Today I’m excited to have Kat Zhang, debut author of What’s Left of Me, on the blog for a “How I Write” feature! Thanks to Kat for stopping by to answer my questions!
Are you a planner (outline, etc.) or do you “pants” it?
I tend to lean toward the pantser side of things–I used to not plan or outline at all when I wrote, and there’s still something somewhat freeing about writing like that, but now that I have deadlines to meet and can’t afford to just set aside a story for a month to let it steep, I have started to outline more and more. I don’t like to outline too rigidly, though, as personally, I feel that inhibits my ability to make the story seem organic.
What time of day do you find you write best? Or you enjoy more?
I write best when it’s dark out, so late at night/very early in the morning. If I’m writing in the wee hours of the morning, though, it’s probably because I stayed up all night, not because I woke up early 😉 I like how everything seems quiet and insulated; the real world is less distracting.
Do you have any writing quirks?
When drafting, I tend to write out of order, then stitch things together. Then, when I revise, I make sure everything connects smoothly. Sometimes I also “hear” bits of dialogue in my head before knowing what the rest of the scene is like, so I’ll just write dialogue almost script-style before inserting it into the right scene 🙂
What tool(s) do you use to write? Microsoft Word, Pages, Scrivener, typewriter, and/or pen and paper?
I used to draft on Pages, then revise on Scrivener, then do final edits back on Pages (with a lot of writing in notebooks and typing up later). Now, I’ve gotten myself to just start drafting in Scrivener so I don’t have to fiddle with the doc so much, but I still prefer to start from 0 with Pages. It feels less rigid than Scrivener 😛 I’m weird, I know.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received for writing?
Well, this is more advice for publishing, but: focus on the story. Publishing is a big business, and there are a ton of moving parts and things to worry about, and yes, thought should be paid to many of those things, but at the end of the day, as a writer, your most important job is to write (I’m talking “as a writer,” of course. If you’ve got another job, or a family, etc, of course those are just as/more important ;P). This is true whether you’re just starting out, or best-selling.
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before?
Yes, I have! I did NaNo for the first time as a sophomore in high school and actually completed my first novel (the one before WHAT’S LEFT OF ME) over the course of 2 NaNos. I love it and encourage anyone who’s interested to give it a go.