How to Write by Vanessa Barneveld
Ely and Chami, thank you so much for inviting me to your fabulous blog. Ely, I was really impressed by your recent bookshelf rearrangement, and I was wondering if you do house calls. I need help!
My debut paranormal YA, This Is Your Afterlife (Bloomsbury Spark), is out just in time for Halloween. Here’s the book trailer:
One thing people always ask me about writing is, “How do you do it?” It’s a jumbo-sized question. Here are my top three answers.
1. I always, always, have chocolate within easy reach. I am particularly inspired by anything that’s filled with caramel, blended with peanut butter, or easy to shovel into my mouth while typing. Other snack varieties are helpful too. I have a writer friend who eats Cheetos (Twistie-like chips in the U.S.) with chopsticks so she doesn’t get her fingers and keyboard dirty. It goes without saying that you must exercise at least half an hour a day and eat more real food than junk food. I actually love snacking on celery, but don’t tell anyone I said that. I’ve a reputation as a chocolate connoisseur to uphold.
2. Coming up with a plot isn’t easy, so that’s why I’m a lifetime member of totallyoriginalplots.com, a top-secret site for authors. For just $19.99, you will get a unique plot that no-one has ever thought of before, a catchy book title, a heroine and a hero. Additional characters and subplots can be purchased for $5 each. Okay, I made all of that up. Wouldn’t it be great if there were such a site? Truth is novel ideas can be found everywhere in plain sight. Another part of writing is not actual writing. It’s observing what’s around you, listening strangers on a train (but trying not to be creepy about it!), tuning in to current events, even movies and music. Take threads from any of these things and ask, “What if...?” then let your imagination weave those threads into the fabric of a book.
3. Stay unconnected. From the internet. While you’re writing anyway. I need to be physically restrained from emailing, googling and pinning when #Iamwriting. This can only be achieved with the help of an internet-blocking app called Freedom. It allows me to write with absolutely no possibility of connecting for up to eight hours. Scary, but it works. I don’t know how to block everything but abooksofathomless.blogspot.com.au, though. When I find out, I’ll share it with you.
So those are my jumbo-sized answers to that question of how I write. Once again, thanks very much for having me here today, Chami and Ely! It’s been a real pleasure.