Monday, January 5, 2015

How Authors Write~ S.Usher Evans

Today I welcome S. Usher Evans to the blog to talk about her writing process.
Welcome! Please, tell us a bit about what you write.

The breadth of my unpublished portfolio is actually fantasy (contemporary and epic-ish), but my first published series is science fiction. Most of my characters are in the young adult/new adult category.

Do you use 1st person, 3rd person, multiple POVs?

I used to write primarily in third person, but recently I began writing a book where I'm using dual-1st person POVs. I think it adds to this particular story because you get to add in a bit more opinion than in 3rd person.

[I have found writing in 1st person to be quite an enjoyable break, too]

For the Razia series, the third person helps establish who she sees herself as in any given time. The first book is pretty cut and dry - she's addressed as Lyssa when she's in her "scientist" world and Razia when she's in her "pirate" world. But in the second book, there's a nuanced change - when she's alone on her ship with Lizbeth, she sees herself as Lyssa. This is a subtle shift towards her fully accepting that side of herself.

That sounds really interesting. I look forward to reading the series and seeing how this works.

How do you get started with a book?

For my upcoming contemporary fantasy novel, Empath, the idea came to me because I had just recently been in touch with my ex-boyfriend, drudging up lots of anxiety-producing feels which got channeled into this blog post. Soon after, I went to one of those jewelry-buying parties where I mentioned the only thing I ever wear is my sun necklace, which I bought to help remind myself to calm down and keep to my intention.

On the way home from the party, the idea came to me of a girl battling her anxieties, who can avoid her own emotions by reading the emotions of others, but tormented by a fire breathing dragon that reminds her of all the things she's afraid of. And voila...Empath was born.

For the Razia books - they've been floating in my head since I was 15 years old.

Do you draft quickly?

I can put down anywhere between 3-4k a day in a single story, and sometimes if the urge strikes, I can do that on two stories a day. Since I'm planning on releasing 2-3 books a year for the next couple of years, I give myself about 3 months for a draft that is acceptable to send to beta-readers. They get a month or two to crack on it, then I get another month to poke at it, then it goes to a copy editor, then it gets formatted, then it's available for pre-order. And repeat.

Do you do research before your first draft, during?

Sometimes when I want to add some more science-y things to the Razia books, I will. Mostly I like to make everything up as I go along. 

Do you outline?

I use Scrivener to write all of my books now, and I love the ability to put together scenes and chapters. Outlining for me is more a matter of being lazy - I know what I want to happen in a particular scene, but I don't want to write it right at this very second.

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? 

If I've turned off the internet to get to writing, I'll just put () in place of a character name. But otherwise, I use Random Name Generator to come up with all my names (especially pirate aliases).

That's a great site for names. Do you work with CP's or Beta's? How soon into your draft do you let them see your work? 

No one gets to see anything until I am no longer embarrassed by it - usually 2 compile-and-read-on-iPad drafts. 

I've got two very close friends that are the first to read Razia books, but for Empath, I decided to use complete strangers because I needed them to separate the inspired-by-a-true-story-stuff and tell me if it's actually entertaining. 

What books/websites have you found most helpful to helping you write your best? 

This sounds like I'm up my own butt, but I really don't want to read or research anything about writing. I write because it's what my soul tells me to do; my beta-readers tell me when my soul is making no sense, and my copy-editor when my soul is grammatically incorrect. :D

Lol! I like the way you phrased that.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started writing? 

I'd like to say that I wish I hadn't given up on it when I went to college, but if I hadn't learned all of the business stuff I learned as a consultant, I never would have been able to set up a company, and know how to make it successful.

So I'd probably say that you have to do a double -- to do a dash in books. It's a small thing but now it bugs me in my work.

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. 


  1. Thank you so much for having me today! <3

  2. Great interview! Love the story behind your inspiration for Empath :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by Meradeth!

    2. Hey dahlin! Hoping that the novel is as good as the inspiration. :D


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