For example, several months ago Janice Hardy, author and blogger extraordinaire, mentioned she'd just moved to central Florida and was trying to make her way through a pile of boxes. Wow! One of my favorite blog personalities was living just down the road from me! (Not exactly...but close enough.) I jotted an email and asked if we could meet sometime. It took a few months of coordinating schedules, but we finally met.
Here are some notes while we ate a delicious lunch at Turner's Kitchen and Bar in Leesburg, Fl. (BTW, they specialize in fresh, local food if you're in the area!)
Finding the Time
Inside Fiction University
CAROL: What is the most common mistake you find in Real Life Diagnostics?
JANICE: A lack of conflict; no sense of a problem.
Inside Janice Hardy
I'm working on a writing book on revision that I will self-publish. Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Final Draft is due this summer; it's a more fleshed out writing workshop. I have a third Planning Your Novel Workbook that is a companion book to the writing book.
CAROL: How long did it take before your first novel was published?
JANICE: Fifteen years. I received lots of rejections in the beginning because I didn't know what I was doing. When I had the right book, the process of getting an agent and publisher went fast.
CAROL: What's your opinion on critique groups?
JANICE: The sweet spot is being in the middle skill-wise. Having a few people better than you who you can learn from and a few people under you who you can help is ideal. You learn by teaching; you'll see stuff in other people’s work and either check it in your own or realize you do it too.
CAROL: If you could give advice to other writers, what would it be?
- Don’t send your manuscript out until it’s ready.
- Read and write a lot. Read widely. In your genre and other books also. It gives you ideas about how other writers handle things.
- Focus on what’s unique about your story and run with it.
- My high school creative writing teacher told me: “Stories are interesting people solving interesting problems in interesting ways." When your character resolves his problem, the book is over.
- Write your query first. Set up the world, the characters, and what the problem is and how they’re going to resolve it. The better you know the ending, the more you'll know where you're going with your book.
- A great story trumps writing skill any time.