The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer

Guest: Jessica Brody

March 22, 2020 Marissa Meyer Season 2020 Episode 1
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Jessica Brody
Chapters
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Jessica Brody
Mar 22, 2020 Season 2020 Episode 1
Marissa Meyer

In this inaugural episode, I talk to Jessica Brody about her new book, BETWEEN BURNING WORDS, promotion techniques during the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefit of tracking your moods, and the "Yes, And" technique for co-writing. 

Show Notes Transcript

In this inaugural episode, I talk to Jessica Brody about her new book, BETWEEN BURNING WORDS, promotion techniques during the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefit of tracking your moods, and the "Yes, And" technique for co-writing. 

Marissa Meyer:

Okay.

Marissa Meyer:

Okay. I think that we're up as far as I can tell. Cool. All right. Hello friends. Welcome to the very first episode of the happy writer. I am your host today. My name is Marissa Meyer. I am the author of multiple books for young adults and adults who are young at heart, including the lunar Chronicles, heartless and the renegades trilogy. This is a podcast for writers and book lovers. My plan is to interview lots of different authors so that we can learn about their books, uh, and what they've got going on in their lives. And also so that we can discuss different ways in which we creatives are able to bring more joy into our writing and into our daily lives. Uh, if you happen to be discovering this podcast sometime in the future, you should know that we are recording this inaugural episode during the Corona virus slash Kobek 19 pandemic of 2020.

Marissa Meyer:

Um, it's pretty much turned the whole world topsy turvy. We all sort of feel like we are living in a white dystopian novel. Um, and as a writer who once wrote about a giant pandemic sweeping across planet earth, uh, the irony is not lost on me. Um, whether you are joining me today or from the future, I am so happy that you're here. Thank you. Um, I have been thinking about starting this podcast for quite some time. The ideas kind of been brewing in the back of my head, uh, for a number of months and I thought that this might be as good a time as any in part because with the world so bizarre, I thought we could all maybe use a little bit more joy in our lives also because a, the pandemic has affected a lot of writers who have books coming out right now.

Marissa Meyer:

Uh, our book tours and lots of book festivals and events have been canceled. Retail stores are currently not open to walk in traffic. Uh, and so it's made for some really tricky times for authors who are trying to release their new books. Um, the irony is that all of us stuck in quarantine. We need more books to read. Uh, so I'm hoping that this podcast might help introduce you to some new authors and some new books to love. So, with that, I am super excited to introduce my very first guest here on the happy writer. Uh, she has agreed to be my podcast Guinea pig who knows what she's getting herself into. Uh, please welcome to the show the incomparable Jessica Brody. Hi Jesse. You yes. Hello. That was fabulous for your first ever introduction. [inaudible] okay, thank you. The great, I was smiling thing. I practiced a time or two if you couldn't say so.

Marissa Meyer:

How's like in quarantine? Oh, it's interesting, although I've been joking about life as a writer is sort of just life in quarantine, especially, especially when you're on deadline. So it's like, hello everyone else. Welcome to a writer's life where we lock ourselves up for days on end and don't leave the house. Um, yeah, so we've been, we've been prepping our whole lives. There's a part of me that feels awful about this, but you know, everyone else is experiencing really bad cabin fever and you know, we're not supposed to go out in the world. And there's a big part of me that feels like this is kind of paradise. Like I get to stay home and read books. How terrible is that? Yeah, no, it's true. And I was, um, I always joke when I, when I'm in normal circumstances, like I'm always like, Oh, I haven't left the house for five days.

Marissa Meyer:

I should probably do that. Nah, I'll just wait another five days. And, uh, now it's sorta like that's the reality. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, you don't get judged for that anymore. No, that's great. Yeah. Stay home in your pajamas. What else you got to do? We're vindicated. Or our lifestyle is finally vindicated. That's right. Um, okay. So for readers who aren't familiar with you and your books, uh, I am a huge, huge Jessica Brody fan. Uh, you have written a lot of my favorite contemporary romances, um, including 52 reasons to hate my father a week of Mondays. The chaos of standing still a whole bunch of others. Um, you had a really amazing Saifai series out a while back called the unremembered trilogy. Uh, but of all of your work, I think it's safe to say that my absolute favorite is your current trilogy that you have coming out the system, divine trilogy, um, sky without stars.

