Q: Welcome Janice! Please tell us what you write and where you've been published so far.
A: Hi, Kelly. Thanks for inviting me to spend time with you and your readers. I’m a big fan of Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind. (Read my Amazon review here: http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Write-Secret-Freeing-Creative/product-reviews/1605501328/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 )
I’ve written professionally since my first job as a reporter for a small weekly newspaper. I’ve worked as a staff writer for a resort and leisure company and senior writer/editor for a children’s mental health organization. As a freelancer, I’ve written articles as well as marketing and ad copy. In recent years, I’ve pointed my pen toward my lifelong love: fiction. My short stories, mostly sweet to sweetly sensual light romances, have been published in True Love, True Romance, True Confessions and New Love Stories magazines. I’ve not been published in novel-length—yet.
Q: What is your writing process and schedule?
A: I write or undertake other writing-related projects most every day starting first thing in the morning. I usually get up between 4-5 a.m. when the world around me is relatively quiet. Although I do go back to writing later in the day, I find the early morning to be my most productive time.
As for my process, I just sit down at the computer and write, usually after I review the previous session’s writing. In the pre-writing stage, I get to know my characters a little by writing in longhand what I know about them and come to know as I’m scribbling. I also use a combination of plotting techniques to construct a very basic map of where I think the story should go, from inciting incident through the act and story climaxes and resolution. (Thank you, Christopher Vogler, Dwight Swain, Donald Maass, Syd Field, Billy Mernit, John Vorhaus, Jennifer Crusie, Robin L. Perini and Alexandra Sokoloff!) Outlining drains me, so I don’t get too detailed.
Q: What are similarities and differences in writing short story fiction versus book length fiction?
A: With a short story, I’m done sooner! Seriously, I see a short story as a microcosm of a novel. The basic rules remain the same. I still need to develop characters with goals, motivations and conflicts. I still need structure to give the stories shape. The revisions are much easier for a short story, of course, because I’m working with somewhere between 700 and 8,000 words, which is the range my target markets accept. The shorter word count does limit how in-depth I can go with a character’s story and how many characters and complications I can include. On the positive side, I don’t have to do as much pre-planning. It’s easier to carry the structure in my head.
Q:You host a mini-blog on Facebook called “Featured Friends.” Tell us about that.
A: “Featured Friends” is a free service for writers that’s posted on my Facebook wall. I feature a tip on writing or writing life from one of my Facebook friends—hence, the name. I try to make my community of friends a welcome place for serious networkers. The range of writers and others in, or associated with, the publishing industry who’ve posted tips on my wall is impressive, as is their advice. I schedule the presenters, then sit back and learn along with everyone else. Anyone who writes, edits, represents writers, etc. is invited to friend me: www.facebook.com/janice.curran.
Q: What are some effective ways that writers can use Facebook and other online social networks to promote their work?
A: Although I'm not an expert on social networking, I do have personal success with it. I went from 0 to 700+ Facebook “friends” in only a few months just by posting tips from the pros. Name recognition building, networking … they’re definitely a couple of the big benefits. You never know where new friendships might lead—maybe even to a guest appearance on an author’s blog! Beyond that I’ve met some really great people, a few of whom I’ve gotten to know better since. Personally, I think that’s the best part of being on Facebook.
Q: What guests do you have lined up on your Featured Friends blog?