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Lisa / March 9, 2015

Nine Questions for Writers

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I’ve seen this going around, and turns it looks like it originated from Kristen at Little Lodestar. They’re interesting questions–hopefully my answers are interesting as well!

1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet? 

I don’t have a partner or a spouse, but I do have a first reader. When I’m writing a novel, I send off the chapters as they’re finished to my best friend. She’s my cheerleader and one of my motivators. She’s not a writer, but she is a voracious reader, and is unfailingly enthusiastic about pushing me to finish so she can find out what happens.

I get other feedback as well, from other writer friends, and from my agent.

2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it? 

With the publication of The Farther I Fall, I was really pleasantly shocked at the feedback I’ve gotten from people who know me in real life, especially some of my family. It turns out there are a lot of romance fans in my family and among my friends! I admit, the most difficult thing for me was getting over the idea of my cousins reading the explicit sex scenes in my work. 😉

3. What do you do with the pieces that continually get rejected–post on your blog? Trash? When do you know it’s time to let it go?

I have a stack of short stories that never went anywhere. At this point, since not only have I improved substantially as a writer by now, and since I don’t write in that genre currently, they’ll probably stay in a drawer. With novels, I’d say it’s time to let go when you’ve exhausted the possible markets for it.

4. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else?

I haven’t actually written anything for one specific place yet. I’m trying to imagine a story I would write that would only be applicable to one market, but I can’t see it happening for me.

5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?

I love reading what other romance writers are doing, both in their work and when talking about their work. I like seeing how other writers use common romance tropes and character types, and how they twist and adapt things.

6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?

See and hear, definitely. I’m learning that I’m a very visual person. The most productive research I’ve ever done came from watching documentaries on the subject at hand. Seeing and hearing a setting or a character or a situation makes it much much easier for me to translate the feel of it into writing.

7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?

Jo Leigh. She writes delightful contemporary romances, especially her trading cards series.

8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?

Story by Robert McKee. It’s a tough, dense read, but it taught me so much about how to deliberately construct a story, rather than just flailing about to try and get it right. Anything by Chuck Wendig. He’s hilariously vulgar, and there’s a strong core of truth in how he talks about writing. And, of course, On Writing by Stephen King.

9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax?

I regret some of the things I published as Jade Cain, but only because the response to them wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped. It’s always sad when it’s a story that you particularly love but it doesn’t manage to find an audience.

2 thoughts on “Nine Questions for Writers

  1. I’m so glad you answered these! I’m happy to add McKee and Wendig to the names of people I need to check out. And that’s so great that you have a top notch first reader. I am quickly realizing I need one for some of my fiction drafts.

    • Thanks for posting them! A friend recommended the McKee to me, and it took me FOREVER to get through it. He’s writing about screenplays, but so much of it applies to all fiction writing. And Chuck Wendig is just fun as well as informative. He keeps a blog over at Terrible Minds: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/.

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