Author of Dark Fiction
My interview with writer, Meg Mims
In my continuing quest to find out how authors binge write, I interviewed Meg Mims who is a writer of Western Historical Suspense, Historical Mystery and Contemporary Romance. She’s also a fellow graduate of the MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. I’ll be teaching a workshop in Binge Writing at Seton Hill’s In Your Write Mind workshop which will take place June 21-24, 2012 in Greensburg, PA. Here’s my interview with Meg:
Why does having an intensive writing period work for you? How did you become a binge writer?
Last year, right after Christmas, I realized I *should* have written a novella due to the success of my fellow authors’ novellas for that season. Like, WOW! So on December 27th, I decided to shoot for the January 5th deadline of a Valentine’s Day contemporary romance novella. I had an idea, ran with it without plotting a thing. I’m a TOTAL plotter, so this was a big change for me. I had various “points” in my head, but The Key to Love ended up as the closest thing to being a “total pantsed” novella. By the 5th of January, I had 18K words and took another 3 days to add a bit more in the saggy middle.
What do you do, writing-wise-to prepare for your binge writing sessions? Do you have an already prepared outline?
If I ever do this again, I sure would have a prepared outline! Normally I set goals per day or the week and stick to my To-Do list, such as characterizations, or plotting, or research, or my non-fiction writing. I’m not usually a binge-writer. I like taking my time.
What other things do you do to prepare? Stock up on food, unplug from Internet, get into a special mind-set, etc.
You definitely have to either cook ahead or plan on sending hubby/wife for pizza, Subway, Arby’s, Panera’s or Lean Cuisine in the freezer. Avoid FB, Twitter, blogging – only check email once a day. Eat, write, think, visit bathroom, sleep. That’s IT. Seriously.
Do you go away or do you write at home?
I totally have the Sheldon spot on my sofa. It keeps me focused, I can see out the front window and I keep the TV off. I also listen to music soundtracks to speed up my writing. I’ve never tried to go away, and I might not be comfy enough to produce.
How do these sessions make you feel? Exhilarated? Tired? Satisfied? Frustrated?
Once I reached 15K words for the novella, I was very happy. I knew I’d make the deadline or close to it. I was exhausted, though. Frustration set in once I went into edits – I was totally rewriting it far more than my content and line editors wanted. I edited up until a few days before the release! Call me a Perfectionist. I wanted to put my name on a better product.
Do you complete a draft of an entire novel during this period?
The novella was finished, yes. And I’ve done this before for rough first drafts. I don’t like it, though. I prefer taking my time.
What’s your process for editing your draft?
Although I “vomited up” the novella, I usually work an “ocean wave” method — going back and surging forward, so I end up with a decent “second draft” instead of a rough first draft. Then I keep revising for various things – subtext, theme, characterization, depth, etc.
Anything else you’d like to say about binge writing?
I’m planning on doing it again for the Christmas novella later this year. September or October. That’s all I’m giving myself for first draft and the editing before submitting.
Thanks, Meg! I’m looking forward to reading your novella!
Meg Mims is an award-winning author and artist. She loves writing blended genres – like historical, western, adventure, romance, suspense and mystery. Her first book, Double Crossing, won the 2012 WWA Spur Award for Best First Novel.
Meg is a staff writer for Lake Effect Living, a West Coast of Michigan tourist on-line magazine, and for RE/MAX Platinum of Brighton, Michigan. She earned an M.A. from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program in January 2010.