A-Z Series: E Week

E.png“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing.
The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Word of the Week: 
Emprise. If you send your characters into new, interesting lands and have them face fantastic creatures – both friend and foe – perhaps they must cross mystic rivers and converse with soothsayers… you’ve just sent them on an emprise, or adventurous undertaking.

Tip of the Week: 
Editing! Some people absolutely love the editing process even more than they do the writing process. Can you imagine?! For most people, however, ‘edit’ would be a four-letter word, even if it didn’t have four letters if you know what I mean. Whether you love or hate the editing process, though, one thing is certain: it is mandatory.

I can pretty much guarantee if you spend five minutes browsing the samples of self-published books on Amazon, you’ll be able to find one or two where the editing process was obviously skipped. Even some best sellers published by highly credible publishing houses still seem lacking in the editing department; it seems no one is immune. So what do we do? What should the editing process look like?

It’s different for pretty much every author. You have to find what works for you, and there is a lot of advice floating around out there, and in here, that will not work for you. Here are three steps I take while editing that you may find useful to you. [Beta Readers are a vital step, but they’ve already been mentioned. You can read more about my editing process here.]

         • Let it be. When you’re done with your draft, set it aside for a week, two weeks, or even a month if you need it. You’ve spent your days and nights with this baby and you aren’t yet ready to see its faults. You need to reset and come back with fresh eyes. This is hard, but can work wonders.

            • Print it out. I get sick of looking at a computer screen. When someone first told me to print out a chapter or two and see what a difference it would make on how many mistakes I could find, I scoffed. I didn’t think it would be significant, and to top it off, I figured it a waste of time and resources. After all, once I found a mistake and was editing on the screen, I could just fix it and forget it, right? Turns out, this really works well for me. I see so much more on paper than I do on screen. Plus, it makes my third tip much easier.

            • Read it aloud. Yes, I mentioned this last week when I talked about dialogue. Some people will only do this for their dialogue because reading an entire novel aloud is  somewhat daunting and requires lots of hydration. I suggest settling in with a bottle of water and doing it anyway because you will hear errors your eyes will never see. Not only will you find grammatical errors but sometimes things just really sound weird even when they’re grammatically correct.

Resource of the Week: 
During B Week, I talked about a mind-mapping site that could help you organize your thoughts and ideas. This week, I bring you Evernote! Need to make to-do lists on something other than a scrap of paper you’ll lose faster than it took you to find? Evernote has you covered. See something while browsing the web that motivates you, or is a vital piece of research? Evernote has your back on that. Want to create a library of images of inspiration sources for your stories or characters? Yep, Evernote is going to do all of that and more and tie it up in a nice, neat package that you can access from anywhere. Want to collaborate? You see where I’m going with this, right? Evernote is such an amazing organizational tool you’ll feel like you’ve hired an assistant.

Spotlight of the Week:  
It didn’t take me long to decide who I wanted to interview for E-week. I knew it would sort of be breaking the rules because his last name maybe-probably-didn’t-surely-wouldn’t start with an E, but I’d always thought of him as somewhat enigmatic and someone people would love to know more of. If you don’t follow Entrebat on Twitter, you are missing out! [Facebook] [Google+] [Blog] Without further adieu, I am pleased to introduce you to Gary Weller!

EntrebatGary E. Weller is a Role-playing Game enthusiast, recreational traveler, and lover of all things geeky from Tucson, Arizona. Between regular office work, life in the desert southwest, doting on his two cats, and wife, he writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories, and other musings at his blog which he affectionately calls, ‘The Repository.’

1.) What inspired you to write? What genres come easily for you and which ones are most difficult?

I’ve always wanted to write. I’ve been making up stories since I was little. I think I was fascinated by my mother’s typewriter and the sheer presence of it. I don’t remember the model, but I remember smelling the ink and the machine oil. I remember the weight and bulk of it. Mostly I remember the sound of the keys and the mechanical levers moving to press out my words onto white paper.

The genres that come easiest for me are Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I grew up reading them. I always wanted to rush into those other worlds in order to escape my mundane existence. Southern New Mexico and West Texas held no sway in comparison to where Piers Anthony or Poul Anderson could take me.

