Interviews from the Void: Episode #48 – Andy Weir

Highlights Writing about the future can be a positive experience. Regular output is critical to writing. Finish the project you start. Don’t wander off. I write optimistic futures because I honestly believe the future is bright. Welcome to the forty-eighth episode of Interviews from the Void where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’m honored and excited to be chatting with writer Andy Weir. Arthur: I love and appreciate your perspective on science fiction: a positive outlook for humanity, contrary to the dismal dystopian settings. Does this stem from your general outlook on life? Do you think more positivity in a story has a greater impact on audiences than a negative? Andy: I don’t know about how it affects the audience – I think readers just want a good story. I write optimistic futures because I honestly believe the future is bright. If you look at any year in history and compare it to one 100 years later, which is better? In almost every case, you would like the latter year better. Humanity just keeps getting better. Arthur: Do you have any writing techniques or practices you employ to hone your craft? Do you mind sharing? Andy: The main thing is to keep your output coming. You have to actually write. To do that, I set a word count goal of 1000 words per day when I’m working on a first draft. THE MARTIAN had a total of[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #47 – Brenda Drake

Highlights Practice is the best way to improve our craft. Reading is essential for great writing. The important of reading in our writing lives. I always loved to write from a young age. Welcome to the forty-seventh episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with young adult writer Brenda Drake. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you start in the craft and what was your journey to your first book? Brenda: I’ve always loved to write from a young age, but I didn’t get serious with it until I remarried and stayed home with the kids. That’s when my husband asked (because I must’ve been a little clinging after our wedding) if I had any hobbies. I told him that I liked to write and he said I should do that. So I threw myself into writing and reading up on how to get published. My first book was a mess. I queried it, and it didn’t get a single request. It wasn’t until I started submitting Library Jumpers that I began getting requests for partial and full requests from agents for the manuscript. After a bumpy road, Library Jumpers landed with Liz Pelletier at Entangled Teen, and the rest is history, as they say. Arthur: How have you developed your writing voice and prose? Once your first draft was completed, did you go back and rework[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #46 – Victoria Griffin

Highlights Starting a book at the right point in the story is essential. Tips on managing social media. How “fluff” can reduce the effectiveness of our prose. My writing and editing crafts overlap and inform each other. Welcome to the forty-sixth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer and editor Victoria Griffin. Arthur: Tell me about your editing journey. How did you start? What is your experience and how do you continue to develop your editing craft? Victoria: My senior year as a college softball player, I sustained a brain injury that affected the conditions under which I could work. Since I needed complete control of my work setting and schedule, I began to take on small editing projects. While I’ve always enjoyed editing my own work, I soon realized how rewarding it is to help a fellow writer with that part of the process and decided to make freelance editing my permanent career. I learn from each manuscript I work with, and I’m continually working to enhance my knowledge of style and developmental aspects. Every book I read for pleasure, I think of how I can apply the tools and techniques the author used to help my clients. And of course, my writing and editing crafts overlap and inform each other. Arthur: What are the top three problems you see when editing a book? What are your suggestions for[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #45 – Traci Ison Schafer

Highlights Just start writing your story, even if you don’t know all the “rules”. The importance of book covers and editing. Using social media to truly connect with your readers. Writing is a passion that fulfills me in ways well beyond money. Welcome to the forty-fifth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with writer Traci Ison Schafer. From Traci’s book, THE ANUAN LEGACY: “The shuttle vibrated under the stress of friction with Earth’s atmosphere. Opening my mind, I directed my mental willpower into the shuttle. Slow to entry speed! Still, the vibrations rocked the shuttle. If I didn’t get the shuttle’s speed down, it would break apart under the continued force of entry. I focused everything I could pull from within myself at the shuttle. It slowed – not quite to a normal entry speed – but close enough to ease some of the stress on the craft.” Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. What were your early influences? Why did you decide to start writing? Traci: Though I’d had a few people in the past tell me I should be a writer, I never really took that seriously. I figured that kind of career could never pay the bills—unless you were one of the fortunate few who hit it really big—so I just dismissed it. Only after I started writing did I realize, there’s more to it than[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #44 – Paul Bae

Highlights Grabbing a listener’s attention. Developing characters that suit a particular conflict will create better stories. How we stumble onto truths as we write our stories. I started writing short stories when I was nineteen and haven’t stopped. Welcome to the forty-fourth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’m very excited to be chatting with writer and podcaster Paul Bae, best known for his amazing work on the THE BLACK TAPES and THE BIG LOOP podcasts. In recent news, THE BLACK TAPES will be adapted for television. Many of us will be looking forward to this. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you develop your prose and craft? What were your early influences and how did you move from writing into podcasting? Paul: The first novelist I was ever into was Stephen King. I consumed Salem’s Lot, Pet Sematary, The Shining, and The Stand all in my first semester of my undergrad studies. I don’t remember reading any novels in high school so I consider myself a late bloomer. So when I stumbled onto King, I was simulataneously being exposed to the Romantic poets as an English major at McGill University. So I think those genres—English Romantic era poetry, gothic ideas, and popular twentieth century American horror—formed the way I’d filter art and stories for the rest of my life. Or, I was attracted to those things because of the[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #43 – Kayelle Allen

