Laini Taylor is the author of the National Book Award Finalist Lips Touch: Three Times, as well as the novels Blackbringer and Silksinger. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter.
photo: Tim Walker
So I got this great question in an email, and it felt so universal to me that I thought I'd answer it here. It's been a while since I posted about writing. Here you go!
My question is this: how do you keep going when you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing?
I’m working on the second draft of a MG novel I just finished. I loved writing the first draft – as difficult as it was to do – but now, everything I do seems wrong. The writing seems terribl
(here's the text in case the image is hard to read)
By now, fans of Laini Taylor know what to expect: beautiful prose, strange and whimsical fantasy worlds, sympathetic monsters, and wrenching, star-crossed romance. Her latest, first in a two-book set, certainly delivers on that, and there’s something quietly magical at play here. Lazlo Strange, an orphaned infant who grew up to be a librarian, has h
Hi there. *shy wave* It's been a ridiculously long time since I posted anything. I really fell into a writing pit and spent the better part of a year digging myself out of it. I want to write about writing Strange the Dreamer, but I feel like I have to work up to it. Not to mention that I never posted pics of our summer trip to Italy, so I'm going to do that first, while I gather my wits.
Starting with Venice, because: Venice.
We stayed in the Castello district, which I highly recomm
Hello hello! I'm thrilled to show you the covers for STRANGE THE DREAMER!!!!
The above is the US cover; below is the UK cover. I adore them both, and love how they look great together too. I've been deeply deeply buried in the world of this book, and I really look forward to talking more about it and getting back to writing here about writing and life once I've unburied myself a little bit. I miss it here! I'll be back soon!!
Would you like to read the prologue? You can f
I'm thrilled to announce the new title for the novel I've been working on all year! You may recall, when it was initially announced, that the title was given as "The Muse of Nightmares." Well, I still love that title too, and am happy to say that it will serve as the sequel to this book, which has morphed, in the writing, into a duology. A duet. A pair. A one-two punch.
I should have known from the outset. Any story I come up with has a way of stretching its borders in ever
I'm going on retreat tomorrow! Not to the above island, which is waaay too distraction-filled. It'll just be me in a hotel room with nothing to do but write write write. (Well, I might possibly wander into the Plot Labyrinth, but not if I can help it!) Always such excitement and trepidation pre-retreat: big hopes of big productivity, and big fears of face-planting.
But excitement too! I'll be back soon!
(more of my thoughts on writing retreats here.)
Versailles! (weird cool mirror sculpture in above photo, if you're wondering!)
A little slice of Montmartre:
Some random Paris:
(At Parc de la Villette, hard to tell the scale, but that mirror ball has an IMAX theater inside, so: it's big!)
We reallllly loved Les Invalides/Napoleon's Tomb/the war museums.
The Palais Garnier (Opera House); one of our favorite places:
(Jim in a crown of light :-)
Heh heh, I bought a coupla these sweaters...
From Paris to the Ardennes, we went by way of Pierrefonds Castle, about an hour, hour and a halfish northeast of Paris? If you watch the show Merlin, I guess it's filmed here? I haven't seen it, but now I want to. This place is gorgeous.
It has a cool history. Though originally built in the 12th-14th Centuries, it had become a picturesque ruin by the 19th. Then Napoleon III came along and hired architect Viollet-le-Duc to rebuild it. So what it basically is is a medieval castle reimag
Hi! Back from France (and Sweden and Norway and Denmark!) and straight back into manic writing, so it's hard to make time to sort photos, but here are some. Too many! It's impossible to choose when it comes to this amazing event: the Festival Mondial des Theatres de Marionettes in Charleville-Mezieres, in the Ardennes region of France (on the Belgian border).
Last winter some time I saw a cool picture on Pinterest of some puppets (I love puppets!) and followed the link and wit
Hi guys! I've just arrived at the amazing Bokmassan in Goteborg, Sweden. This is the biggest book festival in Scandinavia, and I can't wait to meet Swedish readers, plus writers from all over the place! (I shared an airport car with one of my favorite illustrators, Beatrice Alemagne. I was a bit giddy about that :-)
Here's the view from my hotel window:
Friday & Saturday are full days of panels & signings. It's going to be amazing. Here's my schedule. Hope to see you!!!
Wow, hello blog. Summer's over and I haven't blogged in 2 months. Oops!
So, hey, today Jim & Clementine & I and our friend Tseche who's visiting from Bulgaria went across the Columbia River to Vancouver (the Washington one, not the Canada one) for Kumoricon, an anime convention. It was fun! We spent too much time in the dungeonesque merch room though and by the time we discovered that hundreds of cosplayers were hanging out in this lovely park, it had started to rain. So that was a
(if you click on the photos they get bigger and you can scroll through like a slideshow.)
So, here's where it gets reallllly Norway-y. Ready?
From Oslo, Jim, Clementine, Tone, Magnus & I jumped on a plane for Alesund, up in the...northwest-ish part of the south-ish part of the country? Do you like my geographic sense? Actually, I have a pretty good sense of geography, but Norway really throws everything off by being so looong and going about as far north as a country can go.
