Welcome to The Big Reveal.
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.
Is writing your “real” job? If no, what is your other job?
How long have you been seriously writing? Did you write as a kid?
Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
I guess since I technically get paid to write I can say writing is my real job. (It still feels like play sometimes.) But I also have three kids and I consider that my real job, too. (I don’t get paid in cash for that one though.) So I have two real jobs and I love them both. I’ve been writing with the intent to get published for about 8 years now. I did write as a kid and enjoyed it, but the idea of writing as a career was pretty unrealistic to me. Becoming a movie star seemed more likely.
Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
I have a full time job as a librarian, but I’ve always considered writing to be my career. I’ve been seriously writing with the intent to be published for a little over 10 years. I wrote as a kid, but I never said to myself, “This is what I’m going to do,” until about 7th grade.
Melodie Wright, Agented author
Yes. Although I teach for a steady income, I’ve always considered writing to be my ‘real’ job and it was for many years when I was a newspaper reporter. Even when I switched careers, writing remains my strongest passion. I’ve written since I was a kid, my first novel written longhand when I was in eighth grade. (It was awful.) I had an agent ten years ago but 9/11 hit and my book didn’t sell. So I took a fiction break and came back to it about a year ago. Don’t get me wrong – I love teaching, too, and all that extroverted activity/planning is the best counterpart to writing.
Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
Writing is my second job. By day I am a business consultant for a fortune 100 company. I have been writing seriously for about one year. In that time, I wrote 4 books! I didn’t write as a kid, but have always read voraciously.
Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
Yes. But I’m a mother first and foremost. I’ve been seriously writing for one year now. (I know, I’m a baby in this, lol.) I wrote as a kid, but just poetry and in my AP English class. I did enter writing contests, but that was in elementary school and the only thing I remember is the story about monkeys on a trampoline in the middle of a hot air balloon. Ya, I won a prize for that one.
Jade Hart, Un-agented author
Writing is my real job. I write full time and immerse myself in the world of critique partners, networking and blogging. However, a few months of the year my husband and I renovate houses to keep the bills at bay while waiting for my publishing contract. I do realise how incredibly lucky I am to be able to write full time and I must admit I’ve grown so much as a writer from the contacts I’ve made via the supporting online network. My absolute dream is to be published – I will seriously faint and then burst into hysterics when an agent finally wants me lol
Janet Taylor, Un-agented author
Good grief, I wish it was my real job!! No, I am still one of those horrible sub-creatures known as an ‘aspiring’—Look away, I’m hideous. Seriously?? I’ve only been writing, well… seriously…for two years. I learned to read when I was three, and by the time I was five, I was writing plays for the neighborhood kids to perform. I went through a ghastly poetry phase in high school (what teenage girl doesn’t) but I gave it all up when my kids came along. Since they’re in college now—I’m FREE!! —–In my real life, I’m a Registered Radiology, MRI and Mammo Technologist, though I no longer see patients. I work in a hospital as a Quality Control Manager—making certain all the images are up to par for the Radiologists to read. It’s fun- and a great job. —–Though I dream of the day when I can write for a living…. My lackeys bringing me coffee and croissants while I lounge in a tiny café on the Champs-Elysees, my laptop before me. Children will lining up for my autograph… Grown men weeping at my—Oh, sorry- went off on a little tangent there. *ahem* Anyhoo- Yeah, I’d love to write for a living. Hopefully, it will happen for all of us some day!
Krista Van Dolzer, Un-agented author
I’m a stay-at-home mom by day and a writer by naptime. I wrote a lot as a kid (I actually finished two novels–and started many more–by the time I turned eighteen), but I didn’t really get serious about publishing on the national market until after my oldest was born four and a half years ago.
Stacy Stokes, Un-agented author
I starting writing when I was a tween, and have been using it as an outlet ever since. I’ve written many novels throughout my life, but I only recently began pursuing publication. I view my previous years of story writing as practice.
My day job is as a marketing manager for a consumer product company. It’s not too far removed from writing, in that there’s a fair amount of creativity involved with developing marketing campaigns and determining out how to speak to consumers in a way that’s interesting and relevant.
Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
My day job is with my two kids and every once in a while I do some civil engineering consulting work. I started seriously writing over 2 years ago, but just started the querying process about 6 months ago. I’ve written tons of stories and am having a hard time trying to figure out which to go with. I wrote in my early years, grade school/middle school, but not much after. I always thought it’d be cool to be published, but hadn’t given it much thought until a few years ago. I love reading my jr. high work—it’s scary bad.
Joelene B. Perry, Published author
My first job is mommy. I taught high school and middle school before that. I’ve been seriously writing just since the beginning of 2010, but have always written in one form or another. I filled stacks of notebooks as a kid.
So to the other writers out there, what about you?
The itch is back—luckily a good one.
Lately I’ve wanted to jump back into writing again, specifically my new WIP called Chloe (that’s the working title by the way.) I started it a few weeks ago and wrote 3000 words, but then other things took over.
I haven’t queried FROSTY since December and have been making changes. I think I’m done. I hope I’m done.
I’ve also been working on WHEN THE MIST CLEARS, making updates after having two betas read it. I finished with the major changes and have been tinkering with the little things. Now I sent it off to one more person, whom I’m sure will give me a great review also. She warned me that she is a hard critiquer, so is that sad that I actually look forward to her tough review? That I want her to point out the flaws in my ms? (So I can make it better.) Does that make me a masochist?
Seriously, am I the only person who looks forward to these reviews? I might have to add that question to my list for The Big Reveal: Do you get nervous when people are critiquing your work, or do you look forward to seeing their comments.
But back to the itch. I’ve got two full pages (front and back) of notes for my WIP, plus ideas for character traits and history. This is how I do things. I get an idea and I start writing notes down. Sometimes it’s dialogue, sometimes it’s just ideas for plot lines. Over time, I learned that once I get a few pages down, that means I can probably get about 10,000 words. Once I’ve written that 10,000 words, I have other ideas that lead to other stuff and so on…
I am predominately a panster. For those who don’t know, there are two different styles of writing (with everything in between of course.)
A planner plans. (Hmmm, bet you didn’t figure that out.) They outline the whole story out before starting writing, and they follow their outline as they write. I don’t do this.
I am more of a panster. I write wherever I want. I jump from middle to end to beginning, and rarely have I ever started a story at the beginning.
So I will look at my notes and find the scene that most interests me and that’s where I’ll go.
Being a panster is probably a bit more inefficient, but that’s my way.
So now that I’m passing off WHEN THE MIST CLEARS to my beta, and now that I’m done making changes to FROSTY, I am going to try get back into writing because my mind keeps filling up with ideas that I have to get out.
Sloppy Writing 101.06 Getting rid of my buts
I’m editing WHEN THE MIST CLEARS, and I recently went through looking to make sure I have a comma with my coordinating conjunctions. And, but, for, nor, or, so, yet. I don’t use too many nor, for, or yet, but I have lots of but, and and so. And I forget to get that comma in especially with the and.
He holds the phone behind my shoulder, and the bright light fills the car. (comma needed)
Will you mow the lawn and shovel the sidewalks? (no comma needed)
Honestly, I’m not sure if the rules are changing or if different people have different rules. I’m reading a book now, and often times the author doesn’t use a comma where I think she should. So is this a stylistic issue? I don’t know, but to be on the safe side, I’ll put commas in where I think they’re supposed to be.
Since I’m doing a find/replace, I can see every spot that has an and or but… and change it if necessary. One thing I started to notice was that I had an awful lot of sentences starting with But. I did a search and found 200. That means I started 200 sentences with But. Now my mc likes to make excuses for her actions, but that’s a bit too many.
I’ve cut it down to about half, and I’m sure I can get it down even further. On my search of And, I only found 123, which I can cut down too.
Little by little, I’m tightening up my ms—getting rid of unnecessary words.
I’m also looking for places where I can get rid of this conjunction. Here’s my original sentence: I lean over the seat, so I can see better.
I can write it as: I lean over the seat to see better. Two words deleted and much cleaner.
So there’s a ton more words to add to my list. Be on the look out for and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet. Make sure you get your commas right and don’t overuse them as I do.