About Traci Loudin:
I’ve always enjoyed reading about fantastic worlds and writing intriguing characters. As a young West Virginian, I looked forward to library trips with my mother and the evenings when my father read H.G. Wells to me. Nowadays, I spend my time exploring geeky topics and scientific findings on my blog.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, and I think sooner or later all of that input begged for an output. Whenever I read really cool books, I’m inspired to write stories of my own. Conversely, I think with movies, I’m more inspired by the bad ones… I like to imagine how they could’ve done it differently. I’ve yet to develop any of those into stories of my own, but the point is that they get me in the mood to write. I also keep myself inspired to write by listening to other authors talking about writing, believe it or not. It just gets me so excited to dive back into my own worlds.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely an outliner, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think up a lot of stuff as I go along, too. With my most recent book, here’s how I did it: First, I looked through my folder of ideas, which I keep in Evernote. I found two ideas that really intrigued me again and clashed them together. Then I started thinking of what characters might be in those situations.
As I did so, I tried to start answering some key questions about those characters, like what do they want, how did they get here, and what keeps them from getting the things they want–even the little things. I picked up these questions from listening to a great episode of Writing Excuses. I think Mary Robinette Kowal mentions some great questions to ask your characters. Then based on the answers, I started getting more ideas for scenes in the novel that could bring out conflicts between what one character wants and another wants, and how their desires conflict and become each other’s obstacles. Those became scenes, which I then added to the other scenes I’d already thought of, and tried to start organizing them in a logical manner.
In parallel with all that, I was also thinking of what the world looks like, the history, the politics, the geography, and so on. Then I tried to make sure all the characters were in the right places at the right time to have these conflicts.
My final prewriting step was to do what I call ‘voice tests,’ which is similar to how an actor auditions for a role. I think this was another idea from Writing Excuses that Brandon Sanderson shared. It has been immensely helpful to me so that as I’m writing, I can refer to those voice tests and make sure the characters sound like themselves.
The writing itself is the quick and easy part! After all that prewriting, the writing comes easily.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I’m not one of those writers who talks to their characters, although I do feel bad when I leave them in the middle of a fight scene or something because it’s time to eat!
What advice would you give other writers?
Set specific goals for what you want to accomplish in prewriting and stick to them. Don’t get so mired in worldbuilding that you never write. If you’re having trouble setting a writing schedule, try to tell yourself that you only have to write two nights a week. And if you get down to the last two days of the week and still don’t feel like writing, allow yourself to listen to ONE episode of Writing Excuses (they’re only 15 minutes long). That should be enough to get your engine running.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I intend to become a hybrid author. For now, I’m only a self-published author, but at some point I’d like to sell a book or two to a publisher to find a wider audience.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I don’t think publishing is an either/or scenario. I think authors are going to have more and more options available to them in the future as technology evolves. I hope that self-publishing becomes easier, because I love doing it all myself, but so many aspects of it are so tedious and time-consuming about the publishing process.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Scifi and fantasy all the way!
What formats are your books in?: eBook, Print, 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.