Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Truth About The Sky

A guest post by author Katharine Grubb. Her first published novel was the excellent book Falling for Your Madness. Her second novel, The Truth About The Sky has just been released, but she actually wrote that book first, in 10 minute intervals. I asked her some questions about her 10 minute writing process and about TTATS, and here are her answers. Writers with little time: take note!

You wrote this book in 10 minute increments, while raising and homeschooling 5 kids, making homemade bread, and generally being a fantastically busy mom. How would you suggest I make the most of the 10 minutes if I were using your plan?  

First of all, before you ever got started, I'd ask you what it is that you want. Do you want to complete a manuscript? Be rich and famous? Measurable goals are a very important starting point. Then once they are established, it is important to see them in small attainable chunks, like, brainstorm about my setting. Or, list ten things that influenced my character as a teen. You can't make the most of your time if you have no plan. Also, it helps if you are fast typist. It also helps that the small children in your house know you're working. Although how many years has it been? My kids still sometimes don't get it. 

Should I leave my computer asleep so I can just open it up and start typing? Should I skip all editing? How can I overcome a block?

At the time of my ten minute increment idea, my computer was in my kitchen, open on the counter, away from the water and food. I was able to leave documents open and make mad dashes to saved documents. I also used my  non-writing ten minutes to think about what I was going to do next. I prefer to skip all editing. I find that the free flow of thought is far more important in the beginning of composition than worrying about rules. I think there's a saying, write drunk and edit sober.  Which, I'm guessing, means that the composition stage should be fearless and free and when you only have ten minutes, you don't need to spend those precious seconds on whether or not something is spelled correctly. When every idea and free thought and rabbit trail has been spewed onto my pages, then I start the organizing and editing process. 

Did you do all your editing in 10 minute increments?

I did for this book. I also used evenings after my kids went to bed for a little more time. My goal was to find a way to get it done. I knew that I couldn't wait until life was perfect. I couldn't wait until all my children were self-sufficient. I couldn't wait until I had a full hour to give my book my attention. I had to do it now. I'm really glad I did. It did take me five years, off and on, to write The Truth About The Sky. But it's like my first kid -- I learned from all my mistakes on it.

How did you know your manuscript was ready for beta readers? 

I never really knew for sure if it was ready. This was my first book. I didn't have a lot of confidence when it came to showing my work to others. When I read it for the ten millionth time and thought that I couldn't improve upon it, as far as plot, characters, and general story-ness of it went, then it was time to send it to betas. My betas were very kind and helpful. Except one who told me that all future changes should go through her first. She got fired.

How did you locate your beta readers?

My beta readers were trusted friends who were either writers or extensive readers. They were like my circle of cheerleaders who believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. They were all very smart and articulated their comments precisely, but I tried to ask them specific questions about the book, to at least make it fun for them.  

You have self-published two novels. Would you consider using the traditional publishing model for these or future books?

I'm open to anything, actually. I really love the freedom that comes with self-publishing and I enjoy having the marketing opportunities. As a result of my first novel, Falling For Your Madness, I was contacted by a nonfiction publisher in the UK who wanted me to write a book for them about writing a novel in ten minute increments! This led to me finding an agent! So now, I'm represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, who negotiated my deal for me, and I'm days away from signing the contract. The book will be out in the spring of 2015 and I'll get to be a traditionally published writer too. I imagine this will help my credibility and platform all the way around. There are strengths and weaknesses to both methods of publishing. I want to write for a long time and have dozens of books out in the next forty years. I suspect that I'll be able to move back and forth between self-pub and traditional pub as time goes on. 

While this is a very funny novel, it also deals with serious issues of theology and family relationships. Do you view this as a "Christian" novel?

I do simply because I talk about Jesus. I'm also poking fun at the church and exposing the problem of expectations the church has of its members, rather than grace. I hope that the truth I'm presenting is softened by the humor. 

Thanks to Katharine Grubb for doing a guest post here. I was actually one of her beta readers for The Truth About the Sky, and I can vouch that it is a very funny book. Get your digital copy today! The Truth About The Sky.

1 comment: