I am waiting for the vet to call and tell me that the Bad Kitties have made it through their surgery-ish things safely. (Per has a bump that's grody, so she is having actual surgery. Maya's just getting a haircut, but since she's a furry little stressball, they have to knock her out.) This means my concentration has been shot all day, and I've wandered around the house eating brownies and kettlecorn and coffee, assuming the worst.
I have quite a knack for assuming the worst.
Needless to say, I didn't get to all of your questions, because those brownies weren't going to stress-eat themselves, you know. I'll answer as many as I can today, and hit the rest of them tomorrow, when I'll also announce the winner. The contest closed at noon, however -- you can ask more questions, but they won't be eligible for the giveaway.
Sarah (from Australia! I am jealous jealous jealous!) asked, "What book or series do you wish you had written?"
The books and series I admire the most are not the ones I wish I had written, strangely enough. In my mind, they're perfect, and it's a bad idea to mess with perfection. For example, I desperately wish that I could write a book as brilliant as Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE or Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY, but that's not the same as wishing I could write those books.
In my mind, wishing you could write something implies you feel you could improve upon it -- and I am too polite to say in public which books I think I could do a better job on than the author. But I will say that I recently watched the reboot of CLUE, and...I really, really, REALLY wish I could have written that script.
Ginger asked, "Did you have your entire trilogy plotted from the get go, even loosely? Did you already know much of your plot for Tangled and Bound back when you were writing Torn?"
The short answer is yes. I knew, in the very loosest terms, how I wanted the series to end. But I also knew TORN had to stand on its own, so I was careful to make sure that Mo's initial journey was complete by the end of that book. I tried not to get terribly wedded to the events of TANGLED and BOUND, but there were a few elements -- Colin and Luc's backstories, Mo's father returning from prison, and Jenny Kowalski, to name a few, that I knew were essential to seed into TORN if I wanted them to pay off later. (This question really deserves its own, longer post, so I'm filing that away. Thanks, Ginger, for the blogfodder!)
Claire asked, "How do you stay focused on writing? Is there a type of food or activity that keeps you motivated to write?"
Well, coffee is essential to my writing process. And I often reward myself with treats of a chocolate-based nature, like this:
Most of the time, I find my motivation/discipline (which are really flip sides of the same coin) hinge on two things: deadlines and rewards. Deadlines are pretty sacred to me. If I promise that my book will be finished by a certain date, I make it happen, even if it means giving up sleep and regular meals and basic personal hygiene. Writers' block is a luxury, and when I am on deadline, I can't afford it. People are depending on me to get my work done, so I get it done.
The rewards can be tangible -- I bought myself an iPad when I finished writing the Torn Trilogy, for example, and you've already seen what has to happen for me to write a synopsis. But there's also just a sense of satisfaction when I meet my daily word count -- Scrivener has a little progress bar that shifts from red to green the closer you get to your target, and watching the bar turn green is addictive. And nothing beats the feeling I get when I finish a book. Even if I know it needs tons of revision, making it to the end is a rush. I've heard this happnes to people who run marathons, but I'm just going to take their word for it.
And then there's this lady:
That's my agent, Joanna. She works incredibly hard on my behalf. She answers emails in the dead of night, she answers phone calls on the weekend, national holidays, her birthday, and vacation. I never like disappointing people, but especially not when they've put so much faith in me. Also, she's a native New Yorker. And you know what they're like when they're angry.
And...now it's time to go get my kids and my cats, in that order. More tomorrow, including the winner!