RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Janice Thompson

Thinking about Writing a Book?

FICTION COURSE INTERVIEW

Janice Thompson: booksbyjanice@aol.com

Janice, I understand you’re about to debut a brand new book for novelists. Why veer from your usual comedic writing to put together a book for writers?

Because I love writers! I’ve always had a heart for novelists and want to do every thing I can to help and encourage them, whether they’re penning that first story or fifty-first. This book has information that should be helpful to pros and novices, alike. I’ve noticed a trend in recent years. Incoming writers approach me, one after the other, asking the same questions and struggling with the same problems. I’ve worn myself out giving the same answers. There are only so many times and ways you can say, “You’re head-hopping, honey!” Because of that, I decided it would be easier to compile the information into a writing text, which I’ve titled Writing and Selling the Great American Novel. I can’t wait to see what novelists think of this exciting new book.

novel

Can you tell us a little about your background as a novelist?

Every writer hopes to write “The Great American Novel.” I started writing novels as a child, so the desire to craft “story” has always been inside of me. In the mid ‘90s I started writing with the desire to be published. After years of trial and error, my first novel hit the shelves in 2000. Since then, I’ve published nearly 100 books (about 2/3 of which are novels in a variety of genres). I’ve had a blast and will continue penning novels as long as there’s breath in me.

 

You’ve titled the book Writing and Selling the Great American Novel. Can you share a little more about that?

I wrestled with the title for a couple of days, wanting to get it right. In the end, I came to this decision: Writers want TWO things. First, they want to know how to WRITE their novel. The first half of the book is completely dedicated to this process and includes every single thing a novelist (established or beginning) will need to write the best possible story. The second half of the book is dedicated to SELLING the novel and includes helpful information on pitching, marketing, working with an editor/agent, and even offers a comprehensive look at self-publishing to e-Book form. To check out the books full Table of Contents, go here.

 

You’ve started with a chapter on understanding the genres. Why is that?

I’ve published in multiple genres. My first book was a suspense-thriller. I’ve since written historicals, contemporaries, children’s, young adult, romances, mysteries and much, much more. Because I’ve been able to successfully cross genre lines, I feel qualified to teach on the subject. Before writers can establish themselves as novelists, they must develop an understanding of the fiction genres/categories. Choosing the best genre (or genres) is critical to your success. But with so many categories to choose from, how do you know which is your best fit? This chapter will give writers a thorough introduction to genre writing and will provide them with the necessary information to choose the one(s) best suited to their literary style and voice.

 

I see you’ve included a lesson on plotting. Is this based on your “Plot Shots” teaching, which you’ve offered at conferences?

Yes! I’m so tickled to finally be able to offer this teaching in a book format. I’ve become known as “that Plot Shots lady.” That’s okay. I can live with that. I’m a firm believer in laying out a great plotline. Why? Because every story needs a beginning, middle and end. Careful plotting will lead the reader on a satisfactory, realistic journey through each of those stages, creatively weaving in and out, up and down.  The “Plot Shots” method gives writers the tools they need to plot their novel in twelve easy snapshots. It’s a fun and easy approach to plotting that won’t confuse or complicate the story.

 

Characterization is such an important component of fiction writing. Can you tell us more about your characterization chapter?

Years ago I developed a teaching that I call “Pandora’s Box.” It’s a layered approach to characterization, which uses the illustration of multiple boxes, one inside the other. In this lesson, I lay out the need for great characterization, then present the Pandora’s Box method. After presenting the method, I take the student through the process four times, using four fictional characters as a foundation. (Each character has a different personality, so the student learns how to apply the technique to the various personalities.)

 

So many writers struggle with P.O.V. (point of view). Is that why you included a chapter on that very tough subject?

Point of View (P.O.V.) is a critical fiction component. Employing to your best advantage is tough. Most of the young writers I know struggle in this area. The head-hop. Oh, they don’t mean to. . .but they do! My detailed teaching on Point of View offers novelists a thorough teaching on the various P.O.V.s (omniscient, third person, second person, first person), and gives specific examples and tips so that writers can become P.O.V. purists.

