Hey look, Friday is here! Everyone's in a great mood because the weekend is right next door! So to make things even better let's check out another author as we gaze at her under the Blog Ring of Power microscope. Mwhahahaha.
I mean, The Blog Ring of Power would like to welcome Kristi Petersen Schoonover.
Her Pushcart-nominated psychological horror novel Bad Apple has been called “deeply disturbing in the best way possible,” by SciFi Saturday Night. Her short fiction has appeared in Carpe Articulum, The Adirondack Review, Barbaric Yawp, The Illuminata, Morpheus Tales, New Witch Magazine, Toasted Cheese, The Smoking Poet, The Battered Suitcase, and a host of others, including several anthologies. Kristi is the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Winter Residencies and is an editor for Read Short Fiction (www.readshortfiction.com). She lives in the Connecticut woods with her housemate, Charles, three cats–Poe, Mikey, and Kali–and her husband, paranormal investigator and occult specialist Nathan Schoonover of The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show (www.ghostanddemon.com). She has a passion for ghost stories, marine life, and Tarot cards and still sleeps with the lights on.
The Creative Process
BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Kristi: I don’t believe in writer’s block. If you’re truly a writer, then you’re always absorbing things around you, writing in your head, or future projects are simmering in the darkest recesses of your mind. If you’re not inspired to actually be actively writing, that means your body is in a state of processing. Chill out and do something else. It’ll come out when it’s ready. I’ve lived by this philosophy for years and it’s been great.
Kristi: I don’t focus on “developing” a character. I just let him talk. As far as plot, I let the characters do all the work—they tell me where they want to go, what they want to do next. If the characters need more shading or are inconsistent, if the pacing’s off, or there’s one scene too many or scenes are missing, all of those items get worked through and repaired during the revision process.
Kristi: I’m a pantser. Hemingway said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I believe that’s true—barfing out a story is easy. For me, the real work of the craft is in the revision process. I have banged out a complete 5,000-word short story in as little as an hour or two—but then it’ll sometimes take as long as three years before I feel it’s polished and ready to see the light of day. One story I had a lot of trouble with after it was written took almost 15 years of on-and-off critiquing and revision, but when it was completed and I sent it first and exclusively to the one market I really wanted, I got an acceptance letter within hours.
Kristi: Having critique partners or beta readers is a given. Constructive criticism is the only way to grow, the only way to really improve and learn, and ultimately, the quality of what you put out is better. It’s more than worth the time, even if it delays submission by three or four months. The glut of markets looking for work and the ease of self-publishing is a wonderful thing, but one of the issues that’s arisen is that writers are so eager to send their stuff out or slap it up on Kindle that much of it is not as good as it should be. I've found myself reading submissions for Read Short Fiction or buying someone’s new e-book and seen giant plot holes, the same word used three times in one paragraph, inconsistent characterization, and numerous other issues that are clearly indicative of the fact that no one besides the writer read the piece before it was declared “ready to publish.” Those who don’t seek criticism from strong sources are only hurting themselves in the end.
Kristi: Academic and creative nonfiction essays. Although my father taught me the five-paragraph structure well and I've used it my whole life for everything from essays to letters and speeches, this type of writing seems to use a different side of my brain. It’s hard for me to switch modes. That’s why there aren't very many deeply analytical posts on my blog; one of those posts can take me months to write. Sometimes it’s worth it—one I wrote in 2010 called “The Call of the Carnival” still gets a great deal of attention. So, I don’t regret the two-month struggle it took me to pen that one, and I don’t regret the time I spend on the others, because they all do well. It’s just that it’s difficult and time-consuming.
Part 1 - Wednesday, February 27th @ Terri Bruce – http://www.terribruce.net
Part 2 - Thursday, February 28th @ T.W. Fendley - http://twfendley.com/
Part 3 - Friday, March 1st *waves* yup here you are!
Part 4 Monday, March 4th @ Sandra Ulbrich Almazon - http://ulbrichalmazan.blogspot.com/
Part 5 Monday, March 5th @ Dean C. Rich - http://deanswritingtime.blogspot.com/