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‘The Big Reveal’ Category

  1. The Big Reveal

    March 27, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Do you tend to over-write or under-write?

     

    Jackie Felger
    I over-write. Every. Dang. Time. The most I’ve cut from a novel is 30k, which was a grueling process slash learning experience. I do try to be careful with my word choices, but even still, some words creep in that aren’t needed. Sometimes, though, over-writing is important to me. Sure, I may not use the info in the manuscript, but it helps me to understand my characters.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I usually write at the required word count—and I’m stretching to do that! Most of revision for me is completely rewriting scenes!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    My very first draft is always around the 30-50k mark. This seems to be what I need to get the story out in its rawest form. I don’t aim for any number, this is just what I noticed. This first draft is usually starting at the wrong spot and has no climax. It will be missing vital research but it has everything I need to build a story. From there I grow my story by adding in and cutting, digging in to the lives of the characters and their motives, moving things around and researching. This will bring me up to around a 90-110k word count. Then I polish it and my final drafts are anywhere from 80-100k. My longest MS was 120k and I cut it to 100k. I’m still working on it and expect it to be around 80-90 when I get it where I want. I don’t usually worry about word count, a story takes what it takes, but if a romance is over 70k, I start asking myself if maybe this is two stories or if I overdid something? I usually did. If a fantasy is under 90k I start to wonder if I was too easy on the hero or if I missed setting? I usually did. Since I have written so many novels, I know what to expect from myself, but at the start, word count meant nothing to me and it confused me why people worried about it.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    When I am writing a short story, I over-write by about 10,000 words then I come back in scale it back. When I am writing a full length novel, I generally underwrite. It is my CPs, agent, and editors who help me figure out which parts need to be more fleshed out.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Under-write. I always need to go back and more details or “fluff”.

     

    Are you an over or under-writer?


  2. The Big Reveal

    March 20, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Do you re-read books ever?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I used to re-read Harry Potter all the time, but I haven’t done that since I started writing. Writing makes reading harder :)

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Very rarely. I’ve read Stephen King’s The Stand more than any other book, but I prefer to discover new books.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I hate the idea of re-reading a book. First of all, the magical feeling it gave me that first time was an experience I don’t like to ruin and the re-read always does this for me. But yes, I do re-read. I re-read parts that I noted for research. I re-read books I loved to my kids. I re-read something I hated in case a new perspective will give me a new view on it. I re-read things I loved to pick out exactly where it hooked me. A book, good or bad, is a writer’s best friend. Revisiting them is important for so many reasons.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I do. I have pile of books on my nightstand that I’ve read at least a dozen times. They are my tried and true favorites, the ones I pick up at 2am when insomnia gets the best of me. And because I have read them so many times, I can skip to my favorite scenes and instantly get lost in the character’s world.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Nope, I’m definitely not a re-reader. I have far too many TBR’s and not enough time to read something I’ve already read.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Absolutely. If I really love a book, I’ll reread it later on or go through and read my favorite parts. The Fault in our Stars, Stardust, Twilight, The Notebook, and Blood Promise are books I’ve re-read several times.

     
    Do you re-read books?


  3. The Big Reveal

    March 13, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    What social media do you use?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I mostly use Facebook. I feel like I can connect to other writers the best that way. But I also use Google Plus for fans of my fanfiction. I can talk about something I like, make friends, and find an audience. I should mention Google Plus is only good for Kpop since it’s directly connected to YouTube.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. My favorite is PINTEREST. I’m addicted. I can use it for story inspiration, character development, and plotting. Also, I find yummy recipes on there as well as various methods of organizing… which I rarely use, because I like to procrastinate… on Pinterest.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I probably spend the most time on Facebook, but I’ve been increasing my Twitter usage lately. I think with Twitter, there’s almost too much out there. It can be overwhelming at time. I also have an Instagram account, since it’s popular with younger social media users.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I use them all, although I recently quit some. I ask myself daily; WHY AM I ON THIS? I only have so much time to invest in my writing in a day or night. So each moment counts. WHY must I be on Pinterest today? If the answer is to find out how light enters a castle when the curtains are drawn, then I am on the right site! Every social media I am on serves a purpose and I must remember it while on it. I sometimes find a new purpose for it, but it still has to matter to writing. It has to help my creativity, my marketing, my career. If I can’t answer WHY? I quit and invest that time in my manuscripts.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    HA! All of the above! Twitter I am probably most active on. I love Pinterest, but I find it to be a total time suck for me. Once I am on there, I spend hours looking at pins of everything and nothing. I lo on looking for 2105 book covers and end up staring at pictures of hobbit houses. For hours.
     
