Monday 8 June 2015

JuNoWriMo 2015

In honor of JuNoWriMo, I have the fabulous Becca Campbell here to talk about her writing life.

1.       Before we get started with you, tell me about JuNoWriMo. What do you tell people who've never heard of it before?

JuNoWriMo is a challenge for writers (and wanna-be writers) to pen 50,000 words in 30 days – approximately an entire novel. But really, we’re just a fun group of people who love writing and want to help you make the most of your own writing adventure.

2.       Now, let's begin with the basics: tell me about your writer self.
1.       What is your process for plotting or pantsing?

I would call myself a very flexible and open-minded planner.

With my collected ideas for story arc, characters, and possible scenes, I start prewriting. I’m a pretty organized person, so I typically create an outline that’s a full chapter-by-chapter long synopsis, listing each scene before I begin writing. I sometimes even break the climax of the book down to six individual points. I write descriptions for my main five to ten characters, research personality types, and browse photos for ideas of people or scenes.

This helps me tremendously. Detailing all this doesn’t make it law though, it just gives me somewhere to begin. I always have to change things as I go, sometimes adding or deleting full chapters. It’s important for me to be flexible.

2.       How do you go about writing your book?

When I have as much as possible laid out ahead of time, I write the first draft furiously and without looking back (often in a month by way of
NaNoWriMo or JuNoWriMo). When the first draft is finished, I let it sit anywhere from six weeks to two years before I look at again. That way when I revisit the story, it’s fresh and my eyes are more objective.

I typically write chronologically as the book unfolds, but sometimes I go in and add scenes later. The exception is on the first scene—for whatever reason, I rarely start writing with the very first scene in the book. It’s much easier to write after I’ve completed Chapter 2 or 3 or 4.

3.       What is your absolute favourite genre (for reading or writing)?

I like a lot of genres, so I’ll say speculative fiction, which covers about anything that involves fantastical, science fiction, or other-worldy, though I most like stories that combine a real-world setting with these types of speculative elements.

4.       If you could have any super power what would it be?

That’s a really difficult question, but I’m going to say teleportation because it would make traveling a lot cheaper and easier.

5.       Fellow coffee and chocolate lover: do you think that snacking helps your writing process?

Not necessarily, though it’s a good motivator if I use it as a reward. I don’t work well when I’m hungry, but things with sugar hinder my process and my brain in general. I went off refined sugars & corn syrups completely over a year ago, and now I don’t get that brain fuzz like I used to.

I do think that I associate coffee with writing, so in a way there’s a sort of Pavlovian connection for me there. Too bad I try to stick to just one cup of caffeine per day. I might be more productive if I drank it more.

6.       Editing: walk me through your process.

When the first draft has had time to ferment (time away from my eyes), I do a full read-through, either with a hard copy or on my Kindle. I take plenty of notes, but I can’t work in the actual document because I will get too tempted to start fixing things before I’ve given it a full read through. I mark up anything I see, focusing mostly on big, overall plot points.

After that, I fix all the major things, mark the lingering issues I’m undecided on, and send it off to one of my beta readers. The beta gives me feedback, I revise and revamp, and I send it off to someone else, picking up smaller line edits as I go. I may repeat this phase anywhere from two to five times, depending on the quality of the story at that point.

Eventually when I feel it’s ready, I send the final draft to my editor. Then I make the final changes and do one last proofread. After all of that it’s finally ready to go.

7.       How has your writing process changed from when you first started?

It’s changed a lot. When I didn’t know any better I didn’t plan ahead, and that was a lot more difficult. I’d end up with pieces of a plot that didn’t quite fit together at the end and required a lot of editing. My first book went through twelve revisions before it was finally ready to be published. That was a long, slow process. Now I’ve learned so much more about writing, and about myself, so I’ve found a planning technique that helps me avoid a lot of those headaches. I’m still refining the process, but the more I write the easier it gets.

8.       Did you ever consider traditional publishing or was it always self, for you?

I queried a handful of agents in the beginning, but eventually I watched friends self publish and learned more about it. I decided I liked having more control of the project and that I trusted readers to decide whether they liked my stuff more than agents. The bonus is that I get to keep all my royalties. I haven’t regretted the decision once.

9.       What is your latest project?

I recently published
Outsider (Flawed #2), and I’m working on the next two books in the series (along with a short story companion). The more I explore the world of my Flawed series, the more I discover new stories waiting to be told, so I may hang out here for a while. I tend to publish a short piece of fiction between each of the longer works to whet your appetite and make it easier to wait for the next installment.

10.   And of course: any advice for unpublished writers?

A) Write as much as you possibly can.
B) Find other experienced, talented authors to mentor you.
C) Accept critiques and feedback humbly, and use them for the powerful tools they are, to help make your story better.

An avid lover of stories that tiptoe the line between fantasy and reality, Becca J. Campbell looks for new angles on bridging the gap between the two. She holds a special place in her heart for any story that involves superpowers or time travel. Her passion is defying the limits of her own creativity.

Becca's journey into writing began as many of her other creative endeavors do - by daring herself to try something new. The question "what if I wrote a novel?" and some hastily scribbled notes on a church handout were the inspirations that jump-started her first book. Since then she has written half a dozen additional novels and several shorter works.

Find me online: Author Blog | Twitter Facebook Pinterest Goodreads Amazon Author Page

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