K.M. Weiland lives in Make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was twelve and published a small newsletter throughout high school. I independently published my first novel, the western A Man Called Outlaw when I was twenty. But I didn’t really take it seriously as a business until my next book, the medieval historical Behold the Dawn, came out three years later. And now, here I am publishing my fourth novel! Storming, my action-adventure aviation novel about a barnstorming pilot in 1920 just came out this month.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
A Man Called Outlaw
As a novelist, I am inspired by countless excellent authors and filmmakers. Specifically, Brent Weeks’s epicness, Margaret Atwood’s prose, and Patrick O’Brian’s sheer genius speak to me and urge me on. As a blogger, I’m inspired by the professionalism and creativity of people such as Joanna Penn, Porter Anderson, and Jody Hedlund.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Write for the love of it, first and foremost. As Anne Lamott says, “Being published isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.” Write the stories of your heart, not the stories you think the market wants. Write the story you’d want to read if you were one of your own readers.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Behold the Dawn
Oh, a plotter, definitely. My writing flows much easier when I have a roadmap to follow. I need to know where I’m headed if I’m going to reach my destination. My outlining process has evolved into a pretty time-intensive routine that usually takes about six months. I do all my outlining longhand in a notebook, simply because something about my sloppy handwriting seems to free my creativity. I start out by jotting down what I already know about my story (which has typically been kicking around in my head for a couple years already) and then asking myself “what if” questions to fill in the blanks. Then I progress to character sketches, using a list of “interview questions” I’ve collected over the years. (Anyone interested in the interview sheet can find it in my free ebook Crafting Unforgettable Characters.) Then I progress to a lengthy, plot-point-by-plot-point outline. Once that’s done, I organize it using the amazing writing software Scrivener—and move on to researching.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A Man Called Outlaw
You mean other than a satellite phone? A boatload of coffee, a generator to recharge my Kindle, and a good pair of sunglasses. Who wants to be rescued, right?
K.M. Weiland, Author
K.M. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction. Following are her ten habits of the successful writer (with her permission to reblog) along with my thoughts as an artist.
Write everyday. Treat your writing like a job, even if it isn’t yet. Writing something everyday, even if it’s only a paragraph, keeps your creative pump primed and your inertia at bay. (Nora Roberts says this too, I heard her chat with Nora Roberts at RWA.)
GI Paint everyday, just like writing.
Complete stories. Discipline yourself to finish every story you start. If you quit whenever the going gets tough, or whenever the shine of a new idea beckons, you’ll never finish a story. No one reads or buys half-finished tales.
GI Complete your paintings.
Learn the writing rules. Writing is a craft that must be learned. There are excellent workshops and seminars online conveniently available and inexpensive. Read voraciously—all kinds, books on writing, join a writing organization online or local.
GI Learn the painting rules.
Thinking outside the box
Break the rules. Once you have a solid understanding of the principles of fiction, don’t be afraid to step beyond their confines. Experiment. Think outside the box. Fiction is based on a set of basic tenets because they’ve been proven to work. If it stagnates, it dies.
GI Painting is the same.
Create your own inspiration. Pinpoint what inspired you and surround yourself with stimuli. Discipline, creativity, and persistence are a cure-all for writer’s (painter’s) block. Don’t allow writer’s block to become an excuse for giving up.
GI Create your own inspiration for your painting.Don’t slack on the hard stuff.
Not all of writing is fun and games, but if you want to create a polished story, you have to submit to the hard stuff, as well as the fun stuff. Don’t cut corners on research, outlining or editing. The extra work always pays off in the end.
GI Don’t slack on the hard stuff for your art.
Follow your heart, not the market. Art is a deeply personal expression. Write the story your heart has to tell. Conforming your work to the market, just for the market’s sake, will cheat both yourself and your readers in the long run.
GI Follow your heart, and not the market for your art.
If we’re growing . . .
Develop a thick skin. Criticism of our work can seem like a personal attach, but criticism—especially when coming from critique partners, agents, and editors—is a vital part of the process. Accept constructive criticism, learn from it, and use it to make your story better.
GI Painting criticism is crucial to make your paintings better.
Set your stories free. When the time comes to send your stories into the world, learn to let them go. Your characters are yours no longer. They belong to everyone who reads them. Rejoice that you’re able to share them, say goodbye, and move onto the next story.
GI Set your paintings free, give others the pleasure of your paintings.
Love what you do. We writers are a blessed bunch. Don’t ever forget that. The writing road has its own set of speed bumps—Isolation, loneliness, rejection—but benefits of spinning these webs of color and fantasy are more than just compensation!
Gail painting and writing
GI Love doing your art, painting or writing.
What are some good tips for aspiring writers of fiction?
What are some good tips for aspiring artists?
My book, Indigo Sky, will soon be published by Soul Mate Publishing. I will keep you posted.
Below is my invite to my art show this Sunday, August 9, 2015
You are Invited . . .
Gail Ingis-Artist Invitational
Bill Millers Castle
Gail’s Exhibition is Indoor
SUNDAY AUGUST 9, 2015 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Jungle Mania 11×14 oil/bd
Bill Millers Castle
Directions to Bill Millers Castle
Bill Millers Castle is located at 834 East Main Street (Rt.1) on the Branford/Guilford town line between
Exit 56 & 57 on 1-95
Traveling North from New Haven on 1-95
Take Exit 56, turn left, travel ¼ mile and turn right at Chowder Pot Restaurant. Travel 1/4 mile to the Castle
Traveling South from New London on 1-95
Take Exit 57, turn right at bottom of exit and travel 2.3 miles to the Castle
Quote of the day from Goodreads:
The sunlight claps the earth, and the moonbeams kiss the sea: what are all these kissings worth, if thou kiss not me?
Percy Bysshe Shelley
At the age of 16, English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (born August 4, 1792) was expelled from Oxford University and disowned by his father. The reason? A little pamphlet he wrote called “The Necessity of Atheism.”