Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Second Part of the Interview with New Zealand Writer Kim Koning
Kim Koning is a South African Writer living in New Zealand. She is also a published poet and short story writer. Her story ‘The Ring of Fire’ (A YA Dystopian tale told in first person POV) was published in the
anthology “The Tales for ”
alongside 33 other authors including the brilliant Neil Gaiman. Canterbury
is the best tool to hone your writing
skills. It is the knife Reading
Here is my the second part of my interview with Kim. For part one click here.
Q. I have benefited from your amazing Critiquing abilities. Can you share with my readers what things do you look for while critiquing? What’s the secret behind your awesome critique qualities?
A. I think the most important thing to remember when you are critiquing another writer’s work is that you need to have a blend of honesty and empathy. I tend to critique with my “reader’s” hat rather than my “writer’s” hat. I usually read the entire manuscript once through aloud. Then I read it a second time and look for any inconsistencies, plot holes, character weaknesses, POV, story themes which I then send out to the writer. Then after that has all been done, I read it through a third time in line edit mode: checking tense consistencies, grammar, spelling. formatting. I try to be very thorough in all my critiques realising that my role is not to rewrite the story or make the story more like I would write it but to help the writer see any blind spots they have missed and help them put out the best version of their story as possible.
Q. You also mentioned that you will be attending a conference. Do you feel conferences help in bagging an agent or getting noticed by editors and publishers?
A. I belong to RWNZ: Romance Writers of New Zealand. Although I am not a romance writer per se, it is the largest writers organization in NZ and gives a writer the opportunity to meet fellow writers. I think conferences are always beneficial. It is a chance to meet editors and agents and other writers you might not have gotten a chance to meet face to face.This last weekend I attended my 2nd conference and I was very excited about this one as the keynote speakers and workshops were run by and geared towards the dystopian genres and thriller/suspense genres which are the genres that I write. I also pitched my novel for the first time, The Raven's Court, successfully to one of my favourite agents from the
and got a full manuscript request as well as interest in my future projects. I
connected with one of my favourite authors too which was a real pleasure. It
was an amazing weekend and the joy and excitement was doubled because I
shared/roomed with one of my writing partners. (This meant we both got little
to no sleep but it was worth it.) So now I can definitely answer that; yes,
conferences do help you get noticed by agents and editors. US
Q. Do you follow any daily writing goals?
A Yes I do. I write 3 foolscap Morning Pages with pen and paper every day. I was inspired to do this through reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. She advises one to write, longhand, 3 foolscap pages of streamlined consciousness which basically means whatever is in your brain. It is a great tool to start your day off writing and to unlock the creative elements in your mind. It also gets you into the habit of daily writing. I also have daily word count goals which I try to stick to. At the moment that is between 2000 - 4000 words daily. I tend to write in bursts of 1 - 2 hours before taking 30-45minutes break. I also try to limit my time on social networking otherwise huge chunks of my time can lead to procrastination. I have been writing full time since the middle of May this year and actually find that if I don’t set myself goals, the day can while away before I know it. I give myself 2 days off a week - usually Sundays and Mondays. When I was working in a daytime job these were my days off. I like spending Sundays with my family. I like having Mondays off because who after all enjoys working on a Monday. So I think that as important as it is to focus on your writing, you also need to give yourself some days off or you could burn out. I use those days off to relax my mind and refresh my inspiration. Also for me writing is now my job so I treat it like that and make sure I also have time off from it.
Q. Do you have a favourite writing craft book?
A. I have read many good books on the craft of writing and creativity but my favourites would be:(1)“The Artist’s Way” - Julia Cameron. This book is a great tool for any creative individual not just writers. (2)“On Writing” by Stephen King would be my favourite purely writing-craft book. Stephen King is a master in the story telling realm and to this day there are very few authors who can scare/fascinate readers like he can. I love this book most of all because it is completely honest and cuts all the “niceties” you often find in other writing-craft books.
Q. Any writing tip you would like to share with my readers?
A. Write the story you need to write irregardless of whether it fits a
specific niche or genre. Don’t get hung up on rules like genre or
market. The best stories sometimes break all the rules. Worry about
the rules when you get to the editing stage. Put your editor’s hat
away while writing the first draft. Have at least 2 people, 1 a writer
friend and 1 a non-writer who you trust. Let them travel with you on
your writing journey. They will be able to give you fresh insight,
support you when you need it, encourage you when you’re lagging
or feeling uninspired, prod you when you need a good butt-kicking
and most of all they will be able to give you a truthful reaction of
your story. Get out there and taste of everything life is by exploring
new cultures and new relationships. Our writing is about life,
emotion and relationships; you need to live life fully to be able to
write about it convincingly. But the most important tip is: Read,
read, read anything and everything you can get your hands on.
sharpener for your “writing knife”. A writer who does not read is
like a cook who has no taste buds.
You can find Kim online in various places:
writing blog: http://kimkoning.wordpress.com
creativity blog: http://dragonflyscrolls.wordpress.com
facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimKoning
facebook fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/Kim.M.Koning
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