Back to Norway!
So, from Bergen we took the train over the mountains to Oslo. This is a stunningly beautiful journey, during which snow merged with clouds, from white to white to white, a ghostly austere landscape. Then the train eased down into green lands again and we had our first of a hundred-thousand lupine sightings. Lupine lupine lupine, blooms as long as my arm. I've never seen so many wildflowers in my life!
And then we were in Oslo, reunited with the main reason for our tri
We're back from Norway!! We had a wonderful time. It's such a beautiful country! Here are some pics from our first stop, Bergen, on the southwest coast. The harbor is famous for its old wooden houses, and the landscape around it is riddled with fjords. We didn't go to any of the big ones, but just Osterfjord, which is a short loop trip by boat from the Bergen harbor.
One of the loveliest places, a short trip from Bergen, is Lysoen, the villa of 19th-Century violinist Ole Bull. To get
Hey guys! Guess what! The DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS paperback is almost here!
And to celebrate we've done something fun. Remember how when it came out in the UK we released the original first chapter of DREAMS? (Find that here.)
Well, this time I've dug down even deeper to find...
...the very first writings ever of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE. I'm always saying how there was this one day that I sat down to write something-anything-please-god-let-it-be-fun and Karou a
Finally, I can talk about the new book! I want to tell you aaaalllll about it--about the world building and the characters and the magic and the situation--but it'll be a while before it comes out (fall '16) so I have to be vague for now.
My fabulous publisher Little, Brown made this announcement today, woo hoo!
via Entertainment Weekly
(funny that they pulled this photo of all photos to go with it :-)via Galley Cat
I'm thrilled to be continuing forward with Li
This is my message for myself today:
“The only way [the book can be written] is to set the unbook—the gilt-framed portrait of the book—right there on the altar and sacrifice it, truly sacrifice it. Only then may the book, the real live flawed finite book, slowly, sentence by carnal sentence, appear.” -Bonnie Friedman
One of my favorite quotes about writing, and something I have a very hard time doing. Today I am going to try especially hard to heed this going forward in the cur
Hi there! Want to read the original first chapter of DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS? Well you can! You just have to jump through one of three very simple hoops!
Original first chapter? What's that mean?
The hardest part of writing a book for me is getting started. I can't move forward into the meat of the story until I get the beginning right, and so I usually I spend a ridiculously long time trying out openings. The first chapter is the first big hurdle, but I don't really feel
Fan art is one of my favorite things! Thank you so much to everyone who applies their creativity to my characters. I LOVE IT!
These first three from BlackBirdInk in Moldova!
Hurray, a tattoo! Thank you!!!! :-) :-)
These are pieces I can't credit with links; they're originals that were given to me at events. On the left, by Marla Rios, on the right, by CassT:
This Ziri by (I think) "Siddob" in "the place with the kangaroos" :-)
Hey guys! What are you doing Tuesday? Join me and Lauren Oliver at Barnes & Noble to celebrate the release of Lauren's new novel: VANISHING GIRLS!!
Here's the jacket copy:
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before--before Dara kissed Parker, before Nick lost him as her best friend, before the accident left Dara's beautiful face scarred. Now the two sisters, who used to be so close, aren't speaking. In an instant, Nick lost everything an
blurry sunset in Manzanita
Last weekend I did my first writing retreat in over a year. Well, there was this one a year ago but I was still in recovery mode from finishing DREAMS and didn't do *much* writing. (Though I did write pitches for the next two books I wanted to write, one of which is underway now, more on that soooooooon :-)
But the last real writing intensive was when I was finishing DREAMS. There were two, actually, a week at the beach where I almost finis
Gosh what happened to my blog? I don't know. But I never even put up pictures from the rest of the Mexico trip in December! So here are some, as I pine for sun in the midst of an Oregon February.
This is Sayulita, a tiny town about 45 minutes out of Puerto Vallarta.
There are tons of awesome house rentals. Here's the view from ours:
It's an open-air style house, which I love. Only the bedrooms are fully enclosed. See more pics here and consider booking it. Gorgeous. We sh
Another gorgeous cover from Hodder & Stoughton, my wonderful wonderful UK publisher! Love it!
DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS paperback releases in the UK on March 26, 2015.
Oh, and by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
I love all things Christmas! And I love to Christmas-ify the house. In recent years I've fallen in love with vintage Shiny Brites, and I can't seem to stop buying them. Here they are on the large antique bottle dryer we have mounted as a kind of light fixture in the dining room. (It's great because you can hang anything from it.)
Beneath it, in a manger built (by Clementine) from bits of several block sets and a pair of candle holders, is the nativity we got at the Union Square Christmas m
(What's happening here?? Stay tuned...)
We're home from our trip to Mexico! If you haven't followed by reports on Twitter you don't know that it was THE MOST AMAZING TRIP! I've been so excited to meet my Mexican publishers at Alfaguara, and especially the awesome DoSaB readers in Mexico and ... wow did their awesomeness exceed all hopes and expectations! The book events in both Guadalajara and Mexico City have rocketed to the top of my "career highlights" list, and life highlight