Questions

Hello everyone, today I’m responding to a few questions from a reader of mine. I’m not 100% sure they want their name out here so we’ll just call them CV from California (California you say? Yes, my reach is growing! Continue to show your support and  LIKE me here and Follow me here!)

CV from Cali: You inspired me to go back to writing. Thanks! I’m working on this new story and I’m very excited about it. I just had some questions for you about your process. Like, where did you find your muse? How did you overcome roadblocks such as writers block and finding time to write? Where did you find an editor? How did you not let other people’s negative opinions (if any) affect how you felt about your writing? When did you know you were done?

As you can see, CV from Cali has a lot of questions about the writing process. I’m going to address most of these during my Writing a Book Blog Series, but I’ll take the time to answer these now.

First off, I’m glad that I inspired you to go back to writing. Working on a new story is always both fun and frustrating. But it is a process, one that we all must go through in order to create a finished product that everyone can enjoy. We’ll go through the questions one by one.

Question: Where did you find your muse?

Answer: My muse? I knew that I was going to be creative as a young kid. I didn’t necessarily know it would be writing but at 5 years old I wrote a short book called “A boy and his dog” which I think is funny because I’m not even a dog person. But I wrote the book, illustrated it, colored it, cut the pages out into a perfect square and stapled it together. So I knew I would be doing something creative. Growing up, my cousin and I created our own comic books and used my Aunt’s type writer to type out pages then illustrate on them, and this is all before we were teenagers. So being creative has always been something that I’ve been interested in. My distinct Muse when it comes to my novels The ProChrist (Available on Amazon or at my Store) and Son of Sin (coming soon), I wrote about something I was interested in and something I knew. I’ve studied Christianity my entire life, so I was most comfortable writing a story that has Christian ties in it. And it was easy from there for me to be creative and just create my own little world.

Q: How did you overcome roadblocks such as writers block and finding time to write?

A: The writer’s number one enemy, writers block. I’ve experienced this many times and most of the time it’s easy to overcome but hard at the same time. What I mean is, when you have writers block, to me, it means your mind is clouded with other things that are going on and you can’t focus. Never force yourself into writing, I’ve done that, wrote 6 chapters into Son of Sin and guess what, none of those chapters are in the finished product. I know someone else who forced themselves to writer and guess what, they balled up the paper and threw it out. Forcing yourself to write doesn’t allow you to put what you really want to put, it’s like driving through a thick fog going anywhere instead of pulling over and waiting for the fog to clear so you can go in the right direction. So for writers block, some people say just to drink some water, take a few deep breaths, and come back to it. For me, I think it’s best to finish up anything that’s in the way of your focus, or if you’re stressed out about something, do some Yoga, or take a walk, or finish other projects, don’t spread your mind to thin that you are side tracked by other things, once your mind is clear, you should be able to sit down, and “Punch the keys for God’s sake!” (Finding Forrester Reference) and you should be good to go.

Finding time to write is hard. When I wrote The ProChrist, I started the end of my Senior year of High School, I wrote about nine of the twenty chapters before going to college. I didn’t write again until my first winter break, and I finished the final eleven chapters in about a month, right before I turned 19. It took me forever to get Son of Sin finished. Between working a full time job, working a part time job, family obligations and trying to have some sort of social life, it’s tough to sometimes sit in front of the computer and type out something worth reading. The thing is, once you get that spark, that writing itch, you should take complete advantage of it, because in a day or two you can type out several pages and may not get that itch for a while. So even if it’s for a few hours every couple of days, take advantage of it and continue to mount up stories, chapters or whatever you are writing and one day see the finish line and watch yourself go through it.

Q: Where did you find an editor?

A: Editors. To me, this is the most important part of the entire writing process, more so than the book, publishing and marketing, I believe editing is the most important thing. You should always edit your book first, for the simple stuff before pushing it on to an editor. I had three editors look over The ProChrist, and I had one look over Son of Sin. My first editor is a good friend of mine, she was a freshman in college and found all of the little things for me, but she was still, a freshman in college. So she and I both missed a lot. I submitted it to iUniverse and they told me the story is good but the manuscript needed a lot of work. So, it was time to go into the pockets, found a few editor listings and I came across my second editor, who was awesome, she worked with me, I was a poor college student and couldn’t pay the entire thing at a time, so she worked with me and I eventually paid her off and she handed me what is now known as The ProChrist 1st Edition. I began working at my current job and happened to befriend a quirky genius with words who read my book and offered to re-edit it for a small sum, and voila The ProChrist 2nd Edition is born. She also did an excellent job on Son of Sin.  Moral of the story? You can search for an editor online, (There are tons of listings) make sure you are up front and honest with them, I wouldn’t want to necessarily work with someone who is just about the money, because hopefully your book isn’t just about the money, someone who will work with you, establish a professional relationship with you, learn to trust them and make sure you are comfortable with them. Most editors would like a small sample of your work and if they choose to accept it, they’ll give you a quote for the price and hopefully pricing arrangements. Below is a list of a few editor’s websites:

Craigslist (Any city, doesn’t matter, you’ll probably never meet your editor and most communication will be done over e-mail. Try to do business via PayPal to create a paper trail.)

Book Editing Services

My Own Editor (Click for e-mail)

Q: How did you not let other people’s negative opinions (if any) affect how you felt about your writing?

A: This is a very good question. People can’t get too high off of praise or too low off of criticism. Try to turn everything into trying to become a better writer. I wrote The ProChrist when I was 18 years old, a lot of people have read it, and a lot of people have giving me praise about the book. If they finished the book it was always highly praised. My concern wasn’t about those who finished the book; it was from those who did not finish it and why they didn’t finish it. And I used those suggestions and tips to hopefully create a better book the next time around. Most opinions shouldn’t be all out negative; if someone is trying to be malicious then I would ignore that because it doesn’t help you. Constructive criticism is very important, the more the better, learn your flaws, and adjust your writing.  Basically turn everything, praise or criticism and let it positively affect your writing.

Q: When did you know you were done?

A: That’s an easy answer for me, most of the time I envision the end of my book and write to it. That’s how I know that I’m done. To me, the end of a book or a movie is just as important as the beginning or the climax. Especially if you want people to continue reading your work. You can have an average beginning, and a wonderful ending and people are going to remember the ending, same as you can have a great beginning and a terrible ending and people will remember the ending. The ending of a book is extremely important, don’t over write it, don’t write too much, try to make it as good a part of your book as any other part.

I hope these answered all of your questions CV from Cali! And anyone else who read this, if you have any questions please send them to admin@vensingray.net I will love to answer them.