|Lori M. Lee, Author of GATES OF THREAD & STONE|
Hi Lori! I'm so glad you agreed to stop by the blog for a chat. First off I have to say thank you. While poking around on your blog, I found your link to your writing blog posts,(http://www.lorimlee.com/on-writing/), and they're great! I had literally just been looking up what the heck a "Mary Sue" was and bam! you had a post about it. These are great! What got you started writing these posts about writing?
Hi Jaye! Thanks so much for having me :) I'm so glad you found some use for those writing posts haha. I started blogging because, at the time, it seemed like one of the best ways to interact with the community and build relationships. Since then, I think blogging has sort of faded in favor of platforms like twitter (or maybe it just seems that way to me), but people still love a great, informative blog post. I wanted to offer a little insight on my own writing process and things I've learned while navigating this crazy thing called publishing.
Speaking of writing process. Your fantasy, GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, which releases this August from Skyscape, involves a girl who can manipulate the threads of time. What kind of tips do you have for people looking to build worlds within their writing? How did you approach building the world for your novel?
Oftentimes, the details happen organically--new ideas and world "rules" develop naturally as I write--but I can't actually begin the book until I've got the majority of my world building sorted out. I generally begin with the history of the world, i.e. how things arrived at the place where the book begins. Then I look at things like the current form of government, social and economic systems, magic systems, locations and maps. From there, I refine to details like world-specific plants and animals and precise rules of their social systems, etc. I actually wrote a post about the world building I did in preparation to write GoT&S, which you can find here. :) And even now, years later, as I'm looking over my first pass pages, I'm noticing things I missed and want to add in!
I saw somewhere in my pokings around that you've been known to start with as much as a thirty page outline? For real? How much of that outline for GATES OF THREAD AND STONE stayed with the story? And is it hand-written chicken scratch or neat and typed?
Yes! My outlines are ridiculously detailed. The outline for Gates of Thread and Stone was 24 pages and 12k words long. The outline for the scifi I wrote afterward was 50 pages and 27k words. Okay, that surprised even *me* when I opened that doc up just now haha. However, for the sequel to GoT&S, I didn't have time for a lengthy outline so that one was only 14 pages and 7k words. All my outlines are done in bullet points in Word. But they're not really that organized. Really just my stream of consciousness for sequence of events lol.
The first draft of GoT&S was only 45k words so everything from the outline made it into the book, along with plenty of new stuff as well. I was pretty fortunate in that my editor didn't want to cut anything from the book :)
Interesting! Your first draft sounds slim for a fantasy. Did you have to do a lot of building in your editorial process? And 27k worth of outline! Holy Kamoley! That's intense. But I do like the description of your outline, it sounds more like the things I scrawl in spiral bound notebooks than a true roman numeral-ed and indented sort of formal thing.
It was really bare bones, basically just the essential plot points were there. In my second draft, I added 20k words, fleshing out character motivations, setting details, and world building. With every pass, I bulked it up a bit more. Now it's sitting pretty at 81k words :) I love the idea of scrawled handwritten notes, but my handwriting is appalling, and I like being able to delete/change/move things around without scribbling everywhere and drawing elaborate arrows. (I totally used to do this when I was a teenager.)
What is the coolest bit of magic or your favorite character, or both!, from Gates of Thread & Stone?
I think Kai's ability to manipulate time is probably one of the coolest abilities. She's not strong enough to rewind or stop time, but she can slow it down for brief periods. It's a great advantage in a fight. She's also my favorite, but that might be cheating a bit, so another of my favorite characters is Irra. He's this tall, gaunt, crazy-looking dude with an obsession for sugary things. And he has a rotting touch. I think he's cool.
Now I want to meet Irra. I find tall and gaunt very appealing. Wow! It's time for the final question(s) and I didn't even realize. So, please share with my readers the next three books on your TBR pile, the best drink ever, and the song you just can't shake lately.
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog and I can't wait to read The Gates of Thread and Stone when it releases in August.
Irra is a sneaky one. He can only be found when he wants to be ;) My next 3 books to read: Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen, Enders by Lissa Price, and eagerly awaiting an ARC of Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker. Best drink ever? If we're talking alcoholic then I'm going with what I had at Chicago North Spring Fling. It was called Unicorn Blood and was the sweetest, least alcoholic drink the bartender could think of. It was like drinking a dreamsicle. Others more accustomed to mixed drinks would probably think it too sweet though :P A song I can't shake lately is Pompeii by Bastille, pretty much because it's being massively overplayed on the radio. And yet I listen to it every time! lol
Thanks so much for having me! This was so fun :D
Thank you, Lori! And stop back in week after next when I'll be interviewing Jennifer Torres, author of the MG series, The Briny Deep.