That’s right boys and girls, there’s a sequel! A sequel to what, you say? Nice to know you’ve been paying attention. Fine, here’s the recap: last month I participated in the Orangeberry Summer Splash and came across a stunning author, Terra Harmony. I reviewed her book; she dropped a lovely post for all you wicked little readers. While all that was going on, I discovered that Terra’s a pretty cool chick and we had plenty to discuss about the writing process and writing series in particular. So we turned our conversations into a behind-the-scenes, DVD-extras-style set of posts and here we are.
You’re joining our conversation already in progress. If you missed Part One, you can check it out on Terra’s blog.
Lil Ol Me: Did you plan the entire series out before you wrote it?
Terra: No plans. No outlining – just free writing. I think this was good and bad in a way. I tend to let my characters lead the story. Sometimes they take a turn in the plot that I myself didn’t see coming. When I start a chapter, I have no idea where it will end. The pro is I never really seem to get stuck. I don’t get writers block because I am not bound to an outline. I don’t have to ‘make’ certain things happen. The con is I really have to work hard at pacing, character development, etc. It doesn’t seem to come naturally in my writing.
I hope to do it differently in my next series (I am planning a mermaid/werewolf series – w/ eco issues of course). I really would like to write the entire series, then release them a few months apart. Right now, I am getting hounded via e-mail, facebook, etc. from fans asking when the next book is out. Don’t get me wrong – this is great! But it creates pressure that takes away from my writing a little bit.
Back to Your Boy: I can feel you on the pressure to push the next one out: I hear the same things and, while it’s cool there’s interest, I’m concerned about not putting the best book out I possibly can, you know? Writing a story that resonates with people is magic; you don’t want to mess it up.
For me, I planned in broad strokes. Like I said, the Bible gives me some pretty clear plot points so I decided what major periods of time I wanted to cover and who’s point of view I wanted to write from. I know where things to end up and as I move through each book, I get a sense of the emotional milestones I want my primary characters to hit.
Terra: When do your best ideas come to you? What invokes your muse?
It’s Me!: My best ideas come when I’m not looking for them. When I’m doing mundane things like cutting the grass, folding laundry, taking a shower. In a meeting with people I don’t like on subjects I could care less about. I daydream, play out the scene or push it around in my head. How about you? When do your best ideas come?
Terra: Showers are my best source of ideas, too! I am really, really clean when I am in need of inspiration. I talked about this with my critique group a little, and for them it was the same – mundane tasks. For one his best ideas occur when he is shaving in the morning. I guess this is when our subconscious can be accessed. “The subconscious mind is never idle,” said someone, at some point – probably.
When I really have to work a problem through, connect pieces in the storyline or whatever, I’ll go for a walk. We live by a lake and I’ve discovered that twice around (about an hour) is usually enough time to come up with a solution. I have to work to stay focused, but I have learned to trust that I’ll eventually come up with an idea. Writer’s block isn’t a thing for me anymore.
And Back to Me: “I am really, really clean when I am in need of inspiration.” Yeah, I can get that. My grass looks immaculate too when I’m writing.
I’ve also learned taking the WonderDog for a walk is helpful. I doubt he really appreciate me asking him the intricacies of my plot, but he does like being outside. Win-win.
You can check out the next installment on Terra’s blog later this week. And, as always, there’s more villainy goodness on the way! See ya!