Today I have the pleasure of having A.J. Paquette, the author of Paradox, here to talk about the process she went from writing her book to having her book published. And be sure to keep reading to find out more about the book and enter a giveaway.
Joy in the Process: Seeing Your Book All the Way Through to the Finish Line
It’s a true fact that there are as many different ways of writing a novel as there are novelists who write. For me, I’m a drafter. I love the rush of early creation, both for its manic excitement, and also—okay, mostly—because I’m a strongly task-oriented writer. I love the simple act of creating a to-do list and working through it methodically from start to finish.
When I begin a new project, I tend to start by writing the first few chapters. This anchors me in the main character’s world, hooks me into her or his voice, and generally gets me going in the right direction. From there, however, I almost always pull back. And get myself a concrete plan.
I confess it: I’m an outliner. I start with that thumbnail story-nugget idea which launched me into the project, and I build outward from there. I usually start the outline in fairly broad strokes, carving away at the story until all the bones are there, then going back over it to be sure the logic aligns and the structure holds together well. What I end up with is a pretty straightforward “this happens next and then this and then this” story description. I then break this down into chapter-sized nuggets. And then I get writing.
It’s like a giant to-do list, and I find great satisfaction in working my way down the list, and also in keeping up with the subtle changes that always arise as I’m writing.
So this is my favorite part of the process. Next comes revision. Which, well, isn’t my favorite. I know many authors live for this part of the process, but my task-oriented brain finds it a little too amorphous to truly enjoy. One can work for hours doing very necessary revision work without feeling like there is anything “concrete” to show for it.
So I’ve come up with my own work around, and those who know me well won’t be surprised to hear what it is. Can you guess? It’s a to-do list! Basically, I go through my draft, open a separate document, and list all of the things I still need to do. Here’s a few of the points that were on my massive, 50+ point to-do list when I was revising PARADOX:
[ ] Revise the whole ending portion to make it tighter
[ ] Check the trajectory of the suns across the planet to make sure they follow proper path
[ ] Fix the final [specifics redacted] memory to show more significance
[ ] Do we need more [element redacted]? Make sure sightings are balanced throughout the story.
[ ] Come up with new names for land formations on the planet.
[ ] Check pacing/keep it moving/efficiency of scenes
And so it goes. In the end, every book is its own little mystery, its own treasure hunt that can only be uncovered one clue at a time. The joy is in the journey, of course, but without a doubt the joy is also in pushing back one’s chair, picking up that hardcover book and being able to say, at last and with satisfaction, “I’m DONE!”
So what about you? What’s your writing process? What parts do you find most and least enjoyable?
About the book:
Ana only knows her name because of the tag she finds pinned to her jumpsuit. Waking in the featureless compartment of a rocket ship, she opens the hatch to discover that she has landed on a barren alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and to survive, no doubt with help from the wicked-looking knives she carries on her belt. But to what purpose?
Meeting up with three other teens--one boy seems strangely familiar--Ana treks across the inhospitable landscape, occasionally encountering odd twists of light that carry glimpses of people back on Earth. They're working on some sort of problem, and the situation is critical. What is the connection between Ana's mission on this planet and the crisis back on Earth, and how is she supposed to figure out the answer when she can't remember anything?
About the author:
A.J. Paquette has been writing stories since early childhood. She and her sister would spend hours creating masterpieces of stapled paper and handwritten words, complete with pen-and-ink covers and boxed illustrations.The road to publication was long and winding, peppered with many small successes including: a variety of national magazine publications, being a 2005 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award honoree, and receiving the 2008 SCBWI’s Susan Landers Glass Scholarship Award, for the book that would later become Nowhere Girl. Her first picture book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, was published in 2009.She now lives with her husband and two daughters in the Boston area, where she continues to write books for children and young adults. She is also an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Does Paradox sound like something you want to read? If it does, enter below for your chance to win one of three ARCs of Paradox. Giveaway open to US/CANADA ONLY.
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