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‘The Big Reveal’ Category

  1. The Big Reveal

    May 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 any (many) story ideas that are just sitting in your mind or notebooks until you have the time to write? Or do you only think of one at a time, then work on it?

     

    Jackie Felger
    YES!!! When an idea pops up in my head, I stop what I’m doing and write it down and/or put it in my cellphone so I have it for later.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I have lots of ideas, many of which will never be written. Because, time. I tend to move to new projects quickly, when old ones are burning me out.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Before I had a publisher, I always had ideas for the next book. But I’ve learned the hard way to always send a list of ideas to my agent and have her pick her favorites. Then I write three chapters and a synopsis for her favorite(s) and we refine that before submitting.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I do have a notebook that I started over 20 years ago for ideas, and when I don’t have time to work on it or can’t fit it into a scene, I write it in there. For some reason I started the notebook backwards and am working my way to the front of it. Unfortunately, what I did learn over the years is that I rarely use it. The ideas I’m working on are just too many and even if I do read them, the passion I had for that idea in the moment is gone. It’s easier to write them as I fall in love with them, even if it’s just a few scenes, it keeps the story alive. This also means I have a folder with scenes that needs homes. Those get used, recycled, and moved about as needed.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I have a least a dozen first pages written and saved on my laptop, each one for a completely different story idea. Once I am completely done with a WIP, I circle back to that file and re-read them all. If one calls to me, then it becomes my next WIP. If not . . . well then, back to the drawing board I go.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    I cannot work on one at a time. Is it horrible to say that I tend to get bored with my stories? I’m not saying my stories are boring… I don’t think so anyways, but I love being able to take a break and work on something different. Jumping from story to story keeps the excitement alive and tends to help me think of new ideas.

     

    Do you any (many) story ideas that are just sitting in your mind or notebooks until you have the time to write? Or do you only think of one at a time, then work on it?


  2. The Big Reveal

    May 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.
     

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

     

    Jackie Felger
    I don’t put much thought into picking out jobs for my characters. It seems to just fall into place as I go along in the writing process.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I just go with whatever pops in my head. Since I usually write high school students, that’s their job, so it doesn’t require much thought. As for the parents, unless the job is part of the parent’s personality, I go with something basic.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    They’re all students but there are things in tween/chapter books that you have to consider. Do they have siblings? Pets? Do they live in a house and apartment? I’m constantly reading books where I’ll think, “None of my books ever feature characters living in a big-city apartment. I need to try that!” Mostly you just want to avoid getting stuck in a rut where every book has the same set of circumstances.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Jobs fall into two categories; 1) they define the character 2) they contrast the character. So, if I need a job that means he’s going to be in touch with the earth, he should be a farmer. But if he’s a teacher by nature and stuck in the fields, that is going to add to his character even more. As for secondary character, their jobs usually serve a purpose. I need a loan? I luckily have a banker friend handy. I need the parents out of the way? Thank goodness they have to travel a lot!.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    Actually, I don’t put much thought it to it. I mean, they have to fit the Contemporary World I have set them in, but as for their actual jobs . . . not so much. I spend more time worrying about my MC’s hobbies, summer job, sports interests then I do trying to figure out her parent’s occupations. Because of that, my MC’s parents tend to have less exotic, more traditional occupations.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    My characters usually gravitate towards being librarians, students, criminals, has-beens, but most are professionals in badassery.

     

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


  3. The Big Reveal

    May 1, 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 utilize Critique Partners or Beta Readers?

     

    Jackie Felger
    Oh my goodness, absolutely! I have three people I share things with, but one person (Kimmy) who I always turn to with my writing and things in general. We clicked right away and have passed our work back and forth for a few years. I don’t know what I’d do without her or her friendship!

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I have the best critique partners in the world!! I don’t know what I would do without them! I have one online group and a few trusted friends, they are all so great! They keep me going through the hard times.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    My agent is awesome at looking over my work and giving me incredible feedback during the weeks leading up to submitting it to my editor. Our work together makes the books really great before the editor even sees them. I probably should pass it through a critique partner before submitting it to her, but usually we’re on such a tight turnaround time, I can’t.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Critique Partners and Beta Readers are a very important part of every writer’s life. I have skilled people I turn to. I am always looking for new readers and partners, as I have many books on the go and hate to wear them out because I love them.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I have a group of local children’s writers that I meet with weekly. They are my first line of defense so to speak. I’m also lucky enough to have a virtual group of fellow YA authors who critique for me, and I for them. We read each other’s works, cheer each other on, and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Having them at my virtual side has made my path to publication less lonely. Someday, I hope to meet them in person!

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Once I am finished with a project I will utilize a small group of friends but I only have a few I would trust. I’m not a big fan of a large group of people laying their eyes on my work. I’m kind of proprietary.

     

    Do you have critique partners or beta readers?


  4. The Big Reveal

    April 25, 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.
     

    Have you ever written any novels that required a lot of research?