Marissa Meyer:

The first book in the series was one of my favorite, favorite books that I've read in recent years. Uh, and now I'm super excited to read the second book, which is coming out this week, uh, between, between burning worlds at least, I assume it's coming out this week. We don't know how long it's gonna take me to edit and get this podcast up cause I'm not really sure what I'm doing yet, but as I'm talking to you, it comes out on Tuesday. Uh, so I would love for you to tell us a little bit more about this new series. I would love to, and thank you for all those wonderful compliments. Um, I, I think your name appears on more of my books than any other name in terms of, you know, your, uh, very generous endorsements of blurbs. Um, so I'm grateful for that. Um, yeah, so sky without stars and the system divine trilogy, our ACI Phi reimagining of Victor, he goes, Les Miserables set on a distant planet and a distant solar system in the very far. Um,

Jessica Brody:

so I cowrote it with one of my best friends Joanne Rendell, who, um, we came up with the idea as we were both, um, talking about how much we love Les MIS. I, um, I've always been a big fan of the musical. She has read the book multiple times and it just came up in conversation and, um, I just kind of said, wouldn't it be cool if we like retold it in space? She said, yeah. And then from there it started as a joke as like, well, what would it be and who would be the characters and you know, what would we center it around? And, and we just started to brainstorm. Um, and then it became like this little side pet project that we were both working on when we had time. And then I pitched it to my agent and I started telling him all about it and all about the, you know, ideas we had and he just, he sort of stopped me and he goes, Jessica, you had me at Leymah's in space.

Jessica Brody:

Think you have some many people at lay ms in space. This has been really fun. And so we, we wrote a proposal, we pitched it to my, um, my current publisher, Simon and Schuster. And uh, they sort of had a similar reaction of like lameness and space. Yes, please. Um, and they bought, they bought the first two bucks and then they just recently bought the third. So we are super excited. Um, the first book, uh, you know, it was such a fun roller coaster of emotion and, um, an excitement as like we finally came out to the world and now we've got this second book, which was definitely hard. The hardest one to write so far. Um, it's, it's, it was a challenge a second books often are. Um, and it's finally, you know, it's finally done and it's now coming out. So we're, we're excited about that too.

Jessica Brody:

Yeah. Know that feeling of when you finish a book, especially one that's had a lot of challenges and struggles is one of the best feelings in the writing life. I'll never forget this conversation. You and I had Marissa, um, it was years ago when we were on tour together and I was the menting about writing the second book in my unremembered trilogy. Um, unforgotten and I said to you, you were, I think on your think your on Kress at the, at the time or maybe run winter, I'm not sure. But I said, um, we're so, you're so lucky you don't have a middle book to write cause these middle books are death. And you said no, Jessica, you're wrong. I have two middle books.

Jessica Brody:

Yeah, no series and middle books, whether you have one or two or 17, it's, it's hard. It's hard to keep up the interest in the passion and to keep pushing the story forward. Oh yeah. Yeah. Well, we're, we're grateful that one's done and we're writing now the third one, which is like, just a fun sprint to the finish line that we're, we're having a lot of fun. Nice. So the third one is, is going great. It's going so good so far. We're about 20,000 words in, um, of, and these books are long. They are between 150 and 180,000 words. So, uh, you know, maybe 15, 15, almost 20%. Um, but uh, yeah, it's going pretty well. We haven't released the title yet, so I'm still calling it book three. But, um, but yeah, it's going well. I don't say anything. Jinx it.

Marissa Meyer:

I know. I hate that when you're not allowed to talk about, you know, when you're not allowed to give the title and you're like the new secret project that I'm doing.

