I’m so excited to be a participating blogger in the YAReads Debut Author’s Bash! This is always one of my favorite events each year because I get to know some great things about new authors in the world. And what could be better than that, eh?
So, today’s post is a guest post from the lovely Natasha Sinel. Before I get into her post, let me tell you a little bit about her and about her debut novel, The Fix. But before I even get into that, I’d like to give her a huge thanks for taking part on my blog and for providing us with such a great Guest Post! I can’t wait to share it with you!
About Natasha Sinel
Natasha Sinel grew up in Washington, D.C., received a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. After five years at Showtime Networks where she was Director of Marketing and Business Development, she left to begin her career writing young adult fiction.
She lives in Northern Westchester, NY with her husband, three young sons, and some fresh-water fish. She would like to have a dog and a cat, but she knows her limits, and can’t take care of another living thing. For now.
About The Fix
Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.
On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.
But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.
The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.
Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I know it’s one of the next ones on my to-read list, for sure!
I asked Natasha Sinel to share her writing style with us. In fact, this is what I specifically asked:
Tell my readers about your writing style: everything from where you write (at home, coffee shop, book store, etc.), to how you write (first draft by pen or computer? Short spurts here and there? Seclude yourself away and write until the writing’s done?). We want to know it all!
This is what she had to say:
My Non-Process Process
I get a bit green with envy when I meet writers who have a clean step-by-step writing process. When they use calendars, charts, multi-colored index cards, white boards. When they know how to use all the cool stuff in Scrivener. When they have a set schedule—coffee, exercise, write for a few hours, lunch, work on blogs for a few hours. That kind of thing.
I don’t really have that. I’ve tried, sort of. I have my own non-process process that I’m beginning to come to terms with, because even though my highly organized side wants to do all those cool things with index cards, my writer side doesn’t work that way. [I wrote a guest post awhile back on my agent’s blog about right-brain, left-brain writing. You can see it here.]
Here are some things I always do:
1. Think—I think a lot. I think about people and what they think and feel and how they relate to other people. I think about things that may have happened in their lives to shape them. Sometimes all that thinking results in an idea for a story, or an idea to solve a plot hole for a story I’m already working on.
2. Take notes—When the thinking results in ideas, I have to write them down or they’ll be lost. Possibly forever. No matter how many times I tell myself “this idea is so obvious, I will definitely remember it tomorrow,” I never, ever do. So I always scribble the idea down. I capture ideas in a few ways, depending on where I am. In most cases, I have a Moleskine notebook with me. When I have an idea as I’m falling asleep, I get up and write the idea in my notebook. It’s not easy to get out of bed and do that. But I know I have to (see above about the forgetting). If I’m in the car or on a walk or at the gym, I use the notes app on my iPhone. I have Aquanotes in my shower. Once I’ve recorded something, I don’t have to stress about forgetting it anymore, so I usually remember it anyway, without having to look at it again.
3. Draft—I draft on my MacBook. I’ve written a few scenes out longhand, but only out of necessity (broken shoulder, longer than expected time in a waiting room), because I type much faster than I write, and my handwriting is terrible. I try not to worry too much about perfect word choice or typos in the first draft. I try to move forward. It took me a long time to get to that place—in school I was a first draft=final draft kind of person. Now I tend to write scenes out of order as they come to me, and then leave the structure for later. That can bite me in the butt later—it’s incredibly inefficient—but it’s just the way it is. (See? Acceptance of the non-process process!)
4. Goals—When I’m drafting, I always have a goal, whether it’s a time goal or a word count goal. Usually, my goal is to write for two twenty-five minute blocks with a short break in between to check email and stretch. When I get those two blocks in, I can usually count on about 1,000-1,200 words. When editing, particularly line edits, I tend to keep working until it’s done. And that means skipped meals, sore back, etc.
5. Revise—I revise about a thousand times, and during revisions, there are always a-ha! moments that bring forth the best stuff.
6. Despair—I look at my mess of scenes and words and hate myself for not having a better process. Sometimes this despair part takes up a lot of time. Sometimes I don’t write at all during this period.
7. Find faith—I remind myself that it will work out in the end. It always does. Somehow.
8. Solicit critiques—I ask critique partners and beta readers to read my manuscript once it’s in decent shape. I’m specific about the kind of read I need (overall, specific scenes, typos). I’ve gotten good at taking constructive criticism, and sorting out what rings true to me and what doesn’t. And I always thank my critiquers for their time and thoughtful comments.
Here are things I sometimes do:
1. Vow to write every day—Every now and then I promise myself I’ll write every day. I’m not one of those people who thinks that writing every day is the only way to do it. But I also think that if you leave it too long, you can lose momentum, and the ideas stop flowing as easily. It’s important to be present in your story as often as possible so that your subconscious can take over during down time—showers, walks, sleep. But I’m not so successful when I make this vow. I write when I can, and usually that means not every day.
2. Work in my office—I have neck and shoulder issues, so I really should always work at my desk with the pull-out keyboard and the big monitor and my exercise ball as a chair. But often, I end up at the kitchen table or on the living room couch. I used to work a lot in the library, but with my new desk set-up and my kids in school, I tend to work at home.
3. Outline—I realize that even though the word outline gives me hives, I do sort of outline. I jot down what I think is going to happen, and then what will happen after that. That’s an outline, right?
4. Rejoice—Every now and then, when something clicks, I am so grateful that I get to do this writing thing—the fun parts, the hard parts, even the despair parts. Writing makes me feel more alive than almost anything else in the world.
Thank you so much, Natasha! Best of luck to you, and congrats on your finalist award in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards!
One last thing… Natasha has graciously offered one Audible copy of her book, The Fix. Enter below. Make sure to confirm your entry, as only confirmed entries are eligible to win! You will receive a confirmation email—just click the link and then share away for more entries!