Last post on advertorials, I swear! I’ve made the joke that writing fiction is excellent preparation for marketing…but some aspecst of the job really have changed me (for the better) as a fiction writer. No, not my new love of the ellipses (but wait…there’s more!), but some of the habits.
1) Interviewing: At its core, fiction is a story and interviewing allows you ask people why they do what they do. Especially on the phone, I’ve been privileged to hear people tell me about their childhoods, what inspires them, a favorite moment. When I needed to talk to an army captain for my novel, I was able to get her on the phone and talking, and she kindly disclosed all kinds of useful details.
2) Outlining: I outlined my first novel after I wrote the first draft, necessitating lots of discarded scenes, rewriting, and headaches. I’m hoping a flexible outline will make my next book a smoother ride.
3) Thinking of a theme and playing around with puns helps with the query-writing. Think about it…a query letter should be snappy, memorable, short, and make the reader want to follow up on the product—your novel. It’s hard to be a little irreverent about your own work, but it makes it easier to write a query that “sells.”
4) And the best thing about having a job writing? It helps me treat my creative writing with discipline and respect. My creative impulse doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike and it can’t attach some sort of “celebrity rider” (“I will only write if the moon is in the seventh house, I have a blue pen, a caramel macchiato, and yellow and orange M&M’s). When I sit down, I expect something to show up, and if it doesn’t…I still write. Writing can be revised, but you can’t do much with a blank page unless you have a pair of scissors and a yen to cut out snowflakes.