Let me tell you of the awesomeness that is meeting real authors, and of the agony that are my tertiary muscles…
I met Laini Taylor last night here in Sydney, got a signed copy of her book Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and generally listened. I decided it was time I met a real published author and, without fangirling my big bearded ass off, asked them stuff about writing.
Laini related how after several successful series she’d started on a winged ballerina Ninja sci-fi, and it just wasn’t working. After smacking her head against the keyboard (I’m paraphrasing) trying to pull literary teeth, she ditched the project and changed her writing process.
Yep, you heard right, a published author just decided one day: you know what, I’m not going to plot everything out, I’m just going to start writing and see where it takes me. Spooky horned demon dad and blue haired daughter in Prague ensues, and three books later apparently it worked out good. A pantser was born.
Question time rocked around and I get my hand up first: so you’ve become a pantser, do you start out with a plan, a destination in mind?
Her answer was really cool. She gave an example of another story of hers where there is a climactic event she had in mind from the outset. In her mind it would be just one thing that happened, near the beginning, and the story would evolve into something else. Well she wrote and wrote, and just kept pushing that big event back (don’t know what event because spoilers. They might be shot into space by an unfortunate sneeze). Eventually the story ended up hinging on it.
So I guess the point is that you can plan and drive forward, but it’s also good to sometimes just enjoy wherever the story is going, and let it come alive…
Oh and when I got my book signed she asked me if I was a writer. To which I replied that I was, but I’d only started in earnest fairly recently. I like the quote she used in response:
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
Cool lady, stunning head of hair on her too, and brilliant fantasy author.
Ah and on the unrelated topic of my muscle aches, what the hell happened? I figured out there’s an outdoor gym at the park, and went all orangutan on the chin up bar. Primary muscles in my side and back are fine, secondary muscles in my arms and neck no worries either, but the tertiary muscles… that are supposed to be doing the least: my pecs are wrecked. I couldn’t push a push-pop.
Who can figure these things, right?