Leah is the author of Mistwood and now Nightspell, coming from HarperCollins on May 31! Mistwood has some ideas I wish I’d thought of. . . Leah took some time from her busy schedule to talk about her process.
1. What was the inception of the project you’re most excited about? What were your first steps in building that idea into a viable story?
The project I’m most excited about tends to be the project I’m currently working on — in this case, a new YA novel about a sorceress sent to tutor a secretive group of assassins. The inception actually came when I was re-reading David Edding’s Elenium series (if you’ve read the series, you can guess why!), and my first step in building the idea was to write the first scene and see where it took me.
2. What kind of research and/or world-building did you do before beginning?
I tend not to do any research or world-building before I begin; I am a pantster all the way.
3. What’s your first-draft process? outline, edit as you go, speed-writing?
Generally, I start writing with no clear idea of where the book is going. About a third of the way in, I start to get ideas about things that need to happen later, and I write the rest of the book out-of-order, jumping from scene to scene. I usually write the ending before I’ve written most of the middle. Then, at some point, I need to sit down and put everything I’ve written in order. That’s when I outline.
4. How do you start revisions?
By wailing to my husband about how I can never make them work. 😉 After that, I usually read through either my critique group’s or editor’s comments, making notes along the way; then I read through the manuscript, making more notes; then I sit down with all my notes and start making changes. Along the way, there is more wailing to my husband.
5. If you could choose a few descriptors that would go in a blurb on the front cover of your book, what would they be?
I actually have a blurb on the front cover of Mistwood — from Tamora Pierce, and it says “edge-of-the-chair reading.” I’m pretty thrilled with that one!
6. What cool thing would you put in the DVD extra version that didn’t get into the published work? research or created detail you had to cut or couldn’t use?
With Mistwood, there was one really cool deleted scene, plus a ton of complicated explanations about the exact details of the political situation. With Nightspell, a lot more of the worldbuilding stayed in, but there were some pointless philosophical conversations that could work as DVD extras.
7. Where should readers go to find out more about your work?
My website — www.leahcypess.com
8. Care to share a link (aside from your own work) to something amazing you think everyone should see or know about?
I’m a big fan of the Enchanted Inkpot, a livejournal community for the discussion of YA & mid-grade fantasy. (I’m a part of the community, but not one of its founders.) Here’s the link: http://community.livejournal.com/enchantedinkpot