Robin’s Writing Process

Right now, Justine and I are in nothern California on her How to Ditch Your Fairy tour. So while I”m on the road with sucky hotel internets, I thought I’d hand over the blog to Robin Wasserman, who I just interviewed a few days ago. She’ll be around for the rest of the week, till we get back to NYC.

Take it away, Robin!

First of all, thanks again to Scott, for letting me camp out here while you’re gone. I’ll try not to burn the place down.

Second, thanks for all the awesome comments on Monday’s interview. And thanks, in advance, for tolerating my continued presence. As opposed to, say, throwing rotten fruit. Stepping in for Scott feels a little like opening for the Beatles. (Just fyi, I’m not nearly as old as that reference makes me sound. Technically, I’m not even half that old.)

Third of all, because before we go any further I figure you should know exactly where I stand:

(If I knew how to make that font bigger, I would. My love for Zane requires sky-high neon letters. Preferably flashing.)

Scott suggested that as long as I’m here, you guys might want to hear a bit about my writing process. Unfortunately, these days my process is as follows:
1. Wake up.
2. Stare at computer.
3. Bang head on computer.
4. Take some Advil for throbbing head.
5. Stare more. Bang more. Wonder if it’s too soon to take more Advil.
6. Type something. Delete it.
7. Freak out when computer crashes. (Possibly connected to all the banging?)
8. Cross fingers and reboot. Eat a cookie for luck. (And for sugar high.)
9. Type something else.
10. Stare at computer.
11. Go to sleep.

The sad fact is, by this point in my “writing process” (ie book due in a few weeks), my brain is basically cheese. And not the sharp kind, like cheddar. Think soft and runny and totally useless.

I’m also at the point where everything I write makes me think, “Why would anyone ever want to read this, or anything else I write? If I ever had any talent, which is debatable, it must have leaked out while I was watching Gossip Girl, because clearly the universe is punishing me for watching too much TV, and now I’m going to have to quit being a writer and go learn to juggle or something so that I can join the circus, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing because even hosing down elephants while scary clowns are stuffing themselves into tiny cars and pretending to pull fake flowers out of each other’s fake noses would be preferable to SITTING IN FRONT OF THIS COMPUTER FOR ONE MORE MINUTE.”

This point in the writing process is, as you may have noticed, a bit of a downer. So for your reading pleasure — and my own sanity, I figured I would treat you to a glimpse of my favorite part of the whole thing: The end.

A lot of writers I know figure out their stories as they’re going along. But I’m a big fan of outlines, which means I almost always know how my things are going to turn out. Sometimes I even know what the last line will be. You know how sometimes when you’re reading a really good book, you start going slower and slower as you approach the last page, because you don’t want it to end? That’s almost how it feels to be finishing up a book — once the end is in sight, once you can feel it coming, you’re almost sorry.

I said almost.

Because eventually the end comes, and writing that last line is like eating a brownie sundae. (And not the kind where the brownie is stale and the ice cream has freezer burn. I’m talking homemade brownie, hand-churned ice cream, hot fudge sauce. No cherry. I hate cherries.) The only thing better is pressing “send” on my email and shipping the book off to my editor—-then, for a few brief, blissful seconds soaking in the fact that the book is DONE.

At least until it’s time for revisions.

Bring on the Advil.

Questions, comments, requests for my next post? I’ll answer anything you’ve got since, as you may have guessed, I’d rather be reading your comments than writing my book!

89 thoughts on “Robin’s Writing Process

  1. Laura-la: Funny you should ask, I DO have my own blog… ( Hopefully some of you guys will come visit me there next week, because this blogging thing is *way* more fun when there are all these comments!

  2. i’ve heard a lot about skinned and now i’m like great, another book i HAVE to buy RIGHT NOW!!! of course, it is really early in the morning right now, so i’ll have to wait.

    i too am a big fan of outlines. and right now i’m on here instead of writing like i should be…

    oh, by the way,

    Team David!!!

  3. Uhm, okay. I have a writing question for you. Once you had a manuscript all polished up, did you hit the agents or the publishing houses with your query letters?

    And TEAM DAVID totally cuz he can totally survive in the wilds.

  4. I’ve got to say that I’ve been team David since day one. Not saying that I hate Zane, but his awesomeness level really doesn’t compare to David’s.

    Even though I’ve never written an entire novel before, I’ve had to write creative writing pieces for school. Usually how that goes down for me is 4 weeks of procrastination, maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to squeeze out 700 words (max). Then, in the last two days I’ll write a few thousand words without much trouble and all is well.

  5. WandaV: I’m going to talk about this a bit in my next post, but the short story is that I went straight to a publishing company, because I knew someone who worked at Simon & Schuster (because I used to work in publishing myself, though at a different place, which is where the story gets longer…).

  6. Amy-la: I definitely don’t want to start a war! So I’ll just give my briefest answer, which is that
    1) I love Shay, and I think David treats her like crap
    2) It’s kind of effortless for David to be awesome, b/c he was raised that way, while Zane has to struggle to be a hero
    3) I’m a huge sucker for the angsty, brilliant troublemaker type

    But they both have a lot going for them, so I can see why people are David fans. Don’t break a hoverboard over my head!

  7. I didn’t read all the comments cuz my back hurts and i wanna go upstairs and lie down 🙁 Funny post, I liked it. Maybe I’ll check out Skinned when I can. Oh btw: Team David. (Tho’ I still LOVE Zane lots and it sucked crap when he ___)

  8. Thanks Robin-Sensei, and I am so for team Zane, I cried when he died, and I ran into my brothers room saying “Oh, my god! Scott Westerfeld killed off Zane!” and he just laughed at me cuz he had no idea what I was talking about lol.

