Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guest Blogger Lucienne Diver, author

One of the coolest people I've met since I started writing is the gorgeous and clever Lucienne Diver. Lucienne is one of the agents at The Knight Agency, as well as a fabulous author in her own right. Her YA books, VAMPED and REVAMPED were funny and snarky and made me laugh out loud. Also, I've met her in person, and she's a sweetie. (That's Lucienne in the middle, at the RWA National Conference with me in 2009.)

So when she told me she had a new book coming out, I asked her to come her and say something about the writing process, and introduce herself to y'all. (I hope you'll say thank you by going to check out her book!)

So with no further blather from me, here's Lucienne:

Ideas vs. Execution

Every writer has heard the dreaded words, “I have this great idea. Maybe you could write it and we can share the proceeds.” I always try very hard not to roll my eyes at this. Every writer I know has more ideas than time to write them. I’m not saying that ideas come easily, necessarily, but they’re certainly a piece of moist, delicious cake next to the much more difficult task of execution.

I’m a pantser, I admit it. I always start a novel knowing roughly what happens. I know the main conflict and a few of the milestones along the way, but that’s a far cry from knowing the exact path between points A, B, C and so on. Even knowing the path, there’d still be the matter of expression…putting words to the page in the character’s voice and really making the reader identify and care. You have to give the readers a world big enough to bang about in for at least a novel and often many, many more. That world has to be as believable as the real one for a reader to be able to tune out his or her reality and escape into yours. The magic system, if it’s fantasy, has to be well thought out and consistent, with a source or sources, limitations, cost, internal logic. The internal and external conflicts have to build and add depth and tension to the storyline. Readers have to be convinced that things could go kablooey at any time and have catastrophic consequences for the characters and often the world at large so that they’re briskly turning pages to the end, on the edge of their seats to see how it will all play out, breathless in anticipation. The climax has to blow the reader away, worth every single second of the build-up; and the denouement must be satisfying. (Though if it’s a series, perhaps not so satisfying that the reader doesn’t need to reach for that next book, so some threads are left unfinished.)

These are the true skills of a writer. Yes, you need a good idea, but it takes a lot of hard work and talent to turn it into more than that…into a novel.
See how I did with:
Bad Blood, first novel of the Latter-Day Olympians
Available digitally from Samhain Publishing June 28, 2011, print in 2012
Or the Vamped series, out now from Flux Books
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  1. Wow! I enjoyed reading your post Lucienne :)

    I have to admit, as a 'novice" writer this is extremely inspirational. Like you said I have these great ideas and was super excited to begin writing a novel, but knowing how to proceed can be tough and posts like these really help. :)

  2. Oh so true! Being a newbie, I've only had it happen once. I said no, of course. It's too bad, though. It really was a good idea. :)