K.M. Weiland bio:
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the award-winning and internationally-published author of Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.
1. What was your first rejection, and how did you deal with it?Because I’ve independently published all but one of my books (and the international versions), rejection in the standard format isn’t something I’ve had to deal with too much. But my one and only query letter, for what became my second published novel Behold the Dawn, was kindly turned down by an agent who wasn’t interested in medieval fiction. It was disappointing, but not hugely, since I was already moving forward with publishing it myself.2. What does a typical writing day look like for you?Most of my days look something like this: breakfast, workout, shower, writing (outdoors, whenever possible), email and social media, lunch, more email and social media, small odds and ends, more social media, marketing/editing/big odds and ends, supper, even more email and social media, movie watching, reading, sleeping.3. What are your writing habits? Where do you like to write, and how do you do it? Pen, typewriter, Macbook?I write for two hours every day, usually from 10-12 in the morning. I start by proofreading what I wrote the day before. Then I choose a soundtrack, then open Scrivener on my computer, and start writing (which translates to “staring at the blinking cursor for at least ten minutes”).My perfectionist nature forces me to edit as I go. If I know I have a plot problem in the previous chapter, I have to go back and fix it. Otherwise, it niggles in the back of my mind and drives me crazy. So I edit a page at a time, a chapter at a time, and fifty pages at a time. Once I’ve finished my first draft, I go over it thoroughly two or three times and then send it off to my first round of beta readers. I may go over the manuscript again after receiving their corrections, but then I’ll just let the book sit in the closet for a few years while I start the process all over again with a new project. I’ll pull the manuscript out every couple months and tweak it (or majorly overhaul it, as the case may be), but not until I’ve finished my next project will I have gained enough distance from Project #1 to really see its faults.4. What is the toughest criticism you've ever been given as a writer?That’s tough. Criticism isn’t something I dwell on too much. If it’s a problem I can recognize and fix in a story, it’s relatively easy to move on from and forget about it. Probably, though, the toughest bits of criticism—the ones that hurt and stick with me for the longest—are those that are more about me as a person or my overall skills as a writer. “You can do better” is always a tough one.5. Finally, what is the best advice you have to give to aspiring authors?So many misconceptions surround the idea of plotting/outlining, and so many writers are afraid it will take the fun right out of writing. But outlining is a valuable and exciting part of the writing process. By planning the story ahead of time, we’re actually paving the way for an easier first draft, which helps us save time, which helps us write with less fear and stress, which helps us produce a better story. Outlining is about exploring everything from character backstory to theme to conflict to plot structure.