23 May 2016
Stephen Chbosky. John Green. Nicholas Sparks. These sound familiar? No? Alright try these: The Fault in Our Stars. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Safe Haven. Paper Towns. All of these books we have read and loved for its great writing would make us only wonder how these writers have penned down the body of work.
The authors from interviews, have revealed a few take-home, insights and embedded tips from talking about writing.
John Green talks mindful crafting of voices of his characters:
“I wrote this book over so many years and at the very beginning I didn’t know anything. Once I started, I kind of scrapped most of what I’d written over the years. It was then that I really started to focus and zero in on Hazel’s voice and she became the tenor of the story in 2009 or 2010. Once that happened I knew the arc of the story and I knew how it would end. That said, I thought I might go on further for a while and early in planning the book I really thought I might take it further in time than I did. I’ve always believed growing up that the story of the hero is the journey of weakness to strength. But writing about Gus taught me that the real hero’s journey is the journey from strength to weakness, and that was a very helpful thing for me to realise in trying to tell his story, so I felt like that was kind of the gift that he gave me.”
Author of The Notebook and Safe Haven, Nicholas Sparks talks on voice and editing:
“For me, I always start with overall plot and then go to character and voice. So once you have a story, it isn’t going to work unless you have the right character, and that character isn’t going to work unless you have the right voice. So the plot is just out there, once you have it you set it aside and you’re really working on character and voice.
“My biggest advice is that you need to write. Read and write a lot. You have to try again and you also have to realise that writing is mainly about editing, it’s all about going back and making sure that things are exactly right.”
Stephen Chbosky on owing your own voice:
“I think kids are very like chameleons, partly because they’re trying to find their own identity and partly because they don’t know if they can or should admit all these things that are going on inside of them.
“So my writing is advice is exactly just my advice for people. I believe that everybody has a unique voice and the more that people follow that voice, the passions behind it, the obsessions behind it, the more nurture and challenge and grow that voice, the better.”
Annabel Pitcher, author of Ketchup Clouds on ending well:
“I think it’s useful to try and see a book like a piece of music. So in a classical piece of music, you have the slow movements and fast movements, and you have the deep sounds and the lighter, higher sounds, and if you can think of it as a whole then you need to have everything in there.
“Nobody wants to read a something that’s really depressing throughout and nobody wants to read something that’s completely frivolous. You’ve got to have that mix. So when I’m writing, I just try to put in lots of different tones, different moods.
“I don’t think there’s necessarily any particular ingredient in terms of plot or character, but you’ve got to get the mood right. You need the light and the dark, and I think with the ending, that’s what I always try and work towards. I hate books that have happy endings that are just completely happy as I love that mix, where there is hope – you need that – but you also need to think that it’s real life and the conclusion doesn’t always have to be what you might think.”