Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Time for a little Q & A...

Happy Wednesday! One of the best days of the week because I get new episodes of America's Next Top Model, Ghost Hunters, and Project Runway. I know...quite the eclectic combination, eh?

I'm so happy to report that last night at 11:11 p.m., I finished GHOST HUNTRESS: THE GUIDANCE! Whoooohooooooo!!! The crowd goes wild! LOL! Of course, that just means I have to go back the beginning and start reading and making sure it all makes sense before I give it to my critique partners and then my editor on Monday. I'm really excited about the story and the direction that the series is going in. It's so much fun!

Because I've been lurking deep into the writing cave these past few weeks, I've been remiss in answering some e-mails folks have sent me. Since we have so many writers who follow our blog, I thought it would be good to share some of the Q & A here and to see if you have any additional questions for me or any of the other fabulous Buzz Girls.

Here we go...

What is your writing process?

I get the first question a lot. The first part of my answer is that my process is what works for me. It's not the only way to do it and it won't work for everyone else. The key is to find what works for you. I am a plotter. A very detailed plotter. I'm also a very visual person. I have to see my entire novel in my head from opening title to closing credits and everything in between, sort of like a movie. I play this movie over and over in my head, letting it cook and change and morph until I'm ready to write the synopsis. Then, I create a framework for my book with the chapters and page breaks. I cut and paste the synopsis into the layout, breaking it where I think it'll be interesting enough for the reader to keep turning the page. Then, I just start writing. At this point, I know the story and I've seen it in my head enough to know what's going on...I just feel like I'm transcribing a movie I've watched a hundred times. Again...this is what works for ME. This would never work for a lot of people, but it's what I've found to be the most productive for me in my seven years of writing.

How do you know where your story is going?

In all honesty, this question stumps me whenever I get it. Does this mean the questioner doesn't know where their story is going? Since I've been in marketing and events for almost twenty-two (gasp!) years, I always have to know where an ad is going...where a campaign is going...what the point of a meeting, event, or tradeshow is. I've always had to plot and plan out for the future and not rely on things just happening. I guess I bring that same mentality to my writing. I think if a writer doesn't know where the story is going, then it's only going to lead to confusion for the reader. There are questions you need to ask yourself: Why are you writing this story? What are you trying to convey? What is the overall arc or theme of the story? Do you want people to learn a lesson? Do you want them to fall in love and live happily ever after? What are the themes, metaphors, etc. that you hope to portray? There's more to writing a book than just putting words on a page. You need to nurture the art of storytelling, crafting deep, rich, realistic characters with a point to their actions, thoughts, and deeds in the attempt to entertain, enlighten, or enrich your reader.

How do you find time to write if you work full-time?

I just do. It's that simple. You can come up with a million excuses not to write or to keep you from writing, but the bottom line is you're not a writer unless you are putting words on the page. There's an old saying that you make time for the things you want to do. Well, I want to write, so I make the time. I'll write over my lunch break at work. I'll plot out ideas in the shower or on the commute. I write when I get home. It only takes an hour or two here and there to really pound out the words. Again...I don't find time. I make the time.

Have you seen any ghosts?

I love getting this question. Before March of 2006, before I came up with the idea of the GHOST HUNTRESS series, I would have scoffed at this inquiry. Of course, a year and a half later with multiple ghost investigations under my belt, I light up when I get asked this. No. I haven't *seen* a ghost with my eyes yet. It's not for lack of trying. LOL!! I have experienced a LOT of things. I have been touched. I have felt cold spots down into the low 50s on an August night. I have images (not orbs) in photographs that I can't explain. I have hear disembodied voices on my digital recorder. I have seen shadow people. I have heard voices that weren't there. I have had my hair pulled. And I played ball with what we believe to be the spirit of a child for over forty minutes. But have I seen a full-bodied apparition? Not yet...

I hope these help answer any questions. If you have anything you'd like to as me or any of the Buzz Girls, give us a shout out here in the comment section! We love to hear from our readers.

Have a great day!

Marley = )

GHOST HUNTRESS: The Awakening (Coming May 2009, Houghton Mifflin)
GHOST HUNTRESS: The Guidance (Coming October 2009, Houghton Mifflin)
SORORITY 101: Zeta or Omega? (Available Now! Puffin Books)
SORORITY 101: The New Sisters (Available Now! Puffin Books)


TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Marley, congrats on finishing that book! And I wanted to know the same thing, whether you'd seen a ghost in your recent investigations and was fascinated with your answer...especially the hair-pulling and playing ball. So here's a related question: were these experiences adrenaline rush scary?

stephhale said...

I should not have read this post so close to bedtime! :) Spooky stuff, Marley.
I really loved what you said about just making the time for writing because you want to. This is so true.
Congrats on finishing Ghost Huntress!

Chelsea said...

Ooh! You "played ball" with a spirit? Did it throw the ball back to you or something? Creepy. But interesting.

I definitely believe in ghosts, and I think it'd be really interesting to investigate.

Heather Davis said...

Verrry spooky, Marley! And I love hearing about your writing process. Funny how diverse it can be from writer to writer.