The Tensorate quartet are sweeping fantasies with ambitious characters, high stakes, intricate politics, epic sequences, and a rad blend of technology and magic. The omnibus comes out today, and you can read the full series from start to finish in one package. To celebrate, I’m excited to host author Neon Yang to talk about writing process and what they’re working on next.
Storytelling with Neon
When you start a project, how much do you know about it? Is it vibes, is it characters, or something else entirely?
It usually starts off as “this is a topic I want to write about”, and sometimes it’s a setting, and sometimes it’s a couple of character archetype, but usually it’s a mixture of both, and then I sort of weave the plot around that.
When you’re drafting, do you have any kinds of scenes or interactions you’re looking forward to most?
I like describing things! Even though I’m not very good at it. The best descriptive sections, I feel, have got to have that special flow to them. It’s hard to achieve!
What does your revisions process look like? Does it stay consistent from book to book?
I do think it depends on the book— if I go in already knowing what it’s supposed to be, there’s very little revision needed. The Black Tides of Heaven was like that— the first draft was more or less the final version, I didn’t have to rewrite that much. My current project, though…. I have written it at least three times from scratch (I’ve actually lost count, this is an estimate). Really hope there aren’t too many books like these.
What is your favorite part of your writing process?
Honestly, much as it hurts me, I actually do like the actual process of writing— I like prosecrafting and finding better ways to say things.
What are you working on now?
I’m finally pushing my debut novel, The Genesis of Misery, towards production. After that, I have some short story obligations I need to fill, and I’m hoping to lay down work on a new novella before starting work on Book 2.
When you’re not writing, how do you refill the well?
I like reading— poetry and literary fic!
Is there anything you know now that you would want to tell Past!Neon?
Trust your instincts more and focus on the process of writing— doing the work is the only thing that matters.
What are some books that you’re reading or looking forward to others reading?
I’m currently reading The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar and enjoying it greatly!
Neon Yang is the Hugo-, Nebula- and WFA-nominated author of the Tensorate novellas from Tor.Com Publishing (The Red Threads of Fortune, The Black Tides of Heaven and The Descent of Monsters, and The Ascent to Godhood). They are queer, non-binary, and live in Singapore. Find them on Twitter as @itsneonyang, and otherwise at http://neonyang.com.
Photo credit: Chris Kammerud © 2019