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‘The Big Reveal’ Category

  1. The Big Reveal

    December 19, 2014 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 word(s) or phrases show up way too often in your work?

     

    Stephanie Faris
    In fiction, I tend to rely on “said” too much, or so I’m told. At some point early on, I attended a workshop where we were warned to just use “said” instead of trying to come up with fancy dialogue tags. Apparently that rule has changed, because both my editors and my freelance writing clients have complained that I use “said” too much. In my freelance writing, I’ve realized I like to use the word “today” too much to start articles off. (“Today’s busy professionals don’t have time for…”)

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Every manuscript is different, but I find my characters use words in that first draft that help me identify their personalities. For example, my earth god uses DIRT a bit too much: “What in all this dirt is going on here? Give me that dirt. You scared the dirt right off me.” I don’t always notice because it’s how I identify them so that’s where good readers come in handy.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Just, smile, hummed (as is tossed)…which oddly doesn’t translate outside of Cape Cod I found out :) I have a list of crutch words that I have accumulated from CP’s, editors and my agent. When I write, I ignore that list and simply let the words flow. But after the last word is typed, that list comes out and those words get slayed.

     
    Danielle Bertrand
    I don’t have a phrase per se but I have tendency to repeat words in a short period of time from one another. Which leads to my impulse to edit while I write instead of waiting until I’m done.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I probably have a zillion things that I’m not even aware of, but right now I think the biggest ones off the top of my head is my affinity for the words that and just and the phrases I mean, and of course. My characters are always tipping and nodding their heads too.

     
    Jackie Felger
    I “just” did a search in my current WIP … the word “just” made an appearance way too many times. In past manuscripts, I overused the words grin and smirk, among others. Thank goodness for critique partners who catch things for me!

     

    What word(s) or phrases show up way too often in your work?


  2. The Big Reveal

    December 12, 2014 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.
     

    Pantser, Planner or in-between?

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I am totally a pantser. I wish I wasn’t. In everything else in life I’m a planner, but writing is something I have to do without too much thinking. It seems like it comes from out of nowhere. Most of my projects are submitted as partials now, so it helps that I’m forced to stop at three chapters and write a synopsis. This forces me to plan the last half of the book.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I always called myself a pantser. But! I realise the way I fly by the seat of my pants is a little planned out. My goal is to allow my characters (in that first draft) to run wild. I do not play god until later drafts. I give them an opening chapter, an end or near end chapter and plunk them in a world they must create. How they get there is up to them, yet along the way, I have markers that require they do things or arc or find something. They always hit their mark without much probing from me.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    When I start a WIP, I have a solid grip on the beginning and a vague idea about how I want things to end up, but everything in the middle….that is fair game. I’ve tried outlining my books, even taken workshops on plotting out chapters, but I can’t seem to make it work for me. It’s like once I’m locked into an outline, my muse disappears and I end up churning out what reads like a boring textbook. But give me a blank piece of paper for my characters to dance on and I can write all day long.

     
    Danielle Bertrand
    I’m usually a total planner. Characters, plot, names, places, timelines, outlines – everything is planned. Unless some crazy-cool idea starts bouncing around in the ol noggin and some little voyage goes astray; then I let it happen and it typically works in the characters advantage.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I’m a pantser by nature, but I always follow Blake Synder’s beat sheet. I usually write out my beats before beginning the story. Then the story usually changes as I go, so I adjust my beats. Sometimes I just write until I hit a beat, then I figure out the next beat and write to that point. It works for me.

     
    Jackie Felger
    In-between. I use a very rough outline, and then pantser my way through it.

     

    Pantser, Planner or in-betweener?


  3. The Big Reveal

    December 5, 2014 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.
     

    Are you obsessive about backing up your work?

     

    Jackie Felger
    I do like to have a few copies, because I lost a big chunk of a story before… I hadn’t saved it. So now, I try to save my work in different places. Email and mem sticks work for me.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I bought a Sony Vaio with Windows 8 in 2013 and it has issues. Something locks it up about once a day and I have to shut it down by holding down the power button. About once a month, this corrupts something and I have to reload the entire laptop. SO, needless to say, I use a flash drive for my work and back it up to Microsoft OneDrive once a week. (It comes with Windows 8.1 for free and it’s cloud-based.)
    !

