Meet Laura Lascarso, YA novelist. Counting Backwards is Lascarso’s debut novel, the Florida Book Awards 2012 Gold Medal Winner. I recently met Lascarso at an event at my public library, and she was one of the authors who recommended I attend a writer’s conference. (Which was a fabulous idea!) To learn more about Lascarso and her book, visit her blog and Twitter account.
What is your greatest challenge while writing, and how do you overcome it?
My greatest challenge presently is finding enough time to write. Between working full-time and raising a family, there doesn’t seem to be enough time for brushing my teeth, much less writing, but I have been dedicating weekends to writing and revising only, and those sessions have been very productive and rewarding.
How do you motivate yourself to write consistently?
I am pretty self-motivated when it comes to writing the first draft. For revising, I find concrete deadlines very motivating. Chocolate and coffee are also great motivators when it comes to daily rewards.
What is your writing process like (plotter, or pantser/blurter?)
I’m a pantser that has become more of a plotter. My process is to usually write the first 50 pages just so that I can get to know my character, what she wants and what she is up against. Then I take those 50 pages to my critique group with my intentions for the story and together we brainstorm plot twists, added conflicts, subplots and the climax. Many times I have to completely rewrite what I’ve written, but it’s always ten times better because I know more about where my character has been and where she is going.
Are you a fan of sharing what you’ve written during the “early stages,” and asking for advice? If so, who has the privilege of reading your first drafts?
I only share with my two critique partners and sometimes my agent if I’m wondering if a project is marketable or not. My agent, Caryn Wiseman, is also an expert in the genres of young adult and middle grade fiction. She has great tips on how to make my work more compelling to those markets. All three women I trust and respect very much. Both of those qualities are important to have when handing over your creative work when it is still in the fledgling stage.
How do you believe aspiring writers should connect with their local writing community? Why/why not is this beneficial?
There are great writing communities in the Tallahassee area that I’m getting to know better and better. I’m also a member of SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Publishers). I go to at least one conference a year to stay current in the publishing business, as well as meet with other writers, agents and editors. I depend heavily on my critique group for feedback on my writing, and I rely on my Twitter community of writer friends for the social and networking aspects of writing professionally. All are extremely beneficial in their own way. I have found it to be true in all avenues of life, the more you give, the more you get back.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you began writing?
Be patient. You’ll get there. Maybe not as fast or easily as you would like, but you’ll get there. I’m still getting there myself!
What are you currently reading?
I just finished two really great YA books–If I Stay by Gayle Forman and A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. I’m now reading Pure by Julianna Baggott. All three are amazing writers with unique and strong voices. I’d recommend all three books.