Writing Process with Kaylena Radcliff
Happy Wednesday and welcome to another writing process interview. This week we have Kaylena Radcliff, author and of the Elmanas Chronicles and Hobbit-gifter!
Who Are You?
Hi! My name is Kaylena Radcliff. I’m a magazine editor, pastor's wife, mother, and indefatigable world builder. As such, I subsist almost entirely on coffee and prayer. I dabble in many genres, but I most love to write and read speculative and fantasy fiction. Aside from writing, I’m a fan of discussing history, theology, and all things nerdy. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and count C.S. Lewis, Flannery O’Connor, and J.R.R. Tolkien as my greatest influences.
What are three things that you absolutely need in order to write?
1. Computer or word processor. I have horrendous penmanship and I grip pencils like I wasn’t born with opposable thumbs.
2. Hot drink. Primarily coffee, but sometimes herbal tea!
3. Comfy seat. I’m going to be in it for a while!
Most writers have many ideas swimming around their heads competing for attention. How do you decide which idea is worth working on?
I’m still working that out! Generally I work on the manuscript that I’m most inspired by at the time. For example, right now I have three drafts at various word counts. Sometimes when I get stuck on one draft, I change course and pick up where I left off on the last. It’s really helped me keep words flowing instead of staring at a page for an hour and getting three words down. However, if I have a deadline that I’m trying to meet, I’ll power through a draft in NaNoWriMo style.
When you decide on a writing project, how much do you plan upfront?
In general, I’m a pantser and just slam out words- it’s a good approach when I don’t mind being surprised where I’ll end up! However, I’ve decided to map out the current series I’m working on with scene-by-scene analysis and summary. The second approach has been really useful since I want to arrive at a certain place, and the detailed outline helps me get there.
All writers experience writer’s block from time to time. What you do to get unstuck?
I immerse myself in the creativity of others. Music, art, and even other literature serve as wonderful sources of inspiration for me.
When are you most productive? When are you least productive?
I am most productive when the kids are sleeping! But seriously, 6 am to 7 am and 9 pm to 11 pm are my sweet spots. The worst time has to be somewhere between 2 to 3 pm, when I’m dragging myself to the coffee maker and wondering why siestas aren’t a thing in the U.S.
It’s my birthday and you want to give me a book. Which book do you get me and why?
I’d get you The Hobbit- it’s the perfect book for both seasoned lovers of fantasy and those venturing into it for the first time- plus, it’s foundational in many ways to the genre itself.
Bonus Question from CL Walters: What piece of writing advice have you acquired that has been magic for your writing process? Conversely, what’s a bit of advice that turned out to be complete rubbish?
I think the best writing advice I ever got came from a professor of mine. To paraphrase, he told me that to be a great writer, I needed to be a great reader first. It's so true. Every good piece of writing I've read has contributed to my own growth. On the flipside, the worst advice I got was from a publisher who was reviewing the book I'm getting published this year. She told me, essentially, that I needed to change my voice if I wanted the manuscript to be published. I did not take that advice, and I’m so glad that I didn’t!
Now, the fun part: What is one question that you want me to ask the next interviewee, not knowing who it is?
Q: What’s your favorite way to deal with a manuscript rejection?
What are you working on and where can readers find you?
Currently I’m working on book 2 of The Elmnas Chronicles(book 1 will be published in 2019), and an adventure fantasy that I’m having a lot of fun writing. You can find me at my blog, Far Kingdoms (kaylenaradcliff.wordpress.com), where I write about books I’m reading and things that I’m writing. Follow me there, on instagram @kaylenaradcliff, or on Twitter @ktherad for forthcoming publication dates and current works!