Flash! Future: The ReVisit

WELCOME BACK to the Future! What a blast Deb and I have had these past few months sharing parts of our personal writerly journeys with you. I don’t know much of anything myself 😀 , which makes this lifelong road of listening and learning a rich and glorious adventure! What a joy sharing words from writers whose unique perspectives and fresh approaches to stories have changed the way we see the world and our role as writers in it. In case you missed any of them, here’s a quick recap:

Following the theme of learning, in these few remaining weeks we want to share with you some tools and resources that motivate and challenge Deb and me as word-students. And I’m going to start—if you’ll forgive me—with a quick look to the past. 

Flash! Friday was a contest that ran from 2012-2015, and in that period, as now, we often enjoyed the privilege of interviewing or featuring various professionals in writing and publishing. Some of those original interviews chase me still. There’s a trove of encouraging advice to be found in them—as in the Flash!Future posts listed above—that we hope will continue to inspire you (as it does us) even after Fire&Ice closes. So please pour a fresh cup of coffee and join me in this meaty, practical, helpful/hopeful (re)visit to three memorable Spotlights. 

One of our original logos, 2012

Interview with Carol Tice, award-winning freelance writer, writing coach. 

[Carol Tice] I can’t emphasize enough that people should not be too reliant on Amazon. They need to be creative. I hear from people all the time who say, “I put out my ebook and nothing happened!” or, “I wrote my novel, and now I’m going to start blogging to promote it!” I don’t want to be the one to tell them they did that in the wrong order. 

You need to think about what you can do to get people excited about your book. You want to think of a marketing schedule to create multiple inflection points for people to get excited about it.

Interview with Lisa Crayton, award-winning author (including two-time recognition as a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers), freelance writer, editor, speaker. {Sidenote: Do. Not. Miss. her powerful & practical thread from July on “25 Ways to Amplify Black and POC Voices.”}

[Lisa Crayton] It always comes down to, Is your writing up to par?

You need to be in critique groups for your genre. It’s important to let people critique your work, and be willing to learn from them and revise. Be sure your work is evaluated by people in your own genre, those who are an authority on your specific kind of writing. Above all, you have to be teachable. It’s not enough to come to an editor and say, “My mama liked it, my friends liked it, my friend’s brother wanted to put it on a t-shirt….” Regarding interest in your work, it’s a different story when you can tell editors or agents your work has been through a critique group and you have rewritten it a number of times.

You have to be brave enough to hear constructive criticism. To improve your writing, take free online classes, or low-cost classes at your local community college, where you have people telling you the truth about your writing. 

Interview with Jeff Gerke, writer (including writing craft books for Writer’s Digest), editor. (Note: his original interview now includes a personal 2020 update for Fire&Ice)

[Jeff Gerke] I struggled… for years. I mean, if novelists who do all the craft stuff wrong can become bestsellers, and if novelists who do all the craft stuff right usually don’t become bestsellers, what in the world am I doing, you know? Why am I spending all my time and energy in this training if it apparently doesn’t amount to a more successful novel or novelist? It couldn’t be that readers just prefer bad craftsmanship. It had to be something else.

It finally occurred to me that what the bestsellers were doing—even if they did it with poor craft—and what the non-bestsellers weren’t doing—even if they did it with great craft—was snaring the reader and not letting go.

So now all my teaching has shifted. Now I’m all about what will engage the reader.


One thought on “Flash! Future: The ReVisit

  1. This is such great advice, no matter what you’re writing! It’s just as important to do the “hard” parts (marketing! boo!) as it is to do the “fun” parts (research! yay!). Thank you for reminding us of what a great resource we have in the Flash! archives. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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