Jessica Brody:

Exactly. And there's so many spoilers at the end of book two. There's like all these, these big things that get revealed. We'll throughout book two actually. And so there's so much of book three that I can't even, people are like, what's, what's in store for book three? And I was like, read book two first and then we'll talk. Right.

Marissa Meyer:

So what was it about lay ms in particular that brought you and Joanne to this story?

Jessica Brody:

Well, I think for me it was the fact that there are some overlooked characters in the original [inaudible]. I mean in the original book, but also in the adaptations of the original books. So for instance, [inaudible] has always been my favorite character, and she does get some really, I mean, she has pretty much the best, some of the best songs in the musical. But, um, there's even film adaptations that she's not even in. I think Victor Hugo like, uh, I love him to death. He's, he's very talented, obviously. No offense, but like, I was like, there's so much more you could could've done with Ebony. Um, to me, she's the most interesting character. So we decided we wanted to make her front. We wanted to put her front and, uh, first and foremost in at least the first book in the series. So in sky without star, she is our, our main hero.

Jessica Brody:

Um, but then also there's these other two teenage characters. Uh, Kozak and Maurice who are, you know, they have a nice storyline, but they're sort of just like these two kind of silly love birds who fall in love and, and make dumb choices and they're original. And so we thought, you know, let's make them even more complex. Let's give them more layers and let's center the whole story around the teenagers, um, versus the adults, which, you know, the original story is more centered around John Bell, John, um, and, and Jovere. Um, so we loved the idea of flipping it around and focusing on the teens.

Marissa Meyer:

No, I love that too. And I love it. Especially [inaudible] is, has been one of my favorite characters, so I really enjoyed that. In your version. We get so much more of her story and her motivation. Um, and I think I've told you this before, but what my personal favorite lame is characters gov. Roche, um, has just like the tinies eye, very, very important role, but a very small role, especially in the musical. Um, and, and I really loved what you guys did with, with his character. And I was saying, did you read the next book and see, see what's happening to all these characters that I haven't seen in like a year and a half now.

Jessica Brody:

Yeah. It's been awhile for you. Yeah. Yeah. I can't wait for you to find out.

Marissa Meyer:

Uh, favorite song from Les Mis.

Jessica Brody:

Um, you know, I get that asked that a lot actually. Um, I would have to say it's a little fall of rain. It's always like a really close tie between on my own and a little fall of rain, which are both [inaudible] songs, but a little fall of rains. Just one. I could be in my car and it could come on shuffle and by the end I'm just sobbing in my car. So with, I dreamed a dream. It just gets me every time. So many good ones. No. So it's really brilliant music. Um, what were some of the things that you really loved about writing the series? You know, I think some of the best moments, um, for us we're, we're really just figuring out what to do with some of the elements from the original story. Like, just, and, and giving them scifi twists, which I'm sure you had a blast with.

Jessica Brody:

Um, the lunar Chronicles as well. It's just going, okay, I love this from the original. Now how can I update it? Um, so for example, one of our first ideas was on, on, on how to do this is we wanted to make inspectors out there a cyborg and, um, you know, in your worlds, cyborgs are very different than ours, but we wanted him to kind of be given these, these implants and these, um, enhancements that make him even more dog-eared and determined than he is as inspector, um, job air. So, uh, that was really fun to turn him into the sideboard. Um, the other thing that we loved doing is in the original cassette is lives in a, um, um, convent for many, many, much of her life. And we loved that. I, we love that element. It's not in the musical at all, but we loved that element.

