Monday, November 19, 2012

How Authors Write- Katie Carroll

Today I welcome fellow MuseItUp author Katie Carroll. As I read through her answers, I found that Katie and I have more in common than just our fantasy stories and Muse.

What do you write?
I write YA, MG, and picture books in everything from fantasy to contemporary.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?
I’ve worked in both 1st person and 3rd person. I do have one story with multiple 1st person POV characters. It really depends on what the story calls for.

How do you get started with a book- is it an idea, a character, vary from story to story?
I usually start with an idea. It could start from a dream, a scene in nature, a “what if” question, really anywhere. Usually the idea is associated with a character. Although, it requires more of a concerted effort on my part to flesh out a character versus developing an idea.

Do you draft quickly? Or are you more detailed in your draft?
I am a painfully slow drafter and am constantly working on ways to be quicker with drafts. I tend to work out in my head most of the major plot points of a story before I even begin writing. It took me a couple of years to draft my first novel and slightly less time for the second novel I wrote.

Do you do research before your first draft, during?
I might do a little research before I begin drafting, but a good amount of research is done while I draft. I often end up doing some research while revising as well.

Do you outline? How?
I don’t outline, except in my head. As I've become more familiar with my own writing style, I've realized I am a very plot driven writer. Outlining really isn't necessary for me to keep track of my plot; it’s all there in my head. I do, however, create what I like to call a “mess” for each story. The mess can be all types of things: marked up books I've used in research, scribbles in my notebooks about characters and plots, sketches of physical spaces in my WIP. I usually have a whole folder on my computer devoted to the mess as well, which can have anything from articles from the Internet to a calendar of events in the story.[The outlining in the head and notes everywhere is so me!

Do you name everything up front when you are drafting or do you leave comments for yourself to go back and fill in later so you don't lose the flow of what you are working on?
I tend to draft straight through without leaving out too much. Lately, though, I've been trying to push through drafts quicker, so I've been allowing myself to leave holes to come back and fill in later.

Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work?
I have both beta readers and a critique group I work with. I like to give my beta readers chapters as I finish them. I use my beta readers more for cheerleading than for critique. My beta readers are there to keep me motivated by saying, “Where’s the rest of that book? I've been dying to see how it ends.” I like to have a full draft done before I engage my critique partners because I find too much feedback too early in the drafting stage is too debilitating for my drafting process.

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best?
Okay, confession time: I don’t really like books or websites about writing. I think they help lots of writers be better writers, but I just don’t personally get a lot out of them. I find going to conferences helpful in many ways. They keep me inspired and eager to write. There’s also something about seeing and hearing a writer in person talking about their process that resonates with me much more than reading about a writer’s process. For a supportive kidlit writing community, I've found author Verla Kay's discussion boards to be priceless.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing.
That every published author has his/her own path to publication and no one writer’s path is better than another’s. I think it’s important to cheer on fellow writers, but it’s equally as important not to compare your own journey with theirs. [What a GREAT point!]

What do you have out now, or coming out? Any upcoming events? A website we can find you and your books at? An author photo? A booktrailer? Anything else you want to share?

My YA fantasy Elixir Bound is currently available through
MuseItUp Publishing and on Amazon. [I love this cover!]

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.
For it is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings who will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.
Buy Elixir Bound for your Kindle, Nook, PC, and other devices from MuseItUp Publishing. Elixir Bound is also available at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and other ebook retailers.

I also have a picture book called The Bedtime Knight coming out in November through the picture book app company MeeGenius! and illustrated by Erika Baird.  [This looks absolutely adorable!] 

With a little help from Daddy Knight, a young child learns how to turn the scary shadows of the night into fun imaginings. Read it yourself or have it read to you with the MeeGenius! picture book app.

My website and blog are at

Thanks for sharing your process with us, Katie!


  1. Nice to meet you, Katie! I, too, am a painful slow drafter. I'm working on three drafting projects, right now. I've been skipping from one to the other, making no progress, so I decided to try doing them all at the same time. Just started, so we'll see...

    1. Nice to meet you too, SA. That sounds a lot like my all-over-the-place drafting process. Good luck with it. :)

    2. Wow, Sheri, I've worked on two at a time, but I'm not sure I could keep three at a time straight. Let me know how that goes!

  2. Thanks for having me, Mary. It was fun talking my writing process.

    1. You are most welcome. I really enjoyed hearing about your process, and find it interesting how much it is similar to mine.

  3. Hi Katie. So nice to learn about your writing process here. I'm a slow drafter too. Sometimes agonizingly slow, but it's not something I seem to be able to change. I agree with you about every writer's path being different; comparing is a dangerous trap.

    Again, thanks for sharing, Katie, and introducing me to Mary's blog (new follower)

    1. Great point- it is so important to remember are paths are all different, and that is a good thing!

      Thanks for the follow.

    2. Hi, Ruth. Glad you found Mary's blog. Slowness loves company! I try to find a balance between pushing myself and allowing the drafting to happen as it fits my (slow) process.

  4. So interesting to get insight on fellow authors' writing process. I am the opposite. I let my critique group go at it as I write the story, then let beta readers have a chance. I recently pubbed a non-fiction e-book for girls and really enjoyed writing for that age group. I plan to do more non-fiction material for them. I need help and really appreciate the link to Verla Kay site. Your picture book looks adorable. Best wishes!

    1. That sounds like a good process, JQ.

      I used to exchange 2-3 chapters with my CP's and then make changes and send for more feedback. Lately, I've taken to writing a full first draft and then tweaking it until I'm happy with it before sending it out. So far, that is working better as I don't have so many changes to bombard my CP's with.

    2. I am actually trying something new with my latest WIP, JQ. I'm letting my critique group look at very raw pages. I asked them to keep in mind I'm still learning about the characters, their voices, and the story.

      Verla's blueboards are awesome! They've kept me sane on many a freakout moment on this crazy roller coaster that is the writing life.


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