Q&A with Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl discussion

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Writing Process & Writing Tips

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message 1: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
People often ask, "Do you write separate chapters, or different characters?" Actually, we both write everything. We outline together, then we each write a chapter. When we finish, we swap chapter & "write over" each other's work -- cutting, adding, and changing -- without consulting the other person. We pass the same chapters back & forth anywhere from 10-15 times.

If you have other questions about our writing process, or writing in general, let us know.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Do y'all outline together before diving straight into the writing process? Do you ever disagree on plot ideas or character descriptions?

I've always wondered how you can both agree to take the story in the same direction. When I write with one of my friends we constantly argue because we always see the character in a different view point.

And I love, love, love The Caster Chronicles! :D


message 3: by LookBackAtMe (last edited Nov 06, 2010 10:27PM) (new)

LookBackAtMe (rachellaw) My sister and I are writing a novel together, so I love knowing that it's possible to get a solid, uniform voice despite having two authors.

I'm curious to know how much influence you felt your agent had on the success of your book. Do you think your book would have done equally well regardless of which agent you picked, or was Sara pivotal to your success? How can I tell if a particular agent will be capable of negotiating the best deal for me?

Also, is an agent's job to promote the book, or is that more the job of the editor?

Thanks for your time!


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 2 comments Do you guys like trade chapters? So who is doing the actual writing?


message 5: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (writegrrrl) How long did it take you to write "Beautiful Creatures"? My writing partner and I are working on a book. We thought the process would be faster with two people but it's turning out to be twice as long. And, on that note, how do you deal with deadlines? Are you both very strict about them? My partner and I both work full-time so it gets very difficult sometimes. Any insight is appreciated!


message 6: by Ceylan Pelin (new)

Ceylan Pelin Is it more difficult to write a novel as two persons than writing it alone? Is it more creative when two persons write instead of one?
Thanks,


message 7: by Claire (new)

Claire How do you guys agree on the names? That's what I would probaly argue the most with. I'm writing a novel but just by myself.


message 8: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Stohl | 51 comments Mod
Hi guys! Katie, everything we do comes out of a conversation, and with enough Diet Coke, it's never an argument - unless we run out of ice for Kami's, and then she gets totally derailed. Right Kami? LOL...

Rachel, our agent, Sarah Burnes, is our hero. A good agent makes a huge difference to the success of your book, but a good book will find it's way out into the world no matter what. I really do feel that way. It is always the job of the writer to promote the book, but the agent promotes it first, and the editor champions it within the publishing house. So I guess it's everyone's job to promote the book...

Amy, we trade everything, and we both write. It's very hands on. Sometimes we write over each other, sometimes we leave everything the way the other person wrote it, but mostly we have our hands on everything - four hands, as our interviewers call it in europe. "How do you write with four hands," that's how the question goes :)

Rachel, we drafted BC in 12 weeks but edited it for 9 months. We are VERY strict about deadlines but most writers are terrible about them, so I think there is no good answer to that one. We happen to find them motivating. My good friend, the writer Pseudonymous Bosch, finds them terrifying...

Ceylan, I think the publishing process is scarier when you are alone, and certainly touring is worse. But the best thing about having a writing partner is having someone say "THAT IS AWESOME!" and "THAT IS TERRIBLE!" or even better, "THAT IS TERRIBLE BUT I CAN FIX IT!" We take turns saying it to each other. The main thing is, you have to find the way it works for you, and then just do it!

Love these questions! Thanks for asking :)


message 9: by Claire (new)

Claire Thanks you so much for answering!

Here's another one: Did you have any idea how long (roughly) the book would be when you started?


message 10: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Stohl | 51 comments Mod
NO CLUE! We just wanted to tell the story, we were as surprised as anyone to see what a big story it turned out to be :)


message 11: by Claire (new)

Claire It only took me a little bit though because I was glued to it. So, both of you are women, so how did you manage to write it from a boy's point of view?


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for answering :)

And I was wondering if either of you have ever thought of writing a book solo?


message 13: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Stohl | 51 comments Mod
Claire: we have six brothers between us. Before I had daughters, I think I knew more about boys than girls...
and sometimes it's easier to do something different than all the books that are out there, because you aren't afraid that you'll sound like anyone else.

