Make our next guest poster super comfortable and give her lots of nice comments.:) Enjoy!
Coauthoring vs. Solo Writing: Part 2
By Paulina Czarnecki
Paulina Czarnecki is a fifteen-year-old writer who lives in Michigan. She loves country music, plays piano, guitar, volleyball, and soccer, and loves her friends, the best of whom is Jesus. She blogs at http://www.paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com.
On the Line is Paulina’s latest project. In it, teenage mercenary spy Blaze Houston recruits a young thief–Wolf Morrison–on the impossible assignment of ending the war that has torn their home, the Continent, apart. Read more about the characters and the story at http://www.paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com/my-book/
As a solo writer, how do you formulate ideas for your books?
I used to write very detailed outlines, but because I felt burned out from finishing On the Line, I’m trying a combination of pantsing and plotting. One of the things I like about writing alone is being able to change my methods and habits however I want.
In your opinion, what are some advantages of being a solo author?
Well, for one, I like working on my own schedule. I’m very busy with activities outside of writing, and coauthoring sounds like a lot of extra work when scheduling is concerned. I also think it would be harder to agree on the plot, because every once in a while, an author gets an idea he or she does not want to let go of. As a solo writer, I like being able to rely on myself and do everything my way; having to think of another person as an author would be difficult for me.
From what you know about coauthoring, what do you think some advantages are?
When two or more people are working on one project, many ideas can get tossed around. When I work alone, there’s a certain way I envision my plot and I usually can’t find alternate storylines. If I was working with someone else, I could be more creative by working with more than one pool of ideas. Having another person to lean on when “life happens” to meet deadlines would also be nice.
Do you find yourself, as a solo writer, often bouncing ideas off people and asking opinions?
Yes, actually, I do. When I was first thinking about the plot for On the Line, I asked my friends lots of questions about what they thought should happen at certain points. I also recall making them do a lot of ninja research… (Shadow Walkers were originally ninjas. Cool, I know.) I didn’t use most of the stuff they came up with, but one of my close friends actually named my main character Blaze and it stuck.
Have you considered coauthoring before?
Yeah, with you! :) I also talked about it with a friend when we had similar ideas for a Narnia-esque story in third grade, but I don’t think that counts. And I did some ghostwriting for that same friend recently, if that falls under co-authoring.
Can you describe your writing process? Like after you get an idea, do you plot for a long time, then write, or do you just pick up your pen or computer and start writing right away?
I plot for a looong time. I turn an idea over and over in my head. If I’m working on something, I think about how I could incorporate that idea into my current work, which helps me from getting distracted and keeps me energized for that story. I also write sample scenes in my head, get to know my characters by taking personality quizzes in their names, and fill out plot charts.
When did you start writing?
I’m not sure. I know that when I was really little and couldn’t sleep, I’d narrate stories in my head. Most of my early ones were from an animal’s point of view. :)
How many books have you written?
Lots, but only a few that I would consider real “books.” I wrote a winding story about a dog that was really a wolf that belonged to a girl in a composition notebook sometime around fourth grade, and a sequel with the same characters about said girl’s horse around that same time. I wrote a knockoff of a bunch of my favorite books (though I didn’t realize it as I was writing) in seventh grade, and started On the Line in eighth. I’ve recently finished polishing On the Line and am just shy of 10 000 words into the sequel for that. There were others in between that I didn’t finish.
Have you been published before?
I’ve had a short story in Starsongs Magazine called In the End about the end of eighth grade that was actually based on something my friends and I did. I’ve also done guest posts and interviews on other blogs, as well as on mine. Check out http://www.paulinaczarnecki.wordpress.com/about/portfolio for the complete list and links.
Where are you in your current book? Is it finished, are you querying, etc.
I’ve recently finished polishing and have sent it out to family and friends to read and give me feedback. I’m done with it, but I guess I’m waiting for the “right time” to start querying. I’m planning on starting with it at the beginning of summer, after exams and soccer are over and I’m a bit more free.
Do you think the publishing process would be easier solo or with a coauthor?
I think it would both be easier and harder in different parts. Coordinating schedules would be a nightmare for publicity stuff and marketing, but I think it would be a lot easier to spread the work out over two people. More could get done.
When you need encouragement where/who do you go to?
My friends, (you!), my parents, and always God. My dad always listens to what I’m saying, and my mom always knows exactly how to encourage me. My friends will listen even when they don’t exactly get it, and tell me lies about what a fabulous person I am. :) And Jesus is always there for me, so I can always get all my fears and hopes out for Him.
Do you have any tips or encouragement for all of the solo writers out there?
I would say… Learn to rely on yourself, because as a solo writer, that’s all you’ve got; learn your craft, because nobody’s going to be telling you what to do and how to do it along the way. But for the non-writing stuff, for encouragement and help and all that, don’t be afraid to talk to others. It can get overwhelming sometimes.
Also–make lists. To do lists, character lists, lists of helpful links, lists listslists. They help more than you could ever know keeping everything in line. :)
Thanks for having me on your blog, Nat! :)