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 New Zealand anthology “The Tales for Canterbury” alongside 33 other authors including the brilliant Neil Gaiman.

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 US 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.

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.
Reading is the best tool to hone your writing skills. It is the knife 
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:

tumblr: http://dragonflyscrolls.tumblr.com
twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/AuthorKimKoning
facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimKoning
google+ : https://plus.google.com/106769198036665517108/postshttp://rachnachhabria.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-with-new-zealand-writer-kim.htmlhttp://rachnachhabria.blogspot.com/2011/08/interview-with-new-zealand-writer-kim.html


  1. Loved the second part of your interview with Kim. She sounds like a lovely person and I am eager to read her books. I will check out her blog. Its nice to learn about other writer's writing styles and experiences. There is so much to learn from each one.

  2. I love the idea of writing three pages of foolscap with pen and paper every day. Am most tempted to try that. The rest of her advice is pretty good too!

  3. I'm just jealous that she gets to live in Middle Earth. Er, - I mean New Zealand.

    Awesome interview, thanks, ladies!

  4. hi, Rachna, I enjoyed this follow-up part 2 interview. Kim, you sound so thorough! How lucky for your critique partners. I also liked/still like Cameron's The Artist's Way, and have been doing those morning pages for years. I agree, Stephen King's On Writing, is probably one of the best books on the craft. Lovely advice, too, on living and reading to feed your writing. Rachna, as usual, good interview questions.

  5. Enjoyed part two as much as part one! :) I love the way Kim views critiquing.

    Have a great week!

  6. I had to go back and read part one. Write the story you need to write. Excellent advice. Loved reading, ladies.

  7. I'm with Matthew! I'd love to visit her home. What a great interview, thanks Rachna and Kim!

  8. @ Meera..Yes, Kim is indeed a lovely person and a great Crit Partner, who I am enjoying interacting with.

    @ Gargi..I too like the idea of writing 3 fools scap sheets every morning. Will try it from tomorrow for the entire month of September.

    @ Mathew... I have seen the pictures she has posted of her city, and I have to admit, jealousy does rear its head.

    @ Elizabeth...I consider myself very lucky to have Kim as my Crit Partner. She is very meticulous and thorough with her feedback and can pinpoint the weak areas accurately.

    @ Karen..I am learning the art of critiquing from Kim.

    @ Robyn and Lydia...Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the two posts.

  9. Cool interview, and nice to meet Kim! Interesting and useful to learn about how one should critique another's work, or even your own work, for that matter. Thanks for the interview, Rachna!

  10. The 3 Morning Foolscap pages seem a good idea. I shall carry that away with me.
    A fine interview provoking a lot of pause for thought.

  11. My favorite response was "write the story you need to irregardless of genre or niche." Very cool!

  12. Kim, it was great meeting you and familiarizing myself with your wonderful techniques. I especially love the part where you said, "Worry about the rules when you get to the editing stage." Thanks for the inspiration!

    Rachna, thank you so much for this splendid interview! You asked all the right questions.

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  13. Kim Koning sounds like an interesting lady!

  14. Kim Koning's reply to the comments. For some strange reason Blogspot is not allowing Kim to leave a comment. After several attempts, Kim emailed me her reply to the comments. Here they are.

    @Meera - Hi. I love meeting new writers. It is why I have been interviewing writers on writing on my creativity blog. I always walk away feeling inspired. Pop by my blogs anytime.

    @Gargimehra - the 3 foolscap pages definitely works in unlocking the creative muse. You won't regret doing them.

    @Matthew - Yes it is unreal that I live in Middle Earth..when I first came to NZ, Lord of The Rings 1 had just been released so it was an uncanny feeling for me too.

    @Elizabeth V - Glad you enjoyed both parts of the interview. Yes I am a perfectionist when it comes to editing and critiquing (hopefully my writing partners don't get terrorized too much by my perfectionism ;) As for On Writing - Stephen King is the Master..that is all that is to be said.

    @Karen - It was interesting being asked to explain my critiquing process as I had just finished critiquing Rachna's fantastic manuscript..the process was still fresh.

    @Robyn - My other favourite piece of advice and it is actually my mantra...goes hand in hand with that advice: Go with your Gut! Works every time in writing or in life.

    @Lydia - NZ is definitely a gorgeous place to visit. You would love it. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

    @J.C. - Hi. Glad you got something useful from the interview. Critiquing, whether your own or another's, is such a vital part of the Writing process. I try to get it right each time. Hopefully I succeed.

    @Dave - Definitely try the 3 foolscap pages. It truly does help the writing. The longhand is important too..something special and magical about pen on paper.

    @Mark - Glad you liked that. It is something I have been mulling over a lot lately especially with my own ms...but in the end I went with my gut and wrote the story that needed telling...let the business end (editors/agents) worry about which genre/niche it fits into.

    @Elizabeth M - Hi Elizabeth. Loved that you used that quote on fb too. Really honoured that you felt inspired.

    and lastly @Rachna - Thank you so much for the warm welcome to your Scriptorium. I am so pleased that we are writing partners and friends. Also, it is a special honour to be featured/interviewed on your blog because this was one of the first writing blogs I ever felt at home on from the first post I read middle of last year. It is still my go-to blog for inspiration. :) Lotsa hugs as always my friend.

    To all the lovely commentors on this interview, feel free to friend me on Facebook. I love building new friendships with writers. All likewise tweet me on twitter. I wish you all a September filled with the golden veins of inspiration that will pour forth when you put your pens to paper. happy Spring/Autumn! x
    - Kim

  15. Rachna, great interview as always! I bet Kim is a great critiquer and friend to have. ;)

    I have a blog award for you, Rachna, since you're such a COOL gal! ;)

  16. This was inspirational. Thanks! I love the Artist's Way and have another one of Cameron's books upstairs that will go with me on vacation. ;D It's on Perseverance. I'll probably need some to get any reading or writing done, but I intend to try. LOL

  17. Excellent interview. Thank you, Kim and Rachna. The part on daily writing schedules will be a big help to me!