In the spirit of both Halloween and Nanowrimo, today I’m interviewing Elaine Corvidae, author of multiple novels and short story collections, some of which are horrific and others of which aren’t. I’m very honoured to have her here today and I hope you are too.
1. Can you tell us a bit about your books?
I write science fiction and fantasy novels about shape-shifters, vegetarian wizards, barbarian warrior women, and angry faeries. My upcoming release, Hunter’s Crown (due out January 2012 from Mundania Press, LLC) is the fifth in my Shadow Fae series and was largely written during Nanowrimo 2010.
2. I understand that at least one of your books came from Nanowrimo. When did you first discover Nanowrimo, and what convinced you to sign up?
Way back when, some author friends I knew would get together and challenge each other to write (or complete writing) a book in a short amount of time, usually two weeks. I tried it with a novel that was giving me problems and was amazed when I was able to write 3/4s of a book in fourteen days. When I found out that there was an organized challenge month with support forums, badges, and the sort of camaraderie that most of us writers don’t get the other 11 months of the year, I was hooked.
3. What are some of the biggest factors in your success during Nanowrimo?
Lots and lots of caffeine. Also, my AlphaSmart, which lets me write in coffee shops and at the pub without the temptation of checking Twitter every five seconds.
4. What advice would you give to a first time Nanowrimo participant?
There are plenty of days that your writing will suck. You’ll want to just throw your hands up and walk away in disgust. Just remember that you can always fix it in rewrites, and plow on through. When you go back in December, you’ll be surprised at how much of the manuscript isn’t half as bad as you thought it was.
5. After you’d completed Nanowrimo, how did you turn the manuscript into a publishable book?
Well, I had to finish it first! I’ve written three books during Nano that either have been published or are scheduled for release next year, all of which are substantially longer than 50,000 words. I also have a tendency during Nano to skip scenes if I don’t know what to do, or just wing bits that I’m not sure about yet, so I have to go back and add-in/rewrite those. Then it’s the same as any other first draft: make any structural changes, make sure it reads coherently, and fix as many typos as I can catch before sending it to the editor.
6. What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
The beginning. I enjoy the pay off, so the first act setup is always agonizing. But it’s a critical part that can’t be skipped, so I just buckle down and do the work.
8. You’ve written both novels and short story collections. How does each style challenge you?
I find short stories to be far more challenging, which is the reason I don’t write as many of them. Telling a complete story in under 5,000 words is incredibly difficult—you really have to boil it down to the bare essentials.
Novels of course have their own challenges: structure, cohesion of the plotlines, fully developing the characters, etc. I find those things to be the fun parts of writing, though, so even though there is more work to do when writing a novel, it comes to me much more easily.
9. What piece of advice do you think it is most important for aspiring authors to remember?
Be persistent. Writing is a huge commitment, not just in getting the words on the page, but in all the other, less-fun bits that come after. The will to keep going is the biggest factor that separates the “aspiring author” from the “author.”
10. Are you participating in Nanowrimo again this year? If so, what are you going to be working on?
Yes! However, this will be the first year I’ll be doing it under a pen name due to the planned erotic content. If anyone wants to be writing buddies (assuming the Nano website gets this feature reactivated), my new profile is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/jordan_l_hawk
Who is Elaine Corvidae?
Elaine Corvidae has been telling stories about faeries, elves, and dragons since she was a small child. Her dark fantasy novels have won numerous awards, including multiple Eppie Awards and Dream Realm Awards for Best Fantasy Novel. When she isn’t wandering the worlds of her imagination, she lives in Harrisburg, NC, with her husband and several cats. You can visit her on the web at www.elainecorvidae.com.
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