Today Emily Beaver, author of Slipping Reality, talks to us about how she writes. Take it away, Emily! How do you write?
How to Write According to Emily Beaver
I’m hardly the person to ask when it comes to this! I acknowledge that I am young and have a long way to go in terms of improving my technique and the quality of my writing, but I know that writing isn’t what I love, its what I do, so I’ve just got to go with it!
I write to make a point. The first book I ever wrote (and will never, ever publish!) I wrote for my unofficial sister, Pilar, because I wanted to prove to her that there was no shame in falling in love. Is the message trite? Certainly. But I wanted to express it to her in a way that helped her situation, and by extension, my own as well. The same came about with Slipping Reality. I wrote it to prove something to myself – that there was no use in running away, and that if I was ever lost or alone, I always had my writing to take me back.
A lot of authors I follow and admire do outlines. I wish I could do that, but I prefer to keep a map of the story in my head. I always have a separate document for writing down all my brainstorms, ideas, along with all my character information. In my Slipping Reality brainstorm document I’ve got deleted scenes, the original working names for Tristan and Cedric, Katelyn’s bell schedule, a list of last names, basic descriptions (eye color, etc.), plot ideas, musings, and on and on. It was good for getting the bad ideas out, fast – originally I had wanted Tristan and Cedric to exist in real life, too, but then I realized there was no way I could write that without making them extreme creepers, so that idea had to go, and by writing it out in that document I found my alternative – products of Katelyn’s imagination solely.
I also write upcoming scenes. Usually I don’t like to spoil myself by getting to write all the most exciting scenes first – because then I lost motivation to finish the book – but if I really get hit with inspiration and that scene is still a few chapters away, I’ll write it out. Usually I have to change it here and there anyway to fit it in with the story, but other times it will fit just perfectly. In my first book, I had the ending written for months. With Slipping Reality, I had it only for a week. It all depends.
See, it makes logical sense to me to outline books. To have post-its or pin boards to plot out the story, but that just doesn’t work for me. It’s been said time and time again that everyone writes differently and I will say just the same, because it’s true. I write my books in order with the occasional scene saved for later, some other authors jump around. Some people become their characters, I prefer to talk to mine. In the end, I think all writers share a portion of crazy, and I love it!
So, yeah, everyone’s got their strategy. When I get writer’s block I like to turn to my inspirations to get me back going; others prefer to keep writing anyway. But I like to think we all write to tell a story. My stories involve my heart, others involve their interests and curiosities. As long as there’s a subject, and as long as there’s passion, you’ve got a story. And that’s how I write, whether it’s good or not!
Emily Beaver wrote her first book at 14 years old as a tribute to her older brother and only sibling, Matthew, who passed away from cancer. A dedicated writer since the age of 8, she dreamed of publishing a novel in her teenage years, and it was her brother who gave her the courage and passion to do so. Slipping Reality released July 2011 and is a thinly veiled fictional story based on Emily’s own experience dealing with the pain of her brother’s battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
Emily is an AP Scholar and enjoying her senior year of high school. Her writing can be seen in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book, various magazines, and thisibelieve.org. She is also a regular contributor on SparkNotes.com, where a piece on her brother received an award for “Most Inspiring.”
In addition to writing, Emily loves acting and singing – she recently led school productions of Fiddler on the Roof and Noises Off, and is in the audition-only Women’s Ensemble as a section leader. She also enjoys public speaking, taking voice lessons, playing the piano and volunteering as a teacher of Hebrew and Judaica to third graders at Temple Adat Shalom. Emily is based in San Diego, but is happiest roaming Disneyland as often as possible.