Happy Birthday, Leigh Bardugo, born 6 April 1975.
- I’m an outliner. I write through a three-act structure. I build all of my books in pretty much the exact same way: I have the idea, I write it out onto a single page so that I essentially have a book that is one-page long, and then I begin to fill in all of the things that I know. I build this kind of ramshackle zero-draft, that operates as an extended outline, and that is what becomes the musculature of the book.
- When I get into the work of actually writing the scenes and revising the book into something that it can be, that process changes a little depending on the project.
- Let go of the idea that somehow you can outsmart a first draft. Because I have never met anybody who can.
- Part of the journey is that horrific balance of, you know, delusions of grandeur and abject humility that I think writers walk the line of all the time.
- Set realistic goals. Sometimes that means doing something like NaNoWriMo, or it means saying, ‘I’m just going to write 500 words a day.’
- Carve out a time, find a process that works for you, and don’t compare yourself to anybody else.
- Get offline. Stop reading about what other authors are doing. Stop reading reviews. Let yourself be immersed in the story that you’re writing.
- Remember: There is no expiration date on your talent. I did not publish my first book until I was 35 years old. If you have a story to tell, it doesn’t matter when you tell it. Just get it onto the page and let go of any of the ideas that somehow it’s less worthwhile because it took you a little longer to get there than it took others.
- I start with my characters and with the story, the plot. When a reader enters the first chapter of your book, they’re trying to get their bearings. It’s our job as authors to give them the signals they need in order to be able to navigate that world.
Leigh Bardugo is an Israeli-American young adult and fantasy author. She is known for her Grishaverse novels, which span the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars. Follow her on Instagram.
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