Paperkite
Paperkite asked Yangsze Choo:

What is your writing "regime"? Do you schedule time every day? How do you protect that time? What advice would you give people trying to get published for the first time? Thank you! (Btw, Ghost Bride took my breath away. I can't wait to read a sequel or prequel or anything at all tangential. Love that world and in love with Er Lang!)

Yangsze Choo Hi Paperkite,

Thank you for reading The Ghost Bride - I'm glad you enjoyed Er Lang! He was lots of fun to write about, mostly because he kept taking over more and more of the book...

I try to write whenever I can squeeze in the time, which can be all sorts of odd hours. What has been helpful, however, is having a word count to aim for. I try to write at least 500 words a day and though there are many (many, many) days when absolutely nothing gets done, it does keep me guiltily chugging along.

If you're trying to get published for the first time, I'd encourage you to write, write, and write some more. Write what you like; what you're truly and deeply interested in. When I was younger, I wrote a number of rather high-minded stories that I thought sounded literary but were actually deadly boring (I also wrote a thesis about industrial townships in China that made me want to run screaming out of the library). None of these attempts were very successful, until I started to write about things that mattered to me. So I'd encourage you to write whatever you feel is most interesting to you. And don't stop, even if you are stricken by doubts that nobody will ever, for example, want to read a book about a bizarre marriage to the dead set in a small S.E. Asian country.

The other thing about publishing is that in my experience, it's not necessary to have special contacts or qualifications to write fiction. My manuscript happened to be picked up out of the slush pile by my literary agent, and I know many other authors who were also published in the same way. "It Came Out of the Slush Pile" sounds like some sort of horror movie, but is actually quite a heartening experience! :)

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