Katie: Our goal is to write together and apart. No matter what, though, we'll always be critique partners. And the Caster universe is a place we share - home to both of us! - and we'll always have that. But we are both excited to see what the other person will write alone, also...one day!


message 14: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Katie wrote: "Do y'all outline together before diving straight into the writing process? Do you ever disagree on plot ideas or character descriptions?

I've always wondered how you can both agree to take the s..."



We outline & discuss the story extensively. There are a lot of video & print interviews describing it in detail here:

http://beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/...


http://beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/...


message 15: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "How long did it take you to write "Beautiful Creatures"? My writing partner and I are working on a book. We thought the process would be faster with two people but it's turning out to be twice as l..."


We wrote the book on a dare, so we weren't planning to publish it. It took us 12 weeks to write & 9 months to revise. All of our books take 12 weeks to draft & now they take about 6 months to revise.


message 16: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Amy wrote: "Do you guys like trade chapters? So who is doing the actual writing?"

We trade chapters, but then we write OVER the other person's work, deleting & adding -- all without discussing it with the other person. We pass the same chapters back & forth using this process 10-20 times in the first draft alone. So we both write everything.


message 17: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Ceylan Pelin wrote: "Is it more difficult to write a novel as two persons than writing it alone? Is it more creative when two persons write instead of one?
Thanks,"


For me, it's easier to write together & more creative. I love having Margie's perspective.


message 18: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Claire wrote: "How do you guys agree on the names? That's what I would probaly argue the most with. I'm writing a novel but just by myself."

We research names a great deal, and most of them have meanings if you do a little research. We don't usually have trouble with names. Mostly, pie.


message 19: by Elizabeth: (new)

Elizabeth: (elizabeth_white) How do you come up with these ideas, whenever i'm writing a story, i cant come up with an idea?


Everley Sharp, the Clankinist (theawesomeestreaderpersonevah) | 52 comments Kami wrote: "Claire wrote: "How do you guys agree on the names? That's what I would probaly argue the most with. I'm writing a novel but just by myself."

We research names a great deal, and most of them have m..."


Pie? Normally, I would know what that means (me and my friend talk randomly a lot) but in this situation...elaboration is the key.


message 21: by Claire (new)

Claire yeah. Thanks for answering my question.


message 22: by Heather (new)

Heather McCorkle (heathermccorkle) Kami wrote: "People often ask, "Do you write separate chapters, or different characters?" Actually, we both write everything. We outline together, then we each write a chapter. When we finish, we swap chapter &..."

I love that! What a fantastic way to collaborate.


message 23: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
You're welcome!


Megan (magan bagan) (maganbagan) | 1 comments Do you ever have trouble writing from a guy's perspective? Or is it easier for you than writing maybe from Lena's


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for answering my questions :) I have one more!

Do you like writing the rough draft better than editing? Or do you like going back and editing better?

Alright, so maybe that's two lol.


Everley Sharp, the Clankinist (theawesomeestreaderpersonevah) | 52 comments No that's one.


message 27: by iPetim (new)

iPetim | 2 comments Are your characters based on actual people that you know?


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Lena the caster girl wrote: "No that's one."

Lol they're technically two questions. But they're still one and the same. True.


message 29: by Denise Nanna (new)

Denise Nanna | 4 comments How much do you research for your books? Or does most of it come from your imagination?


message 30: by Angela (new)

Angela McPherson | 1 comments Hi Ladies! I have a few questions of my own: Ok so, how long did it take to find an agent? How long did it take the agent to sell y'alls idea to a publisher? Did the agent or publisher suggest chnages if so how did you deal with that? I think that having someone to write with helps the writing process as in you can share ideas with the other, but do you have suggestions for those who don't have a writing partner to read over the story line- ya know to say oh yeah I love that or Uhm no don't like that? I'm in the process of getting letters sent out and so on for my own book. I love being a nurse, however I've found a true calling in writing!(hopefully) I would absolutely love to have as many hooked readers as you two have; some day. You both have done a fabulous job in writing both of these books.Just FYI :)


message 31: by Anna (new)

Anna Serra i Vidal (purplemoon) | 3 comments I loved the southern flavour of the first book. Haven't read Beautiful Darkness yet, but hopefully will get my hands on it soon, as it's just been published in Spain.
My question has to do with atmosphere. How did you manage to get it so well described? Did you visit Southern towns, haved lived in places like Gatlin or how did you do it?
Guess this is a long process and has to be worked out through revisions, but setting is one of the things I want to manage, and think you do it so beautifully.
Thanks for the wonderful story!


