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This blog was featured on 09/05/2019
Kendare Blake on Finishing & Finding the Fun Along the Way
Written by
She Writes
September 2019
Written by
She Writes
September 2019

Critically acclaimed, bestselling young adult author Kendare Blake is known for darkness and bloody horror with humor expertly woven in between. Her newest book, Five Dark Fates is the fourth and final novel in the Three Dark Crowns series, and just hit shelves this month.

In honor of this widely anticipated series conclusion, we rounded up some of Blake’s best interviews to share some of her finest insight and advice about writing.

On Background

Blake has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing, a foundation that she credits for setting her up for writing success.  

“It helped me understand the business side, and the process of publishing,” she said. “I’ve never been more productive than I was during the course, and many of those stories went on to be published.”

This excerpt was originally published on Writer and Artists. Read the full interview here.

But when it comes to advice, while she recommends creative writing classes to aspiring writers, she says those are not mandatory. The popular advice of reading more and writing more is also something she says won’t make the biggest impact. Instead, she told Writers and Artists, that the best advice she can offer is to complete the work.

“Finish your story. Finish your poem. Finish, finish, finish. And then do it all over again,” she said.

“Bring the fun in,” she continues to recommend on her blog.

“Writing is hard. It wrings you out in its best moments. And it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is social networking, and getting deals, and hearing about other people’s deals, and market expectations. But if you’re in front of your computer one day and realize you want to bang your head against the screen and break all the bones in your fingers… Don’t. Stop. Bring the fun in. That’s when you love it. That’s when it’s worth it.”

On Process

Blake’s drafts generally follow manuscript format, she shared on Goodreadsconfiding that she's not a stickler for page breaks or setting tabs. Instead, she focuses on paragraph breaks and dialogue, marking her sections and chapters where she wants them. 

“I want it to look as much like the final formatted manuscript as possible. Makes it very readable for my editor. And for me, it makes future steps, like copy edits, much easier."

On Character Building

A reader-submitted question on Goodreads about writing the parts between the big dramatic scenes prompted Blake to prudently reply that all the parts are important - even the in-between ones - to give the reader the deepest understanding of the characters at play. Here's what she had to say:

“Explosions and love scenes are nice and all but they don’t mean anything without the stuff surrounding and leading up to them. The tension must be built. The context given. Relationships developed. That’s what you’re doing during the quieter scenes. Think about the impact just one meaningful look between characters can have. It can seed doubt, signal a growing connection. Imply a threat. Even if there’s nothing 'happening', something is always happening."

On Goals

In the time since Blake wrote and released her debut novel, Sleepwalk, in 2010, she has worked tirelessly to expand the scope of her writing.

“I’ve done things in different tenses, different perspectives, with larger casts and fantastical settings,” she told The Nerd Daily.  “I want to continue to push myself higher, further, faster… Captain Marvel style, I guess? Except not faster. I do not write fast. Not by choice, anyway.”

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  • Totally love your advice on finishing:

    “Finish your story. Finish your poem. Finish, finish, finish. And then do it all over again,” she said.