Comedy is difficult for me to get right. It is a beast of its own making with up’s, down’s, and a timing that I sometimes just cannot comprehend. While I appreciate what comedy writers can do, I often fail at replication of their talents. Often it comes off as middle-aged cantankerousness when I try to be funny in prose.

2.) What does your editing process look like? Do you have any tips?

My editing process consists of holding myself at bay to hit the ‘launch’ button. My truly successful stories have been written over a week’s time and then left to stew. When I come back to read it, I can find the flow much better than when it was fresh.

Barring that, reading the piece aloud certainly helps. Odd uses of wording come out rather easily when translating the words into sound. Dialogue that sounds off can be noticed as well.

3.) Do you have a preference on when or where you write?

I like to write early in the morning, when the world seems to be sleeping. It’s just me and the words then. We commune over a cup of coffee and begin our work into something magical. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing because it is the right time to do so. It is the release of energy that comes from the universe through me to the page.

4.) Would you rather have breakfast with Poe, Whitman, Bronte or Melville? What would be your first question to them?

I think I would identify more with Poe. He has a melancholy that relates to me. The morass of dankness that surrounds his stories is on par for what I see around the world if I let my mind go into that mode. I can sense the wickedness and insanity that seems to hide under the furniture along with the motes of dust.

The question, I wouldn’t know where to begin with a question. I’d almost be afraid of the answer I might receive. He lived in a hard time and suffered ill consequences. I can’t help but wonder if he saw any light at all.

5.) What’s a little-known fact about you? Explain or elaborate. (Special talents, non-writing hobbies, etc.)

I attended 13 different schools during my 12 years of public education. Yes, my mother moved around a lot. I have no clue as to the whys and wherefores of the various jaunts. I never bothered to ask. It has put wanderlust in me though. I’ve been in Southern Arizona for close to 20 years and I’m itching to go on a major walkabout.

Thank you for joining me for E-Week! I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am and will return for a Fun and Fabulous time next week!


A-Z Series: Week D

D“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that
it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
– E.L. Doctorow

Word of the Week: Debellate. This word means to conquer through battle. Just to switch things up I will plead the fifth on whether this word makes an appearance in a work of mine, fantasy or otherwise. 🙂 While this one may be a bit of a head-scratcher, I think varying your word choice is preferable to always overusing the simplest terms.

Tip of the Week: 
Dialogue! Most writers, especially fledgling ones, have looked at countless tips and videos on how to write realistic, flowy dialogue. Why is it, then, that there are still so many stories and books being published with alarmingly unnatural dialogue? It probably stumps you equally as it does me. Here are three solid ways of improving your dialogue:

• Listen. Don’t be creepy about it, but when you’re in a public place – I find restaurants to be the best for this – listen to the mechanics of conversations going on around you. Does the couple at the next table use their partner’s name with each sentence? Probably not. Do they always wait for their partner to finish their sentences before they start talking, or do they occasionally interrupt them? Are there pauses while one or both collect their thoughts? Mimic these conversational mannerisms!

• Speak and Think. I am not suggesting you check out of important conversations to analyze the way you speak and how your own thoughts interject themselves quietly into your conversations—but you can ask someone to carry on a conversation with you with the purpose of paying attention to these things. (Yes, I have done this.) This may not feel natural at first, but it is natural to have unexpressed thoughts during a conversation. Explore that, and see if this might fit into some of your dialogue.

• Read Aloud. This isn’t exactly the same as the above point. After you have written your passages of dialogue simply read it aloud. You will hear mistakes your eye will never see. You can do this alone or employ friends or family to read a part for you. Personally, I have read my entire novel from beginning to end this way for this reason, but at the very least I suggest you do this for dialogue.

Resource of the Week:
Recently I took a poll on Twitter, fairly certain how the results would play out, and I was correct:

Enter Dropbox! Wouldn’t you agree it is counterintuitive to spend your precious time and energy outlining, researching, writing, proofing, editing, rewriting and rewriting and rewri…you get the idea… only to find your computer has malfunctioned in the way computers do from time to time and a portion or, egads, your entire novel has just vanished? There are many ways to back up your files – but I use Dropbox. It’s easy to use and allows you to access your work from pretty much everywhere. It’s a two-for-one: get peace of mind and the ability to work whenever, wherever. Are you collaborating with someone? Dropbox is absolutely perfect for that.