    I recently discovered Instagram, and I love its visual format. (Probably related to my people-watching skills. J) Tumblr… now there is a form of social media I’ve vowed to become more active on in 2015. What I need to do is find a Tumblr guru to show me all the ins and outs of the site so I can dive in head first.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    I use all of those: Blogger, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram. I’m frequently on all of them but my favorite would have to be Pinterest. I love pinning!!

     

    What social media do you use?


  4. The Big Reveal

    March 6, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    What’s your process for naming characters?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Picking names is kind of easy for me and also my favorite thing about writing. They usually come from dreams, people I know or sometimes they simply fall in my lap.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Usually it’s random, but Stealing the Stars was different. Most of them are named after my siblings (I have five siblings, so plenty to choose from) and the main girl is named after a constellation :)

     

    Jackie Felger
    If I like how a name sounds, I’ll jot it down and save it for a story. I’ve used baby books as well as online baby name searches. Also, I use my kids class lists from school.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I have a spreadsheet filled with names I chose from a baby-naming site for the year my characters would have been born. I check those off when I use them.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I love to create names: Terror, Dreems, Watcher… Names always find my characters. If I don’t have one I just start writing without one and suddenly it appears as if by magic. Sometimes they evolve. Once I had Penny and Peers in the same book and all the P’s were driving me nuts but he had to be Peers and she needed an –y name (no idea why). So I changed her to Hadley and everyone was much happier. Sometimes I research them to make sure they fit with the time period, the culture, or that they stand out among the other names in the book, (I avoid Mitch, Marc and Mathew as brothers… But Andrew, Jip and Kim seems to work!). Some characters just need a small snappy name and others need a longer name that can be shortened to something sexier. I do love to use baby books to see what a name means, especially for a secondary character because if I need someone strong on the sidelines should he be Charlie or Charles or Chuck? These little details matter to the magic.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    To be honest, I never really thought much about this. Character names have never been a struggle for me. Book titles… now that is a completely separate story! I’ve been known to go through my kid’s school directory, saying the names out loud until one clicks. But my characters have pretty traditional names, so I usually come up with one rather quickly.

     

    What’s your character naming process?


  5. The Big Reveal

    February 27, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Do you have any trunked novels?

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I’ve been writing since 1995 and have only had two novels published so far. So you can probably imagine the number of unpublished manuscripts I have. There are a few I’d love to see published someday, but I always have so many great new ideas, I’m more eager to move forward on those than to revisit old stories.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    The very first novel I wrote was twenty years ago. It is the best garbage I ever wrote and it should remain in a trunk and tossed at sea. But! I do believe that every story should be told. So, now that I have many years under my writing pad, I thought I’d take another look. Unfortunately, what it needs is beyond my abilities and will take me another twenty years to master. However, what I did see was chemistry between three minor characters who needed life. What I did see was a strong heroine needing a better plot. So I ripped them from their home and gave them a new genre and new missions, creating two new stories that pushed me in very different directions.

    I have many novels in cooling periods at various stages. I work on them when the fit takes me, trying to grow my writing abilities.

    Claiming a story as truly done is very hard to do, putting it in a trunk and tossing it to sea is somewhat easier. Thankfully, I live far from the sea.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Oh yes… several that are so God-awful I hope to forget about their mere existence. I have one in particular that I love. My CP’s seem to think has merit, but the market timing is off, so it sits on a lonely shelf awaiting its time.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Sadly, I have set them all aside. I have started five… yes five novels, and I’ve sat them all aside. But luckily I have not lost my love for them and will one day finish… one day.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Oh yeah! I have two that I’d love to take a look at again, but part of me can’t help but think they’re trunked for a reason.

     

    Do you have any trunked novels?


  6. The Big Reveal

    February 20, 2015 by Suzi

    Yay! I’m glad to have my blog back. I’m not sure what happened, but for about 2-3 weeks there I couldn’t get into it. Couldn’t view it. And many people told me they couldn’t either.
     
    I don’t know if somebody fixed it or if whatever glitch went away, but it’s back. And now I can return to blogging again.

     
     
    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.
     

    Where do you usually write?

