10 Questions with Melissa Osburn
Melissa Osburn is a writer of speculative fiction with stories appearing in the anthologies We Walk Invisible and Growing Concerns: An Eco Horror Anthology. Melissa lives in rural Michigan with her family and cats.
How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing since I can remember but have only started seriously writing and submitting stories in the last year and a half. I guess what got me started writing was my love of books. I’d read something and it inspired me to write my own stories. Some of my earlier stories were terrible fan fiction.
What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
The best piece of advice I can give to new writers is to embrace rejections. They’re inevitable. At first, they hurt but after a while, the sting lessens. Rejections can be useful. Some editors offer sound advice or critiques which is often helpful. And I have received what I call “positive rejections”. Rejection letters that contain the sentence: “We’d love to see more of your work in the future.” Getting those are almost as thrilling as receiving an acceptance because it lets me know I’m on the right track.
Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
Creative Writing Forum at http://www.writingforums.org/ was very helpful when I first began the write/submit process. I found it a great place, not only to get critiques from other writers but also to hone my own critiquing skills. There are also a lot of great how-to-write books out there and I suggest finding one written by an author in genre a writer is interested in, however, reading one by authors of other genres can be helpful as well. I also use Descriptionary, A Thematic Dictionary by Marc McCutcheon. That book has come in handy more than once.
What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I’m drawn primarily to fantasy, although I also read horror, science fiction as well as other genres. My favorite authors are Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Michael Crichton, J.K. Rowling, Isaac Asimov and Jane Austen.
What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Write when you can, that’s the best advice I can give for finding time to write. Even five to ten minutes can be productive. Personally, I like to write in the mornings and get up early when it’s quiet. Sometimes, though that can be hard and then I squeeze in a bit of writing in the afternoons or before bed.
Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I’m usually a “pantser”, writing by the seat of my pants. Most of my stories are written that way. However, I have used outlines when writing longer stories.
How do you deal with rejections?
While there is a feeling of disappointment when I receive a rejection, I often take any critique provided seriously (if it seems sound) and tweak my story. Then I resubmit it elsewhere. Rejections are a writer’s battle scars, I keep every one I get not only to remind myself of what I submitted to where but as proof that I am trying and not giving up.
What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I’d love to get a science fiction story published in the next year. I have several horror and fantasy stories published but not a single sci-fi.
For the next five years?
Have a novel or a short story collection published.
Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
My short story “Lingering” has been recently published in Strange Musings’ Romantic Ruckus. It’s an anthology of love gone hilariously wrong. You can find out more information here http://www.strangemusingspress.com/p/love-is-funny-like-that.html I also have a blog, Dreaming Blithely, at http://melissasosburn.wordpress.com where I share short stories I’ve written and discuss a wide array of topics.