This guy has helped me out tons with his fabulous writing advice on his blog. I’m thrilled to have author Barry Lyga answer some questions about his writing life. Thanks for joining me, Barry! Let’s get started…
What is your brainstorming process for a new book?
Well, it’s not such much a brain “storm” as it’s a sustained period of brain drizzle. And I think with that, I’ve probably extended the metaphor about as far as is useful. 🙂 Seriously – I generally allow projects to simmer in my back-brain for a while before I start working on them. Little ideas and notions bubble to the surface and I jot them down, even if I’m not entirely sure what they are or how helpful they may or may not be in the long run. At some point, all of those ideas attain a powerful enough gravity that I feel the pull to start working on the book. Which is when I learn if those ideas make any sense or not!
Can you explain your typical work week day?
I usually work for a few hours in the morning, then hit the gym, grab lunch, and work some more until dinner. If I’m really humming along (or really late on something!), I’ll work after dinner, too.
Tell us about when you made the decision to write.
I don’t remember when I made that decision. I’ve always wanted to write, as long as I can remember. I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again: When I was roughly seven or eight years old, my grandmother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, “I want to be a writer!” And she did Jewish grandmothers everywhere proud ’cause she said, “Oh. So you want to starve.” I think she’d be proud to see that I’ve managed NOT to starve. 🙂
What suggestions do you have for aspiring writers?
Oh, boy. A lot! In short: Don’t be afraid to suck. Every writer has a million bad words deep inside, and you need to write a lot of stuff that sucks in order to purge those million bad words. Then you get to the good stuff, the stuff people will want to read.
The flip side of that: Realize that you probably DO suck. And that you will suck for a long time before you get good. That’s OK. It’s fine. Everyone goes through it. I see a lot of aspiring writers who try to submit long before they’re ready for it, and the constant rejection wears them down. Be honest with yourself. Be patient. Headlines to the contrary, book publishing will still be around when you’re ready. It will probably look different and come with a rechargeable battery, but it’ll still be here.
Tell us about what you’re working on right now and what we can expect from you in the near future.
I’m working on a bunch of stuff right now. I’ve got a series that will come out in 2010 called ARCHVILLAIN, which is about a 12-year-old kid who gets superpowers and ends up being a supervillain instead of a superhero. I’m also working on my first graphic novel, drawn by the amazing and awesome and astonishing Colleen Doran. And, as if that weren’t enough, I’m also working on a new YA novel that is going to be sort of long and complicated and weird. Is that enough? 🙂
Haha, we’re always wanting more from you, Barry so I doubt it will ever be enough! 🙂 Thanks again for joining me. For those of you readers who want to know more about Barry, check out his website here and info about fanboy and gothgirl here. Stay tuned for the next Writer’s on Writing!