Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Eliza Green

The last interview of the year is with Eliza Green, science fiction and YA author.



1.         What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
I’m a self-published author and I write science fiction books. My books are very character-centric but immersed in a strong science fiction storyline. The stories are set in the near future and are quite down to earth. If you read my books, you might think you’re reading about a future that is happening now or could happen tomorrow!

I have two series right now: one is called the Feeder series, which is young adult. It’s about a girl who is sent to an education facility, but she is plunged into a dangerous game where there can only be one winner.

My adult series is called the Exilon 5 series. It’s a story based on two worlds: Earth and Exilon 5. The World Government has begun to transfer the population from an overcrowded and air polluted Earth to a utopian Exilon 5. But there’s another race living on the new world. Tensions are high and secrets are revealed. I’m currently editing the fourth book in this series. I’m also rewriting the first book, Becoming Human, with my editor to bring it in line with my much improved writing style. I released the first book in December 2012. The time has come to sharpen up that bad boy!

2.         When did you first start writing?
I started writing in 2009. I was searching for a creative outlet in other projects and nothing I tried hit the mark for me.  I got the urge to write when I was frustrated by a book I was reading and wanted to change the ending. Then I thought, “I can change the ending. I can control the story. I just have to write my own book.” So I wrote a different book, a women’s fiction novel and my interest grew from there. The more I learned about writing, the more I loved it.

3.         What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I used to be a pantser, you know, someone who writes by the seat of their pants?  But I found I was getting off topic too easily in my draft and working too hard to rein it back in. My preferred method now is to outline the story into chapters, then write those chapters. That becomes my first draft. I still get the urge to write without planning, but I benefit more if I have an idea of what each chapter is about.
I use a PC. I type pretty fast, so it’s the only way for me to sync with the story in my head. I think faster when I’m not speaking out loud, so dictating doesn’t work for me. Hand writing is too slow. It frustrates me. Typing is the only speed that feels in any way natural.

4.         What's your editing process?
I churn out a basic draft to get the story down. Then I go over it to refine it a lot more, and flesh out the ideas and the chapters. At that point I use a beta to test the story, find plot holes or uncover areas where the story is weak. After, I refine my manuscript a little more, add in technical details and make sure the research is up to scratch. Then I use more betas to test the story with. The version the second betas get is a lot more complete than the one the first beta gets.

After final beta feedback, I self-edit until I can’t do anything more with the manuscript.  I send it off to my copy editor who acts as another beta. And finally, my proofreader.

5.         Any favorite apps / software / technology for writing?
I’ve started to use Scrivener for my writing but I still need to figure it out. Sometimes when you start using these software packages, another one comes along and you’ve got to decide if there’s an advantage to the newer one. I also use Word, which is where I started writing. I still use it to format and upload a final draft to the sales sites.

6.         When in the day do you usually write? For how long?
I have to write in the morning, when I get up. My brain is at its most productive then. I don’t really stick to a time, more of a word count. If I’m writing new material, I try to get a chapter done, around 2k words. If I’m editing, I try to do two or three chapters. I usually hit a wall when I’m in this creative mode. Anything after the wall is counterproductive. That’s when I stop and do other tasks.

7.         Where do you feel most inspired to write?
I write at a specially-built desk in my bedroom. When you’ve got deadlines, you need to find inspiration, not wait for it to come to you. I’m currently looking for good places to write the first drafts of my longer books. I love my desk, but I’m also getting sick of the familiar space. It’s not a good space for me when I’m writing new material!

8.         Describe your desk / writing corner / favorite writing spot.
My desk sits in a nice little nook between the door and my ensuite bathroom. I have a large monitor and a reading lamp, three notebooks filled with to-do lists and two diaries, one for 2016, the other for 2017. I have a desk tidy with all my pens, sticky notes, calculator and highlighters. Rey from Star Wars sits in one corner and protects me from harm!

9.         Do you listen to music while you write? What kind of music?
Yes! I love music and listen to Zero 7 on repeat.  It’s part of my Chillout playlist. The point of music while I write is to have it become background music. When I can kill all distractions, I can concentrate on the task at hand. One or two hours fly by if I’m working on something and Zero 7 is playing.

10.      Do you ever get writers' block? What are some ways you get around it?
I don’t really get writer’s block. I get stuck on weak plots/characters or areas in my story that feel forced. If that happens, I’ll go for a walk. No phone, no music. Just me alone with my thoughts. It can be very helpful to talk yourself through a problem.

If I’m working on a draft, I just try to write something and the ideas usually flow from a few sentences. The writing shouldn’t be perfect. Leave that perfection for your editing. The brain needs to be relaxed for the ideas to come. Don’t overanalyze your first draft writing.

11.      Do you now, or did you ever have any day jobs? Did they add to or detract from your writing?
I worked a full time job during the first 7 years of my writing career. It detracted massively from my writing. I needed to write in the morning, not when I came home tired in the evening. So I managed to do a little writing in work when things were quiet. It took the pressure off. You become very productive when you have little time to write, but it’s not always your best work you’re producing.

I went full time this year and I’m 9 months into it. It’s going really well and I’m happy I took the plunge. Now that writing is my full time job. I make time for it. There are no excuses.

12.      What project are you working on now?

I’m working on Book 4 in my Exilon 5 series.  I’m also writing novellas connected to my Feeder series and a couple of other small novellas. I plan to write the first draft of Breeder (Book 2 in the Feeder series) in January 2017. There’s a lot going on right now!

Bio:

Eliza Green tried her hand at fashion designing, massage, painting, and even ghost hunting, before finding her love of writing. She often wonders if her desire to change the ending of a particular glittery vampire story steered her in that direction (it did). After earning her degree in marketing, Eliza went on to work in everything but marketing but swears she uses it in everyday life, or so she tells her bank manager.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, she lives there with her sci-fi loving, evil genius best friend. When not working on her next amazing science fiction adventure, you can find her reading, indulging in new food at an amazing restaurant or simply singing along to something with a half decent beat.



Feeder

Orphaned and homeless, seventeen-year-old Anya Macklin is rehoused and enrolled in the adult skills course at Arcis, a secretive and heavily monitored education facility.

But what begins as a supportive programme of growth and learning soon turns into a dangerous game where there can be only one winner.

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