Here is where I would normally have the Spotlight of the Week, but I got really busy and sort of forgot to ask anyone to let me interview them. Oops. [Let the Bad Blogger Flagellation begin.] So instead, let’s have a D Week special:

My Dos and Don’ts of building an audience for emerging writers:

Do reach out. You are unknown at this point, and people need to get to know you. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a blog, or a vlog, or Snapchat with hundreds of strangers… sure you can have those things, but do what is natural for you. For instance, Facebook is wildly popular but it isn’t my favorite social media platform, therefore, I do not use it. I may at some point, but right now I feel balancing Twitter and my blog while trying to produce a novel is more than sufficient. Pick what works for you and use them well.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Imagine it like this: You are browsing Twitter and see an account with a massive following, you scroll through their material and see they’re that popular because they post really funny tweets. Humor works! But, their brand of humor is vastly different from your own, so should you try to force the funny? Worse yet, should you steal their tweet ideas? NO! You’re a writer—plagiarism is a sin punishable by eternity in the twelfth circle of hell. (That’s the one where there is no coffee, tea, or alcohol, keyboards have no keys and Chumbawumba’s Tubthumping is playing on repeat, but in a minor key.) Be you. Phoniness is easy to sniff out, and people are not drawn to that.

Do support other writers! You want people to support you, so you must support them. Consider buying an indie book instead of the one by [insert best-seller here]. And REVIEW THEIR BOOKS. Not just on Amazon, but on platforms such as GoodReads. Follow blogs. Interact. If you ask someone to proof something for you, be kind and return the favor. Join discussions, answer questions, ask questions: the writing community is vast and wonderful. Be a part of it.

Don’t constantly push your new book. This touches on another point: don’t scam with automated DMs on Twitter. People hate those. Seriously, it is safe to say the writing community is excited when someone publishes their first novel. (Or second, or third, or eighth…) But don’t let that be all you ever put out there. Yes, you must sell… but if that is all you try to do, people will be turned off and much less likely to purchase anything from you.

Do take this seriously. Being a writer isn’t physically demanding, but it requires effort. Don’t query your first draft and then bash the profession when agents aren’t banging down your door. Don’t upload your first draft to Amazon and complain when you get bad reviews or poor sales. That is horribly unprofessional and the people you want to take you seriously will not give you the time of day.

That’s it for this week, thanks for stopping in. Come back next week for a D-lightful time! 


A-Z Series: Week C

C“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
– Anton Chekhov

Word of the Week: 
Consistory means a solemn gathering or tribunal. So far, all of my words of the week have been popping up from the fantasy novel I’ve got on the backburner, and this one is no exception. In this story, my protagonist doesn’t have long to adapt to her new surroundings before she’s carted off to a consistory of elders. I am a fan of using words that might be just ever so slightly out of the reader’s comfort zone, but can be deduced easily based on context. However, if your story reads as if you consulted a thesaurus for every third word, people will think you’re as brainless as you are pretentious and likely not find your work enjoyable.

Tip of the Week: 
Character building! Have you ever read a story of any length and felt that while the premise of the story had promise, one or more of the characters felt about as lively as last week’s lettuce? (There’s that alliteration thing!) I think sometimes writers get so wrapped up in the idea of their stories and how to get the plot from point A to point E by way of point D, that they forget to devote ample time to developing their characters.

Readers do not fall in love with plots. They fall in love with characters.

There are a million suggestions out there on how to write exciting characters that your readers will relate to and root for—or, in the case of villains, loathe in the most beautiful way possible. Which is proof it takes a lot of thought and planning to craft a memorable heroine or a villain people will love to hate. I have written and rewritten an entire post dedicated to this very topic a dozen times and I have created some visual aides, but here are my top three suggestions for designing your characters:

        1.| Know their story. It is true that you shouldn’t include massive quantities of backstory in your story. It muddies up what you’re trying to accomplish and can ruin your chances of getting your readers invested in the right parts of your work. But as the author, you should know your character’s backstory. Their history has shaped them into the characters that they are, and it will be easier to understand what makes them tick if, well, you understand what makes them tick. It doesn’t have to be spelled out for your reader, but they will be far more likely to read as well-rounded if you know.

