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‘The Big Reveal’ Category

  1. 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?


  2. 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?


  3. The Big Reveal

    October 3, 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 do a lot of research for your writing?

     

    Shelly Brown
    The better question is have I ever written a novel that doesn’t require a lot of research. I’m a research nut. Informationaholic. I graduated in History and love to dig deep into places, cultures, people, facts.

    I wish I could do all of my research before I write then just write but there is no way I can possibly think of all of the questions I will have to address as I craft a story. What did they use for privies? Did that album even exists then? What kind of tree would be native to that part of the world? Would they EVER have the opportunity to have a private conversation? I research before I write, while I write, and while I edit.

     

    Crystal Collier
    I’ve written historical fiction in several time periods and cultures, which takes more research than most people want to think about—all the details from what kind of fabric they made clothing out of to societal expectations for age groups and genders. I think the hardest thing to nail down are the attitudes that would be prevalent in another time and place. Before I start writing, I do a ton of research to try and get myself in the appropriate mind frame. As I write, I’m constantly pausing to check a fact or find deeper specifics. Did you know that in 1750, King George the 1st established a marriage law that made the legal marriage age 21? Think that would fly today?

     

    Jessica Salyer
    Google is my friend. I find I’m constantly check information on it. From little things like the weather somewhere at a certain time of the year, to things that take more research like telekinesis and the use of your brain.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    Most of my work doesn’t require a lot of research. If I do need to look into something, I’ll do a bit before I start writing, so I have some basic idea, then I’ll do more thorough research after.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I don’t need to do tons of research, but when I do I usually do a mix of before and throughout writing as and when questions come up. I can’t say I’ve ever discovered anything fascinating, sadly!

     

    Chad Morris
    Though my Cragbridge Hall series is a crazy romp through a futuristic academy with amazing inventions, because it is set in a school and involves some time travel, it also includes a lot of real information and history. I just turned in a draft of Cragbridge Hall, Book 3, The Impossible Race. This book has a crazy tournament, where teams race from invention to invention doing challenges, so I got to study up on Joan of Arc, peregrine falcons, Nickola Tesla, Mars, Greek Mythology, Dinosaurs in ancient Argentina, the first American spy, acid lakes, and dragons in literature. If real info is a major part of the plot, I have to study ahead of time. If not, I can study as I go.

     

    What kind of research do you do for your writing?


  4. The Big Reveal

    September 26, 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 a fast writer?

     

    Shelly Brown
    I write most of my first drafts during NanoWriMo, so about 30 days. BUT, I have usually worked through a decent amount of plotting before I start. Maybe a few months of thinking about the plot and making notes for myself. As you can imagine my editing is more extensive than people who take their time though.

     

    Crystal Collier
    I think every person has two modes: sprint until you die, and jog the distance. I’ve written both ways, with a deadline (and new white hairs), and casually over time. It’s a constantly evolving process and every book is a different story (pun intended). My last book took 3 months for the first draft and six months to complete all the editing. Granted, that was around my debut novel release and we home school, so I had split loyalties. If I wrote without the littles around, I imagine it would take about 3 to six months to complete a novel. I like to take enough time to really feel grounded in every scene and to build the language into something beautiful. Books are lasting legacies. They shouldn’t be rushed.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    The last novel I wrote took me just under three months to write the first draft. I had already written the book once and this was me rewriting it, so I may have been at a little advantage for it. (the first time it took me a year and a half to write.)

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I am a slow writer. I do a lot of thinking, the writing comes out in a gush, then there’s more thinking. I might put a bigger project down, pick up a smaller one, complete that, then go back to the bigger one. My process is really kind of a mess.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    Drafting takes me a while, probably around six months averaged out. (It feels like longer.)

     
    Chad Morris
    I can write a book of 70,000 words in about two days.
    I wish.
    The truth. I make a short outline (1 page), then I jump into a REALLY rough draft. That takes me a few months. Maybe 2-4, depending on the book. But I have to rewrite and revise that draft for another month or two before I’d say it equals other people’s first draft.

    Are you a fast writer?


  5. The Big Reveal

    September 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.
     

    Do you read or write reviews?

     

     
    Chad Morris
    I read some reviews, just to get an idea of how well the book is being received. I don’t usually read reviews of other books. I either pick it up because I’m intrigued by the premise, it was recommended by a friend, or I love and trust the author.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I occasionally read book reviews. Particularly when I’m looking to see if there is objectionable/intense material in a story. I only rarely write book reviews. I have to like the book to write a review. Why? Because as a writer myself I know that the author of that book spent hours and hours trying to craft something that they hope others will like. When I don’t particularly care for it I don’t feel the need to slam the work or the author.

