Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Process Project: Meet K.C. Shaw!

Welcome to week three of the Process Project!! If you don’t know about us already, you can find out more here and read about other authors process: The Process Project.

I’m really excited to introduce to you a writer friend I met through Twitter, and she one of my oldest “twitter friends” K.C. Shaw! K.C. Shaw's fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her most recent novel, Wharf Rat, is available from Etopia Press. You can also find links to her short fiction and books on her website:

And now…on to the questions!

J: Why do you write?
KC: I write books I want to read. I enjoy writing them even though it’s a lot of work, and I like knowing that other people will eventually read and enjoy what I’ve produced. Occasionally I get discouraged and think I should just give up writing -- but I honestly don’t think I could. Before long I’d get an idea and have to start writing again.

J: What do you write?
KC: I mostly write fantasy, but I also write young adult -- both YA Fantasy and Contemporary.

J: Do you have any writing rituals?
KC: I don’t really have any writing rituals, although I like to play music while I work. For years I carried a spiral notebook around with me and when I had a few minutes -- while on hold at work, during my lunch break, even stuck in traffic -- I’d write. These days I have more free time so I don’t usually cram writing time into odd moments like that, but it taught me how to focus on writing no matter the circumstances. I like writing in cafes, too. Once I’m really focusing, all the background noise fades away and doesn’t bother me.

J: When you are preparing to write a new story, how do you organize your ideas?
KC: I’ve tried all sorts of methods for plotting and world building, from
careful outlining with index cards to the Scrivener word processing program. The best method for me is a rough general outline scribbled on a piece of paper so I can look at it without minimizing my writing document or clicking away (because when I do that, I’ll have to check Twitter and mess with my playlist and oh yeah I’ve got to send so-and-so an email…). As I write, the outline inevitably changes a lot. I try to stay flexible and let the plot/characterization evolve -- it always means a stronger story.

J: While you are working on a piece, do you have any particular way that you structure your work?
KC: I work in one file, and that file has to be clean. I don’t want typos,
extra spaces, notes that say “insert description here” -- that sort of sloppiness doesn’t make the first draft come faster, it just drives me crazy. By the time I type “the end,” the manuscript should look like it’s ready to submit. Even during major revisions I have to keep the file clean. A sloppy manuscript makes my thinking feel jumbled.

J: What do you do when you're stuck?
KC: Set the work aside for a while and read other people’s books. Sometimes a plot just needs some extra cooking time and the solution will pop up when I least expect it. If it doesn’t, at least I got some reading time in. When I come back to the story, I reread what I have from the beginning. Sometimes that will help me see where it started to go wrong.

J: When it's time to revise/edit your work, do you have any particular
methods that you use to help you through the process?
KC: I open a second file during revisions. If I cut a scene, I copy it
into the second file so I’ve still got it in case I change my mind (but I never do). If I want to move a description or part of a scene, I first move it into the second file until I know exactly where I want to put it in the main document. That gives me plenty of freedom to hack up my text while still keeping that main file totally clean. I sound so anal!

I want to thank K.C. SO MUCH for answering these questions and participating in the Process Project! I hope you enjoyed reading her answers as much as I did!

Want to read more? Check K.C. out on the web here: K.C. Shaw || Lizzy and Jo || Goodreads || Twitter

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