Friday, September 12, 2008

A2A Meta Chat with Kate, Miss Apprentice Writer

Tip of the Day: Check back tomorrow where we give thanks for the I Love Your Blog Award and pass the award on to seven other well-deserved blogs.

Today I get the pleasure of sharing my interview with Kate, which I really enjoyed because I felt like out of all the A2A gals, I knew the least about Kate.

1. What kind of books do you enjoy writing the most and why?

Humor, definitely. It makes me very happy to make people laugh. I wrote a haunted house book last year for NaNoWriMo, but even in a scary story, I had to write funny scenes and characters.

(Lisa: Oh good, we need more funny stories on the shelves!)

2. You work and have kids, right? How do you find the time to write? Any tips for those of us juggling a day job and a family and trying to squeeze time in there to write as well?

Tips??? From me? Unfortunately I tend to sacrifice sleep, which I can't do for long periods of time without getting sick. I know some people wake up early to write but I'm super fuzzy-headed in the morning. Mostly, I take a lot of notes. I carry index cards and pens so I can jot down dialogue and ideas that come to me in the car or on my lunch break. Then after the kids go to bed, I can trick myself into writing by telling myself "I'll just transcribe what I wrote down earlier." That usually gets me into the story enough to continue. Oh, and external deadlines help me a lot! I WILL get my chapter done if someone's waiting to critique it. I'm highly motivated by shame.

(Lisa: Yeah, notecards are a writer’s best friend at work)

3. What's one thing you've learned about your craft lately that you wish you'd known sooner?

OK, one thing I learned this year is not to stress so much about not having an outline or a scene spreadsheet, or all my little forms filled out and ducks in a row, before my story is told. Not having a chapter-by-chapter outline doesn't mean I'm a slacker. I realized that I NEVER stick to the outline. Sometimes I've shot myself in the foot trying to force my story to fit my outline, you know? But I obsess. "Other people have outlines, maybe they're smarter than I am. Maybe they know what they're doing and I don't." I'm trying to be more about getting to the heart of the story now.

(Lisa: Great advice for all of us - we have to find what works well for US and not worry about what other people do)

4. Are you a plunger or a plotter?

I'm an obsessor! I guess it depends how you define "plotter." I don't do well with a written summary in front of me, but I have to spend a lot of time thinking about a story before I can start writing it. I love to research crazy subjects. I'm a total Wikipedia addict. It takes me a long time to mentally find a match between the subjects that interest me and settings that interest me and characters I like.

(Lisa: No wonder I struggle to come up with story ideas. I don’t look up crazy subjects in Wikipedia!)

5. What kind of music do you like and do you listen to music while you write?

Lisa, you had to ask this question! I have playlists in my iPod named after my characters and books. I find it very helpful. I listened to Guster's Ganging Up on the Sun album so much while I wrote my haunted house story that hearing any songs from that album puts me right into that story world. The playlist for the novel I'm working now includes Fiona Apple, Muse, and Arctic Monkeys. Angst, much? Of course the headphones are great for drowning out the sounds of my kids destroying their bedrooms. Did I mention "pretend you didn't hear whatever you just heard and whatever it is, you'll fix it later" in my "finding time to write" response? Seriously, on Saturday mornings, if I let myself get interrupted every time something goes crashing down the stairs, I'd never get any writing done.

(Lisa: OMG, your Saturday mornings sound exactly like mine. Turn up the tunes, tune out the noise, and write!)

Thanks for chatting with me, Kate! What a fun week this was!!

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

You rock, Kate...literally! I have playlists for my books, too. When I was driving up to use Ghost Hunk's office, I'd blast that list through the iPod and really get in the mood.

And so right...gotta find what works for YOU. For me, it's not the same thing every time. I never outlined the first book, did outline the second but strayed (appropriately, I think!), and with everything, including #3, I really need to "live" with it for a while before I write.

Janette Rallison said...

Kate sounds like my long lost twin. More humor, no sleep. That about sums it up for me.

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

Great interview! I love humor, too. :)