It’s okay, you can admit that writing is hard, especially when you see authors are churning out book after book, when you’ve barely written a chapter. Have no fear, because everybody has their own way of doing things! Bestselling authors Leigh Evans, Angie Fox, Charlaine Harris, Darynda Jones, Suzanne McLeod and Chloe Neill shared their creative processes with RT Convention attendees and shared that speed isn’t the be and end all.
The authors all agreed that what’s on the page is more important than the amount of words — it's quality over quantity, folks!
“I can figure out how many days it would take [to write a book], but it never works out,” Charlaine Harris told us, and she wrote the bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, so she knows.
Moderator Leigh Evans added, “Just write the story. Don’t try and create the world [first].”
Still, most of the authors do set daily goals. Harris tries to write six to eight pages a day, while Evans prefers five to seven. In regards to word count, Angie Fox unconsciously aims for 1,200 to 1,500 words a day.
“If I hit [that number], I know I did well. But if I expect to hit a certain number, I get locked up,” Fox added.
Meanwhile, Suzanne McLeod turns off the word count feature because “I’d be looking at it the whole time!”
Darynda Jones echoed this sentiment and added that she now uses a 500-words-a-day program that “gets you into the habit of writing.” And if 500 words doesn't sound like a lot, it equals two books a year!
When asked how they deal with creative roadblocks, Harris quipped, “I kill someone. That’s the best way to get over the blues. Who’s going to bite the dust?” Who knew the sweet Southern gal had such a dark side?
Neill said the best way to deal with roadblocks is to just, “be out in the world and learn about how people interact and learn new things.”
“When I get stuck, I take a walk and think about it … I know when I’m doing something wrong it’s my subconscious telling me I’m taking [the story] in the wrong direction,” said McLeod. She knows that she needs to figure out the problem before moving ahead. “I need to know what happens now to know what happens next.”
Fox will call her critique partner to talk about what’s not working. She’ll also set the project aside for a few days to calm down before sitting down to read it and fall in love all over again with the project.
The authors also discussed their critique partnerships and beta readers, and all stressed the importance of having someone who will tell you the truth — and who knows your style. They also said it helps to have a partner who is strong where you are weak.
The panel proved to be an encouraging and inspiring session, with many aspiring authors furiously taking notes and absorbing the authors’ advice and suggestions.
We're still covering the RT Convention that rocked New Orleans last week, for more on the exciting happenings, click here.