I had the pleasure of reading Stacey Lee‘s Under the Painted Sky in ARC form and was so taken with it that I asked if she would be willing to visit with us here, for Friend Friday. I was thrilled when she said yes!
Staring at the Wall
Most of us writers spend our time in comfy clothes, feet kicked up, staring at the wall. To the untrained eye, it may look like we are doing nothing. But in reality, we are the flesh and blood vessels in which ideas incubate, ideas that will one day grow into stories. The wall is a blank space for the mind to wander. For me, it is even more than that.
My wall measures 8×14 ft. Above the wainscoting lies a field of ‘pressed powder’ pink, coated with Idea Paint, a dry-erase whiteboard paint gloss. One thing I do early in the writing process is create a calendar of my story on my wall. This helps me organize the time frame in which all the events in my story occur. I’m constantly shuffling events around, and it’s extremely helpful to have a visual understanding of where things go, especially with longer books and complex story lines.
The other thing I do on my wall is stick notecards, recalling the main point/event of each chapter, in chronological order. This usually happens after the first draft, when I’m honing story and character arcs. I add emotional beats for each character using a different color for each character, again, so I can see how their story is taking shape. I’m often asked how I keep track of all the things happening in my story. My wall is the answer.
Actually, there is one more way my wall helps me. My family likes to leave notes there, including words of encouragement, and pictures. And there’s nothing like, say, a monkey with a party hat, to let my imagination take flight.
Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall.
After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than
moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, wrangles children, and writes YA fiction. Her historical YA, UNDER A PAINTED SKY, debuts March 17 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Follow her on twitter@staceyleeauthor.