Friday, May 2, 2008

Marissa's Last Launch-Week Post

Today is the last day of Marissa Doyle's launch week for her uberly fantastic young adult historical, Bewitching Season.

Which means it's our last opportunity to pick her brain.

What should we ask her?

We've got it!

Inspiration! When you’re struggling for ideas, Marissa, what do you do to get recharged?

And Marissa says...

Ideas are never the problem. I have notebooks full of ideas for stories, some with synopses already written. Ideas are a dime a dozen, which is why writers crack up when someone walks up to them and says, “I’ve got this great idea for a book! I’ll tell you what is it and you can write it, and then we’ll sell it and split the money.”

Struggling occurs when I’m in the middle of a story. I’m more of a plotter than a pantser; that is, I have a pretty good idea about the arc of my story before I start writing it though of course it can change and usually does. Changes mostly happen because as I write, the characters become more and more their own people, and if I have it plotted that character X is supposed to behave this way and do this, but he won’t because that’s just not who he is anymore…well, it can be a problem.

The best thing to do at this point is get up from the computer and do something else that has nothing to do with words, something that occupies the surface of the mind and leaves the rest of my brain free to work on the problem. Quilting is great for this, though there’s always the danger that I’ll get sucked into it too deeply and start going through fabric and flipping through designs and planning a new one...and then the creative part of my brain gets occupied with the quilt instead of the book. So I try to leave little stacks of cut-out pieces of fabric by my sewing machine, ready to be sewn together just in case I need them.

Driving is a great place to work out book problems too, preferably on familiar roads. But an even better place is the shower. Again, I think it’s that doing something familiar and rote--and what’s more rote than shampooing your hair?-- that occupies the “front” of the brain and allows the deeper bits to get to work without distraction.

I wish I could add doing housework to the list. My house would be a lot cleaner if dusting and vacuuming were more conducive to working on solving story problems, though folding laundry is boring enough to be useful.

Marissa, thank you for a wonderful week on the blog. It's been a treat getting to know you better. We wish you every single kind of success there is with Bewitching Season and your writing career!


Barrie said...

It has been a great week! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Marissa, you are so funny and interesting. So you quilt and write at the same time? Amazing! Thanks for a great week of posts. :) deb

Kristin Tubb said...

Great week, Marissa! I can't wait to read "Bewitching Season!"

Anonymous said...


Congratulations on a wonderful launch! I'm so looking forward to my copy of "Bewitching Season." Zu