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writers you love - author q&a

Elizabeth Eulberg answers reader Qs about writing romance

Prom and Prejudice. The Lonely Hearts Club. Take a Bow. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality. Better Off Friends. Yep, just a roster of author Elizabeth Eulberg's incredible teen romances--and a list of some of our favorites ever. We got Elizabeth to answer YOUR questions on Facebook. And now--drum roll please!--here are her very best answers to your very best questions.  

 

Reader Q from MissBehaved: How do you write a really good kissing scene?

I always think the build-up is the best part, when a girl is about to kiss that guy she's had a crush on in forever. I like to build the anticipation, have them slowly lean slowly together, get her thoughts as she's approaching this moment she's no doubt dreamed about. I actually don't like to get into too much detail about the kiss - I like to leave that up to the reader. Plus, my parents read my books!

 

Reader Q from McKenna S.: How are you able to keep yourself focused until you finish a book?

Having a deadline helps!! But I like to give myself either daily or weekly goals, usually a word count that I need to reach. If I do it, I treat myself (a cupcake always works for me!). Finishing is HUGE. I'm a big believer in getting to the end. There is always time to revise and edit, so I'm all about forward momentum until the first draft is done. Writing a novel can be overwhelming so just take it chapter by chapter - you'll get there!!

 

Reader Q from Kaitlyn S.: As a huge Jane Austen fan, I loved your novel Prom & Prejudice. In fact, I recently wrote a retelling of Pride and Prejudice and I'm working on editing it. So I was wondering, how did you go about editing Prom & Prejudice?

as you know, retelling Jane Austen is so much fun, but it can also be nerve-wracking! I always ask a couple friends to read my manuscripts before I turn them into my editor. For P&P, I had someone who was familiar with the book and someone who wasn't. Retellings have to stand on their own, so you need to make sure you successfully created your own world. Do not be afraid of criticism!! It makes the book better. And having fresh eyes on a book is so important.

 

Reader Q from Linkin: I am a reporter for a local newspaper. I was wondering how can you get inspiration? My editor is always wanting us to get more stories but how can I be inspired?

I get inspiration from all around me. It seems silly, but it's so important to pay attention to your surroundings. I got the idea for my first book (The Lonely Hearts Club) because a friend started to ignore me when she got a boyfriend and I was so sick of it. Take a Bow came from my love of music and the thought about writing a book that takes place in a performing arts high school. My newest book that's coming out in a couple weeks (Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality) came from watching Toddlers & Tiaras: what must it be like to be a teen sister of a beauty pageant contestant. That's the biggest piece of advice I can give you. Constantly think: WHAT IF? WHAT IF you got locked in your school over the weekend? WHAT IF your best guy friend had a crush on you? That's all you need for a story - a seed. And from there you let it grow with finding the answer to your questions.

 

Reader Q from Claire T.: How do you keep the plot going?

I like to spend a lot of time with the characters before I write a single word. I try to figure them out, what they want from their life, what are their biggest fears, etc. This helps me sometimes figure out different twists and turns. And as I mentioned earlier about getting ideas by asking WHAT IF? I also do that when outlining a book. WHAT IF the guy she had a crush on got a girlfriend? A book isn't that fun to read if the gun and girl get together on page 1, you need to create obstacles to keep the story fun. It also can be fun to talk out a story with a friend and play the WHAT IF game. Good luck!

 

Reader Q from Cami: How do you make your books relatable to teens?

In all honesty, I do remember being a teen well: feeling insecure, not knowing where I fit in, wanting to leave my small town, etc. I try to tap into that. The biggest challenge is the fact that things like the internet and Facebook didn't exist when I was a teen (I KNOW, right? How old AM I?). So I try to keep in mind how much more connected teens are to when I was a teen. And I also try to really pay attention and listen to teens when I'm doing events. I also willl admit to eavesdropping at Starbucks!

 

Reader Q from Taylor S.: Would it be odd to write the book from both the boy’s and the girl’s point of view?

It isn't odd at all! There are lots of books that do that - I'm actually doing that right now. My book, Better Off Friends, alternates between a guy and a girl. In Take a Bow, I alternate between four different people. I prefer first person point of view, but sometimes you need more than one voice!! Just be sure to make the two voices unique. Guys think differently than girls and don't use such flowery language - so just be sure to be consistent.

 

Reader Q from Yanicke F.: How long does it usually take you to finish your first draft? Are you a write by the seat of your pants writer? Or do you follow a plan?

I'm not a fly by the seat of my pants writer. I tried that with my first book and it took five years! Now I keep a notebook for every book I write. So I start with figuring out the characters and doing a rough outline - the basic story. Then before I sit down to write, I'll make a bullet point list of what that chapter or scene needs to accomplish. Since I started this my first draft takes about 3-4 months. But remember, I'm a fulltime author - everybody has their own way and in their own time. Happy writing!

 

Reader Q from SoccerChica28: I'm ALWAYS stuck on the beginning of my stories! How do I easily begin my story without dragging on or having too little information?

The first few pages of a book are so important. You have to set-up the characters, the plot, and need to keep the reader invested. My recommendation is to look at a few books in the same genre you're working with (be it contemporary, sci-fi) and breakdown what the author did to see how they did it. I'm not saying to copy what they do, but reading is such a huge part of being a better writer. I do that all the time, when an author is very successful at something, be it a twist or character, I go back and ask HOW DID THEY DO THAT?

 

Reader Q from Shelby C.: How did you get people to actually read your book?

In order to be published (the traditional way, aka a book publisher instead of self-publishing), you need to get an agent. That may seem scary, but there's a bunch of great information online about finding an agent (you can even search for "agent" on my blog and I have an entire blog post about it). The agent then finds the right publisher for you. I'm a HUGE believer in traditional publishing. There are so many books out there you need to have a publishing house help you get your book the best it can get, and then package and promote it. Plus I have the best publisher, Scholastic! VERY lucky, but it did take a lot of work!

 

Reader Q from Piper L.: How do you build on an idea for a story line?

I build on ideas by asking a lot of questions, my favorite is WHAT IF? You need to have lots of moving parts to make a story interesting. So I'll sit with a character and think, "how am I going to torture you today?" HA! Just joking (sort of). What is the character's goal? And what is the way of that goal? How is their friend helping or harming? What about their parents? Just ask yourself a ton of questions to figure everything out.

 

Reader Q from Rhoni J.: What inspires you to keep writing? Sometimes I lost my inspiration, and then I lose my interest.

I do take everything one step at a time as writing can get overwhelming. So give yourself one goal for the week or month, whatever works for you. But if you lose interest in a story, there may be another story you want to tell instead. But I will say there is no greater feeling than finishing a first draft. Then finishing a second draft, etc. until there's a finished book on the shelf. It takes a lot of work, but if you keep at it, it WILL happen! XO

published April 01, 2014
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