               2.| Give them hell. We have the best of intentions with our characters. Okay, that’s a lie, we do really horrible things to them on occasion. Writers can be pretty sadistic, which can come in handy if you have a really stubborn character who just doesn’t want to be developed any further. In SLT, I had to pluck one of my characters straight from the story and write her a little short story and it was brutal. I really put her through a gauntlet of tragedy just to break her down so she had to rise up and shine. It forced me to really think about how she would react in the worst of times. You can tell a lot about a person or character when it’s time to put up or shut up.

               3.| Myers-Briggs. This may seem like overkill, especially if you took a Myers-Briggs test for each of your characters. It can be kind of fun to do for your protagonist and your antagonist, though. Of course, you can always just look up the textbook definitions for each of the personality types and assign them to your cast of characters. This can be an amazing guide when you’re trying to decide how Voknar: The Prince of Annihilation might react when _(insert crazy circumstance here)_.

What are your favorite tips for character building? Share in the comments!

Resource of the Week: 
Perhaps my favorite website outside of WordPress and Twitter is CANVA! I literally spend hours and hours per week on this site creating images to use on, well, WordPress and Twitter. You can even make some amazing cover designs for your work! Using the free services from Canva is so powerful, you’ll think you’ve paid for it. (They do have a paid subscription service, which I currently do not utilize, but the added features are brilliant and I highly recommend taking advantage of the free trial!) Their database of stock photos is astonishing, and if you can’t find a free image that suits your desires, their paid images are a flat fee of $1 each, so it is crazy budget-friendly and takes out all the guesswork. Or, you can always upload your own images. Are you a novice at design? That’s ok. They have a series of tutorials that will help guide you into making images you can be proud to share. Even if you aren’t a novice, I thoroughly suggest going through the tutorials and the Canva Blog; it can only make you better.

twitpicOk, ladies and gents, I told you I was interviewing one of Australia’s most eligible bachelors, so without further adieu, please allow me to introduce the amazing, indelible Tarquin Carlin! [Check out his blog here!]

A bipedal carbon based lifeform from the planet earth that transforms feelings into stories through the medium of symbolic glyphs. TARQUIN CARLIN is a semi-nomadic writer from the east coast of Australia. He is also a musician and painter, but has not convinced anyone to call him a Renaissance Man yet. When not writing he cares for three small humans and some cats. He enjoys long walks on the beach and staring bleakly into the void.

1.| In which genre do you predominately write? What interests you in it particularly?

Most of what I write is somewhere between Literary & Modern Contemporary Fiction. I usually refer to myself as a LitFic writer for ease of use. The thing that draws me toward writing in that style is that I enjoy getting deep into my character’s heads and using their innermost thoughts and feelings as story fodder. Most of my protagonists deal a lot with internal issues rather than traditional antagonists.

2.| Are you a plotter or a pantser? What does your process look like?

I definitely fall into the Pantser category as far as general writerly stereotypes go, but I am actually more of a plotter than I seem to be. I barely write much down at all when I am planning a story, but I will have spent a great deal of time developing it in my head before any of it gets put down. Externally what my process looks like is mostly just me staring into space or singing along to loud music when I’m driving alone in the car.

But, inside my head is a different story. Each story starts with the seed of an idea. Usually something very small, often just a mood or a feeling. Which will then lead me toward a character. If you then think of the inside of my mind as a conceptual three dimensional space, that seed idea spins around inside the space in my mind building up gravitational pull and sucking down a whole heap of random bits and pieces. Faces, places, plotlines, dialogue, all kinds of little ideas or thoughts I’ve had or things I’ve seen. The ones that work with what I’m thinking about get drawn to it until I have this coalescing ball of story idea in my head. Then at some point I sit down to write and try to spool it out of my mind and onto the page as a coherent narrative.

…and that’s why I’m a LitFic writer.

3.| Do you prefer character building or world building? How do you go about doing it?

That’s a hard question to answer, because they go hand in hand. I think character building wins out in the end because while I enjoy world building, it’s putting characters into those worlds that excites me. Worlds are interesting, but in the end they are set dressing for your characters to exist in and tell their stories.

As to how I go about it, I tend to develop them together. Often with a character it will just begin with a name, a mood a general idea and it gets fleshed out from there. As the character starts to grow so does the world they exist in as I start to think about their life and what is happening.

4.| Would you rather have dinner with Emerson, Doyle, Dickens or Woolf? What would you say to them?