Jessica Brody:

And so we, we have her growing up in this secret underground bunker of women, um, that they call themselves sisters, but they are the protectors of the last remaining library from the old first world. And they are the protectors of the written word, which has died out in this on our planet. And so we just thought, Oh, it's such a wish. We just thought it'd be such a cool parallel to kind of take religion and turn it into the protection of, of knowledge and the written word and making that sacred. Um, so we're just, we had so much fun just kinda like taking these elements that we loved and giving them updates. Were there any times that you and Joanne like really had very different ideas of how you wanted to update different parts of the story? That's a good question. Um, I can't remember any time where we really kind of batted heads in the world building. It was the world building has always been a really smooth process for us. It's always like, you know, we, and we record all our brainstorms. So every once in a while we'll go back and listen to them and listen to it. Just go. Yeah. And then this and yeah, then this.

Jessica Brody:

Yeah, it's, it's, so we don't have to write everything down as we're brainstorming, but, um, you know, I don't know if you've ever heard of this. There's an improv game called yes. And, and it means like someone starts the scene and you're not allowed to negate anything that the person does or in their choices. You have to just go yes and, and continue. And I think that kind of mirrors our brainstorm style a lot where someone will come up with something and instead of the other person going, no, how about this instead we will do a lot of that. Yes. And um, and it's, it's actually ends up as you follow the brainstorms, it ends up like reveal leading to some really cool stuff. So, um, I think that's probably just both of our personalities are really open to ideas like that. Um, there's definitely been like plot points that we've kind of like had to go back and forth on that somebody doesn't like or someone is not sure about and we kind of have to maneuver from there or like maybe even a description of a person like, Oh that's not quite how I saw them.

Jessica Brody:

Um, but in terms of the lame is stuff like we've been, it's been really fun. We've been like really on board with all of the ideas. That's, that makes me want a writing partner.

Marissa Meyer:

Yeah. No it sounds fun. And like brainstorming in general is often such a fun exercise but having someone to like not only to bounce ideas off of but to further those ideas like that just sounds like a really good way to spend an afternoon.

Jessica Brody:

It's really, that's the most fun of this whole process has just been the brainstorming. Like the writing is great, but you know, that's something we do separately. Um, but the brainstorming is so much fun. We always joke that it's like getting paid to play dolls

Marissa Meyer:

cause it's like we have these dolls there are like, here's Marcellus and here's LOR. And here's shut-in. And then we have this doll house, which is this planet. And we're like, and then they could go into this room and then they could say this. And um, it's a lot like playing dolls. Yes. And then they kiss and get married. Yeah, exactly. But they break up and this person dies. I think our doll experience is very different. Um, uh, let me, so your book comes out on Tuesday and I understand you were supposed to be on book tour, but of course it's been canceled as all life has been canceled. Uh, so what are you doing about, how was promotion going for you? You know, it's been really [inaudible] interesting.

Jessica Brody:

Um, we have kind of been trying to roll with the punches and, and adapt as necessary. We, we actually did launch a preorder offer many, many weeks ago before all of this kind of got bad. Um, and so that's been continuing as, as it would have. Um, I think that it's actually might've been, uh, beneficial to the pre-order offer because a lot of people that were planning to maybe come to the event or were planning to buy it on release week and now knowing that the stores are going to be closed. Um, a lot of people I think have jumped on the preorder offer and ordered it online, which is, which has been really great. Um, and then what we did was we, um, we had a tour and then we had some multiple different, uh, festivals that we were both going to attend and those are canceled as well.

Jessica Brody:

So we launched a virtual tour that is starting next and we're doing, um, 20 person only events on zoom where we're inviting like 20 fans to come, just chat with us on zoom and we're kind of trying to emulate the bookstore experience as much as possible, which is why we limited it to 20. So it kind of feels more personal and intimate. Um, and then we're just going to kind of, you know, talk about the book, take questions, maybe play some games, but we're just trying to find ways to, um, to celebrate the book, but then also to just be able to connect with the fans because that's the best part about being on tour is, is when you get to have those like squeaky moments with someone who found something in your book that you planted and didn't think anyone would catch, you know, and they, and they found it and they want to come tell you about it. And those are like the best moments and you lose that. Um, a lot of times when you don't have those face to face encounters. So we wanted to try to emulate the face to face as much as possible.

Marissa Meyer:

No, that's such a good idea. Um, and it is, it's very different meeting people virtually. Um, but, but I think anything that we can do to establish connections, especially right now when we're all, we're all so alone in the world, um, and, and you know, relationships and connections with readers, I agree is one of the most fun things about being a writer, uh, and being on tour. So that's a really smart idea. I love that. Thanks. We're hoping, we're hoping it goes well. Yeah. Are they, are people like having to sign up? Like are you doing guests even?

Jessica Brody:

We did a, there's a form on my website. Um, this'll probably be too late for it, but it's such Jessica bertie.com/tour. Um, and then we just have a little form and it has slots available. It counts down. And I had to do some, some fun WordPress plugin magic, um, to make it all work. But yes, so there's set amount of slots in different events and you pick which event you want to attend. And um, we're sort of keeping an eye on the inventory and the inventory, the seating, and if, um, if events fill up really quickly, we're going to open some additional ones. So that you know, everybody who wants to come can hopefully come.

Marissa Meyer:

Yeah. What a great idea. Are there any, I'm going to guess that you're doing this, then you're still going to be doing Q and. A. I was thinking, you know, there's always like that question that whenever it comes up on book tour, you're like, Oh, this question again. Like, are there any questions that you were sort of hoping you'd just be able to Dodge, not having to go on book tour?

Jessica Brody:

Oh, that's a good question. I don't know. You know, I don't mind it, but we do get that question of like, how do you guys work together? Um, and it's not that I, I don't mind answering it. It's just one of the ones you answer over and over, which is fine. Um, but yeah, no, I don't think so. I think like, I'm, I'm a little bit worried about spoilers key because there's going to be some people who, and I obviously will announce please, no spoilers, but, um, there's going to be some people who have maybe had the arc, so maybe they've read the book already. And then there's other people who are, haven't gotten it yet,

Marissa Meyer:

so we'll have to try to manage. We did like a, like an FCC like beep that we can hit really quickly when someone says a spoiler. That'd be nice. I know those times when, when someone's in the middle of asking question you'd like at the end of heartless, stop talking. Okay. I want to switch gears a little bit because in addition to writing many fabulous fiction books, you have also literally written the book on how to write a novel. You are of course, the other save the cat writes a novel. You also, I just actually just learned this a couple of days about you, you give writing classes on your website. Is that right? No. Yeah, I have learned at Jessica, birdie.com and I have an online writing school. It's called a writing mastery Academy. Um, and uh, basically it's a one, it's a monthly tuition and you get access to all my online courses.

Marissa Meyer:

And so I have courses, um, I have a saved the cat companion course on there. Um, for those who like that method, I have a how to brainstorm class. I've got a productivity hacks for writers, like how to be more productive. Um, I have a course all about how to get published traditionally, um, conquering writer's block. So I've got a lot of different topics and we're constantly working on more courses. So that's sort of my side hustle and it's fun. That sounds fun. You said productivity hacks, which is my buzzword. Anything about productivity I get like super excited. Makes me teach me your, I know we've had, we've had a lot of conversations about productivity on my nails. I remember it's nutty, nutty, overachievers.

Marissa Meyer:

So when I learned, obviously you've write written this wonderful, uh, adaptation of save the cat, um, and doing all of these, these teaching guides. And that made me think of, you know, there's this idea that people talk about that if you want to, the best way to learn something is to teach it. Um, and, and that's something that you hear a lot. Like if you really want to get better at something than try to teach someone else how to do it. Um, cause it really forces you to kind of focus on, on your, uh, that element of craft. Um, so what, in doing all of this and writing save the cat, what are some things that you feel that you've learned yourself? That is, that is such a good question and I I absolutely agree with that. Um, I think it's the ma, I think it's the whole idea of like when you have to teach something, you have to break it down into actionable steps. And that is the only barrier between non teachers and teachers is teachers have figured out how to take a skill and break it down into steps. Um, which is not always easy to do. And you know, people ask me like, can you teach a course on this? And I S my response is always yes.

