Kristen - Thank you so much for joining me today, Becca. One of the new "things" in publishing is book trailers. What do you think of “trailers” for books?
Becca - I think it’s a rather odd concept, but if it works go for it. I’ve not been sold on any book by it’s “trailer” though I have found trailers for books I want to read and watched them. They can be fun and provocative, but they don’t tell me much about what the book is going to be like.
For a movie, showing little snippets of the movie in a seriously shortened arc that doesn’t reveal the end make a whole lot of sense. The trailer is a closely related medium to the the work in question. A book, though, is all about the words written on the page. It would be great if you could get actors to portray the characters in the way that a movie does, but that would be expensive. So most trailers are made of quotes from the book or about the book. They look like an automated slide show, usually with some music playing in the background.
Kristen - I feel much the same as you do. I think they're interesting, but haven't been sold on a book over them. Right now at least, the best ones do have actors and I just saw the pricetag on one recently and *whistles* I was like, "Okay, so I'm never affording one of those."
One of what I think is the best parts about being an author is the people who fall in love with your work. What do your fans mean to you?
Becca - My fans are the reason I publish. I write for myself, but I edit and polish and make it perfect for my fans. They deserve the best I have to offer, so I will give it to them.
The fun part for me, is that I work with a group of my fans. I work in a high school, and my books are in the library. I get to watch the frenzy when the kids know that I’ve released another book and they are waiting for the librarian to get it checked in for the first time. Then once they start reading it there are cries of “no spoilers” from the ones who haven’t read it yet when it comes up in conversation. I suspect not many authors get that kind of view of their fans.
It’s a double edged sword though. I love my fans dearly, but I could do with a little less nagging to get the next book out.
Kristen - Aww, that is so amazing! That sounds like the greatest confidence booster. That'd give me all the warm fuzzies. I've got only one person who harassed me about getting the next book out, and I'm just imagining her several times over and sending you lots of sympathy. :D
The writing process is a long one and after awhile I know I find myself going "no more! please!" After that first draft, do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
Becca - It’s usually more than a month, but yes. Once I finish a first draft I can’t edit it right away. I still remember too much about what I meant to say, which makes it hard to see where I didn’t say that. Also, I need time for my writing skills to mature between the draft and the edit.
Really though the truth is I write fast and edit slow. I have more drafts complete than I know what to do with, but I can’t just stop writing. So I finish a draft and add it to the waiting list for edits. There are, I think, seven books in there right now. Sometimes I find that a novel just doesn’t make the cut when it comes up for edits. It’s sad when that happens, but I put it away and move on to the next one. By the time some books come up in rotation they are already two years old and wow, I really didn’t know how to write back then.
Kristen - How do you develop your stories?
Becca - For short stories, I start with a character and a goal and just write my way to the end. Then I have to go back and make sure it all makes sense, but that’s doable with a short story.
Novels start sort of the the same. They come to me as a character and a goal. Then they bring in some secondary characters, with different goals and a villain with an opposing goal and then I know I have a mess. I do character interviews to sort everything out and get a good feel for the world they are living in. Once I start writing the novel it’s pretty much the same as a short story - I start writing and stop when I get to the end. Then go back and make sure it all makes sense. It just takes a little longer.
The real big difference is the number of short stories worth editing is somewhere around 15% where at least 75% of my novels are worth editing.
Kristen - What is the easiest thing about writing?
Becca - The easiest thing about writing is: writing.
The initial draft flows from my fingers so willingly. If only that were all it took. I have thousands of short stories, in first draft form. They will never be anything more than that. I wrote them just to write. To feel the flow of words and see the thoughts in my head become life. It’s how I imagine magic feels.
The next best thing about writing is hearing how much people liked your story. It’s good that those two are on the ends, otherwise I’m not sure I’d make it through the middle.
Kristen - I loooove writing the first draft. And usually the second isn't too bad because i have so many plot holes to fix. But after that I'm like nooo, can't I just write the first draft and someone else can polish them?
Thank you for joining me today. Good luck with your writing and hope you have a Merry Christmas!
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