Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Writing on Tuesday with Leah Cypess + Mistwood!

Hello! Two weeks ago, I decided to start a new Meme called Writing on Tuesday, wherein authors will talk about anything that falls under the umbrella of writing, based on their experience.

Today we are Writing on Tuesday with Leah Cypess! She gracefully agreed to do a guest post here in my humble blog!


One of my favorite quotes about writing is by A.J. Liebling:

"The only way to write is well, and how you do it is your own damn business."

This seems rather obvious to me; in fact, it’s not entirely clear to me why anyone would care how anyone else writes. But I know that there are people who do, because when I was 14 years old and trying out this new thing called the Internet, I joined a writing forum where a Person of Authority wrote that if you’re going to call yourself a writer, you MUST sit down and write for a large chunk of time every day. No matter whether you have ideas or not, no matter whether you’re in the mood or not, you sit down and write - just like, if you’re an accountant, you sit down and do accounting stuff every day, whether or not you’re “in the mood.”

This is actually very good advice, and it works for many people. It happens not to be how I work, at least when I’m writing my first draft. I still make sure to give myself time to write every day, otherwise the day can easily be taken over by trivialities like making food for my kids or providing them with clean clothes. When I’m revising or responding to edits, I usually fill up that time pretty effectively. But when I’m writing a new book, I find that I have little control over how well the story flows on any given day. It’s usually obvious to me within about fifteen minutes whether I’m going to get anywhere, and if I’m not, I stop and go do something else.

I wrote something to that effect in reply to the Person of Authority's proclamation (not including the part about my as-yet-non-existent kids, obviously), and the next day I logged in to find myself under attack. There were about a dozen of people on the forum agreeing with him and mocking my comment. One response, which I still remember pretty clearly, said something like, “Dude, I’m so sorry that you have to deal with unprofessional amateurs like this one. It must be really frustrating for you. But it's her problem, since she’ll obviously never make it as a writer.”

*I look smug for a moment, then clear my throat modestly and move on*

Again, this is not to say that “write every day” is bad advice. It’s excellent advice. I would guess, based on writers I know, that this is how most professional writers tackle their schedules. But it’s just that: advice. Try it. If it works for you, that’s great. You’ll certainly be more efficient than I am. But if it doesn’t, don’t let anyone tell you it’s the only way to write. Because there is only one way to write, and that is well; how you get there is up to you.

Thank you Leah for guesting on my blog!

Leah Cypess is the author of Mistwood!
Coming this April 27, 2010 from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins!

Book Description:

Everyone tells Isabel that she is the Shifter – the ancient shape-shifting creature who has protected the kings of Samorna for centuries. They need her to be the Shifter. Prince Rokan risked everything when he rode into the Mistwood to summon her to his side; Ven, the magician's apprentice, has devoted his life to studying her legend; and even Princess Clarisse, who fears and hates her, depends on Isabel's powers to further her own plans.

But Isabel doesn't feel like the Shifter. She feels like a lonely human girl, beset by flashes of memory that do more to confuse than to help her. If she is the Shifter, why can't she change her shape? Why doesn't she remember what made her flee the castle so many years ago? As she is drawn deeper into a web of magic and assassination, Isabel will have no choice but to look for answers. But her search will lead her to the one question the Shifter hasn't faced in a thousand years: where does she come from, and what does she really want?

Check out the Mistwood Trailer:

Go to Leah's site for more!

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