Today, I have author, PC Zick to chat on Novel Girl on writing, her books, and her tips for writers and self-publishers.
PC Zick is the author of three books, and a range of genres: literary fiction, women’s fiction and stories about environmental issues.
What is your favorite time to write?
I love to write first thing in the morning with my first cup of coffee at my side. Now that I’m spending so much time promoting and writing a blog, it often is put off until later in the day. When that happens, I clear my desk, eat lunch, and then begin writing.
One of these days, when I’m through the learning curve of learning about cyberspace marketing, I’ll get back to making writing the priority, and the rest comes when I’ve done my pages for the day.
Where is your favorite place to write?
It depends on what I’m doing. If I’m starting a blog or story (or chapter) from scratch, I often grab a legal pad and my box of sharpened pencils and leave my office. I might go to the living room; I might crawl in bed; I might go to a coffee shop or library, if home distractions are too great.
Once I’m ready to write the entire blog or chapter, I go to my very favorite place to write, which is my office. I finally have the office of my dreams with a desk that wraps around me on three sides with bookshelves across from me and all my favorite tidbits that inspire me. My newest addition is a stone turtle my husband gave me for my birthday to celebrate the publication of Trails in the Sand.
At the risk of sounding pompous, what do you love most about your fiction?
I try to put my characters in situations we’ve all faced at one time or another. They are exaggerated situations to make the story more exciting, but people can relate to the emotions and reactions. I try to show what happens when we fail to communicate. I also show that we all have flaws, but there’s always a chance for redemption.
In Trails in the Sand, I attempted to show that we can’t judge another person unless we’ve walked the very same path in the very same shoes.
What other books would you say have similar qualities to Trails in the Sand that would interest readers to try your novel?
One of my reviewers compared me to Anne Rivers Siddons, which floored me because she’s one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t thought about comparing myself to her. I did reread Beach Music by Pat Conroy — another favorite author — before I started the second draft. His depiction of crazy southern families always intrigued me although he goes so far, it also scares me. In addition, in Beach Music, the rescuing of sea turtles plays a role in the plot as it does in Trails in the Sand.
Do you have any tips to improve writing?
- Read, read, and read some more. Read the best writers and sometimes read not-so-good writers. We can learn from both. Apply what you learn from your reading to your own work.
- Listen to your critics. Work with beta readers and editors because everyone needs honest feedback and editing.
- Read dialogue aloud and cut out the formality in dialogue. Avoid dialect — use words to imply someone’s background (“fetch” instead of “get” for a North Carolina dialect).
- Study point of view and make sure you know the difference in the types and apply it in your writing.
- Whether you are self-publishing or going the traditional route always put forth your very best effort. We’re in a revolution in the writing and publishing world with many more opportunities for writers, but if we put out crap as Indie Writers, we all lose.
Do you have any selling tips?
I’m such a newbie in the new world of self-publishing that I’m not sure. I would advise anyone getting involved in any type of writing or publishing to be flexible, study, and listen. I try many different methods and some have worked and others not so much. Interestingly enough, the times I’ve paid for promotion, I’ve failed miserably. There are so many free opportunities out there now that I would advise writers to save money for a cover artist and an editor. Persevere even when you feel like quitting, and believe me, I have days where I’m discouraged. But I get up, read the blogs I follow and leave a couple of comments on ones that touched me in some way. I tweet for others, not just myself. I write my blog. I solidify my platform by posting things on the topics found in my books. I make sure that I do more than just bombard folks with messages about buying my books.
Each day I gain more followers on my blogs; reviews slowly trickle in, and I hope that one day all this translates into steady sales figures for my books.
Thank you for the opportunity to be reviewed today, Rebecca. I enjoyed answering these interesting questions.
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