The Author Blog Series highlights interviews from authors and book influencers--this post helping authors successfully start their novel.
This series is aimed at providing authors with tips, tricks, and encouragement to improve their craft and provide readers with some answers as to why we do certain things like kill your favorite characters . . . we're monstrous, I know.
You'll get the opportunity to meet authors such as R.T. Kilgore, Aalia Lanius, Victoria McCombs, and more incredible talent!
What to Expect in Each Author Interview
Authors will cover a variety of topics from starting to finishing your book and everything beyond and in-between. You'll also get to hear from book influencers and reviewers to get a fresh take from our audience's perspective.
On this post, Angela Anne will be going over the beginning of the writing process. If you're struggling with getting your thoughts on paper, not sure how to organize your thoughts, or want to improve the first section of your book, this interview will surely give you the insightful information you need for you to turn on your computer and start writing!
Let's Meet Our Author!
Angela Anne is a YA contemporary writer fascinated by love and technology in the modern age. She is about to query her debut novel and hopes everyone who reads it is entertained and inspired to live authentically. When not writing, she can be found running half marathons, drinking too much coffee, and studying linguistics at university.
Author Interview Questions
1. What is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning of the story, middle, or end?
My favorite part to write is the middle. While this is commonly regarded as the hardest part to write, I love writing it because it feels more low stakes, especially in early drafts. As writers and readers, we have high expectations of the beginning and end. These sections can sometimes cripple me with doubt because they never feel good enough. However, whenever I get to the middle, I write with less worries or self doubt because I don't feel as much pressure.
2. Writing has come as an absolute blessing to those with a muse and to those who love nothing else than to pick up a book and be whisked away to another world. What fascinates you about writing?
As a reader, I'm fascinated by how writing can transport me to another world and change my emotions within a couple pages. As a writer, I'm also fascinated by how much writing changes through rewriting. When I look back at my first draft to where it is today, I'm in awe of how much the story improved. Rewriting is something that seems small on the day-to-day but after a couple months of rewriting and revisions, a novel is completely changed.
3. What outlining tool do you use when starting your book?
The writing process is unique to everyone. Some writers thrive off the web model, while others like to dive straight in and let the story form as they type. What style are you drawn to?
I always outline my stories before writing. The method I use are the beats from Save the Cat Writes a Novel because it helps with the pacing of my stories. However, I don't keep the most detailed outline. My outlines are usually only about ten pages long (bulleted lists) on a Google Doc and only include the main 1-4 points of each chapter.
For more information on the Beat Sheet plotting, use the link below to learn from Savannah Gilbo. https://www.savannahgilbo.com/blog/plotting-save-the-cat
4. There are so many aspiring authors who stay stuck in the stage of “one day I’ll do it”. Taking that first leap and beginning to write a novel, and then continuing to write is terrifying (and can we blame them?). What advice do you have for writers who are afraid to take the first step?
Read Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Beyond that, her general philosophy on life can help you get those first words on the page. Brene Brown discusses how to live a good life, we have to be willing to take risks. When we go after what we want wholeheartedly, despite the fear and risks, we can create the lives we desire.
If publishing a novel is something you want to do, turn off your inner critic and shut down the fears--dare greatly and write those first words. Once you write those first words, schedule writing sessions into your planner and treat them like a meeting with your boss--something you have to show up to unless there's a giant emergency.
5. The start of a book can be the most difficult to write and the hardest to read. There’s so much information to give the reader to successfully immerse them in your world. What advice do you have for authors to keep the introduction of their book interesting?
If you need to info dump in the beginning, do so. I usually info dump about my story before starting it. After I get out all the information, I think of both an internal and external conflict for the first chapter which shows that information. Starting your story with conflict, especially an internal conflict the reader can relate to, makes the story more interesting.
6. One thing that really gets authors stuck or can bring down an entire story is the author not having well-rounded characters. How do you get to know your characters while writing your books?
Sometimes, I think I get to know my characters gradually through planning and drafts 1 and 2 of my novel.
Before I start writing, I create a Pinterest board for each main character and determine their want/need and how they conflict. I also think about what motivates them, what they fear, and how the want/need conflict plays into the story.
After that, I usually journal from the perspective of the main characters and write lists of the things that remind me of their personality. However, I also find in drafting that I learn more about my main characters--and sometimes what I learn means I have to revise earlier chapters.
To me, learning about my characters through drafting and rewriting is part of the fun. You get to know people in real life gradually and the reader should meet your characters gradually; so don't sweat it if you get to know your characters through the writing process as well!
7. Do you have any writing rituals? Is there a lucky pen, a special writing nook, or anything that inspires you to write? If so, why do you think having one can help your writing?
I have three main writing rituals. The first is that I create a playlist for each of my works in progress. I only play that music when I'm writing so that the songs on each playlist serves as a reminder to write.
The second ritual is that at the beginning of the session, I freewrite in a special WIP journal about what I want to accomplish in that writing session. I dump out all the emotions or fears of the day and info dump what the main parts of the scene will look like.
After I'm done with a writing session, I do my third writing ritual which is setting goals for next time. By setting my goals at the end of the writing session, I have no excuse or reason to procrastinate when I sit down for the next writing session.
Writing is a beautiful, yet intense craft. If you're nervous to take the leap and start, don't doubt yourself! Ask for support and guidance from your writing community, practice, and read books and articles like this.
Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and tell Angela Anne hello!
You can learn more about Angela Anne with the links below.
For more on the writing process from our bi-weekly author interviews, you can subscribe to my website for weekly updates: click here.