This is funny, because I have often compared my writing to a skeleton which is gaining flesh.
V.E. Schwab’s work is — you know what? Let’s just say it. I’m jealous! She’s younger than most of us and certainly more talented and damn her for her mad skillz. Her books are so good, it’s not fair. *throws short tantrum* Ahem. So, in the hopes that her ability will magically fill the air like a miasma and I can run through it and absorb some via osmosis, I am glad to host her here in a short interview with her Tor editor, Miriam Weinberg. Please to enjoy.
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V.E.: Let’s get down to business. Are my first drafts really as bad as I feel like are?
M.W.: No, they are not! Authors spend so much time considering their work–in ways both positive and negative. But specifically, it’s easy to get stuck in the space of second-guessing your own effect on the narrative, and whether it measures to your expectations. Authors (in first pass stage especially) tend to basically wring words and emotions out of themselves to the page, like a wet washcloth, until you’re a wrinkly crumpled mess.
V.E.: I do have a super weird relationship with my books, in that I forget that I’ve written them, and then forget that I’ve ever edited them. Once I’ve survived, I block it all out so that I can start the vicious cycle again 😉
M.W.: Do you ever go back and re-read post publication?
V.E.: The only one I’ve re-read is VICIOUS.
M.W.: And did you nitpick it?
V.E.: I didn’t. Of all my projects, I think that one is as close to technically flawless as I can get. Which is not to say it’s perfect, of course, but I tend to go back and wish I could change foundations, and I feel like the foundation of that one is super solid.
M.W.: I want to return to your writing process because I think your underpinning method is so integral to your books. You’ve talked before about layering muscle on top of bones. Is that how you think about writing, or is it just your Hannibal-esque brain?
V.E.: I know I skew toward the morbid, but I actually do think of my books as bodies. The first draft is for forging bones, the subsequent ones are for adding muscle, tendon, flesh. If you try to write the skin (or, you know, the top layer, the polish) before you have your bones, it will never hold together.
M.W.: Heh, your books are all creepy in some way, even when they’re funny.
V.E.: I like the dark humor. Like when you laugh and then feel bad about it.
Read the rest of the interview by clicking on the title.