Chris Howard is here for a “How I Write” feature as part of his ROOTLESS blog tour! Thanks to Chris for participating, and YA Books Central for working my feature into the tour! Check out his Q&A, and then enter to win a fantastic ROOTLESS prize pack!
Are you a planner (outline, etc.) or pantser?
Ha! I do fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, I guess. To me, starting that first draft is like setting off on a quest – you know where you want to get, but you don’t know how you’re going to get there, what dangers you’ll face, who your friends will be, or who can be trusted. And the ending you imagined might not come to pass. But you know WHY you’re setting off… the story has a purpose, like every quest has a purpose. If I were to outline it all out then I wouldn’t get surprised by my characters and the world of the story. But I have to know WHY I’m setting off on the journey.
Do you write daily or sporadically when you’re inspired?
I don’t write everyday. When I write, I like to write for many, many hours and really get stuck into the world of the story. It’s hard for me to stop, really. So I try to set aside days where I won’t even start, and it gives my brain a chance to catch up. I feel like my subconscious can often answer questions if I give it some breathing room!
What kind of mood are you typically in when you write (happy, sad, etc.)?
I feel what my characters are feeling. I like to get in their heads and see the story through their eyes, while my hands are trying to write it all down! For me, it gets very visual and immersive, which also makes it very rewarding. When I’m about to start, I’m super happy because I feel like I’m about to go on this crazy journey. And when I get done, I’m usually very tired, but hopefully happy – unless I get interrupted, or feel like I went in the wrong direction all day!
What tool(s) do you use to write? Microsoft Word, Pages, Scrivener, typewriter, and/or pen and paper?
I’ve become a huge Scrivener fan, because I used to have one document for the manuscript, and a hundred other documents and notes for everything else. Scrivener lets me keep it all in one place, the “project”, and I like being able to switch back and forth between all the different bits and bobs. I also think it makes removing chunks of writing easier, because you can stash them in a “to use later” spot… even though I never really use them later, it makes saying goodbye to your prose easier 🙂
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received for writing?
“Write the book you want to read but can’t find.” Something like that, anyway! I think you have to write the book that no one else could have written… synthesizing all your passions and inspirations and interests. It’ll make the book as unique and unpredictable as you are, and it’ll tap into the very essence of your being 🙂
To follow the rest of the tour and get more chances to win ROOTLESS swag, check out http://yabookscentral.com/blog/rootless-blog-tour!