Carrie Harris | Young Adult Author

Monday, April 21, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

It’s the writing process blog tour! Nothing like a good swift kick in the pants to get you blogging again, right? You can thank my friend and bacon sister Gretchen McNeil for tagging me and giving me that kick in ye olde pants. Gretchen’s awesome yet scary books include Possess, Ten, 3:59, and the upcoming titles Get Even and Get Dirty, which she describes as John Hughes with a body count. I think this is the most awesome thing ever. If you don’t already follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, you’re missing out. Particularly since she's doing a Get Even giveaway right now.

The whole idea of this tour is to get authors talking about their process. I find stuff like this fascinating; I like to read about how other people get words on the page. Half the time I end up stealing their processes, and the other half, I go all googly eyed and say things like, “Wait. You do WHAT?!?!” But it just goes to show that the right process is the one that works for you, and who cares what other people think? Having said that, feel free to steal any bits of mine if they appeal to you. :)

What am I working on?

I don’t like to work on a bunch of different books at one time, but of course I keep doing that. I just finished a round of edits on a book for my agent which is a really different direction for me—it’s not funny at all. It’s a book about cyborgs inspired by the Boston Marathon bombings, and it was really emotional for me to write. I’m also starting to work on a new book whose sale we haven’t yet announced, but I can promise lots of action and punching and one-liners. And if that’s not enough, I’m also starting to work on my world for the Storium Kickstarter. You could play in my world of teenage pulp adventurers traveling the world with a circus. That would be awesome.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I think part of what makes me different is that I’ve been very lucky to work in multiple genres! My first few books were comic horror, and now I’m moving into more serious YA. Plus, I have a lot of work in the game space, and I think that really influences all of my writing. In character driven games, you really have to think hard about what the characters are likely to do and build your plot around that. It’s really forced me to take a good hard look at my own plots and move away from writing scenes just because they’re fun. I admit, I’ve done a lot of that. Don’t get me wrong; fun is good! Fun is awesome! But if they can be fun and make sense, that’s an added bonus.

Why do I write what I do?

Well, people pay me for it.

KIDDING. I have tons of book ideas, and I’m really not exaggerating. At least once a week, I come up with an idea that seems like it should go into a book. The ones that make it are the ones that I can’t stop thinking about. Okay, let’s be honest. I obsess about them.

How does your writing process work?

I used to be a firm pantser, as in I wrote every book by the seat of my pants. This may help to explain why Bad Taste in Boys was revised about ten times (ish?) before it sold, and then my first edit letter from my new editor asked me to scrap everything after chapter eight. Pantsing is fun, but for me it doesn’t do a great job of creating a plot that holds together logically and moves at a good pace. Mostly, it’s an excuse to write a bunch of one-liners strung together by things that might be scenes. Maybe.

From there, I moved onto pantsing the first draft and then using a spreadsheet to look at the book’s structure. I liked that approach, partly because I have this weird love of spreadsheets and partly because it gave me an easy way to see the whole book at one time. But still, I found myself editing a LOT.

So now, I’ve moved onto pantsing the first chapter or two just to get a feel for the characters and voice and really get into the book. Then I write what I call an outline, but really it’s a paragraph for each chapter of the book. It walks me through what happens in each chapter and how that makes logical sense. It also gives me the opportunity to see big chunks of the book at one time and get an idea of whether or not there’s enough action or too much action or if a character disappears for too long or whatever. Then when I write the actual pages, I’ve already taken care of a lot of the plot problems, and my edits are usually much smaller in scale. I used this approach for Sally Slick and the Steel Syndicate, my upcoming title Demon Derby, and for the cyborg book I just turned in, and I still love it. So I guess that makes me a plotter/pantser? A plantser? A pansotter?

Completely nuts? THAT. Probably that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Kid Reviews Zeppelin Attack!

Disclaimer: I work for Evil Hat, the company that is producing Zeppelin Attack! This is awesome, because I often get an advance peek at new stuff. Although my son likes to give me credit for ALL THE THINGS, I really only worked tangentially on this game--I wrote material for the website and that's about it. So of course he likes it more than the stuff I actually worked on. Yeah. That happened.

Anyway, if you're interested in learning more about the game, you can check it out here. This is definitely a play-at-home family-game-night kind of game, since it takes about an hour. It's a little complicated for my seven year olds, but as you'll see, my ten year old is pretty jazzed about it. If you'd like to pick one up, you can get a copy via the Kickstarter, which is open through March 1st. Buying a copy there gets you some extra cards that won't be available later, and then you can taunt people with them.

ANYWAY anyway. The review:

Hi. I’m 10 and my mom helped to make this game. I like attacking games and this is the best one so far. I like this game because it makes you think what’s in the other player's hand and you build your army of zeppelins and attacks just the same as defenses. I like how you can get the fate points to buy special stuff. I like how the characters look. My favorite character is the Walking Mind because he looks cool and reminds me a little bit of a zombie. I like buying atomic stuff because there isn’t much stuff that can defend against it. So if you’re a kid looking to spend time with your family this game is definitely for you.

Friday, January 24, 2014

ELEVATED cover reveal

One of the best things about being in this business is all the friends, and you bond over the strangest things. For Elana Johnson and I, that thing was bacon. We both love bacon to a really insane degree, and our silly conversation over that led to more silly conversations...and then gradually, some serious ones. When I have a triumph...or a problem...she's tops on my list of writer friends to talk to. And to think that pork products brought us together. That should be a title of a book, don't you think?

Anyway, it's with that in mind that I'm excitedly bringing you a peek at the cover of her latest book! ELEVATED is a contemporary romance, which is quite a departure for her. But the thing is that she can write just about anything. I kind of hate her for that, but it's a loving hate. I've told her this already, so no worries. :)

Here's a little about the book, before we get to the awesome cover!

About ELEVATED: The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

And the new hotness...

Buy Links:

Praise for ELEVATED:
"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go

About Elana Johnson: Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Social Media Links:
League of Extraordinary Writers:

Rafflecopter: Enter to win $15 Paypal cash by helping to spread the word about ELEVATED.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

© 2012 Carrie Harris. All rights reserved. Website design by Manning Leonard Krull.