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 New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Handeland, the creator of over 40 novels, including The Night Creature Series, The Phoenix Chronicles and Shakespeare Undead.
Life as a Writer
How did you get into writing?
I always wanted to be a writer but wasn’t sure how to go about that. I went to college to be a teacher, but while I was student teaching I started reading a book titled: How to Write a Romance and Get it Published by Kathryn Falk. In it she mentioned Romance Writers of America. There was a local chapter; I joined and started to learn all the things I needed to know.
When did you first realize that you have what it takes to be a writer?
I started writing my first book and entered a contest with the first five pages. I wasn’t going to because the book wasn’t done. But I thought, “What could happen? You win and they want to see the book and you have to say it isn’t done.” That didn’t sound so bad. So I entered. And I won. And they wanted to see the book.
Where do you get your ideas from?
No idea. I just hope they keep coming.
How do you develop your ideas into a story?
I usually do a lot of initial scribbling on a yellow pad. I like to write down all the things that “might” happen. Then I start writing. Some of them happen, some of them don’t.
What kind of stories do you enjoy working with?
I’ve always written in several genres, which I enjoy because I think it keeps my writing fresh.
What genres would you like to explore in the future?
I’ve always wanted to write a women’s fiction novel.
Do you work from an outline?
How do you build your story?
I like to use the Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler to plot out the large points of my book. Otherwise I discover things as I write.
For you, what makes a great hero?
If one of your characters were to describe you, what would he/she say?
She wouldn’t leave me alone until she got that book done.
How much time do you spend researching the setting for your stories?
If I haven’t been there I read several books about a particular place. I try to find a book with a lot of pictures. I do internet searches for blogs and such about people who have been to the place.
What settings would you like to explore in the future?
I’d like to do more books set in the American West.
Do you like to know the purpose of your story before you sit down to write it?
Theme comes as I write.
Do you have any favorite lines from your stories?
I’ve always liked the first paragraph of my urban fantasy novel, Doomsday Can Wait.
A month ago I put a stake through the heart of the only man I’ve ever loved. Luckily, or not, depending on the day and my mood that wasn’t enough to kill him.
Do you have a routine? A certain place to write? Do you listen to music?
Every morning I start my coffee, do my email and begin. I need to get my desk cleared before I write. Not sure why.
I have an office in my home. I need complete quiet, or as close as it gets around here. No music.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Keep writing. I can fix crap. I can’t fix a blank page.
How do you go about fixing a story?
My rough drafts are very rough. I need to print out a hard copy and edit. This is where my English degree at last comes in handy. I usually do several drafts before sending the book to my editor. And then I do at least one more incorporating her suggestions.
How do you know when to stop?
I’d keep tweaking forever. I have to stop when the book is due.
Words of Advice
What words of advice would you give to new writers?
The only way to fail is to quit. Keep writing, learning, tweaking, then write some more.
So, what is YOUR plan for the zombie apocalypse?
We have a cabin in the north woods, high on a hill, all entrances seen from the cabin. I’m headed there.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever written?
At present that would be BEAUTY AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER, the first book in the Once Upon a Time in the West series, which will be released October 2, 2012 under the name Lori Austin.
What are you working on now?
The second book in that series, AN OUTLAW IN WONDERLAND, for a June 2013 release.
I’d like to thank today’s author Lori Handeland 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
Lori Handeland spent years waitressing, teaching and managing a photography studio before selling her first novel in 1993. Since then she has written many novels, novellas and short stories in several genres–historical, contemporary, series, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and historical fantasy. Soon she will return to her roots, writing western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.
She is a New York Times Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal Romance and Best Long Contemporary Category Romance.
Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons.
Visit Lori Handeland Online:
Books by Lori Handeland:
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