Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Meeting the Merry Sisters of Fate

The Merry Sisters of Fate: Maggie Stiefvayer, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. YA authors, critique partners, and now co-authors of the new book, The Curiosities.

I was lucky enough to meet these three lovely ladies at an event hosted by the Lawrence Public Library on August 25th. Here's what I learned:

Maggie, searching for critique partners (authors who will read your work and provide helpful suggestions before your editor does), turned to the internet, and after a little critique partner dating, found Tessa and Brenna. After a short time, she introduced them to each other, saying, "you will be friends!" Soon, Maggie had an idea that they should each write a short story a week to improve their writing and have a chance to take new risks. And the Merry Sisters of Fate website was born. Tessa calls them "speculative fiction writers" and their website describes itself as "the dark, the weird, and the strangely beautiful." In The Curiosities, they hope to show their variety and growth from their experiments on the Merry Sisters website. It's an especially fun book because it doesn't just contain stories, it also includes comments on their own work, hand-written in through magical computer software.

Through the event, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna contrasted their very different writing styles, but agreed on some helpful writing tips. Maggie described books as mixed tapes; they have individually important aspects, but must be cohesive. Tessa suggested that to write a character, you must know one true thing about them. Once you've found the one core value that makes them real, you work from there. All agreed that knowing too much about a character is unhelpful. Brenna helpfully reminded us that something you get your ideas from the most bizarre things. Their advice for writing a good query letter to a publisher? "Just be sexy."

Here they are signing books:
(Maggie on the left, Brenna in the middle, and Tessa on the right)

Look for a review of the book, coming soon.

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