Continuing the special series about JP Coman, we asked for their thoughts on writing.
If you missed part 1, read it now!
What do you think most characterizes your writing? Great dialog and interaction. Characters that are memorable, and scenes that you can visualize like a movie.
Why did you choose to write Children’s Fantasy? The worlds that children inhabit can be fun and inventive. Children often say things that are so far out it sparks our imagination.
What does your writing process look like? I write by intuition and inspiration. Sometimes the character takes over and moves the story differently or deeper. J writes best in a quick longhand that no one else can understand, then types it. Together we enhance and improve the writing that was done quickly.
What did you find most useful in learning to write? Reading Dickens’ novels. I read books on how to write and format screenplays, but writing novels is so different, I had to learn that from other great writers. A few novels I’ve started were so bad I didn’t finish them. But even then, it was instructive to know to avoid that kind of boring writing.
How important are names to you in your books? Naming my characters is sometimes very difficult, because I want them to be reflective of who they are. Looking back over my characters, I think I have chosen names based on people I know with the same characteristics. I hope they never find out!
Do you read your reviews? I am looking forward to reviews, but I have a great deal of faith in my book and will not take poor reviews to heart. It is important to note that the story was first written 25 years ago as a screenplay for a movie, and in all that time, it holds up well. In other words, I don’t look back on it and say, “Gosh, what terrible writing that was.”
Why are you releasing a revised version now? My least favorite part of writing is writing query letters to potential publishers and agents, because quite a few do not ever respond, or take months to do so. So, the self-publishing method was easy for me to use, since I am very computer-savvy. Now that I have found a traditional publisher, I have taken many tips and improvement ideas from her. I found this publisher by joining a writer’s group here in Louisiana, and finding out what publishers other writers are using.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors? I have lots of advice. First, you can be a writer; yes, you can. You have ideas, you think you can do as good or better than the stuff you are reading or watching. I began writing stage plays when I saw poorly-written stage plays and thought I could do better. Second, you can start anywhere, doesn’t have to be Chapter 1. Think of a scene. You’ve watched movies where a scene was so memorable it stayed with you. Write a scene that you would want to see in a movie. Third, the way to begin to be a writer is to write a sentence. Then a paragraph. Then two paragraphs. If you are getting into this, you may not want to stop. If it doesn’t feel natural yet, don’t give up, but just pause. Pick it up in a couple of days. Fourth, join a writer’s group, locally face-to-face if possible. Read your beginning stuff. If the group is helpful, go forward. If they are critical or unresponsive, perhaps there is an online group for beginners.
Friday will conclude this interview with: