Tuesday, November 12, 2013

All Day Q&A!

It's been a couple months since my last routine Q&A, so here we are! Ask all the questions you'd like—I am here for you today. Need advice on writing? I got it. Want to know sekrit stuff about my books? Ask away! Want an opinion on something totally random? Sure! Interested in book, anime, Kdrama recs? I have plenty.

I will take questions on comments below, on my Facebook page, on Twitter, AND on Tumblr (this is new I just got a tumblr like a month ago!).

24 comments:

  1. This isn't actually a question, but something I thought you should be aware of. I just saw a cookie pan from Target for Ninjabread Men and thought immediately of you. I'm not posting a link here because I don't want it to look all spammy, but just search the Target website for "ninjabread" and it'll pop right up.

    To play fair and ask a question, though, what would be a good starting point for Kdrama for someone who has never seen any?

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    1. Haha, Elliespen! I actually HAVE those cookie cutters, and I am looking forward to making Ninja Sugar Cookies this holiday season:) It makes me very happy to hear people think of me when they see ninja stuff. Like, seriously happy.

      To answer your Kdrama question, it really depends on what you might be interested in according to genre, so I will rec a few:

      1. If you love high school melodrama: Boys Over Flowers
      2. If you like melodrama but not in high school: Can You Hear My Heart? (Also sometimes goes by Listen To My Heart)
      3. If you like Romantic Comedy: Flower Boy Ramen Shop
      4. If you like Magic Realism: Secret Garden (this is one of my all time faves)
      5. If you like Historical Fantasy: Faith or Arang & The Magistrate
      6. If you like a good Tear Jerker Romance: Scent Of A Woman
      7. If you like a Time Bender: Queen & I (Also goes by Queen Inhyun's Man, and is also an all time fave of mine.)

      And I'll stop there:)

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  2. Not a question but a gigantic thank you for sharing your writing with the world I loved reading House of Ivy and Sorrow I am still shocked I won the ARC I wish you so much success and will help support your success by reading your books when it finally hits stores in Toronto lol but also I feel your journey resonated with me because I am still at the beginning wanting so much to be published and I always remember your journey and the emotions you endured and it grounds me to keep trying no matter how hard it gets which is often. Also realizing the publishing world is so diverse now there is many ways to see my dream come true which you will do for your upcoming book, but I am still at the point in which getting published the traditional route will somehow validate me as a writer I realize as well that I don't really need that validation that fact I love writing stories is validation enough. **THANK YOU**

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    1. You are very welcome, Keisha:) Good luck with everything!

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  3. I know you've probably said before, but I'm spacing: have you every done NaNoWriMo and, if so, any advice for how to survive with your sanity intact? If no, any advice on surviving a writing binge in general with your sanity intact? :)

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    1. Kelpeterson, I have never technically done NaNoWriMo. But I am currently using the "high" of all the other ppl to finish a draft near the end of the month or early December. And I have written drafts in ridiculous shorts periods—the shortest being 15 days.

      So advice for keeping your sanity, hmm. I must admit I don't consider myself the sanest person on the block, so I'm not the BEST person to go to. But I will give it a shot.

      I think the most important thing for me to remember while drafting is the fact that drafts are ugly. I mean, no matter how fast or slow you write that thing—it won't be perfect. I've taken my time writing and have had to change huge amounts of a book. And I written something faster with less changing. Those two statements can also be switched in my case. So accepting that the first draft in only the beginning allows me to write all those crappy words and move on.

      I think it's also important while drafting to allow yourself breathing room. Yeah, big word goals met each day is great, but at the expense of everything else? I'm not sure. Which might be why I've never officially done NaNo. Honestly, sometimes I need to go on a walk. Sometimes I need to take a few days off to let the story work itself out in my head. Sometimes I just need a freaking nap.

      And that's all I got, I think. Allow yourself to write imperfectly, and cut yourself some slack when you need it. I guess that boils down to chill out and things will work out? Sorry, that sounds like the opposite of most NaNo advice, heh.

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    2. No worries, write the crud now and worry about making it pretty later sounds like pretty applicable advice. And a nap sounds unbelievably amazing right now! But I can't.

      It's my first time trying NaNo and I think that's my least favorite part of it - the inability to take a night off. (I tried it, and then died catching up. Never again.) The good news is, I haven't written in a couple of years, and I know I'm both a perfectionist and crazy about deadlines. This is definitely forcing me to let go of the perfect ... while making me neurotic about word counts. ;)

      You pulled off a full draft in 15 days? Seriously? I don't know whether to be impressed or just flabbergasted, or both. Nice work!

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  4. Okay, here's a question! What books have you read and enjoyed recently that you would recommend? :)

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    1. I haven't had a lot of chances to read with all my recent deadlines, but I recently read and loved WARRIOR by Ellen Oh and INK by Amanda Sun. I'm currently reading OUT OF TUNE by my good friend Michelle Argyle, which comes out December 3rd:)

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  5. First of all, I just wanted to say that Transparent was such a fun read! I love hearing about your publishing journey.

    You may have answered this before, but how intensely do you outline in advance of your first draft? And what do you find to be the best method for tightening up the plot after the first draft?

    -- Christi

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    1. Christi, I'm glad you enjoyed Transparent! Fun is definitely a good descriptor for the types of books I write:)

      As far as outlining, I wouldn't say I'm a huge outliner. I use kind of a hybrid method, where I outline a little bit as I go, but never to the end of the book. So as I'm just starting a draft, I'll maybe write out a plan of 3-5 chapters. Once I have gotten that far, I'll stop and plan a little bit more ahead, and so on and so forth until the draft is done.

      I've found this is a good balance for me, because outlining to the end takes the "fun" and "mystery" out of drafting for me—every time I've done that I haven't actually finished writing that novel. Which is sad. But I like to have some direction, so the "preview" I jot down is helpful to keep me somewhat on track.

      As far as tightening a plot post 1st draft, there's a lot of things you can look at. The first is taking a good look at what each scene in your book does—if there are two that reveal the same types of things about a character, perhaps those can be combined. If there are repetitious things happening in the plot, maybe one can be cut. If you notice two characters fill the same role, it's likely one doesn't need to be there or you need to give them a new/different role.

      But all of that is really hard to know on your own, especially when you're so close to a draft. If I can, I often wait at least a month and sometimes more before I go back to a first draft. This gives me time to see more of its shortcomings and to let my brain work out the plot issues.

      I also think getting critiqued is huge. Having fresh eyes on your work always adds perspective, even if you don't take all the advice offered. It forces you to look at your words in a way you might not have on your own, which can open up great things for the story.

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  6. Isn't tumblr addicting? I've spent hours on there just browsing the various tags.

    Yeah, I'm terrible at coming up with questions. I could probably come up several, but I can never figure out how to phrase them without making them sound like they've been asked a zillion times. I guess one thing I'm curious about is finding good critique partners. I've gotten some great critiques on my work in the past, but never anybody I thought I could stick with long term. I'm so socially awkward that I have trouble making any sort of deep, meaningful connection with people. Do I just have to keep looking and hope I find those two or three people I click with, who I know would be good CP's?

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    1. Mary, "socially awkward" is my middle name, so I know what you mean when you say it's hard to connect to people. And that's okay! In all honesty, it's taken me years and years to find friends that I trust not to run away from me. Some of those friends happen to be writers, so it works out that they crit my stuff.

      But it's certainly not an overnight thing. I had zero friends in writing for the first like 3 years that I started actively writing novels. Then I got lucky and met a couple. Then a few more. I feel really blessed that they've stuck around through all this time (about 8-ish years since I started writing, so around 3-5 years depending on the friend).

      You answered your own question in that, yes, I would say keep looking. Keep hoping. It can be really hard, but when it does happen it's awesome.

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  7. A very serious question. In your opinion, is Avatar: The Last Airbender anime, western animation, American anime, western animation with Asian influences, or "Americans who try to make anime and suck at it?"
    A less serious question. Could you draw a picture of Fiona's driver license photo?

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    1. Ha, Eliza, I love Avatar something fierce, but I am not the type of person who likes to force something into a category. To me, Avatar is a beautiful example of a cross-cultural collaboration that really resonates with a ton of people.

      Yes, Avatar aired in the US originally and has US writers behind it. But the animators are Korean. And the style is certainly anime-influenced, therefor Japan comes in. And then we have all the various cultural inspirations they pulled from to create that world, and yeah, it's what I hope to see more of in this world, whatever you want to call it. I will just call it AWESOME.

      As for Fiona's driver's license picture, HA. I don't have time to draw right now, but I bet it would look a lot like my UK covers—clothes and no body. She probably wore her favorite glasses for the occasion, which would be electric blue with square rims.

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  8. Hullo! Here's my ?: If you read MG, who are some of your fav MG authors?(I'm currently on a high from reading Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses!)

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    1. Leandra, I actually don't read much MG. But my little 7yo boy is getting into it so I'm learning a lot. Of course, his likes are decidedly boyish. He loves How To Train Your Dragon and stuff like that. I'm afraid I'm kinda miserable at MG recs—I always end up plugging my friend Shannon Messenger and her Keeper Of The Lost Cities series, heh.

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    2. I've seen the covers for that series, and they're super great. As much as I love my YA covers, sometimes MG covers just really hit it out of the ballpark. That, or I'm still just a kid at heart. ;D

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  9. When Transparent was first on subs to publishing houses...how did it feel? Was it hard to stay sane?
    Oh, and also: have you ever worked on multiple books at once? Did it work for you?

    My gosh, I just love your blog/writing/you/your books/. Just. You're pretty awesome!!!!

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    1. Cait, being on sub with Transparent was VERY difficult, because I'd already been on sub and failed the first time. So the second I knew what I was getting into and I knew it could go badly. I wasn't sure how I would handle it if it went into a 15-month long wait ending in no sale again, so I was a ball of nerves. Luckily Transparent did sell fairly quickly, within about 6 weeks, but it was a tough wait.

      As for multiple projects at once, I have tried many times and never managed to work equally on two projects at once. Either one draft wins out and I end up just writing that book. Or if I'm editing/writing I usually have to just stop writing and finish the edit or stop editing and finish the writing. It's really hard to switch back and forth in, say, one day. I have to immerse myself in one world at a time.

      And thanks for the love! It is truly appreciated. Like, you have no idea:)

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