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Yes. Obsessive is an understatement. Multiple copies. Various computers. Various devices. Email. Kindle. Any other ideas I could use? I’m still trying to figure out the cloud thing. It makes me nervous to think that my work might end up floating around in some cloud, so that one is still up for debate.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I wasn’t until this past spring when I lost three entire days’ worth of edits to THE SECRETS WE KEEP that I became fanatic about backing up my work. I was plodding my way through line edits and feeling really proud about the progress I was making. Then along comes a random thunder storm, followed by a power surge and poof…three days’ worth of work gone. Vanished. Not even a single track change to be found. Now I’m religious about backing up my work. I have two thumb drives, one I carry with me and one that stays in my desk drawer, but everything gets backed up at least twice a day to two different places.

     
    Danielle Bertrand
    One place! … Talk about anxiety! I backup my work to several places. Desktop, laptop, mem cards, and yes, I’ve even sent myself the trusty email. OCD is my friend.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I actually have this awesome program called Carbonite. It automatically backs up everything to a cloud the second you hit save. It costs like $30 a month, but it saves me a major piece of mind. It saves all my music and pictures too, so it’s worth it to me.

     

    Are you obsessive about backing up your work?


  4. The Big Reveal

    November 28, 2014 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 ever get story ideas from songs, TV shows or movies?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Yes. Actually, right now I’m working on a sort story for an anthology. Half of the idea is from a Kdrama I watched called My Love From Another Star (terrible title, excellent show) anyway, it’s about a 400 year old alien who falls in love right as he gets the chance to go home. I really liked how they portrayed him as an alien. So I’m writing a story with a 300 year old alien who’s dying, but that’s where the similarities end.

     

    Jackie Felger
    Sorta. I’ll hear a lyric or a line from TV/movie and an idea forms, but it takes me awhile to figure out the plot and create an actual story from it.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    When I wrote romance in the 90s, there was a song on the radio all the time called “Fall from Grace.” Amanda Marshall was the singer. While driving back and forth to work, I’d hear that song every day. One day I started thinking about titling a book Falling for Grace. It seemed so unique. I never sold that book (or any romance) and after that, I saw that title being used numerous times, so I guess I wasn’t the only person who thought it was a good romance title!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I usually find songs that fit my story ideas as if made for them, but never the opposite. In movies, sometimes the way a plot is organised inspires me to try something different.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Nope…all of my story ideas come from dreams, or in some cases nightmares. Interesting fact…I only dream in black and white, so my first goal when I finally put pen to paper is to literally give my characters some color. Eyes, hair color, clothing…all of that I have to essentially re-imagine when I wake up and start writing.

     
    Danielle Bertrand
    Of course! Inspiration is everywhere. I started an apocalyptic WIP titled simply as Survivors, influenced by several shows, movies, etc. Certain music I listen to helps impact plot ideas and word flow. A single line in a song usually steers my narrative to go one way or another.

     

    Have you ever gotten a story idea from a song, a TV show or movie?


  5. The Big Reveal

    November 21, 2014 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.
     
    This week I have a whole new set of writers,
    so I’d like to say welcome, glad to have you here.
     

    For this first week, please let us know a little something about your current WIP. And then I want to know about titles. Are they hard for you?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Title: Timewalkers, Genre: Mythical Fantasy
    Titles usually come easy for me. Once I figure out a premise for a WIP the title will follow shortly after. Creating a title is one of the easiest topics for me when it comes to writing.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    Stealing the Stars — Contemporary Fantasy. I don’t have a process for choosing titles, which probably means they suck. I usually try to come up with something on my own, but sometimes I ask for help brainstorming. Titles are hard.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I’m writing a new adult contemporary romance for NaNoWrimo. I do have a title for it, but I’m keeping it as Untitled for now.

