Interview with author K. M. Weiland and giveaway of STRUCTURING YOUR NOVEL

When we announced our Fall Writing Bootcamp, we also announced that participants would be entered to win an e-copy of OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL by K. M. Weiland.

Then this happened. 

How awesome is that?!?!

So now, when you sign up for the Fall Writing Bootcamp in September, in addition to being entered to win OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL, you'll also be entered to win an e-copy of STRUCTURING YOUR NOVEL: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story! Yessss! 

If you're new to K. M. Weiland and haven't heard of her books or her site for writers, Helping Writers Become Authors, then that needs to change! Not only is she lovely and generous (see above), but she's also an established author of both fiction and non-fiction and mentors writers seeking to improve their craft. Read on for a brief introduction, plus the reason why you might want to pick up a bag of jelly beans to help you meet your Fall Writing Bootcamp goals.

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY and NIEA Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novelas well as Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.

BG: How did you become a mentor to other writers? Were you an author first ... or? 

KMW: It was all an accident, believe me! I stumbled into blogging about writing because, hey, every writer needs a blog, right? And you’re supposed to blog about what you’re interested in, and that would be…writing. Then one day I woke up, and the blog had just sort of taken off!

I’ve been writing fiction since I was twelve, so I was an author long before I was a teacher of writing. I’d published one book and was close to publishing another before I started the blog. Really, I think the site has been as much of a blessing to me as it has been to anyone. Other than the marvelous writer folk I’ve gotten to meet, I’ve also learned so much by writing about writing.

BG: Beyond your own titles, what are your top three book picks for writers seeking to improve their craft? (I did see your full recommendations list, just looking for your favorites!)

KMW: Top three. Hmm. It’s hard to narrow them down. But I’m going to have to go with:

  • The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
  • Write Away by Elizabeth George
  • Story by Robert McKee

The first and the third are aimed more at screenwriters, but their take on structure and story theory are insane. Absolutely insane. (In all the most awesome ways.)

BG: Setting writing goals can be far easier than meeting those goals. How do you meet your own writing goals?

KMW: You know, I actually hate goals. And deadlines. I’m very much a productivity-oriented person. I get off on accomplishing things, so obviously goals are a huge part of my life. But I don’t like to look at deadlines head-on, just out of the corner of my eye. I work at top speed anyway, so deadlines only add undue pressure.

My secret to living happily with my goals is two-fold:

  • Set reasonable goals (and, yes, deadlines). I never like to back myself into a corner from which I don’t have a good chance of emerging victoriously. Really, I prefer to just say, “I’m going to write this book or accomplish this task”—and then just hit it as hard as I comfortably can. I like to let projects take as long as they take—which, for a novel’s first draft, is usually about a year.
  • Stick with the goals. Working without a looming deadline only works if you stick with the project. For me deadlines stress me out more than they motivate me. But I can only ignore them because my motivation comes from elsewhere. My primary motivation is usually just the high I get off completing something and the incentive to finish this project so I can go finish another one. But some people need the pressure of a deadline. In that case, I recommend jelly beans. One jelly bean for every finished scene. Seriously. The jelly beans saved my sanity on my last deadline-oriented project.

BG: Great advice! Thank you so much for answering my questions! *goes out to buy jelly beans*

You can learn more about K. M. Weiland on her site, Helping Writers Become Authors - highly recommended! - or by following her on Twitter. She has an excellent monthly email newsletter. Subscribers automatically get a free copy of her ebookCrafting Unforgettable Characters: A Hands-On Introduction to Bringing Your Characters to Life.

If you'd like to be entered to win an e-copy of OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL or STRUCTURING YOUR NOVEL, then join our Fall Writing Bootcamp! We'd love to write with you this fall. 

Also, you can earn an extra entry every time you share a link to this post on Twitter! Just be sure to link to your tweet(s) in the comments.

Thank you for helping spread the word!

In the comments

How about your goal setting tips and tricks: Will you be using K. M. Weiland's jelly bean trick? Does the sticker method keep you writing? (For me, earning a sticker for day-to-day goals works wonders!) Or is there something else that works for you? Let us know in the comments!