Roundtable Interview with Jennifer Brozek and Authors From Dangers Untold (Part Two)
Welcome to the Dangers Untold author/editor roundtable interview week! I asked Jennifer Brozek, the editor of Dangers Untold, along with several of the authors, some questions about their writing and editing, and we’ll be posting some of the answers from Monday until Saturday. If you’re just now joining, you can catch up on the rest at the Alliteration Ink blog.
A small note: I made an administrative error, and accidentally left out Marty Young’s answers on yesterday’s installment. Even if you read it, go back and see what he had to say as well.
On with today’s questions!
How do you know when it’s time to put a story or project to the side, or trunk it entirely?
Jennifer Brozek: While formally writing—outlining, editing, rewrites, etc—is hard, the actual act of writing a story is usually very easy for me. If a story doesn’t come easy, I know there’s something wrong with it. I’ll put it away for while and come back later to look at it with fresh eyes. I do that until I lose interest in the story and then I put it away for good. Sometimes, maybe years later, I’ll open that file again and figure out what was wrong with the story. Sometimes I’ll just trash it altogether. Not all ideas are good ones.
David Price: When it’s done. I’m not really one for putting anything in the trunk. It just needs more fine tuning, that’s all.
Erik Scott de Bie: I don’t really have a process. But generally, if I’m bored or not engaged with what I’m writing, it’s time to give it a break. If I don’t get fired up to go back to it, it’ll end up trunked permanently.
Who are your beta readers? What’s their process for getting feedback?
Erik Scott de Bie: I have a totally disorganized process of beta readers. I hand off my stuff to friends/family who happen to be available and who have particular insight into the subject matter. If I’m writing a game-related thing, I’ll hit up a gamer friend of mine. If I’m writing a very significant GLBT plot, I’ll loop in some of my friends in that community.
David Price: About twenty beta readers read Lightbringer. There were friends and family, naturally, but I also put it out there on facebook and offered to let some others read it. I got some nice impartial feedback that way. A few have them have written me, looking for the sequel.
Erik Gustafson: Beta readers are an important part of the writing process for sure. I have some regular beta readers, but am always stalking people on Facebook to find new victims. I ask the beta readers to be ruthless and tell me everything. I want to know what doesn’t work, what mistakes they find, etc. And, oh yeah, if they liked it. Gotta feed the ego, but the most important thing is the critical comments. I don’t want a beta reader to simply read it and say it was good. I need details.
Can you tell me about a time you killed off a character and then regretted it?
Marty Young: In 809 Jacob Street, I had to write one chapter 3 times because one of my main characters ended up dying and that just wasn’t part of the plan. Yet no matter how much I changed things, the same result happened. The character got it, he bit the big one. It was annoying as all hell as I really liked this character and had plans for him, but I guess the story was telling me that I had it wrong. In the end, the story was right, it knew best. So I don’t regret it, not really, but I was pretty annoyed at the time. I’ve since learned though to listen to what the story is trying to tell me…
David Price: In the first part of my novel, I had to kill off a newborn child. I knew it was coming and as I got closer, I didn’t want to do it. I actually put the book aside for a few days as I tried to think my way around it and come up with another alternative. I even discussed it with my brother. Eventually, I realized it was the only way to move forward, so I did it. It was emotionally draining for me.
Erik Scott de Bie: I love all of my characters, and every time I kill one, I regret it for a while. I resist it sometimes (I even wrote a happy ending to Ghostwalker originally), but ultimately I need to do what’s right for the character and the story. And I don’t regret it over the long term.
You can find Jennifer Brozek at her website, www.jenniferbrozek.com
You can find David Price at http://www.authorwebpage.com/davidprice/index.html
You can find Erik Scott de Bie at his website, erikscottdebie.com
Marty Young is found at his website, martyyoung.com
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Several questions cribbed and modified from “Questions that authors are never asked” from the Guardian.