Lexphie (The Animal Lover) I love the caster cronicles! How did you come up with the idea of it. I'm trying to write a story but I can never come up with a great idea


message 33: by LookBackAtMe (new)

LookBackAtMe (rachellaw) Very good to know, Margaret! I'm also wondering about book tours. Is that something you do after you've already garnered a following, or are they requisite for every author?


message 34: by Claire (new)

Claire I'm wondering what the inspiration for Ridley and Link came from. They're such unique characters and it seems very hard to make ones like them. How you get the ideas?


message 35: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Ridley & Link evolved very organically. We wrote a few scenes & as we added details, it was very clear what kind of characters they were going to be. But all of our characters come out of a lot of conversations & questions: What kind of music do they like? How do they dress? What do they do for fun?


message 36: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Rachel Rebekah wrote: "Very good to know, Margaret! I'm also wondering about book tours. Is that something you do after you've already garnered a following, or are they requisite for every author?"

Your publishers determine whether or not you tour & where you go. Authors have almost no say & each publisher has a different strategy.


message 37: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Lexphie wrote: "I love the caster cronicles! How did you come up with the idea of it. I'm trying to write a story but I can never come up with a great idea"

You should check out the interviews on www.BeautifulCreaturestheBook.com. We've answered this one in lots of cool interviews.


message 38: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Angea wrote: "Hi Ladies! I have a few questions of my own: Ok so, how long did it take to find an agent? How long did it take the agent to sell y'alls idea to a publisher? Did the agent or publisher suggest chn..."

My family is from a small town in North Carolina & I've spent my whole life visiting the South. We also did a lot of research (i.e., trips to the South).


message 39: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Petim wrote: "Are your characters based on actual people that you know?"

The minor characters are based on family members (the Sisters were my great-aunts), the postmaster who reads everyone's mail was Margie's grandfather). But the major characters are not based on real people, although they may share some of our characteristics (I wrote poetry as a teen in spiral notebooks; Margie and Ethan love lots of the same books; Margie reads 20 books at a time like Lila did; I'm very superstitious like Amma).


message 40: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Katie wrote: "Thank you for answering my questions :) I have one more!

Do you like writing the rough draft better than editing? Or do you like going back and editing better?

Alright, so maybe that's two lol."


We hate editing/revising, although we now it's worth it. We love to draft!


message 41: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Megan (magan bagan) wrote: "Do you ever have trouble writing from a guy's perspective? Or is it easier for you than writing maybe from Lena's"

We have 6 brother's between us, so it's really easy to write from a boy's point of view. We know a lot more about boys than girls.


message 42: by Kami (new)

Kami Garcia (kamigarcia) | 70 comments Mod
Angea wrote: "Hi Ladies! I have a few questions of my own: Ok so, how long did it take to find an agent? How long did it take the agent to sell y'alls idea to a publisher? Did the agent or publisher suggest chn..."

We were published by accident. We never wrote BC to be published. You may want to check out "Author Video" on the sidebar of our website for the whole story.


Lexphie (The Animal Lover) Kami wrote: "Lexphie wrote: "I love the caster cronicles! How did you come up with the idea of it. I'm trying to write a story but I can never come up with a great idea"

You should check out the interviews on ..."


K thanks! :-)


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Kami wrote: "Katie wrote: "Thank you for answering my questions :) I have one more!

Do you like writing the rough draft better than editing? Or do you like going back and editing better?

Alright, so maybe tha..."


Thank you so much for doing this Q&A! Both of you have become such talented writers and unique in your own genre. I hope one day I can reach the kind of readers that you have with BC and BD. Both of your books are absolutely compelling and dare I say... beautiful? Yes, I dare :)

Can't wait for book 3!!!


message 45: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Stohl | 51 comments Mod
Thank you! You guys have been so fun to hear from. I'm glad we got to do this! :)


message 46: by (Aero)driguez (new)

(Aero)driguez (aerodriguez) Are the rest of the books from Ridleys point if view


message 47: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Stohl | 51 comments Mod
Nope.


Lexphie (The Animal Lover) Cool I can't wait for 3!!!!!!


message 49: by Claire (new)

Claire does ridley ever get her powers back?


Lexphie (The Animal Lover) I was wondering that 2...


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