Katie from Limpley Stoke, UK asked:
What is the most exciting moment for you when writing one of your books?
THE END? No, actually for me, the most exciting moment is when I finally get the outline down and the story beats figured out. But to a non-writer that might not make a lot of sense.
I’m actually a writer of the breed known as Plotters.
Basically, that means I put everything down in advance, from start to finish. I KNOW where my stories are going, because I hate to be lost in the middle of a story and have to go back and pick up details (or add them) to make sure everything fits.
When I sit down to write a story, I spend a lot of time working out dialog bits and settings that drive the story along. I also try to keep my pacing consistent, so I work out all the high and low points in the characters’ journeys.
Because of this, writing the outline is a bit of a hard push to make sure the story hits its marks. When I manage to get that done, and it all works, I have basically told myself the entire story. That’s really exciting for me.
That also signifies where I get to switch from work, to play. With a good outline, the words come easy, and I know that fleshing things out will be where I have the most fun in the process.
Chandra from Toronto, CA asked:
Have you ever had a moment when you wanted a character to do something but realised science said no?
In my Atlas and the Winds books that happened a lot. But those are very much hard science fiction. The characters in those stories were always banging against the reality of the universe, and that was what I wanted the story to be. No Hollywood ending. No miracle saves. Just facing the consequences and dealing with it.
When I found a character who wanted to do something that couldn’t be done, I always had to have someone who knew better with them in the scene to explain it. I didn’t avoid the character’s desire to try something impossible just because I knew it wasn’t going to work. I also think that’s why people who have read those books come away understanding the magnitude and impact of the situation (if you will excuse the obvious pun… if you’ve read it, you know what I mean).
In my Legacy of Pandora novels, my characters were facing something they couldn’t understand, but it was because they were limited by real science. It took a monumental discovery to explain what was really happening. And that redefined their reality in a way that allowed for something extraordinary to exist. So here, all my characters were confined by science, but facing something beyond their knowledge.
As for the Wings of Earth books… science has been redefined in them, but I still use it as the limiting factor in my characters actions.
So, the short answer… at the end, is that I do often have characters who want to do something, but they can’t because of science. I just don’t rewrite the story to hide it.
These questions are really great, so please keep them coming. You can drop an email to Ducky (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just reply to this email.