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Yes, Most of my novels seem to be research oriented for some reason. Even though I know I can make my story be any way I want, I still like to have some sort of “truth” behind it and then put my own spin on it. I do research before and during, it helps the writing process. I have learned some amazing stuff of Norse Mythology and the Wiccan beliefs.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I do research before and during, and there are times I’ve done research in the revising process, too.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I never done anything with a lot of research, but I do research locations and what not as I go. Pretty much all my research takes place on Google Maps. :)

     

    Stephanie Faris
    Usually the research topics come up as I’m writing. I do most of it online. When I wrote Piper Morgan Goes to the Circus, I wanted to go to the circus so badly! There were no circuses anywhere nearby for months, so I had to watch circus footage online.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    All my books require research. Most of it was done years ago, but in the moment, some things come up. Umm… how do you build a sod house? I have discovered some things that blow my mind. The one that had me the most curious led to an entire series. It was about this journalist who believed in a Utopian society. He was always there reporting events as they happened, all over the country. Given the time and how hard it was to travel he had me curious how he was managing that! And that led to a magical idea.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I co-authored a YA historical titled SWEET MADNESS. It is a historical re-telling of the infamous Borden Murders told from the point of view of Lizzie Borden’s maid, Bridget Sullivan. I had to do a fair amount of research on Bridget’s background as well as the overall sentiment toward Irish Immigrants in 19th Century Fall River. As for interesting facts, here are a few I came across:
    ~The year of 1892 (the years Andrews and Abagail Borden were murdered) was a leap year
    ~Lizzie Borden had a Great Uncle Laddy whose wife drowned two of their three children in the basement cistern.
    ~ The skulls of Andrew and Abagail Borden are buried in a separate box behind their gravestone.

     

    Do you do a lot of research for your novels?


  5. The Big Reveal

    April 17, 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 a long process for you?

     

    Stephanie Faris
    My word counts are always much less, but if I were to write a 70,000-word novel, it would take two or three months. If I put my day job (freelance writing) aside and just wrote fiction, I could finish it in less than two months but few writers get to write fiction 40 hours a week!

     
    Tanya Reimer
    Just writing? Writing for me is split into several processes. The first is the actual vomiting out of the basic storyline. It doesn’t take long. A few weeks and is about half the size of the finished work (30k). The second is a rewriting and workbooking stage. This usually brings the book to double its size (70-80k) adding in much of the detail I tend to overlook in my excitement. This could take up to a year, as I have to let it sit at various points, however I do have books still in this stage after ten years. It takes what it takes.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    This is a tough questions because it depends on the WIP. THE SECRETS WE KEEP took me approximately eight weeks to write. I was in a good writing spot and my muse was cooperating with me. However, other WIP’s have taken me upwards of six months to even hack out a readable first draft, not to mention the time it take to revise those beasts.
    .

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Oh geez… I am the worst person to answer this question. My writing process… squirrel!
    I’m horrible, let’s just say I have a problem focusing on one concept when I have a whole tribe of characters and plot lines vying for my attention in the back of my mind. However, if I was serious and could focus without a fulltime job, kids, husband, activities, I’m sure I could knock a 70,000 word out in a few weeks.

     

    Jackie Felger
    This is a hard question for me, because each manuscript is different, and I tend to edit as I go, though, I’ve been trying not to do that as much. I’d say anywhere from three to six months, depending on how much fuss I make with the editing as I go.

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I used to write super fast, but as my kids get older, the responsibilities multiply so it takes longer. I’d say about three months.

     

    Does it take you a long time to write a novel?


  6. The Big Reveal

    April 10, 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 read or write book reviews?

     

    J.A. Bennett
    I write book reviews, but I don’t read them unless a friend of mine wrote it. However, I will glance at the star rating of a book occasionally, and that might affect my choice.

     

    Stephanie Faris
    I only write five-star, positive reviews. If I didn’t like a book, you won’t hear a word from me about it. I always read the Amazon sample of a book before purchasing it and if I don’t like the sample, I don’t read further. Life’s too short to read bad books. As for reading reviews, absolutely not. I prefer to form my own opinion about a book and reading reviews ruins that. I sometimes will read reviews after I’ve finished a book and the process is dizzying. For every person who hates a book, there’s someone who says it’s the best book she’s read all year. It’s all just personal opinion.

     
    Tanya Reimer
    I will write reviews for a book a really enjoyed. I love reading them after I read the book and already wrote my review… to see how others responded to the work, but it won’t change my opinion on a book, especially if I loved it.

     

    Trisha Leaver
    I do not read book reviews, although I am a sucker for a beautiful cover. Most of my book recs come from friends who know my taste in literature.

     

    Danielle Bertrand
    Sometimes to all. Once in a while, if I’m on the fence about a novel, I will go ahead and read the reviews. If the book gets lots of great reviews then I will read it, if not, well, I do not. Once I have read a book and absolutely LOVED it, I will write a little review about what made it worthy of my attention.

     

    Jackie Felger
    I skim book reviews here and there, just to see what others have to say, but reviews don’t affect whether I read a book or not. I’m not good at writing reviews; I’d rather rate them.

     

    Do you read or write book reviews?


  7. 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?


  8. 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?


  9. 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?


  10. 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?