Better Storytelling Secrets
Authors discuss their writing techniques.
Hi, I’m Mark O’Bannon. Welcome to this rare look into the secrets of storytelling from published authors.
Today, I’m joined by, Jess C. Scott, the author of The Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy, Naked Heat and Wicked Lovely.
Life as a Writer
How did you get into writing?
My goal was to write my first novel by the age of 21, and to publish it by the age of 23. I liked the speed, efficiency and DIY aspect of self-publishing, so I’ve been on it since mid-2009 (a few months before I turned 23).
When did you first realize that you have what it takes to be a writer?
I have very intense but quite scattered drives a lot of the time. Writing is one of the rare activities which focuses my thoughts and energy for some kind of useful outcome (in a process that’s enjoyable for me as well).
Where do you get your ideas from?
Everywhere, for sure. A short comment on a blog or article; a Facebook status update; something someone said; what I read on the back of a cereal box…
How do you develop your ideas into a story?
I let them float around in my mind until it’s time to start piecing things together. I can be inspired by a lot of different sources so it’s a pretty intuitive process, in a creative-analytical kind of way. It’s a personal thing too, but I guess it’s how I stay open/honest with myself, the story/characters, and readers/customers.
What kind of stories do you enjoy working with?
I’m passionate about original stories that are both meaningful and entertaining, so that’s what I run along with 🙂
What genres would you like to explore in the future?
Crime fiction (murder mysteries and psychological thrillers, in particular). I’d like to work in a genre that’s mainstream but allows for some quirkiness and/or deviancy.
Do you work from an outline?
Yes, most of the time. I like following a quite detailed outline as it keeps me focused (I divide it into parts sometimes, so that I can clear off a certain amount on a regular basis).
How do you build your story?
It depends on the inspiration for a certain point or message I’d like to explore. That’s usually the starting point since it’s sort of the foundation for the entire thing.
For you, what makes a great hero?
I think intensity and not being driven or motivated by shallow values make a great hero.
If one of your characters were to describe you, what would he/she say?
How much time do you spend researching the setting for your stories?
A little bit, though I generally feel a greater connection to developing realistic, memorable characters.
What settings would you like to explore in the future?
The settings I dream about at night. Some are really vivid.
Do you like to know the purpose of your story before you sit down to write it?
Yes, usually. I like having some kind of purpose to my life (this is reflected in what I write about as well).
Do you have any favorite lines from your stories?
In Wicked Lovely, one of the characters says, “I felt like an animal, and animals don’t know sin, do they?” I add some other lines to my GoodReads quotes page (http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2980674.Jess_C_Scott)
Do you have a routine? A certain place to write? Do you listen to music?
I try to keep to a certain output everyday (though I generally don’t do much writing if I’m temporarily in between projects). I like to type on my home PC (somewhere quiet and comfortable). I listen to music sometimes when I’m doing tedious tasks like formatting or looking out for spelling errors.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
I stop writing and float around until the writing impulse kicks in again. Watching quality TV shows and doing a bit of daily exercise are important things on the to-do list too.
How do you go about fixing a story?
I’ll discuss key issues with people whose opinions I respect. Good ideas tend to float around when I’m in the shower. I usually try to work out a good outline beforehand. When the first draft has some kind of structure, I find it generally requires less fixing later on.
How do you know when to stop?
I guess there’s a sense that the story is complete (in terms of storyline and what the characters go through).
Words of Advice
What words of advice would you give to new writers?
Work hard/smart, and keep improving along the way. Try to be as disciplined and efficient as possible.
So, what is YOUR plan for the zombie apocalypse?
I think it’s already arrived in some ways, so I’ll either join the zombies or do whatever I can to survive while maintaining my self-identity and sanity.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever written?
The next project (to paraphrase a quote by the architect, Frank Lloyd Wright).
What are you working on now?
I’m currently outlining the last installment of my Cyberpunk Elven Trilogy. I might complete a dragon trilogy before working on a psychological thriller next year. I’ve been looking out for a couple of commercial niches I could try working in (my early work is a bit too complex to categorize neatly!).
I’d like to thank today’s author, Jess C. Scott for being with us today.
I’d like to thank you as well. Please check out the other great interviews in this series with authors, and remember to keep writing! The next published book could be yours.
– Mark O’Bannon
About the Author
Jess C Scott writes in a variety of genres including erotic fiction, urban fantasy, young adult fiction, cyberpunk, and crime fiction (2013). In a Word Riot interview, Jess mentions that the basic message in her work is “to be unafraid to be one’s true self.” Jess is also the founder of jessINK, a company dedicated to publishing original stories that are both meaningful and entertaining.
Visit Jess C. Scott Online:
Books by Jess C. Scott:
http://www.jessINK.com/eyeleash.htm (debut novel)
http://www.jessINK.com/erotic_writing.htm (promotional eBook on quality sexual literature)
http://www.jessink.com/fiftyshades.htm (Fifty Shades parody)
Written by Mark O’Bannon
Mark O’Bannon is the CEO of MEOw Publishing and is the author of “The Dream War Saga.” His books include: “The Dream Crystal”, “The Dark Mirrors of Heaven”, and “Aia the Barbarian.”
You can find Mark on Google+ and Twitter. Over the past 15 years, Mark has taught Writing, Self-Publishing and Internet Marketing for authors. Visit his blog, “Better Storytelling” or his website, www.MarkOBannon.com