Today, Skylar Dorset dropped by to talk about her writing process.  Her YA debut,NEVER TRUST A FAERIE, is coming in 2014 from Sourcebooks.  Visit her website to learn more.  www.skylardorset.com


2 - corrected1. When did you start writing?

I can’t remember. I have always written stories in my head. I thought everyone did. I guess I didn’t start writing them down until I learned to write. I know when I was six I typed up a story about spying squirrels on an old typewriter that I thought was the best thing ever. That’s the first story I can remember writing.

2. Are you a pantser or a planner?

I’m a pantser, all the way. I try to plan, but the characters always have their own ideas, and if I try to adhere to my plan, I find that the writing starts to feel like swimming through syrup. Whereas, if I let them have their own way, the story feels more honest and more interesting and much more fun. So I just let it go. Sometimes things happen that I never imagined, which I always find funny, because theoretically aren’t I the person doing the imagining? It’s some kind of beautiful paradox, this act of writing a novel.

3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?

I’m not much of an editor, I admit. When I write, I write straight through, chronologically, scene to scene, letting the characters lead the way. If it starts to get tough going, I stop and think and backtrack to where I went wrong and just completely rewrite from that point, but usually, if I’m letting myself listen to the characters, I don’t stray too far off the path. The editing starts once I’ve got myself a draft and figure out what the story was about, something I might not know until the last chapter or so. I’ll go back and I’ll fix things at that point, but I’m actually really bad at editing myself. I require somebody else to look at it and to identify things that are wrong with it that afterward seem really obvious and simple and I wonder why I couldn’t see it. I have some kind of editorial blind spot, I think.

4. Which authors have influenced your work?

J.K. Rowling basically influences everything I do every day, not just write. I really feel that that’s how enormous an influence the Harry Potter books have been in my life. Aaron Sorkin taught me how to write dialogue. “The West Wing” single-handedly changed the way I write, shifted my tone forever, and I will always owe him a debt for that. Steven Moffat, mostly known these days for “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock,” taught me that it’s okay—nay, preferable—to have a blast with what you’re writing. Or, at least, his writing always feels to me like he had the best time hanging out with his characters, and that’s how I feel about my characters, so I strive to let that leak over into my writing.

5. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?

NEVER TRUST A FAERIE is my first book! Coming out, hopefully, in June. We’re flirting with the idea of doing some kind of prequel-ish short story before that and some kind of novella after that, but there will definitely be a straight-up sequel to NEVER TRUST A FAERIE. After that, I don’t know. I have a ton of ideas and I’m not yet sure which I want to tackle first. I assume eventually a character from one of them will come out to play and cry for attention more loudly than any of the others.

6. Any tips for new writers?

My main tip for new writers is, I think, have fun! Writing is meant to be a fun, it’s meant to be a fun thing to do. Sure, there are moments when it can be torturous, but, at the end of the day, enjoy yourself! Enjoy the world you created! Enjoy the fact that you get to put everything you love best down on paper and invite other people to play there. I think that’s just the coolest thing ever.

7. Any tips for old writers?

There’s no such thing as an old writer; there are just new writers and less new writers. J