Have You Always Known How Your Story Would End?
Or Has It Changed Since You First Started The Book?
by Katrina Leno
One of my most favorite things about writing is diving into a blank page with an idea, an image, a sentence, or a word—just something that’s inspired me and gotten me to that place where I have to sit down and put some letters down on paper. I LOVE writing blindly (i.e. with no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing). Writing can calm me down, settle my anxiety, and greet me like an old friend—especially when I don’t think about it too much. So, I rarely know the endings of my books before I’m a good chunk of the way into the writing.
Take my second book, The Lost & Found, for example: I didn’t know until the start of the second chapter that I was going to have duel narrators. Louis came to me totally out of the blue, demanding that I put his story down on paper and give him equal screen time as Frannie. I knew who Frannie’s father was when I started writing this book (no spoilers!) but that was it. And it was SO FUN to discover both Louis and Frannie in this way; I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any differently.
Some writers outline obsessively, and that’s great, too! I’m a big believer that there’s no one right way to write a book. For me, I’m all about surprising myself and giving in to that ultimate joy of discovering as I go. So—if plotting has never really been your thing but you’re still itching to write a novel, might I suggest jumping right in and seeing what happens! (Much like the cover for my third book—Everything All at Once!)
Hi! I’m Katrina. I write books for young adults, like THE HALF LIFE OF MOLLY PIERCE (out now!), THE LOST & FOUND (July 5, 2016), EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE (Summer 2017), AND some hopefully cool fourth book I haven’t written yet but (if all goes well!) will come out Summer 2018!
I am represented by Wendy Schmalz.
If you like writing and photography, might I suggest you take a peek at my blog.
Everything All At Once
Coming June 6, 2017!
Lottie Reaves is not a risk-taker.
She plays it safe and avoids all the ways she might get hurt. But when her beloved Aunt Helen dies of cancer, Lottie’s fears about life and death start spiraling out of control.
Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the bestselling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers. She knew how magical writing could be. And that words have the power to make you see things differently.
In her will, Aunt Helen leaves one writing project just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions that are supposed to get Lottie to take a leap and—for once in her life—really live. But when the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series. Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice—one that will force her to confront her greatest fears once and for all.
The Lost and Found
A charming and imaginative new novel about getting lost before you can be found.
Frannie and Louis met in an online support group when they were both younger. They have never met face-to-face. They don’t even know each other’s real names. All they know is that they both have a mysterious tendency to lose things. Well, not lose them, exactly. Things just seem to…disappear.
They each receive news in the mail that sets them off on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find, as if by magic, important things the other has lost. And by the time they finally meet in person, they realize that the things you lose might be things you weren’t meant to have at all, and that you never know what you might find if you just take a chance.
The Lost & Found is a bighearted novel about connections (missed and found), family (the kind you’re born with and the kind you make for yourself), and unexpected journeys (on the road, and of the heart), from an author who Publishers Weekly called “a fierce new presence.”
Thank you so much, Katrina! We appreciate your wise words of advice. I know that I personally am definitely a “pantser” and don’t really plot besides what’s in my brain. I know it will all change depending on what the characters tell me to do. =) I’m sure I’m not the only one!
As always, a huge thank you to all who have participated in this feature, and those who continue to do so. Your wise words of wisdom are immeasurable in helping beginning writers get their feet on the ground. You are all appreciated so much more than you know.
We hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!