Author John Green Answers Your Questions (Part 1 of 2!)
JAY GEE IN THE HEEEEEEEEZY.
We tooooooold you sophisticated boogerbrains this was coming, and now here it is! The hilarious, brilliant, so-dang-ON-IT author John Green read your REALLY smart, impressive questions, and responded to a bunch of 'em. In fact, we'll let John do the rest of this post intro himself:
Q. I've always been dying to know: if you HAD to pick a single favorite character from any of your novels (let's say this is a gun-to-your-head scenario), who would it be and why? (from thenameselodie)
A. I'd probably pick Hassan, from my book An Abundance of Katherines. Hassan is a religious person who is also irreverent, and he's the kind of funny, smart, and no-nonsense person that I enjoy hanging out with in real life. When I wrote most of Katherines, I'd just moved to New York and didn't have a lot of friends, so I created Hassan, an amalgam of all my favorite people.
Q. Was Augustus Waters always Augustus Waters (in name and in personality)? (from talonsandtealeaves)
A. I spent more than ten years working on the story that eventually became The Fault in Our Stars, and the character now known as Augustus Waters definitely had many different names and many different lives along the way. I don't think he really became Augustus Waters until I put an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
Q. Which do you find more enjoyable, LeakyCon or VidCon and why? (from talonsandtealeaves)
A. (LeakyCon is a Harry Potter-centered convening of fandoms; VidCon is an online video conference.) I prefer LeakyCon, because I don't own or help run LeakyCon, so it is a lot less terrifying. I enjoy VidCon, and it's great to see my friends and meet so many people who care as much about YouTube as I do, but it is by far the most stressful weekend of my year.
Q. When you write, do you plan things out chapter by chapter? How disorganized are you? Like, J.K. Rowling said in an interview that she wrote everything down chapter by chapter in a little book and that seemed painfully organized to me, as a writer wannabe. Is that something that one needs to learn to do before embarking on a new project? (from wammysammy)
A. I wish I could be like J. K. Rowling and be painfully organized, but I do not outline extensively or plan things out chapter by chapter. Instead, I spend several months writing a first draft that works as a kind of long, disorganized, poorly written outline. While writing that first draft, I figure out exactly what it is I'm trying to write a book about. Then I delete almost all of that draft and spend the next year or two writing progressively more organized drafts.
There are a lot of ways to write books. If you experiment and stay open-minded, I'm sure you'll find a process that works for you.
Q. What comes first to you, the characters, or the journey that they will take? (from jennabella112)
A. My writing is always driven by the characters. That said, in my mind the characters aren't separable from the journey. Part of who you are, after all, is what you're doing and who you're doing it with. So when I'm thinking about a story, I think about people and what their lives together might be like, and what might happen to them, and every piece in that process shapes every other piece.
Q. Is there any significance to the fact that all your male characters (Quentin, Augustus, Miles, etc) have rather unusual names? (from flyergirl13)
A. I try to choose names that reflect something about the characters. With Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars, for instance, I wanted him to have a name that could be both imperial (Augustus was the first emperor of Rome) and a little kid's name: "Gus" is not a name that you necessarily associate with kings or heroes. Hazel has to figure out who he is—Gus or Augustus or both—and which of those boys she loves.
Are you freaking out? We're kind of freaking out. Come back NEXT WEDNESDAY for the rest of the interview!