Elizabeth Watasin is the acclaimed author of the Gothic steampunk series The Dark Victorian, The Elle Black Penny Dreads, and the creator/artist of the indie comics series Charm School, which was nominated for a Gaylactic Spectrum Award. A twenty year veteran of animation and comics, her credits include thirteen feature films, such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, and The Princess and the Frog, and writing for Disney Adventures magazine. She lives in Los Angeles with her black cat named Draw, busy bringing readers uncanny heroines in shilling shockers, epic fantasy adventures, and paranormal detective tales.
Follow the news of her latest projects at A-Girl Studio.
What inspires you to write?
The idea of telling great stories from things I’ve learned. That great feeling one gets from imagining cool experiences and getting them down. “Wait until they read this!”—it’s hard to qualify the creative process. Ultimately, it’s seeing something you make finally stand on its own and live and breathe and make incredible things happen.
Tell us about your writing process.
I think of a story, pretty much described in two sentences. This is X, what happens to X, how she overcomes it, and this is what X learns. Then I imagine the end and beginning, and parts of the “what comes between”. I outline, hitting what I hope are all the key themes of the story. Then I start writing. I use Scrivener to jump all around the manuscript and DevonThink Pro to house tons of research links (I can overwhelm my Scrivener with those). I may work on a character arc or on all of that character’s key scenes by moving around in the manuscript. I may continue with another character’s, or an event or theme as it unfolds over the course of the story. This is to maintain continuity and to keep everything and everyone solid and consistent.
There are lots more I probably do, but in the end once I think I’ve everything in the manuscript as I feel the story deserves, I send it to my beta-reader (who’s also a writer), and she gives me feedback, which I then fix in the manuscript, and then it goes to my editor.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don’t think I talk to my characters. When they grow in my mind, which thankfully can be quite rapidly, they just act or do what they must do, and I write it down. I end up trying to listen when there’s a weakness and the character is not up to par, or potential. If listening doesn’t reveal the answers needed to get the character solid, it’s then time to feed one’s mind with research or consult the beta-reader. I do my best to solve all such problems before they go to the editor. I’ve yet to cut a character who just didn’t work out (no doubt from my own weaknesses). I have re-hauled characters.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write write write. I know there are business aspects and other things to worry about, but at end of day, you know what needs to come first if you’re ever going to get all those books out. We have only one life. Write!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I was published by an indy house and I asked for my property back just so I could have control. I’d always been keen on making books, even before e-book technology and such made it so much easier. I like putting my own books together, going through the printing process (or e-book process), and publishing them. That said, not all writers have such an interest and I wouldn’t encourage other self-published authors to take it all on. Being an indy publisher oneself is lots of work, and can’t say I’m that effective at the marketing/managing side. But I’m glad to be doing it because it was something I wanted to do. However, I also believe in adaptability and versatility. I’m not adverse to other entities handling some of my properties whilst I explore new ones.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Oddly enough, about five years ago (as I write this, beginning of year 2014), I thought of POD publishing and such as having created a market like the Wild West. I actually expected it to resolve in a way where we may predict how things may go; settle down if you will. It has not, the major players in this still unpredictable market keep changing things, and we indie writers must change with them. It’s still all wide open, and though scary, is still doable, still an adventure. Passion is key; if you believe in your books and stories wholeheartedly, you will ride this thing. Keep going.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
science fiction, steampunk, paranormal fantasy, mystery, female sleuths, lesbian romance, gaslamp fantasy, alternate history, speculative fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print