Highlights The importance of regular writing and blogging to build an audience. Great resources for book covers and other art design. Writing is just as much about asking questions as it is telling the truth. I love the freedom of creating my own personal worlds, languages, rituals and cultures. Welcome to the forty-third episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with science fiction writer Kayelle Allen. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you develop your prose and craft? What were your early influences? Why did you decide to start writing? Kayelle: I credit my mother’s love of words and writing as the beginnings of my own interest. She encouraged me to read widely. She and my father were both avid readers and always had books around. As a child, I picked up a love of science fiction and fantasy. As a teen, I read Arthur C Clarke, Robert A Heinlein, Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance and more. I often wrote short stories at Christmas as a gift for friends. For years, I heard “you have a way with words” and “you should write a book.” Although I had dabbled with the idea since I was eighteen (and actually wrote a 400 page monster that will never see the light of day), I did not seriously try to be published until I was fifty. Once I joined[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #42 – Kathy Garvey

Highlights The difference between being distracted and writing production. What book reviews really mean. The importance of editing and knowing what to look for in an editor. Distraction is self-imposed and as with anything that is self imposed, it is also self-rectified. Welcome to the forty-second episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with Suspense and Contemporary Women’s Fiction writer, K.E. (Kathy) Garvey. Arthur: You have a great article on your blog about distraction. I’m very interested in how writers focus. In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport talks about how focus and deep work are essential to “creating” something new, like a novel. How do you avoid the distractions of phones and the internet during a writing session? Did you always have honed focus, or did you have to exercise it and improve it over the course of your writing career? Kathy: I may catch a little heat for what I’m about to say, but I think distraction is self-imposed, and as with anything that is self-imposed it is also self-rectified. You can’t be distracted unless you want to, and are willing to, be distracted. I don’t believe it is surfing the internet that keeps us from producing, I think it is lack of production that causes us to surf, read, shop, watch TV, etc. Like anyone else, I have my days. On those days, I simply don’t feel[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #41 – K. M. Pohlkamp

Highlights The importance of the first sentence and scene of our books. More ideas on promoting our writing work. Switching genre and age group to meet your own prose and writing voice may help us writers succeed. I rewrite the opening pages of all my manuscripts more than any other part of a work-in-progress. Welcome to the forty-first episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with historical fiction author K. M. Pohlkamp. From APRICOTS AND WOLFSBANE: “My target focused upon me. His hand shook, reaching out in a misplace plea for aid. Instead, I raised my goblet in a final toast while he turned purple. He glanced towards his spilled glass, and then studied my face with new understanding. With his last remnants of life, he pieced together what I had done. Those little moments made the act so delicious. And as his body collapsed upon the floor, I added one more success to my mental tally. Murder just never got old.” Arthur: The opening lines of your book APRICOTS AND WOLFSBANE are fantastic. They establish not only a great opening scene, but the motivation and desires of the main character. And it’s done in a way that doesn’t take chapters to understand while drawing the reader in immediately. How did you craft the first chapter and this scene? Was it original to the first draft, or did it come[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #40 – Dana L. Brown

Highlights The importance of the technical aspects of writing, beyond putting words on paper. How themes can be derived from our own life experiences. Creative marketing ideas beyond social media. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how you’ve spent the majority of your life, you’re never too old to start a new path. Welcome to the fortieth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with Women’s Romantic Fiction writer Dana L. Brown. Arthur: Tell me about your writing journey. How did you start writing and what brought you to where you are today? Dana: I like to call my writing journey My Fairytale. An avid reader, a book started forming in my mind as my husband and I rode our bicycles on the weekends, and in 2014 I told him I wanted to take early retirement to write a book. Once the “deer in the headlights” look left his face he asked if I could one more year, and I did. On February 5, 2016 I retired from a thirty-two career in banking, and on February 8, after the celebration was over and out of town guests had gone home, I sat down to write. Maybe because I had been writing the book in my head for two years, or maybe because I was so determined to prove I could do it, Lottie Loser almost wrote itself. In[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #39 – Mica Scotti Kole

Highlights You need to be able to answer the question: “What sets your book apart?” The most common problems an editor sees when reviewing a manuscript. How to write a great first sentence of a book. The overuse of “was/is” and “felt/feel” is the most concrete problem I see. Welcome to the thirty ninth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I chat with YA fantasy writer and editor Mica Scotti Kole. Arthur: Your Twitter account indicates you once wrote 25k words in a day. Tell me more about this day. What did you write? How did you achieve this word count? How were you able to focus for so long? Was it one long writing session, or broken up throughout the day? Mica: Oh, it was definitely not one straight session! I did this for the 3-Day Novel Contest, where you write a book over Labor Day Weekend. I had an outline, subsisted on Monster Energy and Spaghettios, and had to have someone else watch my cat for the day so she’d leave me alone. And I just tore through. The inspiration and momentum were there. By the end of the three-day weekend, I had over 50,000 words written and revised once. It was a wild ride. (This was the first draft of my first major publication attempt, the Adult Fantasy THE TOWER WITH NO WALLS.) Arthur: Tell me about your[…] [Keep Reading]