Brian Falkner – The Writer’s Studio

‘Just the action of walking around the house seems to free up little scraps of ideas that get stuck in the chute on the way out.’

– Brian Falkner

Children’s and YA Author Brian Falkner

I am fascinated by where children’s and YA authors write. In this blog series, The Writer’s Studio, prominent authors open up their writing space for us to see inside. This week it’s Brian Falkner, the hugely popular author of action-adventure novels The Tomorrow Code, Brainjack and The Project.

Where did you write your latest book? How important to you is the space that you write in?

I write anywhere. I don’t really have a special place, although I do have an office in my home where I do most of my work. However I could be sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or on the beach, or (and this is quite common) in a café or on a sofa at a shopping mall. I find the act of writing transports me away from my surroundings.

Do you transform your space in any way for each book? Do you ‘get into character’ at all?

I don’t transform the space, but I do change the sound-space, with music. Music can carry all kinds of different emotions and I will often pick a piece of music that suits the chapter I am writing, to help me get into the right emotional place. I have heard that other authors also use this technique, and call it “Setting the Tone”.

Brian Falkner’s writing studio in Auckland, an old library.

How has the place that you write evolved or changed since you first began writing novels?

Only because of geographic displacement. (A little like continental drift, but not as slow).

I was a resident writer at the University of Iowa in 2008 for three months, so that changed my writing space: I was in a different house in a different country. 

I now live in Australia, so that has also changed my writing space.

In Auckland I had a writing studio, which was actually an old library. It was over a hundred years old and full of old books, but no longer used as a library. It was a great, musty, dusty old place to write, surrounded by bookshelves and books.

Do you keep regular writing hours? What are they? If not, when do you write?

I prefer to write new stuff in the morning, when I am freshest. I try not to work in the afternoons, and I edit my work in the evenings. This just seems to suit me, and what my brain is capable of achieving at various times of the day.

The Project by Brian Falkner

Do you have a morning ritual? Roald Dahl was said to sharpen pencils. What settles your mind for writing?

Eating. But I try not to. Actually that’s more of an excuse for when I get stuck. I get up, go and open the pantry, and hopefully close it again, then go back to work. Just the action of walking around the house seems to free up little scraps of ideas that get stuck in the chute on the way out.

Next up in The Writer’s Studio is Michael Pryor, author of The Laws of Magic series.


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