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I am a writing addict. I write all the time: in public, in secret, in short exciting doses or even in longer weeklong binges that almost kill me. I even write at the dentist office, and when waiting to pick up the kids. Are the kids fighting? Then it’s a perfect time to work on that fighting scene. I’ll even ask them to pause so I can get the way her hand wraps around his torso just right.
    My dream place to write would be in the actual story I am working on. If I could just get in there and see the world the way I need to, it would really help.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I’m old-school; I have a writing desk. It was my Grandmothers and now it is mine. I have tried writing at the library or a coffee shop, but I get easily distracted. Plus, I am a chronic people watcher, so ask me to write anywhere in a public setting and I will get nothing done.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    My writing setting is pretty much whenever the mood strikes me to write. However, my ideal setting would be in some cabin tucked away in the mountains somewhere in Montana in the middle of summer.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I can write with noise or when it’s quiet. I don’t mind either way, just as long as I get words down, that’s all that matters to me.


    The beach would be my dream setting to sit and write, with my tootsies in the warm sand and listening to the waves.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    People think it’s crazy, but I write with the TV on, usually streaming on my computer. I don’t know why, but it helps me focus on what I’m doing. I’d love to write in a house with a good view, perhaps of trees or the mountains, but often a view is too distracting. As for snacks, I love chocolate, but I try to stay away from it. My go-to drink is a bottle of water with Crystal Light in it.

     
    J.A. Bennett
    I like to write at my desk. Even though I have a laptop, I also have a comfy office chair. It’s nice that I can take my computer elsewhere when I need to. I only drink water when I’m writing. If I eat or give myself a treat, I tend to get distracted. So only the essentials.
    Where do you prefer to write?


  7. The Big Reveal

    January 30, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Old fashioned book or E-reader?

     
    Jackie Felger
    I’m not picky. Either way is fine, just as long as I read. I have a kindle that I do like to use, because I can put my own manuscripts on it and read them through a different view.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I have an Amazon Kindle and I read everything on it. I’m not a fan of having “stuff” around, so my Kindle lets me have hundreds of books without worrying about storing them.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I love my Kindle as a writing tool. I use it to polish my work. This means, when I try to read other books on it, I am harder on them, editing as I read, judging the plot instead of just kicking back and enjoying a good story. So if I really want to just read for fun, I do have to have a book in my hands. (Plus, I love holding a book.)

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Old fashioned book! I have a kindle, but I very rarely use it. There is something about the feel of a book in my hand, physically holding the words and turning the pages that I love.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Old Fashioned Book all the way. I love their weight in my hands, their smell, and the way they make me feel with each turn of the page. Overall though, I adore Audiobooks!

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Old fashioned. I read an article once that said holding a book in your hands allows you to retain a better remembrance of the words. There’s something about the textile action of turning a page that gives your brain a gateway to think more clearly. That being said, I still use my e-reader a lot. It’s really convenient for when I’m stuck somewhere with nothing to do. I have plenty of ebooks to keep me busy.

     

    Do you prefer old fashioned books or E-readers?


  8. The Big Reveal

    January 23, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Writing or Editing?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Editing. I can’t make a sculpture without stone, and I can’t make a complete book without words. Sometimes I feel like the words take forever to come, but I can play around more if I have words already.

     
    Jackie Felger
    I love to write, but I love to edit, too… not to be confused with the editing I do while writing… THAT kind of editing, I loathe at times, because it’s hard to shut off the inner editor. But the second-time-around editing, when the manuscript’s been through its first draft and has set for a bit, that kind of editing, I love, because I’m seeing it through rested eyes, and other ideas pop up when I read through it again.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Writing! I’m a firm believer that these two skills do not go hand in hand, although I’m surprised how often it is assumed that they do. As a professional freelance writer, I’m often asked to take on editing jobs and I always turn them down. Granted, some writers are talented at both, but I’d prefer to write.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Writing a first draft is heavenly, pure freedom and the best feeling in the world!!! Rewriting is amazing and when my work really starts to shine. Polishing is never fast enough. I used to hate editing. It’s still not high on my love list, but I do like the way editing shapes my work, so I spend a lot of time on it, rewarding myself with binge writing.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Editing. The hard part is getting my inner storyteller to show my story on paper. The easiest thing is to edit the already written story; the hard part is finished by then.

     

     

    Do you prefer writing or editing?


