Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Process Project: Rhiannon Paille

If you're not yet familiar with the Process Project, check us out here!

Meet Rhiannon Paille!

Rhiannon is a Booksmith from the middle of nowhere, Canada. She holds a PhD in Metaphysical Science and Parapsychology, which is to say she happens to know a lot about what goes bump in the night. When she's not writing she's singing karaoke, burning dinner, and hiding her superhero identity. She'd like to own a unicorn one day, as long as it doesn't eat her. You'll find her sipping iced cappuccino despite her allergy to coffee at

And now, for the questions...

What is/are your main genre/field of writing?

Young Adult and Non Fiction

Do you think your genre of writing informs your process?

No, I think while there are different plot formulas for different genres (like the Hero's Journey for fantasy) I also believe that your voice can only come from you, and your process of getting words down on paper isn't necessarily connected to your genre. For instance, just because you write fantasy does not mean your process will be like George R.R. Martin who releases a book once in a century or something.

​What is your writing routine? Do you have any writing rituals?

I suppose my routine is that I wait. I wait a long time until all the ideas in my head have hit a braying so loud I can't ignore them anymore. I outline in a frantic rush to get ideas to paper and then I wait some more. I wait until there is beauty and silence and until all the words have found their way to the surface and in a frenzy of skill, focus and dedication I chain myself to the computer, shut up my windows and doors and barely see the light of day until every last scene in the outline is written, and until every heart stopping moment has happened on paper.

Sometimes it takes six weeks, sometimes I do it in intervals, two weeks and 75,000 words, or five weeks and 133,000 words, my record is 91,000 words in ten days. It made me sick, but the book is amazing.

I always listen to music, often songs on repeat as they keep me in the mood of the scene and the story. I never write until my whole mind is focused on it, and even then, I only focus my whole mind on it for a short time until it's done, and then I relax.

When you are preparing to write a new story, what kinds of techniques or methods do you use to organize your ideas?

For Young Adult it's always a simple spark that ignites a story. I find I'm not one that can force my writing, so it might take me a long time but it's worth it in the end because when the iron strikes, that's when I write down the ideas.

I can sometimes take months or even years for the greatest ideas to come to me, and that's because I write when I have a story to tell, not just to put words to paper and make up whatever crap my dull brain can come up with. I wait until I have something truly original and unique and then I let it loose onto the pages.

Once the ideas have formed and I'm satisfied enough with those unique and original elements, I outline the book, adding in the mundane elements, the logistics and sometimes little details that sweeten the already original and unique ideas that made me want to write the book in the first place.

When it comes to non fiction however, I am equally as slow because the type of non fiction I write is within an industry that has a lot of controversy surrounding it to begin with and I'm trying to put standards and commonalities into the community. So I mostly toil over lessons to teach and which personal antidotes to tell before I compile the best lesson plan I can.

I'm also at a point in my non fiction where I'm writing things at an advanced level that won't appeal to the general public. My latest non fiction book is equivalent to a Masters level course in my industry and the next will be a Doctorate's level.

So in some ways these are technical manuals that will not appeal to the general public, and equally be misunderstood, and sometimes insulted or criticized for its boldness in belief, technique and validity.

In other words, when it comes to non fiction, I expect to bathe in blood when the reviews come in.

When do your best ideas come to you?

Usually when I'm driving.

When you’re on the road and ideas come to you, what do you usually do?

I have a great memory so I often experience my ideas in full and I store them in my mind the way we do memories. I simply tag them so I can go back to them later.

While you are working on a piece, do you have any particular way that you structure your work?

When I first began outlining I did it in a paper notebook with a pencil. When I later wrote the book I had my notes beside the computer and used them as cues.

During some of my time as a writer however I developed some tendinitis and I couldn't create the handwritten versions the way I used to. My hands would cramp up. So I began outlining on the computer, which doesn't help me think much better, but was faster.

My outlines alone were 25k words long.

I've since for my latest book gone back to the pencil and paper method, but it's allowed me to outline the book slowly, and with more deliberate thought to what happens to my characters. I liked that it wasn't like wild fire and that I had to get everything in my head onto paper immediately. I was a lot more leisurely than it's ever been before.

When it's time to revise/edit your work, do you have any particular methods that you use to help you through the process?

I wait. I write the first draft and I wait until I'm ready to go through a first pass. I often go through four passes of revising and editing before handing it over to alpha readers. I do a fifth pass to correct and revise anything I hadn't already revised before sending it to alpha readers. I then send it to beta readers and hear their feedback before doing round six and then one of my betas usually copy edits it a second time from a reader's perspective, and then I do my seventh pass to make sure I catch all of those mistakes.

Still after all of those passes, the editors at my publishing house go over it again for potential corrections. The latest novel I gave them had three that were missed, and one of those three were a matter of opinion. I shared my reasoning for my word choice and I hope it suffices.

So I'd say my process is thorough if not a bit overdone.

And most importantly: why do you write?

I write because I have a story to tell. Without stories to tell I wouldn't be writing. What keeps me motivated are my fans and my love of stories. I believe certain stories have a kind of reality to them, like they are their own reality and I want to give readers an opportunity to live in the worlds I create inside my head.

Is there any advice you can give to writers struggling to get the words flowing?

Honestly, deal with your life. Sometimes it's hard to write when your life is getting in the way and stressing you out. It's hard to be good at something when you don't have the time to think. Meditate and get back on the horse.

I want to give Rhiannon a big giant THANK YOU! This interview was so interesting and I've been dying to share it with all of you! Thank you again!!!

Need more Rhiannon?? Check her out on the web! | Twitter @rhipaille | Facebook | Deviant Art | Kasamba | Author Central

And read her books here!
SURRENDER: Paperback | Kindle | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo
JUSTICE: Paperback | Kindle | B&N | Kobo
VULTURE: Paperback | Amazon | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo
VILLAINS: Paperback | Kindle | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo

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