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!

About the author: Kat Zhang is an avid traveler, and after a childhood spent living in one book after another, she now builds stories for other people to visit. An English major at Vanderbilt University, she spends her free time performing Spoken Word poetry, raiding local bookstores, and plotting where to travel next. What’s Left of Meabout a girl with two soulsis her first novel and was released by HarperCollins on 9/18/2012. She is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Stonesong. You can read about her travels, literary and otherwise, on her website or check her out on Twitter.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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.

Kat Zhang’s Debut:

More “How I Write” Q&As!

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5 Responses to Kat Zhang: How I Write

  1. fakesteph
    Twitter: fakesteph

    Yes, late nights into the early mornings are my favorite for pretty much everything.
    fakesteph recently posted..Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail CarrigerMy Profile

  2. kimbacaffeinate
    Twitter: kimbacaffeinate

    Love getting to know the author’s writing style and this book is on my wishlist!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted..The View From Here by Cindy MyersMy Profile

  3. Belle says:

    Great interview. I loved What’s Left of Me so it’s great to get insight into the creative process that went into it.
    Belle recently posted..Review: The Reluctant Hallelujah by Gabrielle WilliamsMy Profile

  4. Christa says:

    I like to write when its dark out too. Although I don’t know if I could do early mornings
    Christa recently posted..Doctor Who Watch a Thon Season 4×12 “The Stolen Earth”My Profile

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