Last weekend I hauled myself up to my local indie to see the Smart Chicks. So many people turned up, and the Chicks were on FIRE.
Well, I mean, not, like, literally en fuego, just, you know, totally awesome. Smart Chicks organizers Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, and Alyson Noel sat on a panel with buds Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, and Rachel Caine, taking questions from the crowd. I wrote down some of the stuff they had to say about writing, 'cause I wanted to share my Smart Chicks experience with y'all.
ON WRITER'S BLOCK.
Cassandra Clare uses "the House method." I.e., writer's block vs. a symptom of something greater. If you can figure out where the block is, you can flush it out and get your story back to health.
Melissa Marr, in all seriousness, stated that when she's battling writer's block, she snorkels in her bathtub until she figures it out. She willingly admitted that she's probably the only writer who does this, and that it's a little bit of a weird solution, but that it's what works for her.
Alyson Noel said that writer's block is from not knowing "enough about your story, your characters, or your world." If you can find out more about these things, you can probably get over the writer's block.
ON ADVICE FOR YOUNG WRITERS:
Melissa Marr said, "Whatever you want to do, follow your passion." According to Ms. Marr, the books that stand out are the ones written with passion.
Holly Black advised young writers to "get a critique partner, who will keep you honest and motivated." She said that there are plenty of people out there who will read your work and tell you its great (like mom or your best friend), but you need to find someone who will read with a critical eye.
Rachel Caine said, "Be Patient," because you're not instantly good at any art form.
ON HOW LONG IT TOOK TO PUBLISH THEIR FIRST NOVELS:
Cassandra Clare: 4 years.
Alyson Noel: 15 years.
Melissa Marr: 2 years.
Rachel Caine: 8 years.
Every book's journey is different, and you can see here that if any author gave up easily their books would never hit the shelves!
All of the Smart Chicks admitted to making playlists, though Kelley Armstrong said she only does one song per character.
Of course it was a fabulous night, and it was so fun getting to say hi to all the fabulous Smart Chicks. I love the message they are sending to the young women of our country, because we all need to hear it sometimes: You can do it!
Here's the video the Smart Chicks made at the Austin tour stop. Enjoy! (I'm in there somewhere, but it's such a blur, I can't even see me!)