Dickens and I’d talk to him about social reform.

5.| What’s a little known fact about you? Explain or elaborate. (Special talents, non-writing hobbies, etc.)

When I was younger I was a member of a performance troupe of fire twirlers and I was the fire breather.

Thanks for stopping in to check out C Week! I hope you’ll join me again next week, topics will include dialogue and my favorite way to protect and preserve my work! “C” you next week for a D-lightful time!

(If you haven’t, please check out Weeks A & B, and subscribe!)


A-Z Series: Week B

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

Saul Bellow

Word of the Week: Bletcherous means to have an ugly design. I love this word because the very spelling conjures thoughts and images so ugly that the word itself is quite fantastic. It is one of those words when read, even by someone who doesn’t know the actual definition, it will work.

Tip of the Week: Beta Readers! Many of us use them, but are we getting the most out of the experience? It’s easy, well… maybe not emotionally, to hand off a piece of work to someone and expect them to know exactly what we’re looking for from them. But unless you’re fairly specific, they may have no clue how to help you best – and that’s what they want to do! Do you want them to look for grammatical errors? Spelling errors? Do you just want them to really focus on what they think of a particular character? The story as a whole? Look for plot holes? In recent months, I have been asked to beta read for several people and only a few have been specific in what they really need from me, so in the event someone hasn’t been specific, I usually ask. That said, if you ask someone to beta read for you and you specify you’re really interested in how the story flows and not to worry about spelling/grammar, and they send you their thoughts but they’ve also pointed out a few errors that jumped out at them, that’s no reason to be upset. This may mean the error was so egregious that it took them out of the story – pay attention to that! You’ve asked this person to beta read for you for a reason and hopefully that’s because you trust them and value their input.

Resource of the Week: Have you heard of bubbl.us? This online mind-mapping machine is a fantastic tool for organizing your thoughts! It’s simple, easy to use and quite fun. There are paid subscription services, but there’s also a free service. You can try out a paid subscription with a free trial, and there aren’t any contracts to sign.

John BrhelSpotlight of the Week:  I am honored to introduce you to John Brhel this week, who was kind enough to answer this week’s questions. Be sure to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

John Brhel is a fiction writer and a co-founder of Cemetery Gates Media [Facebook] [Tumblr], a horror/fantasy publisher based in Binghamton, N.Y. His first book, a short story collection titled Tales From Valleyview Cemetery, was published in 2015. His next book, tentatively titled Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop, will be released in June 2016. When John’s not writing, he works as a communications manager at Binghamton University, writes music, plays games, and reads short stories and books. He lives in Vestal, N.Y. with his wife, daughter, and their two furry friends.

  • In which genre do you predominately write? What interests you in it particularly?

I write mostly genre fiction – fantasy, horror, sci-fi, etc. I like stories about everyday people that end up in weird situations. Fun little “what ifs” have always intrigued me, whether that involves ghosts, vanishing hitchhikers, or evil robots. I mean, a story about a bitter husband and wife becomes so much more interesting when you throw in a demon or a masked killer, doesn’t it?

  • What is your biggest motivator?

My biggest motivator in writing is to be part of something that has brought me joy my entire life – fiction. Books and short stories have entertained me and fueled my imagination for decades, and I want to tell my own stories, to add my own twisted tales to the mix, to be like my heroes (Poe, Matheson, Serling). And heck, it feels good to see my name in print, too.

  • What has been your biggest challenge in the entire writing process and what advice would you give others to make it easier for them?

My biggest challenge has been finding the time to write between work, taking care of my kid, being a husband, etc. For me, I’ve had to sacrifice some “hobby” time (video games, movies) to get writing done. The funny thing is, I’m actually more productive now than when I had more free time, since I’m better at budgeting my time.

I’d tell others to not to wait around for that perfect writing moment to come, but just do it – write on the bus, brainstorm in the shower, use your time wisely.

  • Would you rather have dinner with Shakespeare, Hemingway, Twain or Asimov? What would you say to them?

Shakespeare is the master, but I think Twain would be a hoot to have dinner with. I’d probably ask him to tell me some stories.

  • What’s a little-known fact about you? Explain or elaborate. (Special talents, non-writing hobbies, etc.)

