ohheyitslivia asked: Hi Laurie! My name is Livia & I run yeahwriters(.)tumblr(.)com, which (I think?) is Tumblr's biggest writing help blog. I'm a long time fan of yours (Speak made me want to write!) & just read a bunch of your awesome AMA (LOVE the John Greenification q&a). I had a question about when you said your books take 7 or 8 drafts--when you say that, do you mean rounds of edits to your first draft, or actual start-to-finish rewrites? I'm a terrible self editor and have always wondered about this. Thanks!!
Start-to-finish rewrites. My first drafts are atrociously awful, so I need to put a lot of energy and focus into revision. As in, put the manuscript down for a couple of weeks, dissect it, and try to make it better.
My early revisions are all about crafting the structure of the story, which means reworking the chronology, throwing out scenes, making new scenes, etc. Then I go through the whole things again with an eye toward the interior life of the characters and trying to make the conflicts they are in and their exterior world manifest that somehow.
At this point, I share it with my editor, then I snatch it back because I suddenly realize a whole bunch of changes that I want to make. The final revisions focus on language and try to make the dialog sound realistic.
And then my editor sends armed mercenaries to my house to pry the now-overdue manuscript out of my hands.
Does that help?
Omg omg omg Laurie Halse Anderson answered my question!!! I’m going to faint!
Haha rereading how I worded this ask, I feel like an idiot, but oh well. So much to say, so few characters.
And wow, this answer is amazing! I wasn’t lying when I said I suck at editing, I always feel like I’m tripping over myself. But this feels like a really good strategy—to rewrite a story over and over, each time focusing on enhancing certain elements. Why didn’t I think of that!? I suppose this is why I’m not a famous author and she is.
Thank you so much Laurie, this definitely helps loads!!
- when people don't sit next to me on the bus: offended and relieved
- when someone sits next to me: irritated yet flattered
These books about Thailand transport you to an exotic land of mystery and beauty.
Oh Academia; by Sia
"Oh Academia..you can’t pick me up…soothe me with your words.."
Best I don’t want to study song ever..
There are two different me’s, and yes I know that me does not exist as a plural. There is the me that is pensive and likes to stay at home, reading, re-ordering my little flat into a cosy paradise for tea drinking, netflix watching, classical music listening and lovemaking. This girl is extremely content finding beauty in simple things such as meditating or even in the mundane parts of nature such as raindrops. However, just as in Swan Lake, some of us have another side.
Flipping a coin there is the more picaresque girl, who suffers from extreme restlessness. The one who wants to emigrate any time she sees a job advert abroad, quite happy to recklessly dismantle the good life that she has spent time carefully assembling. The girl who can never take enough holidays in one year and who daydreams so much about the multitude of cities and cultures in this world that her daily life can almost pass her by. This girl is indelibly curious, and feeds her addiction by almost obsessive reading about the countries in this world and by devouring their paintings and artworks in museums.
How do you find the balance between the two, while retaining the brilliance of both?