  9. hmmm…cherry-flavoured popsicles ARE delicious…

    And I had totally forgotten until i read this that Zane ____. Then I was going to do one of the Uglies books for a report in English class, but I got an Anne Rice novel instead because they didn’t have specials. Ya…

  10. I`m totally team zane.david`s great,but he`s not right 4 tally she and zane were perfect…until he died.i wish scott would have either A:kept zane alive,B:kept tally single and let david have shay,or C:killed off tally,2.there,i said it.if tally was dead she could b with zane.btw,skinned is next on my list,robin wa,don`t worry,u will get ur money out of me,lol.btw,I am going 2 order a zane tshirt SOON.robin,u should get one. I know I might have struck major controversey with the whole “wish tally died thing” well,hey,post ur nasty comments(if u even care to) I welcome all responses.just don`t kill me,or I`ll haunt u

  11. ok i wont kill you
    ok im done
    Robin-la: looking up your blog…
    TEAM ZANE FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Robin-la: O MY GOSH!!!!(again!)I DIDNT KNOW YOU WROTE HACKING HARVARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THAT IS LIKE MY FAVORITE BOOK THATS NOT IN A SIERIS(i siriously cant spell)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I KNEW YOUR NAME SOUNDED FAMILER(siriously, in 3rd grade i never got a coloring sheet cause i never got an 100% on my spelling test:”( )!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. TEAM DAVID!!

    Zane is so… idk. He’s never really real. He kisses her just to stay bubbly. ugh.

    lol anyway…. I’m reading the series again, and I want david! :O

  14. eva-la: That’s so cool! You know, I love Skinned, but Hacking Harvard comes so much out of my own life (I’m a little bit Lex, and a bunch of the Harvard hijinx come from my own high school and college years) that sometimes it feels like an autobiography. So I’m always psyched to hear people are reading it!

  15. The angsty type of guys are *the best*
    And and and
    I have a bracelet I made that says WWTD and its like

  16. Jay-wa:sorry 4 killing ur homegirl,lol.don`t b mad,she did not really die. Eva-la: Well she has been through a lot,but being a team zane girl,I can`t understand why she went 4 david.poor zane is crying.

  17. Oh,hey,has anyone heard about the new scott westerfeld book `bogus to bubbly`? sry,just want to know what it`s about.I`m gonna bye how 2 ditch ur fairy and skinned soon,so i wanted 2 know if i could picck up bogus to bubbly,if it`s out.

  18. Hey Robin
    Awesome writing process! 🙂
    I’m gonna be reading Skinned at some point or another, just let my local library get its orders in first 🙂
    Green Day is cool but do you know The Living End? They are the best eva.
    Anyways I’m off

  19. sonja, u could use the word bubbly instead of awesome,if u,and did u see the skinned trailer on robins blog?genious!

  20. Yay, fellow Team Zane person! I just don’t feel like Tally and David should be together, because she’s a different person then she was in Uglies, and though a lot of it DID have to do with the leasions and brainwashing, for better or worse, she changed. Okay, that part of the rant’s over (for now).
    Extremely LOL-worthy view of the writing process. I’d also love to be an author, but fear that it might–or WOULD, to be more precise–turn out to be waaaaay worse than that. I’m not a bad writer, but i have semi-permanent writers block.
    I’m an extreme hater/lover of that book-ending feeling. I practically had to force myself to read the last line of the epilogue in the seventh HP book.

  21. I HAVE to get Skinned as soon as someone drives me to Barnes & Noble! And Robin, I seriously laughed out loud like nine times when reading your post. I got weird looks from my parents….

    And even though I’m more of a Midnighters person, I’m definately team Zane. And, being a Midnighters person, team Rex =]

    And I love the Chasing Yesterday series.

    That is all.

  22. Helyn-la: That’s why I’ve adopted the habit of biting my lip when I read email, blogs, etc. I’ve had that weird look thing happen waaaay too many times to me, lol.
    I’m also team Zane, and I do like Midnighters better but think I’m on team Dess.

  23. lol you rock im gonna get the team zane shirt lol i also like twilight(though uglies is better) in twilight im team jacob

    -Team Zane

  24. Know what you mean even though i am not a published writer. You sit there the whole time thinking have a good idea fix other details before wait for ideas it’s been four hourse and you have one small, dainty little paragraph.

  25. I like to watch Veronica Mars episodes as well Lost. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  26. Aw, that was prettty awesome 🙂 That’s what my writing process is like as well haha… same to be said for the outlining thing. I outline a lot… and I sometimes get just random dialogue between my characters pop into my head that I HAVE to write down. And I get a lot of endings.

    It’s hard for me to start the beginnings like I want them to. I can never get it just right, and I’m sometimes just so worried that it sounds corny or cliche or randomly metaphorical (metaphorical in a way that I don’t want it to be)

    You know what’s a song that really gets me thinking? “Pretty girl” by Sugarcult. I don’t know why… It just does. Kind of turns your brain in that direction of thought.. solidifies the cheese.

    I RRREEEAALLLLYYY want to read your book Skinned but they don’t sell it in the town I live in (It’s just THAT small) but I was thinking of ordering it….. : D

  27. Extremely interesting post thank you for sharing I have added your website to my favorites and will be back 🙂 By the way this is a little off subject but I really like your sites layout.

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