Jessica Brody:

When I figured out how to teach it. It's not, yeah, it's not always easy and save the cat. Um, I kind of, it was sort of my, um, my foray into teaching, um, because Blake Snyder, the re the, the man who originally wrote the screenwriting guide called save the cat that I adapted for novels. He had kind of already done that work for me. He had basically taken storytelling and broken it into a, you know, a nice, easy to follow a template or blueprint to how to create a really compelling story that pretty much every story ever fits into. Um, so he kind of broke down the steps already and then, you know, I found that a lot of that most novels followed the same thing because as I talk about in the book is that it's not necessarily like a formula, it's just this is what story is.

Jessica Brody:

And if you can kind of learn the elements of story and how they fit together, then you can, you can emulate that and you can use it to craft a compelling story of your own. So that was nice that I sort of had that stepping stone and that I learned through Blake how to break things into actionable steps. And what's so nice about save the cat is it breaks all stories into 15 beats or plot points. So once you kind of master those plot points and you realize you learn what they really do and what their function is, then supposedly it's easier to write a novel from. From that. I will say the one thing that having written, saved the cat has done is it's made me very, uh, it's made me very paranoid about my own books being perfect. You know, like I'm just like, someone's going to read this book and go, that's not a very good dark night of the soul or like, that's not the right thing to do or, or her catalyst is way too late, you know?

Jessica Brody:

Um, I think it's just turned me into a very paranoid writer, which is not the best writer, you know, not the best date you should be in, cause you should not be over analyzing as you write. Um, so, but I think in the end that's also turned me into a better writer. Um, it's made me a definitely a more conscious writer. Like, I'm, I'm conscious of things that I'm doing as I, as I'm writing them. Um, and I'm trying really hard, not to second guess on the first draft us what the second draft is for. That's why it's called second guessed. Um, so it's just sort of made, it's kinda changed my process a little bit. I've become much more aware of my, of my writing and I've become more like in my head about it, which has been challenging to kind of keep myself from doing. Um, but I think, I hope in the end it's, it's just turned me into a stronger writer because I am second guessing everything that's in my books now. Um, to make sure that I am practicing what I preach, if you will. Right. No, I can totally see how you would feel like you're kind of under a microscope. You are the experts.

Jessica Brody:

So if your book doesn't work, I'm, yeah, exactly. Right. Right. It's funny cause as you're talking, um, I feel like that very

Marissa Meyer:

reason is one of the reasons why I've kind of dragged my feet on starting this podcast. Um, because this idea and I, I feel really strongly that we can and should try to bring as much joy into the writing process as possible. Um, and that's definitely something that I, you know, try to do. But then of course we all have bad days, we all have struggles. We all have, you know, go through periods of, you know, rejection or, um, imposter syndrome or all these various things. And I thought, gosh, if I am hosting this podcast called the happy writer, like am I going to be allowed to have days where I'm not?

Jessica Brody:

Yeah, right. Well, absolutely. I think you are. I think so too. It's not mutually exclusive. Well, let me bring our best, you know, when I see the word, the happy writer, I just think, I just think there has to be an, you know, another side of that, there has to be a point where you are the unhappy writer and it's all about how you look at that. And how you, how you deal with those moments in order to get yourself back to the happy, like, you know, we all have those moments, but it's really not about whether or not we have them. It's about how we bounce back from them and how we, you know, I personally refuse to allow myself to stay in those States. Like you have to experience the state and go, okay, this is one of those moments where I am the unhappy writer and then, and then be able to pull myself out of that.

Marissa Meyer:

Agreed. 100%. So what do you do? What are, what are some things or one thing that you do to try to pull yourself out of those moments?

