We continue our chat with Cover Girl and phenomenal author, Stephenie Meyer. (If you missed it, check out Part One)
Most writers draw upon their own life, especially in early works…. How much have you drawn upon yourself and your life for each of your Novels?
Since I write fantasy, I can’t draw on many actual autobiographical elements. I think many of my hopes and fears make their way into the story, though. For example, my fear of the darker side of human nature is pretty clearly described from Wanderer’s perspective. Also, my intense love—and need—for my family comes through in Melanie’s side of the story.
Can you go through your process (do you outline, write random chapters, plot, etc)
“I self-edit all the time when I’m writing. I enjoy reading the story over and over, tweaking it as I go.”
My process has changed with every book. With Twilight, I had no outline and no plan. With New Moon and Eclipse, I had fairly detailed outlines, and I wrote out of order; I focused first on the scenes that excited me, and then did the transitions between them after most of the story was written. With The Host, I worked chronologically for the first time. I had a very long and detailed outline (around fifty pages long, and including dialogue in many places), that I kept redoing as the story changed in the writing.
Do first drafts go to your agent, a friend, or who? What is your editing process?
Usually my mom, dad, and a few of my siblings are my first readers, and then I give it to my agent. I self-edit all the time when I’m writing. I enjoy reading the story over and over, tweaking it as I go.
What advice would you give to want-to-be writers?
The most important thing you can do is to write for yourself. Don’t think about any other audience, don’t worry about a demographic, and don’t let the thought of publishing ever enter your mind. Enjoy the story and enjoy the creation process. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, then you shouldn’t be writing.
“The most important thing you can do is to write for yourself. “
After your story is all done, then you can worry about what comes next. But keep the storytelling pure, and focus on pleasing yourself first.
Many of our readers are creative types…and most of the writer’s I talk to write with a schedule in mind. Walk me through a typical day in your world…..
It’s changed a lot since I first got started. With Twilight I wrote all day and all night. Now I mostly write at night (I think better after dark for some reason). During the day I have a lot of business to keep up with—lots of emails to write, lots of phone calls to make. In many ways I miss those early days when I didn’t have anything distracting me.
Tell me about the promotional side of being a writer in this digital age….. Blogs, websites, Facebook, MySpace, etc
I enjoy the connection the internet lets me have with my fans. I feel like I have a real sense of who a lot of them are, and I think they know the real me. That kind of relationship was impossible when people communicated through snail mail. I also like that when I need to focus, I can simply shut the internet down.
Do you feel you are sometimes too accessible to fans or not accessible enough?
I do worry that I’m not as accessible as I could be. I wish I had the time to answer fan mail. However, I think most of the fans understand the limitations. I can either write letters or write books—I can’t do both. I’m pretty sure most people want my stories more than my replies.
Writing can be such a solitary career. How do you balance in your family and your friends while being true to your needs as a writer?
“At the same time, I never feel like writing is solitary. The characters are such amazing company. Yes, I have imaginary friends ”
It is hard to find time for everything. It’s a balancing act, and I don’t always do it perfectly. I make a conscious effort to spend time with my kids every day after school, and to read to them at bedtime. My office is in the middle of the house, and it has no walls. I’m always in sight, and they know I’m there if they need me. My friends (who are very cool people) totally understand about my limitations, and they welcome me with open arms whenever I finally stager out of my hole to join them.
At the same time, I never feel like writing is solitary. The characters are such amazing company. Yes, I have imaginary friends
It’s a typical Sunday….where do we find Stephenie Meyer?
At church! Sundays are my no-work days. It’s all God and family.
What other projects are you working on? Will you carry over any of your characters from current works – or will your next book introduce us to someone new?
Right now I’m editing Breaking Dawn (book four in the Twilight Saga). When that is done, I’ll move on to Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward’s perspective). After that, I’m a free woman, and I have a million ideas I want to play with. I have outlines for a possible The Host trilogy, but first I may write about ghosts or mermaids or even plain old humans.