Melanie McFarlane is a part-time author and full-time claims adjuster, living in Moose Jaw with her husband and two daughters. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. She likes to write dark stories from the past, present and future for teens and tweens. She has four novels traditionally published and believes that a writer’s strength comes from their writing community.
Melanie has a new book coming out on Nov. 21st – Here Skies Surround Us.
Connect with Melanie at www.melaniemcfarlane.com for free books and swag.
Describe your workspace.
In my bedroom I have a desk, set between two dressers with a whiteboard above it. It’s similar to a cubicle, which keeps me focused. I used to have the desk near a window, but I’m easily distracted.
Describe a typical workday.
I work full-time and have two young children, so my writing time does not occur until the evening once they’ve gone to bed. It makes for some late nights during the week, but I do enjoy getting up earlier on weekends to get some writing time in before the rest of my house wakes up.
My mother is a potter and made me a sculpture of a rabbit surrounded by books, with some of my titles and old favourites scratched into the covers. Aside from that, I always have a stack of reference books on my right, which changes from time to time depending on the genre I’m working on.
Do you have any rituals in your work habits?
I need about an hour of work to get into the writing “zone”. This is why I can’t write early in the morning. During that hour I read through social media, blog posts, and a few pages of the genre I’m working in.
What do you listen to while you work?
Because my house is sometimes hectic, I will write with a stream of music playing on YouTube. I like my music a little louder and on the alternative side. I can never go wrong with Nirvana, Radiohead, or The White Stripes.
What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?
Coffee. Make that black coffee. I rarely eat while writing.
How do you develop your story ideas? Do you use and outline, let the muse lead you, or another technique?
I like to consider myself a plantser – plotting and pantsing it as I go. I don’t do a lot of set up beforehand, just a running list of bullet points usually separated by chapters. I’ve started paying more attention to the beat of my story, but that tends to come at the end when I start working through a second draft.
If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?
I’ve been desperately trying to get my husband to work as my PA so we can have back to back desks, but so far no luck.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard or received?
To never stop learning. No matter where you are in your career.
Thanks to Jennifer Chambliss Bertman for the use of her Creative Spaces interview questions.