Today we have a peek inside the mind of brilliant blogger and author Heather McCorkle. She’s repped by Ken Atchity of AEI. Check out the link! Her blog is full of valuable advice and discussions on the writing life. She’s in the process of editing and outlining her own work, but was still sweet enough to agree to an interview on her writing process.
1. What’s your revision method? (Do you use critique groups and/or beta readers? How many revisions do you average before you feel that your work is ready?)
HM: I have a four step revision method.
#1 I handwrite everything in a notebook first then at the end of the day I
enter it into my computer and do a mini-edit.
#2 Once my novel is completely finished I do a read through edit to correct
grammar and blaringly obvious mistakes. After this I try to set it aside for at
least a week to simmer.
#3 Is my big one. I print it out and take a red pen to it, looking for everything
from plot holes and character arc to misspelled words or repititions.
#4 I read it aloud to my beta reader. This serves two purposes. I catch a lot
of things when reading it aloud that my eye or pen passed over so I correct
those issues. Also, my beta reader catches inconsistencies, missing parts,
or any other problems I usually passed right over. I do have a critique group,
the Scribe Sisters, who I bounce things off of throughout the whole process.
2. When you begin a manuscript, do you favor an outline, or do you tend to fly by the seat of your pants?
HM: I love to fly by the seat of my pants when I begin a manuscript but I
resist the temptation. I learned the hard way that an outline will keep me
from screwing up the plotlines and character arc. By writing an outline I
cut my editing time in half.
3. What’s the weirdest source of inspiration you’ve ever experienced? (A crazy dream maybe? The subway? Vacuuming your carpet?)
HM: Inspiration usually hits me strongest in the shower. I have no idea why
but when I’m stuck on a particular part of my book that always works!
4. If you could go back in time to the point when you decided to try this writing thing as a career, what is the one piece of advice you would give your past self?
HM: That’s easy, go to writers retreats and conferences now, don’t wait! My
writing improved in leaps and bounds after attending two writers retreats. I
could have been where I’m at now a long time ago if I would have done that.
5. How do you fight the am-I-crazy times when you doubt yourself or your work?
HM: That’s a really tough one. Every writer has moments of doubt when they
think they’re crazy for pouring all their time and heart into writing. The
important thing to remember is you aren’t alone. When it happens to me I
lean on my friends on at Twitter, Heather’s Odyssey, and the Scribe Sisters.
Other writers and readers are the most supportive people I’ve ever met.
Bottom line is, I don’t give up. I keep writing. When in doubt, write
another book, then another.
Bonus #6. If you could choose one single meal to eat three times a day, every day, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
HM: Icecream, hands down.
Thanks again, Heather, for taking the time to let us in your world. I still can’t believe you hand write everything, but it sounds like a great revision process. Seriously genius. Best wishes for your awesome blog and books!
PS. She also has an inspiring interview on the GLA blog, here.