     

    Crystal Collier
    I typically read one really good and one really bad review of a book before picking it up. (Very judicious of me, eh?) Granted, I’m not likely to pick it up at all if it has less than a 3.5 star rating, and I’ll put a book down if the bad review proves the more realistic one within the first couple chapters.

    It’s been a practice, especially since getting published to leave a review for every book I read…unless I’d give it less than 3 stars. (Super rare.)

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I don’t really read book reviews unless I’m unsure about a book. I usually go more by word of mouth or suggestions from friends. I’ll write book reviews once in a while if the book really stands out to me. But no, they don’t really affect if I read a book.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I read/skim book reviews, and they will sometimes affect whether I decide to read the book or not. I’ll write the occasional book review, where I try to focus on the positive aspects of the book and how the story and characters made me feel, etc.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I usually only read reviews once I’ve finished a book—I don’t want to be spoiled or influenced before I read. I don’t write reviews since there are so many people out there doing a better job than me already!

    Do you read or write reviews?


  6. The Big Reveal

    September 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.
     

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

     

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I want to say I under-write, but actually, my last three drafts have been pretty long…maybe somewhere in the middle. My first four novels were all around 50K, and the next three closer to 100K. The most I’ve added is 14K from first draft to query ready, and the most I’ve cut is only 10K. Maybe this means I’m learning how to draft better stories? One can hope!

     
    Chad Morris
    Under write. My first time through a draft, I’ll skip over entire scenes if I don’t feel like writing them. I write what I’m excited about and then come back and fill in the cracks.

     

    Shelly Brown
    My first drafts tend to be right in range for my target audience. But that’s tricky businesses because I still have to add and take away stuff in editing keeping it close to the same size.

     

    Crystal Collier
    I’m a minimalist. I write lean on a first draft, fattening it up with details and the like in later drafts. If I’ve got a deadline, chances are there won’t be much trimming, mostly just adding. If I’m writing for fun, there may have to be some culling in the end.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I tend to under write. My manuscripts are always light when I get done with them and I have to add to them.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I tend to over-write my flash fiction, then need to cut to find the heart of the story. I usually under-write my novels – I form the bones, the skeleton, then go back in and add muscle, flesh everything out.

     

    Are you an over-writer or an under-writer?


  7. The Big Reveal

    August 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 like to re-read books?

     

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I’d like to re-read more books than I have but so many new books call to me! So many books, so little time!

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I used to re-read books a lot more but now I have so many new books to read that going back doesn’t seem possible. I still make time to re-read things I really loved or old favourites. There are books that I could probably recite from memory, I’ve read them so many times.
    .

     
    Chad Morris
    The only time I reread books is if it’s been years since my last time through and I don’t remember the story very well. I just reread The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. I think the last time I read it was in elementary school. (And it was still fantastic!) The exception to the rule is historical and religious books.

     

    Shelly Brown
    I seldom reread books. My pick of rereads are usually snappy rhyming picture books (Madeline’s Rescue, Jamberry), East of Eden, To Kill a Mockingbird, Gifts from the Sea, Tess of d’Urbevilles, Shakespeare, or Jane Austen. If you can’t tell, I’m fond of classics.

     

    Crystal Collier
    The only books I reread are religious ones. If I’ve read a piece of fiction, I’ll never forget it.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    If a book really resonates with me and I really like it I will reread a book or if I liked the book and the movies coming out I’ll reread the book before watching the movie. The book I’ve read the most is probably the Twilight series.
     

    Do you re-read books?


  8. The Big Reveal

    August 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.

    What social media do you use?

     

    Jessica Salyer
    I have a blog and don’t use it much anymore, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and a website. I probably spend the most time on Facebook. I try to stay away from Pinterest because I get sucked in and never come out. Lol.

    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I have a blog, and I’m on Goodreads. But I probably use GR way more as a reader than as a writer. :)

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I have a blog, which is becoming more and more neglected. I like Twitter but it can feel like I’m always trying to catch up on conversations or that my voice is just another one in millions. I have Goodreads but I don’t really use it properly—I think I have six friends? I just use it to keep track of books I don’t want to forget about, really. Pinterest is just for fun and less for writing purposes. And then I have my tumblr…tumblr is my jam. That’s where it’s all at. I LOVE IT. It can feel like a complete waste of time but in the best possible way. I like how one minute there’s an article about feminism or a beautiful poem and then there’s a cute cat gif. It’s the best.

    Chad Morris
    I use it all, but my favorites are facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chad.morris.5?ref=tn_tnmn) and twitter (@chadcmorris).

     

    Shelly Brown
    Social media is a weakness so I limit my usage. (Read between the lines: I talk to much) You can find me here:
    FB: Shelly Brown
    Twitter: @sbrownwriter
    Google+: Shelly Brown

    Crystal Collier
    Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, blog, pinterest, tumblr, Wattpad, and a few others. I try to be active in all of them, but I really lean toward Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. I keep track of my reading through Goodreads and enter the occasional giveaway. The rest of these platforms get a cursory glance from time to time.
    What social media do you use?


  9. The Big Reveal

    August 14, 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’s your process for naming characters?

     

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    Sometimes the perfect name just strikes me – love when that happens! – and it stays with the character throughout the whole writing process. Other times, I go with a name that feels right at the time, realizing it could change later. I sort of “collect” names. When I come across a name – a person’s name, a street name, etc – I jot it down, keep it for future reference.

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I usually pick names randomly—sometimes depending on the personality of a character. If they’re going to be confident and loud, they might have something unusual, but if they are a quieter, shy character, it could be something sweet and short. I use baby name sites and nymbler.com to find names.

     
    Chad Morris
    It’s all about what feels right for the story. Some names I make up (Ms. Entrese, Mr. and Mrs. Trinhouse), others have been names I’ve heard before and thought “that would be a great name in a story” (Mackleprank), and some are named after famous historical figures (Abby = Abigail Adams, Derick = Frederick Douglass).

     

    Shelly Brown
    I have a degree in history, so my research nerd shows up when I start naming characters. I like my characters to have names that are both time period and location appropriate. Then the name just has to feel right. That process is harder to explain. Intuition. But we all know that a Jessica is not a Bianca.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Occasionally their names come with them. More often than not, I’m searching cultural and baby names listings. Usually I start from a symbolic angle. What part does this person play in the story? What is their key defining feature (personality wise)? What were the circumstances of their parents or family that would have influenced their name? For me, it’s a science of getting to know their culture and background.

     

    Jessica Salyer
    Sometimes I have a really hard time naming characters. I usually just feel what the character names should be. This last book I just stared I new what their names were right away, It was almost like they told me their names. For a short story I wrote I did make up my own name.

     

    How do you find your character names?


  10. The Big Reveal

    August 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.
     

    Where do you usually write?

     

     

    Jessica Sayler
    I usually write in my living room in my chair with earbuds and music playing. I can usually write anywhere as long as I have my music to just tune everything else out. As for the dream place to write a cafe in Paris would be awesome. Lol.

     
    Madeline Mora-Summonte
    I am a creature of habit. I write best in my home office, a cup of hot coffee or an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts at my side. I prefer quiet but sometimes noisy neighbors or rambunctious tortoises get in the way. :)

     

    Rebecca Barrow
    I write all over the place—mostly in my kitchen during the day or at my desk at night. I used to write with music but now I find it better to work in silence. My ideal location would be next to a beautiful pool with plenty of comfy cushions and a steady stream of tropical drinks. That way I can reward every 100 words with a dip in the pool! Might not get much writing done, though…

     
    Chad Morris
    I write on the bus ride home from work, in my office at home, at the kitchen table, on the couch, at the park while my kids are playing (and then I get sucked in and play with them). …etc. I can’t listen to music when I write, or I’ll start singing along and lose focus. I love a bowl of cereal while I’m proofreading. And as far as dream settings go, I like Mark Twain’s octagon gazebo at Quarry farm (It’s at Elmira College now).

     

    Shelly Brown
    I am trying to train myself to write with music in the background but alas I still prefer silence.

    I have an office desk and a rolling chair so I am hooked up for ultimate writing comfort. Really comfort and silence are all I need. Oh and a tall glass of ice water. Yeah, I dream big.

     
    Crystal Collier
    Give me a desk, a keyboard, mouse and window behind my setup with a scenic view. Beyond that, I don’t need anything. Truth, I can write anywhere and in any circumstances, but it takes a little priming in a new setting. Often I’ll write to music, but just as often I won’t. Guess it depends on my mood or if I like the soundtrack currently playing through my head.
     
    Where do you usually write?