Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and son (and does on occasion say “eh”), she’s always planning some new trip around the world, and she’s spent the last six years studying kung Fu, so you should probably be nice to her. She has been making up stories about magic and spirits and other what ifs since before she knew how to write words on paper. These days the stories are just a lot longer.
Megan’s novels have been nominated for multiple awards and published more than ten different languages. They include the paranormal GIVE UP THE GHOST, post-apocalyptic the Fallen World series, the sci-fi Earth & Sky trilogy, and the contemporary fantasy A MORTAL SONG.
AMM: Megan I’m so happy to host you here today. Tell me, do you have a specific method when planning your novels? Do you go for plot first, character or setting?
MG: I think my books are best described as high concept but character-driven. Plot is really important to me–I get excited by unique premises and unexpected twists–but the characters are the heart of the story, and the plot only works for me if I understand why my characters are doing what they’re doing in it. So my planning tends to bounce back and forth between plot and character. Often I’ll get a great idea for a situation that gets my mental wheels spinning, and then I’ll start wondering what sort of person would end up in that situation, and then what might happen next, and then how the character would respond. The two elements build off each other as I figure out the story.
AMM: I totally agree. And I love what you said about wondering what type of person would fit in to a given situation. That’s gold-level advice. Are you a free flow type of writer or do you outline your novel first?
MG: I’m very much an outliner. I used to try to write books without an outline when I was first starting out in my teens, and after several failed starts, I turned to outlining and never looked back! These days I usually come up with a fairly loose outline that contains detailed notes for the first few scenes, all the big turning points, the ending, and a vague idea of what’ll happen in the connecting scenes. Then, as I write, I outline the next scenes in more detail the day before I get to them. That approach gives me some room to change course or come up with new solutions when I see how the story is playing out on the page, but ensures that I know where I’m ultimately headed.
AMM: That’s a great technique. That said, I’m more into free flow myself. The one time I tried being an outliner, my characters refused to follow the plan and I ended up going in a completely different direction. LOL. What are you working on now?
MG: I have a couple of different projects on the go: a YA urban fantasy/alternate present first-in-trilogy and a YA post-apocalyptic fairy tale that I’m just finishing up the first draft to. (Did I mention I’m fond of genre-blending? 😉 ) Plus I have various other YA projects waiting in the wings for me to have time to get to them.
AMM: Well, I’m looking forward to reading your next book. What advice or insight would you give to a beginning writer?
MG: I think the most important thing when you’re getting started is to absorb as much as you can. Read lots, of all different sorts of books, so you can see what works for you and what doesn’t and learn techniques from outside your preferred genres. Write lots, to get that practice in and develop the strategies that work best for you. Get lots of feedback from trusted colleagues, to help you see your strengths and weaknesses from a reader’s perspective. And don’t be in a hurry! It takes time to develop one’s craft, and there’s nothing wrong with having to shelve a book or two (or ten *coughs*) before you’ve really got the writing thing down.
More about A MORTAL SONG
Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie. Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess. As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.
Megan’s website where you can learn all you want to know about her.