ConCarolinas 2014: Switching Gears

Switching Gears

Tamsin Silver, Faith Hunter, Tonia Brown, Stuart Jaffe, A.J. Hartley, David B. Coe, Edmund Schubert

How do you deal with more than one deadline? 

There are different deadlines that occur when you’re writing.  Faith Hunter described the different types of deadlines one might encounter.  If you’re working on multiple projects, hopefully each of those projects will be at different stages.

  • Developmental Edit: concerned with story arc, characterization, plot.
  • Copy Edit: grammar, punctuation, mechanics.
  • Page Proofs (ARC): just like it will look in print, check each page for missing sentences, missing words, repeated words, etc.

Tamsin Silver said, “Set goals and stick to them!”

David B. Coe reminded the audience that the publication world is usually about 1 1/2 years behind what the author is working on.  (YIKES!)

Stuart Jaffe spoke to those who manage deadlines in the self-publishing world.

  • You do your own cover design.  You’re your own art director.  (Unless you pay someone to do it.)
  • There’s an instant turnaround, but readers start to demand faster turnaround too.
  • He suggested developing a production schedule rather than switching between creative projects.
  • Hard to predict when they’ll go live (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes all have different timelines.)
  • Traditionally published writers have to wait in line, so that’s why it takes so much longer.

What happens if you get stuck or frustrated?

  • David B. Coe: If you’re frustrated by a problem in a work, moving to a different work is a death knell.
  • A.J. Hartley: Agrees with David, especially with creative/academic work.
  • All agree: Don’t drop projects when it gets frustrating.

Are short stories worth writing?  Or as a palate cleanser?

  • Stuart Jaffe and Edmund Schubert both started their careers by writing short stories.
  • Edmund Schubert: They’re a great learning tool, but not a money-maker.
  • Stuart Jaffe: You can publish them online for about 99 cents each.
  • Tonia Brown: Do three at a time–triple shot!

How do you manage revisions?

  • Edmund Schubert: Being a writer is much more than writing.  Do other things before revising.
  • A.J. Hartley: Sometimes time is necessary.  You must be able to read it as someone else would.
  • Faith Hunter: Ask yourself, “What is this book about?”  Then you can cut stuff and fix problems.
  • David B. Coe: Fresh eyes (beta-readers) are essential.
  • Tamsin Silver: Steps to writing
    • Write a book
    • Do something special for yourself because you just wrote a book!
    • Put it away for 6 months (until you forgot what you meant)
    • Work on something else
    • Return and rework it

Is it difficult to switch between genres?

I can’t remember who, but someone (maybe A.J. or Edmund?) described switching genres as not a switching of hats but a switching of heads!

  • A.J. Hartley: fiction and nonfiction is apples and oranges; academic writing is slower writing than fiction; very extensive research and much more scrutiny; purpose is different; when you write fiction, you’re in control and make it happen, but you can’t do that with nonfiction.
  • David B. Coe: Point of view makes it easier.  Submerge yourself into the P.O.V character and then it is more switching people than books.
  • Faith Hunter: wrote for a woman’s magazine when she was Gwen (1 article a month); uses two different sides of the brain (one non-fiction, one fiction, and a split personality for urban fantasy!)



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