Today, I am pleased to welcome author, Teri Terry, onto the blog, to tell us lots of her writing secrets.
1) Your new novel, Mind Games, has just been published. How do you feel?
Good! And a mixture of nervous and hopeful. Also rather rubbish just now, as I’ve got an endless cold.
2) Can you give me a one line pitch for Mind Games, so my readers can get a feel for the story?
I’m SO not good at one line pitches! How about...
Mind Games is the Matrix meets Holodecks, and shows the dangers of 24-7 plugging in to technology through the eyes of a girl whose life changes forever when she stops Refusing, and becomes part of it.
That is rather wordy: if any of your readers can come up with a better one, it’d be very much appreciated!
3) Was Mind Games harder to write after writing the Slated trilogy?
I’d had more practice with writing and editing when I got to Mind Games, so in that sense it was easier. Also writing a standalone this time was fun! I didn’t have to think about what to keep back for the next book all the time.
4) Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to starting a new novel?
I plot much more now than I used to, but I don’t start a book that way. Usually I’ll write my way into a story, get to know the characters, and feel my way in. At some point, I’ll step back and think more about where I’m going and how to get there. This usually involves writing a chapter summary of what I have so far, and extending it on, either in sections or as a whole. How far I’ve got when I stop to focus more on plotting varies book by book.
5) I notice from your Twitter feed, that you often seem to be rushing from one place to another. When do you find time to write?
I’m writing full time now, which does include rushing around at times but I’m also home writing a lot of the time. The way things have gone lately is that I seem to have bursts of intense busyness and travel, interspersed with writing. I like to write in big chunks of time, so this works for me. But I do have to be careful about booking too many things away; I don’t write well away from home. Last autumn I was over committed, and it did make finishing the next book rather hard.
6) Where is your ideal place to write?
At home. In the morning I like to write in bed in my PJs with a cup of tea and my laptop. In the afternoons I like to write in the garden, weather permitting, or in my Writing Shack, also in the garden. The latter doesn’t have power so isn’t any good in the winter. Because of this my best writing time tends to be May to September, so I try not to book a lot of stuff this time of year.
7) Do you try and aim for a daily word target when writing?
Sometimes, but word targets can be distracting: the temptation is to overly focus on the number. It works better for me to aim to finish a chapter(s). When I was writing the Slated trilogy, I did use word count targets more, partly because I was panicking about meeting deadlines. It made me feel more in control.
8) Who are your favourite #UKYA authors?
There are so many! Lucy Christopher and Sharon Jones; Frances Hardinge (though perhaps she veers towards younger); Tanya Byrne.
9) Do you have any advice for unpublished authors on dealing with rejection?
It’s part of being a writer, but it’s never fun. You have to be able to shake it off and keep going, or it can crush you. One thing that helps is to always be writing something new that you’re excited about when you are waiting to hear back on something else. If it is rejected, the new thing can sustain your hope.
10) Is there one SCBWI unpublished author that you think we should watch out for in the near future?
Many of my SCBWI friends that I’d have put in that category in the past have either got there (eg Jeannie Waudby) or have a book coming soon (Kathryn Evans). Another very talented author-in-waiting is Julienne Durber.
Mind Games is published by Orchard Books and available to buy now.
To find out more about Teri Terry: