It’s been a while since I did one of these! The funny thing about questions is that everyone tends to ask the same questions over and over again, meaning it isn’t very often that I get something new to answer. But here’s a small collection of things I’ve been asked in the past few months that I thought I’d take the time to answer here. In case you missed them or want a refresher, you can read volume 1 here and volume 2 here.
Q: How many times do you edit a manuscript before considering it done?
A: It depends on the piece. Different stories have different needs. Most short stories I’ve done only needed one pass. My current project is in its sixth revision and out for review, with at least one more editing pass to go before it’s ready for querying.
Q: What’s your favorite snack for when you’re writing?
A: Tomato Pretz! I try to limit myself to one packet while I’m working, because I get them so rarely. I could easily eat the whole box. Other favorites are Cheez-its or Goldfish crackers, but I rarely eat while I’m writing. If I’m lucky, I can have a drink treat I don’t consume on a regular basis – Either a Pepsi Throwback or a Starbucks cafe vanilla frappuccino.
Q: Why do you write fantasy as opposed to, say, sci-fi, or western themed stories?
A: While I primarily write fantasy, I do dabble in other genres as well! Fantasy is what feels most like home to me, it’s what I’m able to write most easily. But while I’ve often read statements from authors saying you should never jump between genres, that just doesn’t make sense to me. I could write fantasy forever, but it will never help me grow as a writer. Experimenting in other genres has actually done wonders for my understanding of how to write and how to write well, but that’s something we’ll probably explore in a longer post at a later date.
Q: How did you come up with the ideas for your characters?
A: I really don’t like to take credit for them. Most of my characters are born through a very organic process, where I have a vague idea of what their purpose is to be. Everything from their appearances to their personalities comes without me really planning or inventing it.
Q: What is a pet peeve of yours when reading someone else’s work?
A: Predictability. I realize that a lot of this might come from reading a lot within a narrow selection of genres, but I very frequently find myself able to predict the outcome of a book from the first three chapters. I like a lot of intrigue and plot twists, and sometimes attempts at foreshadowing come across more like a mallet to the face. Never a good thing.
Q: What do you look for in a good book?
A: I like big books. Short ones can be okay, but when I read, I want to be transported somewhere far away and immersed in a very rich world. World-building is really important to me in things I read, but it’s always second to the actual story being told. I like a fairly clear direction, and a crazy, bumpy road to the destination.
Have a question for me? Leave it in the comments to be included in the next volume!