Where I Work: Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler)
A Sequence of Still Lifes from Daniel Handler’s office, with a few explanations.
(A) Books with which author is currently (and in one case, eternally) grappling.
(B) From left: Stack of books for author’s column in The Believer magazine, What The Swedes Read, chronicling the Nobel Prize in Literature; Buddha Machine ambient loop generator (orange) and Gristleism ambient loop generator (silver); manifestation of author’s 2013 New Year’s resolution to moisturize; old-school Rolodex.
(C) Scrap of paper found in street.
(D) From left: desk toy made for author from Andrew Sean Greer; water and tea; wooden box snitched from college library when author was a mad youth; statuette of Buddha from author’s father’s office; framed Dear Abby letter; framed honeymoon photo; boxes of stationery.
(E) Typed manuscript in-progress; legal pad on which author does most of his writing.
(F) Current favorite music.
(G) Visual art depicting the most important aspect of narrative.
(H) Inspirational quotation from Jane Hirshfield poem.
Lemony Snicket’s latest picture book, The Dark with illustrations by Jon Klassen, will be published this week.
Where I Work: Grace Lin, author of Starry River of the Sky
I do have a studio space where I have written and illustrated most of my books. It’s gone through a couple of reiterations (from www.gracelin.com/content.php?page=studio to www.gracelinblog.com/2010/10/revision.html).
But this first photo is where I wrote and illustrated my last two novels, Dumpling Days and Starry River of the Sky. You can see it is a rather cluttered corner, with notes, books, and beverages!
However, nowadays, with the arrival of my new baby, the studio has been mostly abandoned. It is almost completely a storage room of baby paraphernalia and I find that I am working in the living room where the baby plays! Now the clutter around me is baby toys and the baby, herself. It’s good for inspiration, at least.
Where I Work: Olivier Dunrea, author & illustrator of Little Cub
This is me working outdoors on the terrace at our house, Henwoodie. I am working on an oversize map for my epic heroic saga, The Lay of Moel Eyris: The Saga of the Bear’s Son. I work with both hands at the same time, antiquing the map with scalding hot tea and dyes and pushing the liquids around quickly to create a truly medieval antique look.
This photo shows the corner of my studio, where I do my actual drawing and painting for the books I write and illustrate. The map on the right is for the “Gossie & Friends” series. For every book I write for this series, this is the map that I use to plot the action and story. My studio is NOT this clean and organized very often!
Where I Work: Tom Lichtenheld, illustrator of Wumbers and Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
My studio is a room over the garage, custom-built for this purpose, so it has everything I need.
Don’t be fooled; it’s never this tidy.
There’s nothing like a nice big counter top for getting things done. When I’m working on a book, it takes over this space.
The usual studio stuff: a drawing board, computer, and sunlight.
When I’m intensely working on writing or sketching out a book, I need a small space with all the elements right in front of me. So I built this “nest” around my desk, using foamcore for walls. The cat is modeling for a drawing of a giraffe.
The other cat, modeling for a drawing of a cat.
Where I Work: Rebecca Stead, author of Liar & Spy
My desk is in my bedroom, next to a window. For a long time I worked in coffee shops and libraries, but a couple of years ago I took to heart Stephen King’s advice that “most of us do our best in a place of our own,” and I set myself the goal of working at home. Now I’m mostly here.
This summer, I was taking pictures through my window during a storm (my pictures never come out very well; they are all from an iPhone 3), and captured this reflection of my workspace. It kind of gives you the full interior/exterior experience.
Where I Work: Carolyn Mackler
I like my workspace to be neat and organized. It helps me deal with the chaos in my story and also not get distracted by bills to pay, to-do lists to conquer. I work in a sunny corner of our apartment. Sun and light and colors are key. I love my new desk—it’s orange and green and white, an Ikea special. My husband doctored it up with a special keyboard tray so it’s comfortable for long hours of typing.
Where I Work: Lauren Oliver
This summer, I rented a house in upstate New York and traveled there often with friends and fellow writers. Here I am writing with YA author Courtney Sheinmel, a close friend of mine. Too bad we’ll have to find a different writing spot post-Labor Day!
Where I Work: Melissa Walker
I’m at Dub Pies in Brooklyn, a tiny coffee shop where I love to write! There’s a lot of hubbub, and only three little tables. Somehow, the bustle keeps me focused (and the bacon-egg-n-cheese pie is to die for). Two other authors I often run into here? Lauren Oliver and Sarah MacLean! It’s a good spot
Where I Work: Maggie Stiefvater
I am, in fact, perfectly capable of writing anywhere. I traveled so much for the books last year that I had to learn how to work anywhere—I wrote The Raven Boys on planes and trains, in hotel rooms and the backseats of cars, tucked into the corner of conferences and sitting in a quiet room at a dairy farm. The most important thing for me is music; I always have to have my headphones on while I work, and then I’m all right.
Now. Just because I can work anywhere doesn’t mean I don’t have a favorite place. This year, my husband and I bought our first house (and hopefully our last one), and I’ve finally got my office precisely how I like it. During the day, I answer e-mails and revise manuscripts at my desk. I have a yoga ball chair because I’m not good at sitting still, and it lets me sit still while not sitting still. And then in the evening, when I’m tired of bouncing and e-mails, I collapse into the chair in the corner, fire up my laptop, and do most of my writing in the evening after the business world has quieted down.