Welcome to week twenty-eight of the #WritersQuick5 series - where we learn about writing from fellow writers.
Today I am pleased to bring you fellow Chicago Writing Association member and indie writer Sue Rovens. Sue writes suspense with slices of horror mixed in for good measure. Be sure to check out her old website, In A Corner Darkly, and her recently launched new website, SueRovens.com to learn all about her appearances, interviews, and availability to speak. All of her books -- Track 9, Badfish, and In A Corner, Darkly -- can be purchased on Amazon (or other places where books are sold) in either paperback or Kindle format.
Let’s see what Sue has to say…
Question #1 - Where do you write and why do you write there?
I do most of my writing in our den at our house (that's where the computer is). I do have a laptop, and on occasion I will use it, but I am more comfortable at a desktop computer.
Question #2 - What is unique about writing for your particular genre?
Many people have a preconceived notion about horror, and, to a lesser degree, suspense. It's actually a hindrance and unfortunate that more readers won't give these genres a chance. I think that as soon as someone mentions horror, Stephen King (and all that his name implies) pops into their head. Instantly, a snap judgement is made - the person either loves him or hates him - and they base their feelings on my (or someone else's) suspense/horror book.
So for me, writing in this particular genre is a bit of an uphill battle. As great as Stephen King and Jack Ketchum (just to mention a few) are, the incredible breadth of their work has set up a kind of "standard" or "expectation" when it comes to producing material in the horror genre.
Although I write suspense/horror, my writing would probably come down closer to the side of Weird/Psychological Suspense than straight up horror.
Question #3 - What are some of your grammar or punctuation pet peeves?
I can't really say that I have either grammar or punctuation peeves. However, I don't like it when writers use "he said" or "she said" after every bit of dialogue. I find that very distracting.
Question #4 - At what point in your writing process do you start to bring other people in to review your work?
After the second complete draft. I need to finish the entire manuscript/short story before I even entertain the idea of other people eyeballing it. The second pass is when I revise passages and/or take out entire sections. I don't want anyone reading anything that's really "in process" because so much of it could change. I have to be somewhat satisfied with what's on the page before asking anyone else to like it/hate it/comment on it.
Question #5 - What advice would you give to a new writer about the writing process?
Aside from the usual - practice writing, read everything you can, go to classes and/or conferences about writing - I'm going to add a couple other pieces of advice.
1. Don't force it. Some people can write every day, but if that's not you, that's okay. Unless there is a deadline looming or you have a boss/editor/publisher who needs something immediately, don't pressure yourself to be creative. The whole idea of writing (for most folks) is to express yourself through your chosen words. Let it be a natural progression, not an obligatory penance.
2. Write about what interests you and not what you think will sell. Once again, unless you are writing as a job for a paycheck, I would suggest that new writers focus on what they enjoy. No one can predict what readers will want in 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years from now. So, if you are writing to the "current trend", by the time you actually get your book out there, the initial interest could have long passed.
Thank you Sue for these great answers! They are actually very timely too. I need to hear the “don’t force it” message. I have found that the busier I am with work and as a mom, the more the writing does seem forced - and that’s NOT when my best writing happens. Focusing on what you enjoy is part of why we keep writing!
Please be sure to check out Sue’s website and her books!
If you would like to be featured as a writer in the #WritersQuick5 series, please just reach out and let me know. I’d love to promote your work as well!
For updates on #WritersQuick5 and other info from me, please follow me on Twitter or check back with this blog for all the latest.