Reverse QWK – Ask An Author

I held my first Twitter chat recently, #QWK, and it was a LOT of fun! I seriously hope everyone can make it to the next one. For those unfamiliar, in a Twitter chat the host (that was me) asks questions around a topic and everyone uses the hashtag to answer them, respond to others answers and, well, chat! But I wanted to mix things up so I reversed things and asked:

 

I thought I’d pick out my favorite questions and answer them more in-depth here!  

Questions like this are always tough for me. I don’t really “self-insert” with any characters so I don’t see myself as being a part of that world or belonging there. So, if I was going to be there I would go with a minor role, someone observing and not really affecting the story in any major way. I think it’d be fun to be an Imperial courier. Then I could see the world and all its regions. Plus, I’d get to stand in during a lot of conversations and be a fly on the wall. See all the characters.

I DO draw my characters. I also draw a lot of outfits so I can describe them better and make sure I understand them. But I don’t do that first. I usually start with a character’s history. Where did they come from? How did they grow up? How did they “get here?” The answer to those types of questions help create the character. We’re a product of our experiences, so it’ll even help guide stuff like what the character likes and wears. 

My biggest challenge was likely deciding if/how I wanted to publish. I started writing on FictionPress for fun and I knew if I decided to publish I needed to start approaching it in a different way. Writing for “business” and writing for “pleasure” are very different and I had to decide if that was a change I wanted to make.

With the how, I had to decide if I wanted to go traditional or indie. I started querying agents for traditional initially and I learned a LOT. I think it’s something everyone should go through if they want to publish, even if they want to self. It forced me to think about who I was writing Air Awakens for, like what market, and how to “sell it” in a few words. It also forced me to really cut down the story from how “I wanted it” to “how I wanted it and it would be well received by readers.”

I dismissed the “Show, Don’t Tell” advice. Everyone hears it and it’s easy to think “yes yes of course, I know.” But KNOWING you should do it and then DOING it are two different things. It was something in my editing I’ve had to really look out for and make my writing a lot stronger.

What advice would I tell someone else? Likely to stop worrying about everything and put black on white. I see too many people worry about if their story will be good, if people will read it, if they can get through a section, not knowing how to start, not knowing what to do next… etc. That they never actually start or move forward. Sometimes, you have to accept that what you’re going to write the initial go is rough but just do it and move on so you can let the story flow.

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