I played in bands for years, but I suppose that’s not “little-known.” Well, I make a really good rice pudding. I’m a pretty decent dancer. I enjoy the Bee Gees. Anything else?

That’s it for B Week! Thank you for tuning in. I will “C” you next week when I will be interviewing quite possibly one of Australia’s most sought after bachelors – so don’t miss it!


A-Z Series: A Week

AFantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.
– Lloyd Alexander

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Over the next twenty-six weeks, I endeavor to introduce you to different aspects of the writing process, tips, and quick interviews with amazing writers and other industry professionals using the glorious alphabet to guide me. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Word of the Week: Abdominous. In the fantasy novel I’m writing, my main character meets a man with a large, bulging, abdominous belly. He’s abnormally agile for such a large man.

Tip of The Week: 
Alliteration can be a powerful tool when used wisely, and it isn’t just for poetry! (For those who are drawing a blank on alliteration, it is when two or more words begin with the same letter or sound.) A suave writer can use alliteration to draw focus to something of importance without the reader noticing. We craft emotion with words, so when using this tool, be mindful of the feelings the mechanics of the word can garner. Consonants often sound hard and bold, while vowels often sound soft and romanticized. Perhaps most importantly, avoid overusing alliteration. Two or three words can be effective, but more than that can make your writing read like a tongue twister and trip your reader up, taking their focus away from your story.

Weekly Resource Spotlight

Please allow me to introduce to you…. AntagonistsAnonymous! (First, don’t you adore the alliteration?) This is a fairly new webcast group dedicated to helping writers in all stages of the writing process with their path to success. The group was dreamt up by Brittany Pettegrow, @ScribalReverie, who carves out time from her super busy schedule to host a live chat on Wednesday nights (8pm EST) and Saturday mornings (8am EST). Join her and her guest hosts for lots of fun and useful insights and information. If you can’t join in live, the chats are posted on YouTube for later viewing – but don’t hang on to all that wisdom for yourself! Subscribe, like and share their page across all your favorite social media platforms!

Weekly Q&A

Securing an interview for this week proved slightly problematic. Enter: #AskAila! My Twitter followers are amazing and graciously provided me with some fantastic questions!

@Alex_Micati  asks: What should I give my muse, as a gift for all these great ideas it gave me?

I thought of some silly answers for this question: a gift certificate for a manicure, a round-trip ticket to Bali, a stationary set… but, then I really pondered it for a minute. I don’t know my muse very well, other than she is elusive and sometimes vindictive. However, when my muse does play nice and gives me an idea worth penning, she has done her part and it is time for me to do mine. So, I think the best gift you can give your muse for the great ideas you’re granted is to do them justice. Work hard and make some magic with your words.

@ThomasJast asks: At what point do you stop editing your manuscript and move on?

I don’t know if there is just one answer to this question. I don’t think you should “move on” until you’re either ready to self-publish, submit queries to agents/publishers or, unfortunately, scrap a project.

However, I do think you should step back or walk away from your manuscript if you’ve edited so much that you’re unable to focus on your words. At that point, I give it to someone else to read or let it sit. Coming back to it with a fresh pair of eyes is more valuable than one might think. Word choice is important, of course, but if you’re quibbling over every single word and descriptor, then by all means, let your creativity breathe for a bit.

@Entrebat asks: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?

Disclaimer: I’m not terribly good with genres. I get an idea, and if I fall in love with it, I generally become obsessed. I suppose it’s safe to say what I’ve been writing can be classified as Women’s Fiction – which is definitely a different beast than Romance. I enjoy putting strong female characters through their paces.

@bevandeviere asks: Once you’ve finished your WIP, how long should you let it sit before sending it to betas?

Oh, I don’t even wait to finish something before I start sending it out. Maybe I’m breaking some rule, but I sort of want to know well ahead of time if people are going to be interested in the characters and story. I’d rather someone tell me in the first few chapters that a character feels flat and needs sprucing up rather than finish the whole manuscript and find out I need a major overhaul at the end. I try to send a few chapters at a time so I can get a sense of whether they feel they’ll be emersed in the story, and I love when they beg for more.

That’s it for #AskAila, but it was really quite fun, so I may make it a more regular blog feature. Do you have any questions, writing or otherwise, you’d like me to answer in the future? If so, talk to me in the comments! Thanks for stopping in; I hope to see you next week.