Jessica Brody:

Um, I have a lot of different like little hacks that I do like brain hacks. Um, I mean I'll give you kind of like a small one then I'll give you sort of a bigger one. I think one of the things that I do, particularly when I'm having one of those days where like my writing sucks. Like I, nothing, I come out, nothing coming out on the page is right. And I'm, you know, it sounds like a third graders written it. Um, I will go back to some of my books that I, you know, some of the books that I've really enjoyed writing and I'll look at like an a really early draft. Um, and I'll just go see this one started out like crap too. Um, and you know, I'm happy with the result and it just sort of remind myself that there is a process there.

Jessica Brody:

Um, I used to actually, I don't do it anymore, but maybe I should go back to it, but I used to, I used to graph my mood every single day that I wrote. So I would count my word count and I would, I would, um, track it in like a spreadsheet. And along with that word count, I would rate my mood about the book from zero to 10, 10 being like, that was the best writing day of ever. And one being like, I'm quitting tomorrow. And then I would actually plot it on a chart and I could see after several books, I would start to see this pattern, like towards the middle of the book, it would just start to seek really low and then it would of bounce back. And I did that as a, an experiment to start. But then I would go back to look at the old charts and I would go, yep, that's right where I'm at right now.

Jessica Brody:

Is that like that level where I'm like at a two every single day and it's at the exact same word count. Um, so that's one trick that I've, I've used in the past. And the other is just that like you have to give yourself breaks. You have to, a lot of times when you're in these like slumps, it's because you're just too close to the book or you're just in the wrong mindset to right at that moment. And that's when you kind of have to step away. Like go do laundry or go take a walk with the dog or just do something that's so different. And so freeing that, you know, when you come back to it next you're like, okay, perspective, right perspective is a big word and important. Um, I love that you tracked your, that is so Jessica Brown, but also the, I mean, I know exactly, I've never tracked my nudes, but I know I can see your graph in my mind.

Jessica Brody:

It's so universal that like for me it's the 30,000 word Mark. My mood just plummets. Nope. Why did I start this book? Why did I think this was going to be the one and three quarter? It always goes right back up. So yeah, yeah, yeah. But middles, middles, yeah, they're, they're rough. Rough. But you push on, you continue to push on. And I, you know, I've written so many books now that I ha I should have more perspective. But um, the thing about the middle is that the problem with the middle is that it's so contingent. Like if you study plot, it's so contingent and real and related to the end because it has as like a mid point. It has a lot of impact on how you're going to end this story because it should sort of near it in some way and because you don't know the end, like even if you think you know the end, you don't know what the character has gone through to get to that end. So it's almost impossible to build the middle with any sort of clarity. And we do our best at the time and then once we finish we're like, Oh, well now I know how she got there, now I know where she needs to be at the middle. Um, so I think that's just something to keep in mind as you're struggling through the middle for all writers is like, you will have the perspective, you need to edit this later, but right now you just sort of have to get there.

Marissa Meyer:

Yeah, yeah. Agreed. The, the magic happens in revisions. Yeah. Yeah. At least for me, I'm always amazed. I'm amazed at writers who, you know, really perfect their book throughout the first draft. Um, and there are writers who do that very successfully. Uh, but to me, I just, I can't even fathom because exactly like you're saying, I need to see the big picture to know what's wrong with it.

Jessica Brody:

Yeah, exactly. And I just come up with so many things along the way that opened up new doors that I never thought

Marissa Meyer:

of in my outline. And so it's just like, okay, well there's no hope of seeing that now, so I might as well just keep going. And it's sort of like, I always say you, you trust in your future self. Um, so I'm always, you know, going future. Jessica is going to figure this out and she's gonna she's brilliant. Present. Jessica, not so much, but I'm kind of like a trustee. No idea what's going on. She's so quick. She's always clueless. Um, and past Jessica is like just arrogant thinking she knew everything just because the worst. Yeah. So you just have to go, you know, like future me is like going to have all the answers and I need to trust her. Um, and just keep going. Yeah. Um, okay. Present Jessica. We're going to do a quick happy writer. Lightning round. Fun. Yay. Lightning rounds. I love that. Okay, here we go. What book makes you happy? Um, anything by Sophie. Consella. Ooh, good, good choice. Uh, what do you do to celebrate an accomplishment? I drink champagne and clean the house.

