Writing tips: Author of dragon series — write every day April 6, 2009Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors.
Tags: drakons, Shana Abe
How did Shana Abe create the world of the Drákons? Does she write off the top of her head? How did she get her first manuscript noticed? Shana Abe, whose THE TREASURE KEEPER (Book 4 of the Drákon series) was released late March, shares a few of her writing tips with me. (Got an author and a question you’d like answered? Let me know. Leave a message in comments or email me at email@example.com.) To read Part 1 of this interview (about the Drákon series) CLICK HERE!!
Q. Do you craft a detailed outline or write from the top down? Do you write every day or go in spurts?
A. Ah, yes. The outline. I’m contractually required to create something like an outline — I deliver more of a synopsis, which I think of as being a little less rigidly structured — so I do so; otherwise, I probably wouldn’t. I like making things up as I go! But that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to write. It’s only the way *I* do it. Other writers, very successful writers, craft exquisitely detailed outlines and stick to them, and that works for them. So what I’m saying to all you pre-published novelists is: do it YOUR way. That’s the best way. I try to write every day … sometimes I’m successful at that. Sometimes not! But as a professional writer, it’s important to keep writing when you can. Even if there are times when you don’t feel like it.
Q. How do you keep details of your Drákon world straight so it’s all consistent throughout the books?
A. Beats me. LOL! I suppose it’s that the stories are very vivid to me, and the details have unfolded in such a natural way, they seem easy to remember. Mostly.
Q. How did you get your first manuscript noticed? Um, well … my *first* manuscript sits unpublished somewhere in one of my filing cabinets. I’m not even sure which one. It was truly awful; I wrote it when I was seventeen. I wrote two more full manuscripts before I finished one that became my first published book. Sometimes you’ve got to be tenacious. But to more clearly answer your question, I submitted that to-be-published-at-last manuscript to an agency upon the recommendation of a friend (Michael Palmer, who writes extremely popular medical thrillers — he’s great!) and they accepted me. However, I’d like to point out that I had submitted to the same agency about a year before (a different manuscript) and back then they’d very politely turned me down flat. Again, tenacity. If you believe in your work, you’ve got to keep trying, honing your craft. No one else is going to do it for you.
Q. Do you have a say in the cover art? Any favorite covers?
A. I have some say in the cover art. Mostly what I say is: “Wow, that’s lovely. Thank you!” I’ve been so lucky with my covers. I think they’re all unique and terrific. Bantam really does an outstanding job. I think one of my favorite covers is the one for THE DREAM THIEF. I love the color combination of indigo and sapphire and silver, with the ivory moon and clouds. The silver foil dragons with the entwined tails are way cool.
Q. Early authors who influenced you?
A. Well … I grew up reading a lot of plays, frankly. Ended up being a drama major in college. So Shakespeare, Molière, Voltaire, Marlowe, Christopher Fry.
Q. Did you always write as a kid? Always want to be a novelist or did you have other careers you dreamed about?
A. I wanted to be an astronaut! I desperately, deeply wanted to be an astronaut. But it turns out I’m mildly dyslexic, and math is fairly torturous for me. Numbers reverse themselves and I can’t tell … so. Then I fell into acting, and that was a ton of fun. Enjoyed it a lot. But it happened that I was a better writer than actor (just like Shakespeare, LOL) so that really worked out for me.
Q. Finally — any advice for those writers working on their first stories? (I see a lot of writers on Twitter who have writer’s block!)
A. Oh, advice is so easy to give! Here’s the best bit I have, and I’ve already covered it in some of the other questions, but it’s worth repeating: be persistent. You have to keep writing, no matter what, because only you can finish your story. You’re not going to get published with half a manuscript; just keep going.
For more on Shana’s novels, check out her Web site — she has a cool FAQ!
FEEDBACK??!!! Please let me know if you have a question or fave author you’d like me to interview. Or other paranormal romance topic. I’m still developing the blog, so please send your suggestions. Just leave me a note in the comment section. Also, if you attend book signings or conferences, I’m always looking for pics and guest posts on events! Thanks! — Diana