Real Life & Romance Blog
|Posted on 11 November, 2016 at 13:45|
Welcome to the blog E C Bell!!
What authors have inspired you to write?
Stephen King, Janet Evanovitch, Thomas King, Christopher Moore. In no particular order. They are all so good at what they do--I try to make my work sing the way theirs does.
What does your writing process look like?
It looks terrifically messy, to start! White boards and post-it notes as I try to wrangle all my ideas into some sort of coherent whole (while making that pesky murder mystery work). From that, I outline the plot. Usually it’s more writing out the beats of the story--a line or two per beat--that gets me from the beginning to the climax to the end. Then, I write the first draft, as fast as I can. (When I’m really cooking, I can write 10,000 words a day.)
I leave it for a bit (a week to a month, depending on deadlines) and then go over it with fresh eyes to catch plot holes, make sure all scenes are in the right place and needed, and clean up other bits of organizational ugliness. I go over it again to get rid of flabby words and other nasties. (Like making absolutely certain that character names stay the same throughout the novel. And yes, it happened to me, which is why I really check.) I read it out loud, to make absolutely certain all of it works. (You’d be surprised what you catch, this way. Especially clunky dialogue.) Then, I do a final clean and polish to get rid of tiny mistakes like extra spaces or little typos. And then, finally, off it goes!
If I feel that there’s a problem at any stage, but I can’t figure out what it is, I have a couple of trusted friends who will read it over and help me fix.
What advice has been the most helpful to you in your career?
Write the first draft for yourself and the second draft for your reader. I don’t know where I heard it, or who said it first, but I use this bit of advice every time I write another book. If I try to write the first draft for my reader--and I did try, once--it comes out flat and lifeless. Don’t know why, but it does. So, the first draft’s for me.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I would probably work for some do-gooder not-for-profit organization somewhere. That’s what I did before writing took over my life, and I still volunteer some time to various organizations. (I focus more on animal welfare lately, because animals have no voice, and I do.)
Which book do you wish you’d written and why?
I wish I’d written A Town Like Alice, by Nevil Shute. It’s still my favourite love story, and the characters go through hell before they end up together. (Which is why I have no problem putting my characters through hell. If Mr. Shute could do it, so can I!)
Do you read reviews? How do you celebrate the good, get over the bad?
I try to stay away from reviews, if I can, because I find that I obsess about them, whether good or bad. None of that helps my mental well being, so, I just leave reviews alone. I DO count them (and obsess about that, too!) which sounds strange until you remember that (on Amazon at least) more reviews give books access to better marketing opportunities. Which I obsess about...
What type of scene do you find hardest to write? Scary, funny, romantic, sad?
Sex scenes. Oh goodness, I have SO much trouble with them! Once, I wrote a sex scene--well, it wasn’t sex, really, but it was VERY sensual--and I closed my eyes as I typed the first draft! I didn’t have as much trouble when I was editing, thank goodness, but that first draft was hugely difficult to write.
On to the Fun Questions!
Do you have a recurring nightmare?
Just the usual. Alien invasion and whatnot. (I should really write a story about it, someday.)
Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Oh, my scars are boring! They are from child bearing (I‘m talking about stretch marks, which I count as scars!) and from a back operation I had twentysomething years ago. (Interesting fact: The specialist who performed my back operation performed the same operation on my father, twenty years before. Apparently farmers have this operation earlier than everyone else who needs it.)
Ready for the Lightning Round of ‘Have You Ever?’
-Grab your coffee and take a sip if you have done any of these things.
Have You Ever…
-Written naked? No sip
-Gotten arrested? No sip
-Gotten into a bar fight? No sip (but dreamed about it a few times, when I wasn’t dreaming about alien invasion...)
-Lied on a resume? Sip
-Pee’d in public? No sip
-Called in sick to work when you weren’t sick? Sip (and got fired for it, too. So now you know whether I can lie or not...)
-Had a crush on a friend or co-worker? Sip
-Lied about your age? Sip
-Taken candy from a baby? Sip
-Snuck in contraband snacks to a movie? Sip
That’s it!! You survived Coffee Time With Jen!
Thank you for being a guest author!
E.C. Bell is giving away 1 print copy and 1 e-copy to two lucky commenters below!!
Categories: writing life