Today, I’m excited to have Sarah J. Maas here for a “How I Write” feature! She’s the debut author of Throne of Glass (click title for my review). Many thanks to Sarah for stopping by! Be sure to check out her debut, along with her novellas for the series!
Are you a planner (outline, etc.) or do you “pants” it?
When I’m writing just for the hell of it, I’m a total pantser. I usually have a pretty thorough idea in my head of the major plot points of the story, but I make up a lot of stuff spur of the moment, too. However, when it comes to working on the THRONE OF GLASS series, I actually need to submit pretty detailed outlines before I even begin writing (which can be both useful and immensely frustrating). So I guess you could say I’m BOTH, though I think my default setting is a Pantser. 😉
Do you write daily or sporadically when you’re inspired?
I try to write daily, unless I’m on a planned/intentional Writing Break (which I try to take every now and then just to stay fresh and rejuvenated). I think writing is like a muscle–and if you don’t exercise it pretty frequently, you get out of shape. So, even if I’m writing pure GARBAGE in a WIP that will never see the light of day, I try to write at least 1k a day.
Do you have any writing quirks?
I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I keep a giant mirror behind my desk so I can watch myself as I act out each scene while writing. It helps me nail the facial expressions/gestures during dialogue…and reminds me when I need to take a shower. 😉
Where is your favorite place to write?
At my desk in my home office. I’ve made my office into a bit of a sanctuary. While the rest of my house is decorated as if a Real Adult lives there, my office is the one place where I still tape things on the walls, display my STAR WARS and other fandom knickknacks, and hang up my uber-geeky posters. So, it’s a very soothing, inspiring place for me.
What tool(s) do you use to write? Microsoft Word, Pages, Scrivener, typewriter, or pen and paper?
I’m a big fan of Microsoft Word (though friends have told me Scrivener is amazing). I’ve been using it for so many years that NOT writing with it would be totally weird. So, I use Word to write everything… But whenever I get a revision letter (from my editor, agent, or CPs), I always have to print that out, read through it ON PAPER, then go and hand-write my notes about THEIR edits… It’s totally weird. But something about hand writing helps me internalize my game plan and understand the revisions being asked of me.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received for writing?
“You can’t fix a blank page.” I think that’s a pretty common quote, but a writer-friend of mine once quoted it to me, and it stuck. Also, “Allow yourself to write pure crap.” was awesome advice (since I think a lot of writers–myself included–can get discouraged when a first draft doesn’t live up to the story we have in ours minds). Really, though, the best advice I ever got was from my 7th grade teacher, who read the first chapter of an “original” story of mine (…it was just a rip-off of Garth Nix’s SABRIEL) and told me to keep writing. So I did. 🙂