2018 Workshop Faculty, Editors, and Panelists
Karen Sargent, author, Waiting for Butterflies
1. Hello, Karen, and welcome to the 2018 All Write Now! Conference. Could you share a bit about yourself to our audience?
Absolutely, and thank you for having me! Twenty-four years ago I became an English teacher because I love to write. But I quickly learned teaching and raising babies left me no
creative energy to put the stories on paper that I was constantly creating in my head. The idea for my debut novel came to me when my youngest was a baby, and it released the month before she graduated from high school. It took me eighteen years to raise a child—and a book! Now I’m an empty-nester with retirement a year away, and I loving having time to dedicate to writing.
2. When did you realize you had to write your book, Waiting for Butterflies?
How did the idea come to you?
A midnight phone call was the beginning of my idea for Waiting for Butterflies. My mother-in-law had passed unexpectedly and much too soon. She loved nothing more than her children and grandchildren and was not ready to leave her family. This prompted the question “What if a mother was not ready to go?” There is much more to the actual story that inspired my book, so I’ll end by saying the actual event may or may not have involved a ghost! (I still don’t know what I believe!)
3. What do you see as one of the most important things a writer can do to become an author?
The most important thing you can do to become an author is to get involved in the industry now. The publishing world is crazy and nothing—nothing—like you expect. Find a local writing guild, go to conferences, join writing associations, follow writing blogs, follow agents’ and publishers’ blogs, be active in author/reader Facebook groups, enter contests to get feedback from industry professionals, read in your genre . . . and a gazillion other things. My motto has been “Fake it until you make it.” I watch what the new and rising authors do, and I figure out how to do those things.
4. If you could go back in time as an author, what would you have done differently?
If I could do things differently, I would have started writing sooner. Rather than allow life to hand me a bunch of excuses, I would have made time to write, even if that meant only 15-30 minutes a day. I think if I had carved out small blocks of time sooner, I would have figured out how to find larger blocks of time to write.
5. What one piece of writerly advice would you like to share with other writers?
I’ll pass on a bit of advice I received and believe. Your writing isn’t as bad as you think it is . . . or as good as you think. If you’re insecure about your writing, find the confidence to let others read and critique it so you can grow. If you are confident about your writing, be humble enough to accept feedback that says your original word choice or clever sentence or favorite scene just doesn’t work.
Marcie Upchurch, freelance editor, writer, and proofreader
1. Marcie, welcome! We are so glad you have joined us this year to offer your editing and critique services with all of us here. I know everyone would like to know a bit more about you. So, when did you decide that editing was what you wanted to do?
After graduating from Southeast Missouri State University in 2013 with a BA in English and minoring in Small Press
Publishing, I felt more comfortable editing than I did with writing. Sure, I've got that novel outline that won't leave me alone (don't we all?), but editing gives me lots of satisfaction. I love good books, and I like to help other writers create the best work they can.
2.) What types of editing do you offer?
I'll edit almost anything: novels, short stories, essays, nonfiction. I do developmental editing, line editing, proofreading, whatever someone needs me to do. Talk to me about your project!
3.) In your experience as an editor, what do you see most often from writers?
Failure to look at the whole project (When chapters are out of order, the readers can only shake their heads.) and not paying attention to details. (If Charlie's eyes are brown, don't call them blue three chapters later.) I know, those two encompass it all!
4.) What is your best advice to an author when working with an editor?
It's your manuscript, so you can take the editor's advice or leave it. But if you ask an editor's opinion, you need to weigh the importance of the answer they give. Editors are trying to help you make your manuscript the best it can be, just as you are.
5.) How can writers contact you to request your editing services?
Talk to me anytime we're together. Attendees should introduce themselves to me and ask me questions. Or, feel free to email me anytime at: email@example.com
Donna J. Essner, editor, The Editor's Cafe
Interview with Donna Essner
Donna J. Essner