 

Can you tell us some of the top fiction mistakes?

Sure! After editing hundreds of manuscripts, I can point out some of the “top” fiction mistakes: Lack of a good hook. P.O.V. issues. Passive writing. Weak characterization. Poor plotting (no “belly of the whale” scene). Overuse of adverbs. On and on the list goes. Many writers simply don’t realize they’re making these mistakes until someone points them out. They wonder why the book keeps getting rejected. This lesson offers writers a thorough list, detailing the top twenty mistakes novelists make.

 

Why did you decide to add a lesson on humor writing?

I’ve been writing comedies for years and have learned so much along the way. Humor writing is tough stuff! Some writers are born with an overactive funny bone. Others have to work hard to be funny. (Ironic, isn’t it?!) If you’re interested in adding a little har-de-har-har-har to your novel, then you will enjoy this light-hearted lesson.

 

The second half of the book is devoted to pitching and promoting the book, as well as working with editors/agents, etc. Why include all of this information?

I included this information because the average novelist needs a wake-up call. We writers are solitary souls. We sit in front of our computers and lose ourselves in our stories. Then comes the time to pitch that story to an editor. We freeze. Courage eludes us. We need to proper tools to get the book through the publisher’s door and the second half of Writing and Selling the Great American Novel offers that. . .and more!

 

Speaking of getting a book through a publisher’s door: Putting together a book proposal is tough! What have you learned over the years?

Book deals are won or lost based on the proposal. If you’ve got a completed manuscript and you’re ready to pitch it to an agent or editor, then this exciting lesson on query letters and book proposals will point you in the right direction, giving you all the confidence you need to submit, submit, submit! Novelists who use the information provided in this chapter can compose polished query letters and dazzling book proposals, sure to impress both editors and agents, alike.

 

You’ve included a section on marketing and promotion. Can you share a little about that process here?

Sure! I love marketing my books and enjoy teaching other novelists how to promote their books, as well. This section of the book is absolutely loaded with practical ideas for getting the word out about your book once it’s published. I’ve included tips related to social media, public speaking, and much more. Whether you’re working with the marketing team at your publishing house or promoting a self-published novel, you will get the tools you need to spread the word.

 

Where can people find Writing and Selling the Great American Novel?

They will find it on amazon for the next ninety days. From September 13th – 16th (the dates of the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference) the book will sell for $3.99. On the morning of the 17th the price will jump to its “forever” price of $8.99, a real bargain for such a comprehensive text.

 

Where can people find you on the web?

My website: www.janiceathompson.com

My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson

Twitter: booksbyjanice

 

Thanks so much for joining us, Janice. Can I ask you to leave more information about your writing courses?

They can learn more at www.freelancewritingcourses.com. On that site, they will also find my “Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer” course, which many students have already taken. Folks can learn more about that one by clicking on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-5IZSNaZFU. I offered a free webinar on the subject some time ago, and it can be found here: http://www.freelancewritingcourses.com/?s=webinar. We’ll be adding to the course list periodically, so stay tuned for more announcements!

Advertisements

Bella’s Back!

Reading is a favorite activity I have with my daughters. We love to share books. This is only a problem when we’re reading the same series. Since I’m the mom, I always win and get to read all books first! I’ll never forget when my teen daughter was reading one of the Bella books and could not stop giggling. I relived the book through her play-by-play recap of what part she’s reading. Today I’m sharing with you one of our all time favorite characters!

Enjoy this fun interview with author Janice Thompson, where she shares the story-behind-the-story regarding Bella’s return.

Janice, welcome! I’m really enjoyed the Weddings by Bella series and am excited to read the spin-off series.

