Sarah MaasToday, 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!

About the author: 

Sarah J. Maas was born and raised in New York City, but after graduating from Hamilton College in 2008, she moved to Southern California. She’s always been just a *tad* obsessed with fairy-tales and folklore, though she’d MUCH rather be the one slaying the dragon (instead of the damsel in distress). When she was sixteen, she discovered, and shared a (very rough) draft of Throne of Glass, a YA epic fantasy retelling of Cinderella. For the six years Throne of Glass was on FictionPress (at the time called Queen of Glass), it developed a massive fanbase–which later gave her the confidence to attempt getting it published.

Many rewrites and revisions later, Throne of Glass is less a Cinderella retelling and more of an original epic fantasy, and it was published by Bloomsbury Children’s in August 2012. Over the years, she’s written several other novels (most of them fairy-tale retellings), and when she’s not busy writing, she can be found geeking out over things like Han Solo, gaudy nail polish, and ballet.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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. 🙂

Sarah J. Maas’ Debut:

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5 Responses to Sarah J. Maas: How I Write

  1. Throne of Glass is amazing, and this is a great insight into Sarah’s writing process! I now am convinced I need a mirror behind MY desk. Also, Scrivener IS amazing. Opening it up was like when Dorothy walks into Oz and everything is in technicolor. Love this feature!
    Lauren@The Housework Can Wait recently posted..Top Ten Tuesday (November 13) – Desert Island BooksMy Profile

  2. Love this feature. I love the advice about writing pure crap. There is often so much pressure involved in writing AMAZING things that the fun of writing can float away. Thanks!
    SP at oh! paper pages recently posted..Deity Blog Tour and GIVEAWAY!My Profile

  3. Christa says:

    The mirror thing is such a fabulous idea! Sometimes I feel like my characters gestures/expressions sound too similar so it would be great to act it out for yourself!
    Christa recently posted..Interview: A J Aalto, author of TouchedMy Profile

  4. fakesteph
    Twitter: fakesteph

    I TOTALLY love the part about the mirror. LOVE it!
    fakesteph recently posted..Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail CarrigerMy Profile

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