    I have several ideas for titles, even though I don’t have stories to go with them yet. My process is boring, in that, they pop into my head, and I write it down for later. But hey, it works.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    My book 25 Roses comes out in January 2015. Titles sometimes come easily, but sometimes I have to write an entire book before a good title comes to me. 25 Roses was one of those titles that came along with the idea. I was thinking about the carnation sales we had on Valentine’s Day in high school and I wondered what would happen if one of the students secretly purchased carnations and handed them out to the kids who never received any. 25 seemed like a nice round number, but 25 Carnations didn’t sound like a very good title. So I went with 25 Roses and made them chocolate in the book because…hey…chocolate!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    In the speculative fiction titles I’m working on are: Can’t Dream Without You (Paranormal fantasy), Cursed on the Prairies (Alternate history).

    I used to have a hard time with titles and just picked working titles but then I learnt a neat trick. Write the one-liner; who does what in the hopes of what—and slam that title at the end without thinking about it. Example: When a young man is bit by a spider he develops strange spider-like powers that allow him to save his city from a dangerous supervillain.—Spiderman

     

    Trisha Leaver
    My current YA Contemporary WIP is about a seventeen year old girl struggling to find her place in a family of virtual strangers. Its working title is a gripping, thematic WIP#5 LOL. So…yeah, titles don’t come easy to me. I usually don’t bother even pondering a title until the project is complete and I have a full sense of my main character and her struggles. Then I dig deep and try to come up with a title that conveys the theme and tone of my book. More often than not, this is a collaborative process between myself, my agent and my editor

     
    Do titles come easy for you?


  6. The Big Reveal

    November 7, 2014 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.
     
    This is the last posting with this set of writers. I’d like to thank everybody
    for being a part of my blog. It was fun getting to know you all better.
     

    How much do you read?

     

    Shelly Brown
    My goal this year was 100 books and I’m only in the 60′s as of writing this. But there’s time. I made this goal after reading just about 10 books last year and realizing how pathetic that was (it’s HARD to read AND write AND do everything else that is expected of me.) So I guess you could say that I’m all over the place when it comes to reading. But I’m not one of those people who can polish off a book in a night. I wish!

     
    Crystal Collier
    I start every day with ½ hour of personal study reading scriptures or uplifting articles, and later will read over several online articles or critiquing pages. Above and beyond that, I typically I read 1 to 3 novels a week, approximately 100 books a year. If you want to be a successful writer, you have to first be an avid reader.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I read a lot when I have time. In a good week I can read 3-4 books. In a bad one I’ll read 0-1.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    A lot. :) I’d say about a book or so a week. If I don’t read for at least a little while every day, I get cranky. Just ask my poor husband.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I read about four books a month (usually all crammed into one week when I’m on a reading binge). I wish I could read more—my TBR pile is intimidating.

     

    Chad Morris
    I’m not that fast at reading, nor prolific, but I’m always reading or listening to something. Between my full time job, my writing, keeping up with my five kids, and dating my wife, I don’t get a lot of reading time. I mostly sneak it in on bus rides to and from work and at night when the kids are sleeping. But that’s writing time too, so they compete. I don’t know how many books I read a year—I never keep track–, but it wouldn’t be impressive.

     

    Are you a big reader?


  7. The Big Reveal

    October 31, 2014 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.
     

    Are you artistic/creative in other ways?

     

    Chad Morris
    I’m pretty mediocre at sketching, plucking at the piano, and playing guitar. I’m probably a little better than your average Joe at the drums and writing and performing comedy.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I am an actress by training. Lending itself to very character-centric stories.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Before I could write, I was telling stories through pictures. Eventually my love of words evolved to lyric and orchestral music composition. I loved crafts when younger, and event planning has always been a forte, along with stage performances–whether for singing or theatrical purposes. Mom always came to me for ideas, saying the day I quit having a hundred amazing and new ideas, was the day I quit being Crystal.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    Not really. Until I started writing I never considered myself artistic at all. I used to write poetry when I was little, but I stopped doing that.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I try to be. :) I take the occasional art class, and I’m getting more into collage and mixed media work.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I like to try being artistic but don’t always succeed…there are many half-finished knitting/sewing projects around my house! I do play the piano and have done for sixteen years now. Writing and playing the piano are my two main creative outlets.

     

    Do you have any artistic or creative talents?


  8. The Big Reveal

    October 23, 2014 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 many story ideas sitting in your mind waiting to be written
    or do you only think of one story at a time?

