Giveaway and Interview with K. M. Weiland
Win books from the Queen of story structure!
by Sofie R. E.
K.M. Weiland is the internationally published author of 4 Amazon bestseller novels and has written everything from a Western - A Man Called Outlaw - to her newest historical/diesel punk adventure Storming.
Other than being an author, she's running the blog www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com where she teaches you everything you need to know about writing technique. My favorite posts include The Re-Readability Factor: Does Your Book Have It?, Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All and Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?
She's known for her great novels, awesome blog, and daily writing-related Facebook-posts - but in my world she's the uncrowned "Queen" of story structure. Other than her incredibly helpful Story Structure Database, she's the author of two of my favorite how-to-write-books: Structuring Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel with matching workbooks!
I've used the books a lot myself, because they're so helpful. It's easy to reference to the pages with checklists and interviews with other authors. For this reason among others, I contacted Weiland to ask her if she'd do a giveaway with Movellas - and she said yes!! Down below is all the info you need to enter the giveaway and win her books!
But first, let's give the pen and paper (or keyboard) to Weiland herself.
You're a big fan of outlining and structuring - why do you think these things are so important when you're writing a book?
I recommend outlines for the simple reason that successful stories are always complete units. The beginning must inform the ending. Everything must build up to that climax in a sensible, foreshadowed, cohesive way. And that’s hard to do when you’re just winging it in the first draft. Not that you can’t, of course, go back and edit for cohesion after pantsing your way to discovering your ending. But it’s so much easier and less stressful—and saves time—to plan upfront before you get into the down and dirty of your prose.
As for story structure, I like to think of it as the box that holds the gift. Whatever the gift turns out to be will be wonderful and unique and expected. But the box is the structure. It’s what keeps all that magic corralled into something manageable. Structure is what defines well-rounded, cohesive, effective stories. It’s not an arbitrary distinction. It’s just the form the human psyche resonates with as an effective rise and fall of action. We find the three-act structure throughout history—even in Homer’s Iliad!
The short answer to why we need structure is that because the vast majority of humans resonate with the three-act structure, that structure is what allows us to create stories with the most potential impact.
I'm a big fan of your blog series Most Common Writing Mistakes, where you currently have written blog post about the 48 most common writing mistakes, but what are your top 3 of the worst writing mistakes an author can make?
#1: Fail to properly structure the story. Read more about avoiding that.
#2: Fail to create an engaging character with an engaging voice. Read more about avoiding that.
#3: Fail to show more than is told. Read more about avoiding that.
What do you think is the biggest challenge as a writer, and how to you handle it?
Being published. No, seriously! Being published and read by others is amazing in countless ways. It has made my life and my writing richer. But it also makes writing harder. Once you realize you’re no longer writing just for yourself, but that every word you write is being read (and judged—for better or worse) by others, it’s hard to keep that thought out of your head while writing. The pressure is on, and it can be crippling. I went through a sophomore-novel stage where I found myself over-thinking my first drafts to a ridiculous extent. The result? My writing suffered, and I stopped having fun.
As much as I love and appreciate my readers, I remind myself every day that I write, first and foremost, for myself. I write because I love it—because I have stories bubbling up out of me. I focus on that and not on what readers may or may not want, and my writing is always the better for it.
I love Anne Lamott’s quote in Bird by Bird: “I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises.”
Why did you choose to make a writing blog instead of just writing books yourself?
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.
And at last the classic: what's your best writing tip for an aspiring author trying to break through with her or his book?
Start building an email list as soon as you can, since this will be your only assured direct route to dedicated readers. Give them content they care about to keep their attention: drawings, freebies, special deals, glimpses into your life. Craft your book launches with care, since Amazon’s sales algorithms will treat you right if you can prove early on that you can generate sales. And most of all—have fun! Don’t let marketing be a chore; embrace it as a challenge. Your audience will sense that attitude and respond to it.
Finally it's giveaway time! Unfortunately this giveaway is only available for people living in the U.S.. - but don't you fret, if you live outside the US., you can still join the giveaway, just the one on the Danish site, where you can win the K.M. Weilan books as e-books. Just scroll to the bottom of the blog to find an introduction in English.
For those of you living in the U.S.. - let's get to the giveaway!
All you have to do is write your best writing advice in the comments - and we will find 3 lucky winners, that can choose a hardback copy of either Structuring Your Novel, Outlining Your Novel, or the matching workbooks!