1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve always loved to read and when I was a kid I got along better with books than with people. Writing was always at the back of my mind but despite a few sputtering starts I never really got off the ground. I always seemed to hit a wall and I was never willing to push past the difficult bits. Earlier this year when few setbacks popped up at my day job I realized how much I had been neglecting my creative side and how attached I had become to something that wasn’t really me. That’s what really got the ball rolling. I’ve only been seriously writing since August or so, but I’m dedicating my heart and soul to it, finally.
2. What is the best piece of advice you have for new writers?
If you want to do it, just do it. Read a lot, write a lot, submit a lot. Don’t get too hung up on perfection, a lot of your beginning stuff is probably going to be unpublishable. Write it anyway. Quantity is way more important than quality at first, because it gets you moving and things can start to take shape.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
My preoccupation is with horror and dark fiction, and I’ve been using darkmarkets.com and horrortree.com a lot – for finding stuff to read as well as places to submit to. I’ve also been reading the Elements of Fiction series and finding it helpful. I think once you have a few stories under your belt, reading about writing can help you to see where to go next and what to develop.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I read pretty much exclusively horror, although my definition of horror stretches to include just about everything I like. Stephen King got his hooks in me when I was about 12 and never let go. I also love Ira Levin, John Wyndham, Joe Hill, and Clive Barker. Horror comic books have had a big influence on me as well.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
Habits are what make things happen. Spending 15 minutes a day working on something adds up.
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I’m definitely an outliner, but it’s a very fluid process. I start with a very broad idea or theme I want to work with and daydream and brainstorm from there, letting details fill themselves in. I start with a beginning, middle, and end, and then flesh out the scenes I need to get me there. I always got stuck when I tried to write on the fly and my stories never seemed to go anywhere. It made me feel like I wasn’t a “real” writer. I find it much easier to finish things now that I have them clearly in mind before I even begin my rough draft.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
Send it somewhere else. Write something else and then send that somewhere else. Repeat. Just keep going.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
I’m going to keep up the pace and write at least two stories every month, and just keep on submitting.
9. For the next five years?
After a couple solid years of short stories, I’d love to tackle a novel!
10. Is there anything you’d like to plug? Feel free to share a link.
Definitely! I also do pen and ink art, mostly on the creepy/dark fantasy side. You can follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/bettyrocksteadyart or pick up prints or other goodies at www.redbubble.com/people/bettyrocksteady