Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid student. Seriously! She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn’t until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction–not the Bible.
Seven years ago, Bethany’s sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read–but it taught her how to write. Since then she has completed six more novels, each one a little better than the one before. The fifth book she wrote, Shifting, is represented by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency, and will be published by Walker Books September 27, 2011.To learn more, visit her website.
Let the conversation begin!
What initially drew you to writing?
I never aspired to be a writer, perfectly content instead to be an avid reader. But one day, eight years ago, my sister told me about a man named Louis Sachar (the dude who wrote the awesomeness known as HOLES) who said all it took to write a book was an hour of writing a day and a year. My sister and I made a pact that we’d start writing an hour a day for a year and see what happened. Well, to make a long story short, I discovered that writing my own stuff was even better than reading someone else’s and I was hooked!
How many words do you write each day?
I don’t count words anymore. And I don’t set a time limit/maximum on what I write. I write when the story is ready to come out, because that is when I am the most creative. Sometimes I will go days without writing while the story simmers and grows in my mind. And then the story is ready to pour out so I will fill pages and pages with words.
Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?
I used to be a panster, but the more I write, the more I find it necessary to outline–even if it is just outlining the main plot points in my head, or darting down random notes on old receipts in my purse as I stand in the library checkout line. But for me to make a plot really fit together is sort of like doing a jigsaw puzzle. And if I don’t know what it is supposed to look like, it is a lot harder to make it all connect in the end.
What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
Music IS my creative battery. If I can find music that moves me, brings me to tears, fills me with emotion, I am creatively charged to the point of bursting. A few songs that are working for me right now are:
A Season in Hell by Moby Catch My Fall by Joanna Stevens Another Day by Sleepthief, Aethervox & Kyoko Baertsoen Secret Crowds by Angels and Airwaves Crossfire by Brandon Flowers
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Write what you love and someone else will love it too.
What advice would you give young writers?
If you want something badly enough, and you are willing to work for it, there is nothing you can’t achieve. Practice. Work. Work. Work some more. And you can achieve your dreams. Also, cherish everything that happens to you, both good and bad, and write those emotions into your stories.