1. Can you tell us more about why you decided to write it?

Sure! (Thanks for hosting me, by the way!) When I wrote Fools Rush In (book one in the Weddings by Bella series) I knew I had something special on my hands. The characters really resonated with me, but there was more. I felt as if I’d created a world of real, wonderful, wacky people. Sure, I’d breathed life into them on the page, but they seemed to take it from there, springing to life and moving the story forward as they willed. I wrapped up the series with Swinging on a Star and It Had to be You, but my readers weren’t satisfied! At least once a week I got a letter from a fan saying, “Are there more? Please keep this story going!” I sent several of those letters to my editor, and before long she agreed that we should, indeed, keep the story going! That’s how the Weddings by Design story began. I’m so relieved to have more to offer. Since Fools Rush In went free on kindle, it has been downloaded nearly 300,000 times. Crazy! So, I have many, many new readers, aching for more!

2. How are these stories similar to the novels in the Weddings by Bella series?

This is a wedding-themed series, just like the first, and loaded with fun, quirky mishaps on the way to the altar! Readers will experience the same “feel” of Galveston Island and my ever-present humor, which drives the stories forward.  I truly hope that readers pick up the first book in this new series and sigh with relief as they catch up with their favorite characters from the last series: Bella, D.J., Aunt Rosa, Uncle Laz, the three ladies from Splendora, Brock Benson, and so on. Here’s what the publisher had to say about the new series: With her contagious humor and cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives readers more of the bridal business drama they want in a brand-new series all about those long-suffering people who make beautiful weddings happen. Readers are desperately waiting for more of Bella and this new series brings her back in a big way, while introducing new characters fans will love. Fans will laugh out loud as they experience this breezy and entertaining novel from a great storyteller.”

3. What sets this new series apart from the last one?

The Weddings by Design novels are told from the point of view of new characters. Book one, Picture Perfect, is about a wedding photographer named Hannah. Book two, The Icing on the Cake, is about a wedding cake designer named Scarlet. Book three, The Dream Dress, is about a dress designer named Gabi. Book four (yet unpublished) is about a wedding florist named Gina. Each of these ladies longs to work with the most fabulous wedding coordinator on the island—Bella (Rossi) Neeley, so everything loops back to Club Wed, just like the first series.

4. When does the new series release?

Book one, Picture Perfect, is already available on amazon. The kindle version will be ready for download on February 15th. (Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!) I received my author copies last week, so autographed copies are available for purchase ($12) if readers are interested in that. They can email me at booksbyjanice@aol.com for more information.

5. Can you tell us about Picture Perfect, the first book in the series?

Ooo, I’d love to! The synopsis should answer any questions:

She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy?

Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid.

As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?

6. How is the new series doing with readers so far?

Great! Folks who’ve read the book have already contacted me to say they love it! I’m also thrilled that Picture Perfect got a great Romantic Times review. . .four stars! Here’s what the reviewer had to say: “Fans of romantic comedies are in for a treat just in time for Valentine’s Day. Book one in the Weddings by Design series does not disappoint! Funny one-liners and absolutely lovable characters combine with just enough romantic tension to keep the pages turning at a brisk pace — but readers will want to slow down to savor this one.”

7. How are you kicking off the new series?

I’m hosting an online party! I’m calling this my “Bing & Bob” party and it will be held on the night of February 18th at 7:00 p.m. central time. These two funny fellas hold a special place in the heart of my characters and they will provide the entertainment at our gathering! This fun, interactive party will take place inside the “Bella’s Back” group on facebook. Join me for an interactive chat, video teasers, Bing Crosby music and giveaways! Some lucky reader/participant will win a free kindle fire! To be entered, you must join the Bella’s Back facebook group and attend the party. (i.e. “Must be present when your named is called.”)

For more information about the party, check out this video invitation.

Thanks for visiting with us, Janice! Looking forward to the new series!

STAY CONNECTED WITH THE AUTHOR:

Visit Janice’s Website

Connect with Janice on Facebook

Join the “Bella’s Back” Facebook group

Watch the Bing & Bob party video invitation

Check out the Bella’s Back Video on youtube

Read Fools Rush In (the first Bella book) for free on your kindle

%d bloggers like this: