C.S. Wilde: Respect your rhythm & Stick to your schedule
It’s such a pleasure to have C.S. Wilde on LivinginCyn.com this month! Her energy just bounces off the screen–much like her personality in the flesh. I met C.S. Wilde in person in January 2013 in Zürich, Switzerland. We were at a writers’ conference and both just starting to seriously develop our novels beyond random scribblings in a notepad. Since then, she has decided to self-publish and go “author-preneur”, rounded past several edit cycles, and is gearing up to release her novel in mid-April 2016! Stay tuned…
When I talked to her those few years ago, she had described her genre as “fantasy”, but I’d say it’s evolved to something more. Having read a sample, I would call it “paranormal mystery fantasy with a romantic twist, set in New York City”–but that’s just me! I am eagerly awaiting my ARC (Advance Review Copy–which you can get too, just read on to find out how!) so I can enjoy the story to the end!
All the images dotted along the interview were provided to me by C.S. Wilde herself. (Yes! Like Sacha Black, our previous interviewee, she designs her own book covers!! It seems she is not only fluent in the written word, but she’s also pretty handy with Photoshop!)
Without further ado, let’s get to the interview! (As usual, my questions are in bold type, her responses are in regular black type.)
Name: C.S. Wilde (totally my pen name).
Age: Let’s not talk about that, shall we?
Occupation/Aspiration (related website?)… Accountant by day, writer by night. I usually hang out at www.cswilde.wordpress.com
Where do you currently reside? Switzerland, the land of cows, chocolate, and ridiculously lasting watches.
What’s your hometown/origin? Brazil, the land of soccer. That is until we lost 7–1 to Germany. Now we’re trying to find a new purpose in life, like pottery.
You’re getting ready to release a novel, A Courtroom of Ashes. Could you give a quick synopsis on what it’s about?
Santana Jones never thought she’d fall in love with a dead guy, but that was before she met John Braver, the incredibly charming and incredibly dead politician on the other side of her mirror.
When an evil spirit drags Santana’s soul across the mirror and into Purgatory, she’ll need all the help she can get to return to her body. With John by her side, nothing can go wrong. But Purgatory is a dangerous place for a lawyer with a pitch-black past. Santana has always wondered if she’d go to Hell for defending rapists and murderers.
Now she’ll know.
Where can interested readers get their copies, learn more, etc.? And what’s the expected launch date?
Mark the date: 17 April 2016. It’ll be on Amazon initially, but it’ll spread out to other platforms soon enough. Plus, if you subscribe to my mailing list, you get it for FREE. There’s a catch, though: You’ll need to leave a review, but I’m hoping the trade-off is all right!
Congrats, by the way!! How long did A Courtroom of Ashes take to write? How long to edit?
Thank you! I wrote this book while I was working as a fulltime accountant, which means it took forever to finish (some two years).
As for the edits, I’m much faster editing than writing. I’d say no longer than six months, and that’s accounting for my personal edits/rewrites and professional edits too.
I’m also juggling the full-time day job with writing and finished my draft last October, but I’m having a tough time editing. Would you have any tips for writers like me who’re getting snagged during edits? Would love to get that cycle down to 6 months or less!
I like to set a few weekly goals. When editing, I try to cover two-three chapters a week. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes less, but it all evens out if you keep on track.
After I’m done editing some 80% of the project, I look for critique partners. Finding a CP who’s on the same boat as you helps. I have a few CPs who publish often, or at least they intend to, so the turnaround is quite fast and that’s super important.
Once I’m happy with the results, I send the manuscript to a professional editor, we go back and forth a little, and then voilá: it’s ready.
When you finish one novel, do you move straight to the next?
I force myself to have a week off, you know, get the old novel out of my system. But after that, it’s back to work.
Sounds like you have a really streamlined system. Do you have a clean production process–a time tracker, production calendar? What’s your secret?
Oh yes, tracking your progress is THE way to keep yourself on track. So I basically set myself some neat weekly and monthly goals. I also have a production schedule that covers the project’s name, approximate word count, desired completion date, starting date of edits, and then a publishing date.
At that point, the project enters my marketing and launch timeline, which is a whole different animal.
Are you a plotter, pantser, or a “plantser”?
I’d say 90% plotter, 10% pantser.
Can you share a little bit about your writing process? Rituals you live/write by?
The most basic ritual is: no excuses.
We all have busy lives, and that’s fine. What’s not fine is using a busy schedule as an excuse to ditch writing. If someone tells me that they wish they had the time to write, it is very likely I’ll punch them in the face.
There’s always time, you just need to know how to use it.
Second ritual: Respect your rhythm. I know a guy who writes roughly 5k words a day, and he’s a dad and full time employee in some firm. That works for him, but it doesn’t work for me. I could never keep up with that rhythm, nor do I have to. Everyone ticks in different ways.
Third ritual: Stick to a schedule. Great for your productivity.
Oh, and no music, but that’s a personal one.
Why do you write stories?
If I don’t, my characters won’t leave me alone. Annoying little bastards…
I’m an aspiring author who’s juggling her writing with a day job and other commitments. Do you have any tips or suggestions for writers leading this somewhat busy lifestyle?
The main word is commitment. Write even if you think what you’re writing is shit. You can revise shit later, but you can’t revise a blank page.
Sadly, this means waaaay less TV. I cut my TV time in at least 50%, which increased my reading time (yay for learning new stuff!) and my productivity (yay for finishing books!) But it does mean I had to abandon a ton of series and movies.
Fair warning: It also took a huge toll on my weekends, but hey, we love writing and that’s why we do it, #amIright?
If you could step into a time machine and pay a visit to C.S. Wilde, 14 y.o., what would you tell her? Why?
Here’s the business plan for a little thing called Facebook. You’re welcome.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
Working (day job), travelling, reading, doing sports, and trying — emphasis on trying — to have a social life.
Recent project/accomplishment you would like to highlight. Are you working on anything (or learning something) that’s fascinating to you?
I finished a 120k novel in three months. Considering my rhythm, that was pretty great!
Oh, and I’m learning a LOT about the literary business (marketing, pricing, etc). I’m a business bachelor, so I know general business, but every sector in an economy is like its own ecosystem. Being Indie is like owning a small business, and that’s pretty awesome.
Now that you mention it, I remember seeing a blog post where you mentioned you decided to self-publish. That means, you considered the trad route for a while. What made you change your mind or when did you change your mind?
One day I got a rejection letter from an agent. Just your usual form rejection, you know, the kind that makes you feel like horse shit because the agent didn’t even have the decency to address you personally. The email just started with the usual “Dear Author.”
I HATE form rejections with all my soul, by the way.
On the same day though, a complete stranger joined my mailing list and told me how much he enjoyed my writing (I was giving out free samples of A Courtroom of Ashes to subscribers).
I had about forty mailing list subscribers at that time, which was a pretty great number for someone who had started out with zero four months before and didn’t have any books out there. But this guy, he actually wrote to me, because he felt so passionate about my writing he had to tell me. And that was awesome.
That’s when I realized some ultimate truths:
- My market was out there and it liked my stuff.
- I was actually GOOD at what I did.
- An agent would NOT decide my fate for me.
And that was it. I never looked back.
Coffee or Tea?
I’m gonna go with coffee, because it’s my spirit animal, I mean, drink.
Is there a question you wished I would pose to you? (or to anyone else? Whom?)
Yes. To Donald Trump: How can you claim that your hair is real, sir? How?
How can he claim anything about him is real… He’s so unreal…
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Originally published at www.livingincyn.com on February 17, 2016.