“She had always found villains more exciting than heroes. They had ambition, passion. They made the stories happen. Villains didn’t fear death. No, they wrapped themselves in death like suits of armor! As she inhaled the school’s graveyard smell, Agatha felt her blood rush. For like all villains, death didn’t scare her. It made her feel alive.” — Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil
Tim’s interviews focus on identifying skills, breaking down rituals and processes, seeing what can be learned about how a person works. Although Tim is a writer, he writes primarily non-fiction, so the actual craft of writing wasn’t discussed in great detail. But he goes into the kind of mentality and discipline that Soman brings to his writing. A lot of the cliches regarding writing will be to “write what you know” and so on, which doesn’t help anyone, ever. Soman has taken a liberal dose of what he loves – the fantasy of middle grade fiction – and tailored his work for a specific audience. He has thought through and started to put into place a fully multimedia experience that understands what his primary audience are like and how he can give those most dedicated fans a lot of exposure to the world and insights they wouldn’t ordinarily get.
If they ever do a round two, it’d be great to have some insights into how Soman actually crafts his material. To what degree does he plot? How does he develop characters, scenes and the world? Does he use beta readers? What software does he use? Does he write chronologically? Who are his writing influences? There’s soooo much more to be asked 🙂