By Aprilynne Pike
Today I'd like to welcome YA author Aprilynne Pike to the blog. Aprilynne is the #1 New York Times best-selling debut author of the YA fantasy romance Laurel Series. Wings, is the first of four books about a seemingly ordinary girl with a not-so-ordinary destiny. The story continues with Spells, and today's new release, Illusions. Her take on faeries is pretty darn cool. She's going to chat with us about writing a book (which sounds so much easier than it really is).
Take it away Aprilynne..
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
I think I speak for every author when I say that the most common question I get from readers is some variation of How do you write a book? My answer is an extremely simplistic one: I start at the beginning, and I write to the end. But really, it’s an important part of my process!
The very first book that I finished—let’s call it High Fantasy of Beginnerness—I started writing at the beginning of the story and then I got into the part I like to call The Slog! (Yes, that is a technical term.;)) That’s the part of the drafting process where the work really starts. The idea is not quite as shiny and new as it was in the beginning, your characters may have started to rebel, and your subplots are starting to get unruly and tangled (as they are supposed to do!). This is the point at which a lot of aspiring authors give up. I know I did with the first novel that I attempted to write. *koffkoff* Romance Novel of N00bness *koffkoff*
So when I reached that point in High Fantasy of Beginnerness (HFoB) I decided I should do something very dumb. I skipped forward to the next really exciting part and wrote it, leaving myself a note to come back and write a connecting scene here.
That worked super well and was way fun! (People kissed! Buildings exploded! Side characters died!) So I did it again. Just left myself another note.
Fast forward about two weeks. I had written all the super cool exciting parts of my novel!!!
Just one problem. Now I had to write all of the parts that connected them.
Now, they weren’t necessarily boring parts, but they weren’t the big emotional highs that the scenes I’d already written were. They were necessary for sure! These connecting scenes bridged subplots, built characters, and foreshadowed all of those lovely little scenes I’d already written. But the fact is, they were harder to write.
Fast forward about four weeks.
Despite having written about half the number of words I had written the previous two weeks, it took me twice as long to do. Why? Because the scenes that get you from Exciting Point A to Exciting Point B are more difficult to write. And even more difficult to write well.
I did finish that book eventually. I got all my connecting scenes written. But I learned from that experience that I did NOT want to write a book that way again. I do well with two things hanging in front of me: deadlines and the proverbial carrot.
I love to write, don’t get me wrong. But I especially love to write exciting scenes, and I suspect most authors are the same. And nothing is as fun as writing a big ending! So I save that ending for last. Like dessert. Writing the endings of my book is my reward for having finished the rest of it. It gives me something to look forward too, but it also gives me an enthusiasm for the part of the book I am writing right then. It’s not a chore; it’s a step I am taking to get to that awesome ending!
In addition, because I am thinking about the Awesome Ending I Am Going To Write, foreshadowing becomes easier. And pacing is also easier because every scene I write is trying to get to that ending!
As you can clearly see from Janice’s blog (especially this series!) there is no one right way to write a book, so maybe writing the exciting parts first works for you. But for me, I follow Fraulein Maria’s advice and start at the very beginning.
It is, after all, a very good place to start.
Aprilynne Pike has been spinning faerie stories since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found at the gym; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne recently returned to Arizona with her husband and three kids; she is enjoying the sunshine.
Illusions, the third book in Aprilynne Pike's New York Times best-selling series, continues the story of a not-so-ordinary girl named Laurel.
Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.
But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.