Curious to discover how to productively take feedback to help you reach your writing goals? Or how to know when it’s time to let go of a project? Or strategies to help push yourself out of your comfort zone? How about ways to balance finances as an artist? We talk about it all and more with Libba Bray.
Libba is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine, the L.A. Times Book Prize finalist Beauty Queens, and The Diviners series which includes the fourth and final book in the series, The King of Crows, out now!
In our conversation, Libba and I talk about what it was like living and surviving in NYC when she first moved from Texas and dive into her first love of playwriting and the realities of producing a play. We then get into some real talk about money planning in creative fields and how to make an income while still making time for your craft. We discuss how she began writing YA novels, the steps she took to learn the structure of a novel and discover her writing process, and how learning to receive and give feedback can help shape your writing style.
And later in the episode, we go into detail about knowing when it’s time to move on from a project, I know there’s a lot of listeners in our Facebook group who’ve been wondering about this, so pay special attention to Libba’s experiences and advice and hopefully, it’ll help guide you with your decision-making. We wrap up our conversation by discussing how to best work with your writing partners so it’s a win-win relationship, and how writing has helped Libba to make sense of her place in the world.
Books and resources:
- Playwright Edward Albee
- Playrights Horizons
- WP Theater – formerly known as Women’s project
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch
- Authors Gayle Forman, Emily Jenkins, Kim Liggett, and Nova Ren Suma (Check our podcast episode with Nova Ren Suma right here!)
- The New York International Fringe Festival
- Spanish painter Joan Miró
- Author Ann Brashares
- New Leaf Literary agent Joanna Volpe (Check our podcast episode with Joanna Volpe right here!)
- Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott
- Author Oliver Sacks
- Podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking created by Nora McInerny
Check out these highlights:
- We discuss Libba’s journey breaking into the publishing world (7:00)
- We discover her first love of playwriting and the work that goes into producing a play (11:27)
- Real-talk about finances as an artist and how to balance money alongside your creative pursuits (21:20)
- How to productively take feedback to shape your writing voice (25:20)
- What drew Libba to writing YA and the steps she took to learn how to structure a novel (29:20)
- Strategies to determine when it’s time to let go of a project that’s gone stale (31:24)
- How to best utilize your writing partners (33:46)
- The art of providing constructive feedback (36:52)
- How writing has helped Libba make sense of her place in the world during challenging times (42:18)
- The key to pushing past comfort and complacency in life (52:20)
“I will always love theater because you can do something in theater that you can’t do anywhere else, which is to co-create a moment, and all of you are in that moment together.”Libba Bray
“What I needed to do was get past all of that and dig down into guts and find some marrow so that I could be truthful about my experience and in doing so, be truthful about my place in the human condition and about the human condition and the ways in which we connect to other humans.”Libba Bray
“If something feels like it is just not working and not working and not working, put it away and work on something else until either you realize: ‘No, that manuscript is never going to work’ or ‘Ah! I figured out a different way in’.”Libba Bray
“Here’s the good news, and here’s the bad news. The bad news is writing is a lot of hard work. The good news is writing is a lot of hard work.”Libba Bray
“I know that writing can save your life because it saved mine.”Libba Bray
Say “Hi!” to Libba:
Learn more about “The King of Crows“
But as rumors of towns becoming ghost towns and the dead developing unprecedented powers begin to surface, all hope seems to be lost.
In this sweeping finale, The Diviners will be forced to confront their greatest fears and learn to rely on one another if they hope to save the nation, and world from catastrophe…
Learn more about Libba Bray
Libba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine; Beauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, NY.