About Kyoko M:
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. Her debut novel, The Black Parade, has been on Amazon’s Bestseller List at #5 in the Occult Horror category. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.
What inspires you to write?
I constantly have stories bursting out of me that I want to tell. I’m relatively shy in real life and it’s hard for me to connect with people face-to-face, but writing emboldens me and makes me feel confident.
Tell us about your writing process.
Most of the time, a story comes to me in a tagline or in a concept. I write it down and read it to myself a few times, often taking a day to sleep on it as well. After I’m sure I like the story idea, I start to ask myself what the story is actually about, in terms of themes. What makes me want to write this story? Why is it worth what is essentially going to be a year of my life as I write it?
After I’ve answered that question, I start to conceptualize the actual plot. I would consider myself more of a planner than a seat-of-the-pantser, but it changes depending on the novel. For example, The Black Parade series was pretty much planned start to finish, but my new first-in-series Of Cinder and Bone was probably about 60% written on the fly. It was very spontaneous and unexpected. All I really had planned were large plot points, the beginning, and the end. Everything else in the story happened as a result of what the characters decided to do, and I was mostly just along for the ride.
Once the plot points are in place, then I let the story flow as much as possible. I tend to edit as I go, but not hardcore editing; I do small stylistic edits during the first draft. Also, for some reason, I never outline a novel beforehand. I write about half of it, and then I write an outline for plot events and an outline for the timeline of the novel (how many days the story takes place, which also helps with day to nighttime accuracy).
After the first draft is finished, I “put it in a drawer”, or basically I don’t look at the manuscript, for between 24 hours and a week. This gives me fresh eyes on it when I get back.
I write the second draft to fix plotholes, continuity errors, tying off loose ends, removing story elements that didn’t work, and anything that will clean up the draft’s story.
The third draft is when I send it to my proofreaders and editor and await their feedback to do a final pass over the whole she-bang and make sure that it is as polished as humanly possible.
Once the final draft is done, all I have to do is get it formatted for paperback and eBook form so it’s ready for future readers.
Honestly, the hardest part of the process for me is usually the first draft, because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of “oh my God, my book is a huge garbage fire and no one is going to like it or read it and I should just quit while I’m ahead.” It’s very easy to talk yourself out of writing a novel and even easier to not write. It requires a lot of discipline to overcome the obstacle of your own mind being anxious and scared of what people will think of your work. It definitely separates aspiring writers from writers.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters. I always describe my writing process as the characters walking up to me, shaking my hand, and introducing themselves like we’re in an interview. I just get out a pen and paper and write down what they say.
What advice would you give other writers?
It’s really easy to give up. So easy. You can do so many other things instead of writing, and if you’re a new author, it’s even easier because it feels like no one cares about your work. If this is what you want to do, truly, then you have to learn to ignore that voice in your head that tells you to give up because no one wants to hear what you have to say. Write anyway. If you’re passionate about a story, write as hard and as well as you can, and eventually, readers will find you.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
For about two years, I shopped my first novel, The Black Parade, to literary agents to no avail. I had started to get disheartened when my father mentioned self publishing. I researched self publishing for almost a year before I decided that it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot, so I tried it out. It took over a year and a half before I built any momentum, but eventually I started understanding the process and building a small readership. Self publishing is an incredibly challenging, time-consuming process. Majority of the time, you will not get the results you want and you’ll always feel like you could be doing so much better, but it’s rewarding if you like to have control and if you like to exert the energy necessary to find your niche. It’s endless labor, but it’s also a labor of love.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think traditional publishing and self publishing will always be neighbors to each other. Both have benefits and drawbacks, but both are worth it in the end.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Action-Adventure, Paranormal Romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.