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Archive for the ‘Hope Larson’ Category

Hope Larson on my biggest obstacle

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Madeline asks “What was the biggest obstacle you faced in becoming an author and how did you overcome it?”

I’ve heard other authors say that the hard part of writing isn’t starting a book, but finishing one. For me, the really hard part is sustaining my enthusiasm for a story I’ve written through many, many rounds of editorial notes, drawing, and copyediting. It takes around a year just to draw a graphic novel–I work at a rate of about one page per day–and when you break the story down into such small increments it’s hard to keep the big picture in mind. Even action-packed sequences are boring when they take so long to complete.

The easiest way to overcome the ennui of drawing a graphic novel is to stick to a schedule. I always take weekends off and get out of my studio, work in the yard, go shopping, take day trips, etc. By the time Monday rolls around I’m excited to get back to work, if only for a day or two.

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

Hope Larson on writer’s block

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Brandi asks “What do you guys do when you are faced with writer’s block? What helps you get over it?”

I’ve never experienced classic writer’s block, but I have lots of lazy days. Usually a cup of coffee and a snack is enough to make me focus. If I’m feeling antsy or frustrated and getting myself to sit still is the problem, I’ll play a few minutes of Dance Dance Revolution or go for a run–as a bonus, my best ideas come to me while I’m running. As a last resort, I remind myself that any work I don’t finish on weekdays will have to be completed on the weekend. Fear is a great motivator!

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

Hope Larson on what I’m afraid to try

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Chelsea asks “What is the one thing such as, sky diving or any other daring thing, that you would love to do but you are too afraid?”

The scariest thing in the world for me is performing for other people, whether giving a talk, acting in a play, or playing music. I’m shy. I’ve gradually become more comfortable with interviewers, and I don’t have a problem participating in panels at comics conventions, but public speaking all by myself? Yikes.

Last year I spoke about my work at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. It was my first speaking gig, and I was so scared that I had stomach cramps for days before and after I spoke. I have great respect for musicians and lecturers–especially musicians–and I wish I was as comfortable on stage as they seem to be. It’s going to take a long time, but getting myself behind a mic isn’t nearly as hard as it used to be. I’m learning to play the guitar, so who knows–one of these years I may be touring an album of original indie-rock camp songs.

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

Hope Larson on parting with a character

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Maggie asks “Many writers say parting with a character is hard. Do you ever look back on a character and wish you had changed something about him or her?”

I must be in the minority here, because I don’t have a hard time saying goodbye to my characters. Moving on to new stories and new characters is just too exciting! Maybe it’s easier for me, a cartoonist, than it is for a prose writer: I can always sit down and draw an older character I miss. I’ll think, “What would Shasta be like a few years after the events of Chiggers? What would she look like?” And I’ll do a little sketch.

I don’t lose any sleep over changes I did or didn’t make to a character, but sometimes there are aspects of his or her personality that don’t make it into the story. I’d like to recycle some old characters into new stories, but I need a break from them first. I’m such a new writer that I’m afraid writing the same characters over and over will stunt my progress. I need to find out how far I can push myself before I return to Abby and Shasta (Chiggers) or Anna and Noémie (Gray Horses) or even Hailey and Sal (Salamander Dream). I know they’ll wait for me.

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

Hope Larson on friends/family reading my work

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Kaleena asks “Have you ever written something that you feel uncomfortable writing, knowing that your family and friends will probably end up reading it?”

I feel uncomfortable with everything I write, period! Even though I write fiction, I always end up revealing more of myself than I intended to. I’m a fairly private person, so every time one of my books comes out I feel exposed–especially if I get a critical review. I’m still learning to separate my work from my self.

My forthcoming graphic novel, Chiggers, features a friend character with a number of unappealing traits, and I imagine my friends–especially people I was friends with as a teenager–reading the book and asking, “Is that supposed to be me?!” I almost wish I could put disclaimers on my books: “Dear best friend from 7th grade, this character is not supposed to be you! And Mom, you aren’t like the mom in the story!” Some of my characters are based on real people, but they change so much during the writing process that they become totally unrecognizable by the end. My friends should take heart from the fact that I save some of the worst traits for my protagonists–the characters who are, usually, the most like me.

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

Hope Larson on surviving being a teen

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Jasmine asks “How did you survive being a teen?”

Like most people (or at least most writers), I hated being a teenager. I went to a small private school where I got virtually no instruction in art or creative writing, my main interests, and I felt stifled. I could have switched to a public school with a better arts program, but I didn’t want to because I was convinced that my education would suffer. (My dad is a college professor, and book learnin’ has always been important in my family.) I stayed put and told myself that my life would improve once I got out of the Bible Belt and went to film school. “Everything will be better in college” was practically my mantra.

All my high school friends were textbook goodie two-shoes and members of the National Honor Society, and I was the black sheep of our little clique. I didn’t care for team sports. I never wanted to volunteer in the community (my school was big on volunteering). I got good grades and took challenging courses, but I didn’t care enough about the subject matter to apply myself. Instead, I spent a lot of time reading manga and webcomics, drawing, and going to movies alone.

I was definitely a misanthrope, but I learned to be unhappy in a creative way. I spent hours and hours drawing, designing and redesigning my personal website, playing with pixels and vectors. And it was fun. A sketchbook, a scanner and a computer are what got me through high school.

I spent college learning to screenprint, shoot movies, and develop photographs, but I’ve come back to making art the same way I did in high school. I may use better paper and brushes and ink to draw my comics, and I have a fancy scanner, but the system that got me through high school is getting me through my twenties, too.

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

Hope Larson on advice for becoming an author

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Brittany asks “What are your tips for aspiring authors?”

As a teenager, you can help yourself the most by writing things you enjoy writing. Let yourself experiment. Take risks. Have fun! You’ll never have more license to embarrass yourself than you do right now, so make the most of it.

A lot of people will tell you to write every day, but I disagree. Write often, but remember that it’s just as important to take breaks when you need them. Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t met your word count quota for the day. It’s okay to put a project aside for days or weeks and give your brain a chance to relax. No one’s expecting you to turn out a best seller by age 20–being a teenager is hard enough already.

Hope Larson is the author and artist of the forthcoming graphic novel CHIGGERS. Visit her author page for more information.

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