few hours I was waiting. But, that left me a lot of time to sketch out these two in my notebook, and so here is my interpretation of Rath Roiben Rye and Kaye Fierch. Definitely going to be checking out the rest of the series. *nodnod*

They’re SO GREAT. Roiben is kind of adorable here.

While I have you on the line…or I guess fanmail-tumblr-thingie, I was wondering if I could ask you a question or two. Yeah, two. You don’t need to respond if you don’t want/have time to, but I’d appreciate it if you did :)
Firstly, what made you start writing in a way that made you love it, and b, how do you plot your books?

This question came in through the “mail” part of tumblr, so I although I am answering this publicly, I deleted all the personal information of the asker, in case they didn’t want that to be public. It’s just such a great question, though, that I wanted to talk about it a bit.

What made you start writing in a way that made you love it?

That’s the big question, the question we have to answer over and over for every project.

I remember writing draft after draft of Tithe, not loving what I was writing and not knowing how to write something I would love. This was also a period when I was incredibly critical of everything I read. There were very few books I could read without ripping apart — and then there were a few I felt were so perfect that they taught me nothing. They seemed completely seamless, with no way in and no way to analyze how to replicate what I liked.

Adding to that, I had some odd ideas about writing. I knew I was supposed to show and not tell, so I never told anyone anything, even if that made it super confusing for the reader. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be derivative or cliched, so every time something happened, I tried to make the characters do the opposite of what was expected, even if that was less interesting.

Those early drafts were awful and they were awful because I was writing to please my (intimidated) writer self. I wasn’t writing for the part of me that mattered — my reader self

Asking myself what I liked — and answering honestly — was the first step in getting to writing stuff I loved. We worry a lot about the market when we’re starting out (and maybe even when we’re no longer starting out), but we have to trust that if we love a thing, there will be other readers who love it too. Maybe not the most possible readers, but our readers.

As for plotting — it helps to know these things:

(a) what does the protagonist want? (b) what’s the obstacle? (b) what’s at stake?* (c) what are the agendas of the other characters in the book? (d) what is the thing, which, once it happens, means the book is over? (e) what are some fun things that you want to happen along the way? (f) what’s the ticking clock and when does it kick in? (g) how does the protagonist change by the end? and (h) what’s the protagonist’s secret?

It’s okay if you don’t know all those things. But, like I said, they help.

Then, I would say, try to give yourself touch points in the manuscript. Not everyone works to an outline, but most writers exist on a spectrum between plotters and pantsers

*People talk a lot about making sure the stakes are high, but let me say instead that the stakes should be highly personal. Yes, it makes sense to want to save the world — that’s where you keep your stuff, right? — but losing a job, disappointing the people you love, losing a loved one, etc. are usually more intense stakes.

Anonymous asked:

First, congratulations for the Mythopoeic Award! I have a writing question for you. I know you have that wonderful resource on your website, but I didn't see if you addressed this particular subject. I wanted to ask for your opinion about having multiple protagonists (more than two) in a third-person novel? I know Scott Westerfeld and Rick Riordan have done it, but with first-person. Thank you! I'm looking forward to reading your upcoming books!

This is a tough question. I think it’s possible to have more than three point-of-view (POV) characters that arguably could be considered protagonists. I actually think it is less difficult to do in third person than first person, because third person allows for a fairly consistent narrative voice. If you look at Libba Bray’s Diviners and George R. R. Martin’s The Song of Ice and Fire — both third person — they certainly have multiple major POV characters. But the more protagonists you have, the bigger your book is going to get and the more those characters’ stories are going to have to be woven together. So, I guess what I want to say is that remember that not every POV character has to be a protagonist.

Good luck! It’s no bad thing to be ambitious and to try to challenge yourself.