Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Bransford’

It’s Thursday, which means one more day until the weekend! Yippee! And it’s time for the blog of the week.

And the blog this week is….

Nathan Bransford

To be honest, I actually had another blog lined up for this week, but then this week started and Nathan blew me out of the water by declaring this week  Harry Potter week in honor of the Seventh movie release.  So what does this mean, it means that all week Nathan is discussing what we can learn from JK Rowling as an author.  Which book is the best and why.  And how exactly JK got it right.

Nathan’s blog has other wonderful things to offer, like the 250 word critiques he posts on his blog for his readers every week, and an entire series of blogs dedicated to querying,  but he was an agent up until a few days ago, so I wasn’t really considering him for blog of the week.  At least not yet.  But if you know me, you know I’m a sucker for Harry Potter. Really Ron, Fred, George, Sirius and Lupin, but whose keeping track? And it would have  caused a spiritual dilemma within my psyche to deprive my readers the chance to join in on a JK Rowling/HP discussion.  So please go and check out his blog by clicking here.

And I’m off to find my pencil.

Just a reminder, I am accepting short story submissions and poems to post on my blog, so if you have a short story or poem you would like to share e-mail me at ejeglin(at)yahoo(dot)com.


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Today I am excited to share my interview with Natalie Whipple over at Between Fact and Fiction and I would like to thank lbDiamond for her awesome question. Now on to the interview:

1.  What inspired you to become a YA author?

I’m not sure I was inspired, it was more that my stories kept ending up in that range. When I first thought of publishing, I actually wanted to do pictures books. Since I like to draw and write, I thought that would work. Except I couldn’t think of a good idea, and I hated to put that kind of pressure on my art. Art is my hobby, and I fully intend to keep it that way.

Then I attempted a middle grade novel. That lasted, oh, 10 pages.

Finally I decided to go back to a story I wrote in high school and redo it. While it still didn’t turn out very well, it was the first novel I finished. And the reason I finished, I think, was because I actually enjoyed writing about a teenager. Not that I would ever want to be one again, but it seemed like a comfortable place for me to be. I felt like I could grasp the voice better than in anything else I’d tried.

2.  It’s important to both develop/describe the world you’ve created, but it’s also important to keep the action going.  How do you balance description and pacing?

Well, I mostly do it in editing, honestly. In the first draft, sometimes you don’t know how the pacing is because you can’t see the big picture yet. The book isn’t done. It’s hard to see what is necessary and what isn’t.

But in edits? You can see how one chapter drags and another goes by too fast. You can see where a scene needs fleshing out or pruning. You can put the information where it needs to go, instead of where you thought it up in drafting.

When it comes to balance, it all depends on what kind of book you intend to write. Different genres require different paces, and there’s even variance within genres. I suggest reading popular writers in your genre to see how they pace a book. Assess if you like it,or if you don’t. Think about how you want to handle it. There’s not really a hard right or wrong on this one.

3.  A hot topic right now is three-dimensional characters.  How do you make your characters pop off the page?

You have to know your characters, and that takes time. Sometimes I think I know them, but half way through a draft they “open up” and the whole book gets thrown off by what they finally tell me. Or maybe I get lazy and don’t really get to know them, because it does take work to fabricate a fake person in your head.

I think the most important thing is capturing your character’s voice. Not to say your book needs to be in first person, just that you have to know them. They have to talk to you. Am I making any sense? You really do have to know what they want. You have to know what they like, what they hate. You have to know their past, how they deal with it, etc.

Not all of this goes on the page, mind you. But you still have to know it. It will show if you know it.

4.  What has changed the most since you’ve landed an incredible agent?

Honestly, not much. Writing is still hard sometimes. I still have a family to take care of and lots of things to prevent me from working. It IS nice to have professional feedback though, to have someone in the business on your side.

5. You created Happy Writer Society.  What exactly is it and how can other writers participate?

The Happy Writers Society is dedicated to erasing writer angst. I started it because I was sick of stressing out over publishing, and I decided I wanted to be happy at every moment on the journey. Or at least trying to be happy. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that accomplishments don’t make you happy for very long. There’s always another goal ahead, another hurdle to pass. You have to choose to be happy at each point.

As for how others can participate in HWS, I post every Friday and am open to guest posts as well. The information on submitting is on my blog under the Happy Writers Society tab. Besides that, spread the happiness and you are automatically a member.

Thanks again to Natalie for taking the time to answer my questions.  You can follow Natalie at Between Fact and Fiction by clicking here.  Also, Natalie is no longer represented by Nathan Bransford, he, unfortunately for the writing community, has taken a job at CNET, but has left Natalie in the more than capable hands of Anna Webman.

Now it’s time for me to find my pencil, which means I will be wondering aimlessly through a pack of wild wallabies waiting pounce. ;p

P.S. I’ve been toying with idea of hosting short stories, poems, etc. on my blog, so leave me a yes/no/maybe so in the comments and don’t forget to check out Natalie’s site.

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