I thought it would be fun to peek into the personal spaces of some of the Apocalypsies, to see where their debut books came to life.
A.C. Gaughen, the author of Scarlet (Walker Books for Young Readers) uses this super Macbook to change the course of mighty sentences and bend words with her bare hands. I heartily approve.
Laurisa White Reyes, author of The Rock of Ivanore (May 21, Tanglewood Press), says, "(M)y particular work space is a bit unconventional. I live in a 1600 square-foot house with ten other people: my husband, my five kids, and all four grandparents. Space is very limited (as is 'quiet' time.) My 'office' (if you can call it that) is a cheap Walmart desk in the corner of my bedroom wedged between my bed and the wall. I sit on my chair (which NO ONE else is allowed to sit on because it is the one square-foot of space I can call my own) and put my feet on my bed. Then I put my laptop on a wooden lap desk and write. I've written seven manuscripts this way in the past four years. My first four manuscripts (including The Rock of Ivanore, coming out in May) were written on my sofa in the living room with a laptop on my knees.
I like seeing other authors' desks because they always look so neat and tidy. My desk is never neat and tidy. It is a mess, piled high with papers and all sorts of stuff thumb tacked to the wall above it. I think I cleaned it a bit for the pic, but my normal writing environment is messy and I like it that way.
Oh, about computers--in the six years I've been writing novels I've been through five computers. I burned out two Toshibas, wore down two netbooks (an Acer and a Compaq) and finally just bought a Dell, which I am told should hold up a little better than the others. I sure hope so."
Rachel Grinti, co-author of Claws (September 1, 2012 U.S., May 24, 2012 UK, Scholastic) shares a picture of her working on her 11" Macbook Air: "It's nicknamed the Goblin King because I stuck a Jareth decal on the back (and because my writing folders and files are such a jumble they might as well be in a labyrinth.) I love writing on my tiny laptop! It fits in my purse, it's super light, and it's so comfortable to use on my lap. (I often curl up on the couch to write, but I also like to leave the house to work if I'm getting too distracted at home.) Goblin King is not the same computer I wrote my debut on--that would be the bigger, heavier laptop on the desk beside me in the photo. It's not very portable for me due to the weight, so I treated myself to a new writing machine after Mike and I sold CLAWS. And I'm finally learning to use Scrivener! Last but not least, my canine writing helper (or rather, one of the distractions of writing at home) is pictured as well: my Boston Terrier, Miles."
Like many of us, Tiffany Schmidt, author of Send Me a Sign (October 2, 2012, Walker-Bloomsbury) has multiple work spaces:
"The treadmill desk--I do use this! And sometimes for writing not running. I love to walk and plot--but only during drafting. Once I hit revision, I have to be stationary."
Lisa Jenn Bigelow, author of Starting from Here (August 2012, Marshall Cavendish), tell us where her book started from: "I have an 'office,' but it's really just some space carved out from my kitchen, where my bookshelves, desk, and filing cabinets reside. I prefer to write with a dog beside me. My dog Carly was my constant companion while I wrote STARTING FROM HERE, and she was a great inspiration when it came to Mo, my novel's canine character. After she passed away, my dog Saffy (pictured here) saw me through the final rounds of editing. I'm a lifelong Mac user and draft my books in Scrivener before importing them to Microsoft Word. My MacBook Pro (pictured here), is named Grumblecakes, after a product in a Homestar Runner cartoon: 'Only liars and thieves eat Grumblecakes! And those people go to prison.' (Yes, it's random. So what?) STARTING FROM HERE was drafted on an older generation Mac laptop."
Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked (Putnam), shows us where she writes: "I have a very nice little desk in my office, overlooking the thundercloud plum tree in our backyard. But I never work there. I sit on this flowered loveseat instead, hunched over my Macbook Air with incredibly poor posture. I write in Word--Scrivener has been helpful to organize my story bible for the Cahill Witch Chronicles, and to outline in, but I like having the entire story in one document. Before I begin writing for the day, I often go back and reread and edit the previous day's work. As a somewhat fanatical list-maker, I adore the Stickies feature--mine currently contain: Books to Read, 2012 Travel, Garden/Home Decor Research, BW Sales, Star Cursed Notes, and a running To Do list. My other favorite apps are: Google Chrome, Tweetdeck, Adobe Digital Editions, Write or Die, and Freedom. I also have the BW cover, my author photo, the latest draft of Star Cursed, and the Star Cursed outline on the desktop for easy access. Next to my loveseat, not pictured, is a fantastic little ottoman with a tray (this one, but in a lime green) with all the necessary things: a pot of tea, a mug the size of my head, packets of sweetener, a candle, a lighter, and reward stickers (I sticker my calendar for every 1000 words I write, or every event I do)."
Lynne Kelly, author of Chained (May 8, 2012, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux/Margaret
Ferguson Books) likes to unchain herself from the internet, and sometimes her computer, to get work done:
|"My MacBook, with the MacFreedom window up--when it's writing time, I have to lock myself out of the Internet so I'll stay away from temptations like Pinterest and Twitter and all those friends who live in my computer."|
|"I love writing in blank notebooks, especially Moleskines. I use the laptop when I'm revising or writing scenes I've already worked on, but when I'm drafting or trying to figure something out, I do better with pen and paper."|
|"Some of the elephants on the writing desk who keep me company while I'm working. Oh, and look, a copy of CHAINED has joined them!"|
|"The Sleep Machine app on the iPhone, set to 'Intense Focus.' I play that along with thunderstorm sounds while I'm working."|
As for me, many years ago I wrote my debut novel, Fair Coin (Pyr), on a heavy old Dell laptop named Schmendrick, since retired. But I last revised the book on the large Acer laptop pictured here, which I've named Ace Rimmer, a character on the science fiction comedy Red Dwarf. (AceR, get it?)
When I work at my desk, I like to plug in an old IBM Model-M keyboard, because it's easier for me to type on and I really like the loud sound of the keys--the noise makes me feel more like I'm doing something as I type! I don't actually do much writing there these days, but I often use it for other projects: the large screen is essential for graphics editing and I need the powerful hardware for video editing, and this is the computer I prefer for killing zombies with friends or participating in online chats and meetings with my writing group in NYC via Skype. I'll also sit at the desk when I'm line-editing a manuscript, which I still prefer to do on paper.
I don't write at my desk much because I get far too distracted at home, and I don't have an ideal work area; my "office" is on the other side of the bedroom, which is divided by a large bookcase, and the other half of the desk is where my wife studies for school. I generally write on the smaller Acer Aspire One netbook on the left, named Penny (for the girl with the computer book on Inspector Gadget), in a coffee shop before work, at lunch, and on weekends. The netbook is small and light enough that I can carry it around everywhere, every day, and I often write my blog posts on it while sitting on the couch... Like I'm doing now! As much as I would like to have one perfect place to write, I've gotten used to writing whenever and wherever I can, including on long bus rides and while waiting in train stations. I've been experimenting with using Scrivener and Dropbox to sync files between my netbook and my laptop, so I can work from either as the mood strikes.
So that's where eight Apocalypsies like to write. Hopefully we'll feature more work spaces from the group in the future. How about you? Do you have an ideal work space? Where do you get the most work done?