We’re spotlighting Tamara Mataya and her upcoming release, Missed Connections, on the blog today!
Check out a guest post from the author and a fantastic giveaway below!
Guest Post: Tamara Mataya
My Writing Process
Oh, I’m pretty sure my writing process is the same as any other writer’s. I wake up and drink a chalice of tears and sacrifice a goat to…oh dear, that’s not right…I love goats.
Let’s try this again.
I don’t have a particular time that works best for writing. Whether I’m inspired by the story itself and can’t wait to finish, or motivated by a deadline (and my agent or editor can’t wait for me to finish) I write whenever I have a spare minute.
Last year I went to New Orleans with my two best friends from middle school—my first foray into America and not a bad choice as vacations go. I hadn’t had a proper vacation in about twenty years. Unfortunately, I also had a book due. I wrote on the plane, in the hotel when my friends were out sightseeing. I scribbled paragraphs between dancing at a reggae night on sheets hastily torn from a notebook and stuffed into my purse before heading to Frenchman Street.
When it comes to writing, I’m not fussy as to where or how it happens. When I’m away from my laptop, I scrawl ideas and sections down on tiny notebooks I carry with me, the printing indecipherable enough to pass as a doctor’s.
I used to be what’s called a ‘pantser,’ meaning I made the story up as I went along. Sometimes I’d have a destination or a few things in mind, but they were more like ‘I’m traveling to New York from LA and need to get there in a week.’ HOW I get there is an act of flying by the seat of my pants.
BUT now I’d consider myself a plotser—someone who is a hybrid pantser/plotter. This change was mostly due to my agent, Nicole Resciniti, and I’m still a little salty about how she was right about it being faster. Sometimes an agent or editor doesn’t need to read the whole book before knowing if it’s something they want. They’ll read a section of your writing, and then check out the little beastie most of us authors have mixed feelings toward: the Synopsis. A synopsis sums up the book in a couple pages and gives EVERYTHING away. If the agent or editor likes it, they may want you to finish writing the book and send it to them.
But before you can send out that cheeky little synopsis, you need to write it. And to write it, you need to figure out everything that happens in the book. Selling books on proposal necessitated plotting. And, to be fair, it does speed things along. Whereas before I may have wondered where I’d go from a certain place, now it’s all mapped out for me. I can change things along the way and my chapter outlines tend to be laughably short compared to other authors’ (e.g. Chapter 5: Sex). I know some writers who will write the equivalent of a novella as an outline which I couldn’t do. My brain dusts its hands off when I finish the outline as though to say, ‘Good job, we’ve figured out everything that needs to happen so we don’t need to write the book anymore! DONE!’ Writing more than my couple pages is enough for me!
I don’t think I have any peculiarities when it comes to writing. I can’t listen to new music (as in music I haven’t heard a lot) when writing because I tend to get distracted and focus on the song instead of my book. I do make playlists for each of my books and I listen to them on repeat while writing. Music is such an important thing to me—I’m also a musician—that hearing those songs can help get me in the mood to write even if I’m not “inspired” at that moment. Sometimes when I hear the songs it’s like a trip back to that particular novel and takes me right back to where I was when I wrote it. I’ll even save certain songs I love only for while writing—just so that certain feeling it gives me doesn’t wear out from too many plays!
I tend to make a lot of cups of tea…and forget all about them. I prefer to eat things I can eat quickly with one hand while at the computer. I spend a lot of time explaining to my dog that no, he doesn’t need to go for a walk right this second when I’m on deadline and need to finish this chapter…and indeed, that’s an argument I lose more often than not because he starts making these whale noises and it makes me laugh and then I’ve lost my train of thought.
3 copies of MISSED CONNECTIONS by Tamara Mataya