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I have a lot of ideas floating around, some more formed than others. I have ideas that will probably never get written because there isn’t the time for all of them. I do focus more on one at a time and then work on that one once it’s more solid in my mind.

     

    Chad Morris
    I have files with a lot of ideas. I think I have about seven that are my favorites about now I’ll have to decide between them.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I love a good shiny new idea but I’ve learned to write myself notes and keep plugging away on my current WIP until it’s November. When it’s November I get to chose between many fun stories searching out the one that I think will sell or the one I just HAVE TO write. Everything else has to wait.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Shall I turn out my story folder? I have at least one epic story dream a month, and find myself contemplating circumstantial possibilities even more often. I actually quit recording all my story ideas because as it is, not all of the 40 or so waiting to be written will probably ever happen. That said, once I start seriously drafting, I get tunnel vision.

     

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I have a notebook with me all the time for this exact reason. An idea will pop into my head and I’ll jot it down in my book. I think I have about 6 or 7 ideas in it right now. Some will get written and some never will. Then when I’m ready to start something new, whatever is speaking to me loudest gets written.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    Ideas come to me all the time but they usually only come in snippets – a few lines of dialogue or description, a character’s name, a feeling, etc. It’s not usually much to go on right then, so I jot the snippets down and put them away for another time. Sometimes, though, the idea is more fully formed and clamors to be worked on right away…

     
    Do you many story ideas waiting to be written?


  9. The Big Reveal

    October 16, 2014 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 put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your main characters?

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    Unless the occupation is important to the story somehow, I tend to just put it in the background somewhere, giving it a mention then moving on.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I put some thought into it. Since I write YA, if it’s a job for a main character I’ll focus more on finding the right thing. When it comes to parents I tend to fall back on the basics, or toss in a random thing like…tightrope walker, just for fun.

     

    Chad Morris
    So far in my books, it’s mostly just students, teachers, an inventor and an evil genius.

     

    Shelly Brown
    Ummm, I’ve never even thought about this question before. Maybe because my stories are about children/youth and when I do include employment the jobs are often intricate to their characters and the plot.

     

    Crystal Collier
    I’m always watching for strange or unique careers and making mental notes. Most of my works are YA, and you’d be shocked at some of the interesting jobs a teen can find at funeral homes, universities, and factories. To me, the job a person takes says almost as much about them as their name.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I find that their job kind of comes with their character. Like it’s a part of who they are. Sometimes, I don’t even think about it or address it.

    Do you put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your main characters?


  10. The Big Reveal

    October 9, 2014 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 critique partners or beta readers?

     

    Crystal Collier
    All of the above. You can rarely have too many sets of eyes on a new work. Typically my books go through about 5 critique partners and 5 to 10 beta readers (plus the occasional critique group). We won’t even talk about what editors do to a book…

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I have a group of Critique Partners/Beta Readers that I depend upon. They are a necessity for me and I really don’t know what I’d do without them. I’m in a fairly large group, which is nice because we’re all very busy and I can just say, “Hey anyone have time to look at this?” If you want to be a writer I would suggest getting a Critique group that you trust.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    My husband is my First Reader. He’s always honest with me, telling me what he thinks works and what doesn’t, what he likes and what he doesn’t. We don’t always agree, and I don’t always make the changes he suggests, but I do always listen to and value his opinion.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I have a few people I reach out to when I need readers, some who give me general notes and some who give more in-depth feedback over a few rounds. It all depends on each story and where I’m at in the revising process, really.

     

    Chad Morris
    Yep. My wife is always my first reader and she SAVES me. Seriously, she gives great feedback. Because four of my five kids are in my target audience, I also read my manuscripts to them and gauge reactions. Plus, I run them through a few other trusted friends. When it gets down to galleys, my mom reads through my books and catches a lot of little errors.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I use beta readers. I have tried crit partners and crit groups but I think for my style of writing it is best to pass along a completed work. Of course there are exceptions to this and I’ve passed on chapters here and there to get feedback but overall I need time to go through and edit. I’m lucky to have a bunch of friends who help

     

    Do you have critique partners or beta readers?