Hi all! Today I am so pleased to present an interview I did with my very talented friend Jennifer Beckstrand. She has published two of three novels in the Forever After in Apple Lake series. The books are part of an Amish Romance trilogy, and are a delight to read. (The first two are out; the third releases in Spring of 2013, and I'm sure will follow in the footsteps of the first two. I'll let you know after I close the last page and finish sighing.)
I create most of my characters from scratch and I find that whenever I suffer from crippling writer’s block, it is usually because I don’t have a good handle on my characters. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get inside their heads.
(Sidebar: Um, yeah. This actually sounds very structured and disciplined to me. My current weekly goal involves a lot of not watching Downton Abbey reruns online.)
How do you learn your craft? Join a writers group like Romance Writers of America or find a critique partner. Attend writing conferences. Read books on writing. Write, write, write every day.
If you want honest feedback on your writing, enter a writing contest. Even if you don’t win, the judges should give you some valuable pointers on how to make your story better.
I’ve heard that the best thing someone can do to improve her writing is to read. I wholeheartedly agree. Read good books of all genres. Even reading poorly written material can help you recognize and avoid mistakes. Volunteer to judge a writing contest. You’ll see lots of things you would do differently.
Self-promotion can be incredibly time consuming. I use Facebook and have a website, but I don’t twitter, and I try to limit my time online.
Facebook: Jennifer Beckstrand Fans
Thanks Jennifer! Now all y'all go out and buy, or borrow, or, here's a thought: buy, Kate's Song and Rebecca's Rose, so you can learn all about the Amish and feel all puddle-y and romantic. And Dudes (of the male persuasion)! Fear not your inner mushyness. This is highly readable stuff. And we'll only respect you for branching out.