I am an award-winning young adult author with a passion for the paranormal. Now with over fifty books in happy publication, I live on the beautiful east coast of Canada with my patient husband and six massive cats. You can find more at www.pattilarsen.com.
What inspires you to write?
The voices in my head won’t leave me alone! I’m inspired every single day to tell their stories and share their worlds. And no, they don’t give me a choice…
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a hard-core outliner and have been for most of my life. I’ve taken my training in English, journalism and screenwriting and compiled those experiences (along with five years in an all-female improv troupe), into a process that allows me to create quickly and cleanly.
I begin with a beatsheet or onepage, typical in screenwriting, where I log the information I have and break down the story into three acts–normal, abnormal and new normal. Once I have a basic idea of the story–and if this is a series–I begin to build conflicts. I list all the horrible, nasty, terrible things I could possibly do to that character in that particular situation, listening carefully to the character as I go. When complete, the list is usually about ten to twelve pages long (I like to hand-write in the beginning to access all parts of my creative brain).
When the list is done, I begin to log the conflicts onto index cards and, from there, build scenes. It’s an amazing way to see the story from an objective perspective without all the clutter, and helps me make sure I fill plot holes before I begin writing. This saves me a great deal of time during edits.
When done, I group the cards in the sequence I like, then log the outline chapter by chapter on a document on my computer. From there, it’s simple! I schedule the book out in my dayplanner and get to work, often completing a novel in less than a week.
I love every part of the process, including editing–I give the book one pass to clean up small issues and flesh out areas that need attention before passing it off to my content editor. I love the speed and freedom my process gives me, taking me from concept to completed edits often within two to three weeks.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I love my characters so much, sometimes they feel more real to me than the people around me. It comes, in part, from opening myself up fully to them when I’m writing. I often say I’m not responsible–I’m the fingers on the keyboard. They are the ones writing the books for me and I’m just along for the ride. And very grateful to be here 🙂
What advice would you give other writers?
Three things I think are super important:
1) Never quit. Never ever. Ignore the haters, the critics, your fears. Skills and experience are ahead of you. The spark can’t be taught. If you’re a writer/creator, then you are. Keep going, keep learning and trust the voices.
2) Be a pro. Do your due diligence, just like any business person (this goes for traditional publishing and self publishing). Know the path you want to take and take it, but be informed and prepared for what’s coming. And if you’re hurt, keep it to yourself, as hard as that is sometimes. Learn to separate “art” from “business”. It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself. You can’t please everyone, so focus on being professional and always learning.
3) Have fun! We forget sometimes this is the most fun job ever in the history of the Universe. Remind yourself daily. Because when the fun goes away, so does the passion.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Research, research, research. I’ve published traditionally, with small indie houses and on my own through Purely Paranormal Press/Patti Larsen Books. Knowing the path you want to take is vital. Did I change my mind along the way? Sure did. I learned a great deal from every experience. Self publishing isn’t for everyone–though I discovered it’s definitely for me. And traditional publishing might make your skin crawl. Regardless your decision, stay flexible and open to changes in the industry–they happen all the time and might change your mind along the way.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m excited to see where things go from here. Being part of the massive changes going on in the industry drives me to stay informed and focused, to work as hard on my muse as much as being an entrepreneur. And while change can be scary, I believe if we focus on the good things and keep working as hard as we can on producing quality content our readers love, everything will work out exactly as intended.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
All Genres of YA (paranormal romance, horror, sci-fi, you name it!)
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print