Marissa Meyer:

I know. I don't know. At the same time pretty much. Champagne makes the cleaning more fun. Yeah. No it's brilliant cause my house is always a disaster by the time I'm finished with the book. Yeah. So it's like, okay, I'm done. Now it's time to drink and celebrate, but also clean up this mess. Yeah. I love it. It's perfect. Um, see, how do you fill the creative well, Oh, reading, walking, um, watching TV, um, just sort of absorbing other people's art in some way. What is next on your TBR list? Oh, uh, Oh, that's a good question. What is next? So I'm trying to think. I always know what I'm reading right now and also answer. What are you reading right now? Oh, I'm reading where the crawdads sing. Um, right now, which is really good. And cause I think I just, I never really have a, I have a list, but I never really decide. Sorry. This isn't very lightning.

Marissa Meyer:

Yeah. So I'll just, I'll just stop. I never know what I'm going to read next until I pick it out. Okay. You wait to see what mood you're in. Kinda. I'm kinda the same way. I'm going to change that one for the next author. What do you read? Where can people find you, Jessica verde.com or anything at Jessica Verde? Anything it Jessica Brody. Yeah. Um, yeah, I know you're on instinct. You're on everything. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all the places I am on most of the places I don't do Tumblr or Pinterest. I have accounts. I just never look at them because I'm just bad at it. I know, I know. You're the Pinterest queen. I just been dressed. I do it. Joe and I have our board for the book, but they're private. I'm just like not a Pinterest person. I don't know. I'm weird. Yeah. Hmm. I just looked at my, one of my website analytics for the first time ever. Um, and it turns out the vast majority of my traffic comes from Pinterest of all places. Oh, that's great. I, yeah, I had no idea. I was really surprised. So now I'm like, cool. Even more excuse to kin all the things. Yeah, that's great. Totally not procrastinating at all.

Marissa Meyer:

Okay. That's, that's it I think. I think that feels like a full episode. That was so fast. You made that very painless. Oh, good. You too. That was really fun though. Thank you. I think you have a natural knack. I mean, I knew that already because you've interviewed me for other things, but um, yeah, no, that was great. I knew you'd be a good one to start with. Can we can totally talk for ever, I don't know if you're planning to do this, but I really like the segment of like, how do you become a happy writer? Like I think that's an interesting thing to ask everybody. I mean, not to tell you how to do your podcast, but that was like a really cool tie-in. Thank you. Now I'm going to try, I mean that's kind of one of the things that I want to focus on and different techniques that we have.

Marissa Meyer:

Um, I think it's great. I mean it's definitely necessary right now. Um, as people are gonna get happier in this situation, I are so scared and uncertain. This is such a great necessary thing right now. Well thank you. We'll see how it goes. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks so much for joining me. Um, readers definitely check out Jessica Brody's new book between burning worlds. Um, and thanks so much for listening. Let's see. I'm not sure who my next guest is going to be. Um, I am working to get to put together a roster of lots of amazing authors that I'm super excited to talk to. So stay tuned for the next episode. Um, and please consider subscribing so that I know that people are listening and I'm not just talking to myself over here. Um, and also you can find me on Instagram at Marissa Meyer author or check out my website, Marissa meyer.com. Feel free to contact me if there are any authors that you want me to reach out to, to hear I'm on this podcast, or if there are any particular topics that you would like me to cover and we'll, we'll see what we can do with all of that. Thank you again, Jessica. Um, thank you readers. Uh, stay healthy out there, guys. I'm hope you're staying nice and cozy in your bunkers and if you can, in this time of, of crazy social distancing, um, try your best to practice some kindness today to another human being.

Speaker 3:

[inaudible].