Q&A with Laurel Snyder discussion


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message 1: by Tara (new)

Tara Hall (taralhall) | 8 comments I'm wondering where you get your inspiration for your writing. Do real people inspire your characters? Other works of literature?

Also what process do you go through as you write? Do you outline first or just write and let the Muse guide you? Do you know how it will end when you set out?

message 2: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 22 comments Mod
These are great questions!

Most of the characters in my books are inventions, though I LOVE to steal names from friends (so like, almost all the names in Penny Dreadful were stolen from friends of mine.

In ANy Which Wall, the main characters are loosely based on my siblings and me. And in Bigger than a Bread Box, Rebecca is based on me, as a kid. That's the closest I'll ever come to writing a memoir (and was hard to write for that reason).

I didn't used to outline, but with each book I find the outline becomes more involved. I think this is just that I now do the meandering/prewriting in my head, in the months leading up to a first draft. SO the process is the same, but now I put it on paper.

That said, the endings are almost always different than I think they'll be. Because by the time I get there, in the first draft, the characters have become far more real, and so they sort of take over. Does that make sense? What about you???

message 3: by Lynette (new)

Lynette Mather (lynettemather) | 5 comments Hi Laurel!

What you said about writing your books made perfect sense to me. My book: Unspoken Secrets was based on my three children and watching them grow up. Just the things the would do and say inspired me to write the book.

Prior to writing any book, my characters more or less direct me, and the story comes to life. What I think is going to happen, sometimes takes a different turn because my characters become so real, and like you said, they more or less take over.

It's great to know there is someone else out there who understands.

What about everyone else? How does your story come to life? Is there an outline? Do you stick to it, or do your characters take you on a different journey, than the one you set out to write?

message 4: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Shoda (mrk1) | 3 comments Outlining is very important, I'll write a sorrry in about five pages...then i'll sit on it for like 6 months. And when I get back to it...i'll have a better idea of wherei wanna go, but one thing is always certain, I always have the ending in mind before I begin my firsst draft.

message 5: by Tara (new)

Tara Hall (taralhall) | 8 comments What you said completely makes sense, Laurel. My first book I wrote in a feverish haze where the characters completely took over and I had no idea where the story was going until the end. 120,000 words and three weeks or so later, it was totally different from the book I thought I was writing. The book was trash, but the experience taught me a lot.

I lean on my characters. More often than not they reflect a bit of my personality. Whether that's a good thing or not, I can't say. My problem is frequently that I have a great character, a great setting, and then the plot falls through my fingers. So I've started trying to outline. I'm getting better at it, I think. I always know the beginning, and I usually know the ending. It's getting from point A to point B that throws me.

The personal nature of Bread Box certainly showed. It felt honest in every way, and the emotion of the story was stronger for it. My current WIP is based loosely on some personal experiences of mine. It's hard to write for that reason as well. Maybe it will be better for that as well.

message 6: by Laurel (new)

Laurel | 22 comments Mod
Yes, exactly. Outlining is critical for a tightly woven plot, I find. Not always what a book needs, but for me (plotting is hard for me) increasingly important.

I feel like people don't always appreciate how hard plotting is. The genre/literary divide is so silly this way. Easier for me to write "good prose" than to weave a compelling plot.

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