  9. The Big Reveal

    January 15, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Do you prefer writing with real or imaginary settings?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    My current WIP, Timewalkers is my example of dabbling with both at the same time but I prefer imaginary. It’s easier to manipulate a scene when I can make it be whatever I want. The same goes for reading, I can really get into an imaginary setting. For me, a real setting seems restricting and hinders my imagination too much.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Semi-real? I like to put it in a mostly real place (my current book is supposedly in Little Falls, NJ, but I’ve made up a lot of stuff about it) I usually pick a general place, Like Colorado or the British countryside, then I try to write around the specifics of where it really is. In my head, that means people won’t look stuff up and tell me everything I wrote wrong. I don’t care about setting so much as long as story is good. I can’t think of single setting that’s stood out to me, unless you count Forks, WA. Hogwarts too.

     
    Jackie Felger
    As for real or imaginary settings, I don’t prefer one over the other. As long as the author can make me feel like I’m really there, then I’m happy.
    Can you think of a book that had a setting you absolutely loved? Harry Potter series, Vampire Academy series, and The Notebook.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Most of my books are set in middle schools. I don’t really do the imaginary thing. I did love Stephen King’s The Stand, where he imagined a world in which most of the population had been wiped out and a small group of people had to start over. For some reason, things like that intrigue me.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    When reading I love settings in places I’ve never been. I especially enjoy underwater settings (probably because coming from the prairies, the ocean is a big mystery to me). Yes, Jules Vern’s 2000 Leagues Under the Sea was very cool.

    I absolutely love writing about the prairies. This magical place is a character of its own. The wind, the storms, the vastness… it holds magical secrets I just have to share.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Real settings…or at least as close to reality as I can get. I envy those writers who can build these magnificent worlds with beautiful scenery and magical creatures. I would love to have half their imaginative talent. I however, seem to be firmly planted in the present day.

    A setting that I absolutely loved. There are so, so many; to narrow it down to just one seems cruel. But if I had to pick, I’d go with the Tudor England setting Laura Anderson re-created in the Boleyn Trilogy. The music, the gowns, the dialect, the cold stone floors, the wall tapestries…she just brought that whole period to life for me. More than that, she reignited my passion for historical fiction and now it is my go-to genre when I’m looking to cozy up on the couch with a good book.

     

    What do you prefer, real or imaginary settings?


  10. The Big Reveal

    January 8, 2015 by Suzi

    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.
     

    Is writing your ‘real’ job?

    Trisha Leaver
    J I never really saw myself as a writer, more of a chronic dreamer. I dream mostly every night, some pleasant, most nightmares. About six years ago, I decided to put those dreams to paper…to finish what my subconscious had started and so rudely awakened me from. That day, I began sketching out endings to my dreams, adding in threads, and playing with characters that even three days later still plagued my every waking thought. Since then, I haven’t stopped.

    When I am not writing, I am wrangling three kids and on rather irreverent black lab. My kids range in age from 8 to 18 so there is never a dull moment in my house!

     
    Danielle Bertrand
    I wish writing was my paying profession. I am a Specification Specialist for a world leading wire company. What that ridiculous fancy title means in laymen’s terms, I read customer specifications and entry them into a system for future orders. I have always written little stories here and there while growing up but didn’t get serious until almost 6 or 7 years ago when Jackie talked me into getting back to my writing roots.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Since I haven’t made any money yet, I wouldn’t call it a job. My REAL job is being a mom, haha :) I wish I could find more time to write, but my kids need me a lot. ;) I’ve been seriously writing for almost four years now. I didn’t really write as a kid. I had my first real interest in it as a senior in high school, but I never thought I’d be doing it for real like I am now.

     
    Jackie Felger
    I’m a florist in a family business. Does that sound mobsterish? I’ve been writing for six years.

    I did write as a kid, mostly poetry and short stories. Then, I put it aside for several years, but I’m glad to be writing again!

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I started writing when I was in my mid-20s, so about 20 years. I began doing freelance work on the side in 2011 while working in I.T. for state government. I built up a strong client base and left my day job in the fall of 2013 to be a full-time freelance writer and novelist. I work when I want, although I probably put in more hours than any full-time worker I know! It just doesn’t feel like work.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I work as a community development officer for a Francophone community in a minority setting. This job allows me to be close to my children, to work in a field I strongly believe in and understand, while using all my skills and testing my limits.

    I’ve always been a storyteller but I wrote my first column for the local newspaper around the age of 15. I wrote my first (and most horrible) murder mystery novel at 18. For the past several years, I write every single day, which improved my confidence.

     
    Is writing your ‘real’ job?