Author of Dark Fiction
My binge writing interview with Leslie Davis Guccione
In preparation for teaching a workshop on binge writing at the Seton Hill University “In Your Write Mind” writing conference June 21-24, 2012, I decided to interview several authors who have had binge writing experience.
Today’s interview is with Leslie Davis Guccione, author of The Chick Palace. She was also my mentor while I was going through Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program. She was an inspiring mentor and believe me, I will never use “floating body parts” or use “like” instead of “as” again.
What do you write?
Women’s fiction but this question applies to my years writing series romances for harlequin/silhouette and mid-grade and YA mostly for Scholastic.
Why does having an intensive writing period work for you? How did you become a binge writer?
Juggling fiction with reality (3 kids and 2 house restorations). One foot always on the starting line.
Fine tuned my imagination and tried to have much of whatever scene I was going to tackle already in my head. <–took practice but getting the opening in my head first keeps me on track.
Do you outline?
In the days of selling romances via three chapters and synopsis, I’d expand the synopsis to a rough outline, but that often meant I’d outline the immediate chapters ahead of me/go back and flesh it out. Outline the next chapters, etc. (I can’t believe I’m admitting this.) And I used nothing more sophisticated than paper and pencil so I’d have that to look simultaneously.
For my current work I do some of the same but the notebook/pencil is to give my hands a break. I also keep a three ring binder. Since I freelance edit and mentor as many as 7/10 students I need the physical break from the constant pounding on the keyboard and staring at the screen. No carpal tunnel but tendonitis flares up. (and I’m faithful about finger and hand stretching)
All this is done in good old Microsoft Word, btw, but I’ve JUST won a Scrivener package so we’ll see how that goes.
What other things do you do to prepare? Stock up on food, unplug from Internet, get into a special mind-set, etc.
Sad to admit it was more like the opening to Romancing the Stone: no food, no kleenex, no toilet paper. Wrote like a maniac the minute the school bus left.
Do you go away or do you write at home?
Home but in every house, I’ve always had a dedicated office. (for taxes and had to have a space with a door that shut.)
How do these sessions make you feel? Exhilarated? Tired? Satisfied? Frustrated?
<– Every one and often irritated when words finally worked but the clock ran out.
Do you complete a draft of an entire novel during this period?
Yes, plowing forward to get anything at all down. Revision is so much easier when there’s something to work against.
What’s your process for editing your draft?
Post-it notes and using colored fonts within the manuscript to identify places I want to get back to.
Anything else you’d like to say about binge writing?
If you wait for your muse you’ll never get a thing finished. Plus this career is based on deadlines and contracts from selling three chapters and an outline. I’ve never had the luxury of writing a full novel then placing it, rather, I placed the partial and then had to write it.
Would you like to give us a short bio, URL, novels available?
I’ve written 31 novels since 1986. Romance, romantic suspense; Hear No Evil series for Scholastic as Kate Chester. Tell Me How the Wind Sounds, and Come Morning – multiple awards for Kidlit.
I took a ten year break to teach and Dec 26th my agent placed The Chick Palace with B&N “nook first” it hit #1 and stayed in the top 10 for 2 weeks and stayed a bestseller for 4 weeks including “staff choice”. Now it’s also on Amazon.
You can learn more about Leslie at http://lesliedavisguccione.blogspot.com/