Meet Marissa Meyer, YA novelist and author of the Lunar Chronicles. (One of my new favorite series!) Cinder, Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles and Meyer’s debut, was a NaNoWriMo novel. I recently read Cinder and Scarlet and completely fell in love with Meyer’s world and the fairy-tale retellings. Cress, Meyer’s newest release, is first on my Spring Break reading list. Winter, the fourth book of the Lunar Chronicles, has an expected publication date of February 2015. To find out more about Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles, visit her website and follow her on Twitter.
What is your greatest challenge while writing, and how do you overcome it?
Every book seems to come with its own challenges. I can bet that there will be a period about 40% in where I’m convinced that I’m writing the most boring book in the world, and at 60% of the way through I wonder what on earth I’ve gotten myself into, and at some point during the second draft I’m overwhelmed with world building and subplots… but whatever the problem is, I can always remind myself that I’ve been here before and I’ve had these doubts before and it’s all worked out just fine, so I just need to keep pushing on and get through it. I also find it’s helpful to break the work up into manageable tasks. Maybe I can’t keep every single subplot in my head at once, but I can think about THIS subplot, and I can figure out this character ARC or how to increase this romantic tension, and so I’ll focus on just that one thing and worry about everything else in its own time.
Are you a fan of sharing what you’ve written during the “early stages,” and asking for advice? If so, who has the privilege of reading your first drafts?
I like to get the book as far as I can take it on my own before I share it with anyone. Usually after the third draft I hit a wall where I can no longer see the book clearly and I don’t know what I need to do to make it better. That’s when I send it to my editor, agent, and beta readers – I have three amazing betas who are BRILLIANT, and always help me see things that I’ve missed. I don’t know what I would do without them.
What would you say to teen writers who struggle with completing their drafts?
This is obvious, but if you ever want to finish something… you’re going to have to finish something! It’s so, so tempting to get called away by a shiny new idea, especially when your current project is giving you a headache. But eventually you’ll need to hunker down and push through to the end. Remind yourself why you started on this project in the first place – what did you love about it? And if you need to jump to the end and write the big climax or the happy resolution to keep yourself motivated, then do that! Though I will say that there WILL be projects that simply aren’t right for you at this time (I certainly have my share of unfinished writing projects lying around), try to be really mindful about choosing when to keep working on something and when to let it go.
What are the two most important traits writers can possess, and why?
Ooh, good question! I think writers have to be curious. We want to know about people and the world. You never know where an idea will come from – an idea for a new story, or something that opens up your imagination to some cool new twist for your current project, and I find that half the time it’s in reading or researching or talking to someone that I get those little pieces of inspiration that grow into stories.
And I think the second trait for a writer is dogged determination. Or stubborness. Writing can be a long, slow, trying process. There are a lot of doubts along the way, a lot of doubters, a lot of rejection and criticism. But if you can still get up every day and keep moving forward in the face of all that, you’ll always be making progress.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you began writing?
Read craft guides! I didn’t start reading books on plot and structure and editing and characterization until after college, and as soon as I started reading them my skills increased exponentially. I think some writers are afraid that learning the elements of writing will somehow destroy their creativity or originality – hogwash! Once you know the “rules,” and WHY something works and why it doesn’t, then you know how and when to deviate from that to make something that’s your own. Knowledge is always a good thing.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
An aspiring writer! 😉
*Thanks so much for answering my questions!!
HAVE YOU READ THE LUNAR CHRONICLES? What did you think?
Read my review of Cinder.