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The 7 Things I Learned from Interviewing Authors


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We are thrilled to welcome Diana Giovinazzo as our newest contributor to Writer Unboxed! Diana is the co-creator of Wine, Women and Words, a weekly literary podcast featuring interviews with authors over a glass of wine. Diana is active within her local literary community as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. Her debut novel, THE WOMAN IN RED, was released August 4, 2020. Her second novel, ANTOINETTE’S SISTER will be released January 2022.

Learn more about Diana on her website. Glad to have you aboard, Diana! 

Five years ago my best friend, Michele, and I decided to start a podcast that we called-Wine, Women, and Words. Our friendship was formed over a mutual love of books that morphed into late a podcast where we can keep talking about books even though we are now live on opposite coasts. Somewhere along the way, we decided to add authors, we thought that at the very least we thought it would be fun to get some new drinking buddies. However, those drinking buddies turned into our own master class on writing. Below are the seven things that I have learned from authors on the show.

Writing a sex scene a lot like writing a fight scene…it’s all about emotion.

Sure, everyone thinks it’s all about the technical details: where to kiss, which way the sword should swing (no pun intended), but what many authors fail to take into account are the emotions. Emotions leave a stronger, more lasting, impression. Are the characters angry? Is it passionate?

Expressing emotions are more important than the technicalities; they are what determines the actions. When you are in tune with the character’s feelings, the actions will come naturally.

When it comes to world-building, the devil is in the details.

This is something that we hear not just from authors in fantasy but in just about every other genre as well. When it comes to creating the world in which your characters reside, the devil is in the details. Whether you are calculating the velocity of a dragon based on the wingspan of a California Condor or entrenching your character in another time, having those details is important for readers.

These little details are what make a story come alive, bringing all five senses. They set the tone and help with the overall experience of the world around your character.

Is it writer’s block or do you need to do more research?

This one goes out to my historical fiction writers. When it comes to writer’s block the question we have to ask ourselves is, is it writer’s block or does it mean you need to go back for more research? Often the best thing to do about a section or a tough plot is to go back to the resources. There is bound to be something missing.

I recently tested this out with my work in progress. I felt stuck with where the story was going so I went back to my research, and I can certainly attest to this how well this helps with moving a story along when you are stuck.

When it comes to writing multiple perspectives, each character has to have something different to say.

One of the biggest questions everyone asks is, how do I make my characters sound different? The best advice for this is to make sure to give your other characters a different point of view your main character can’t provide. What’s the point of telling a story where the two characters are talking about the same room, from the same point of view?

Know the series ending when embarking on the first book

One of the things we often hear from authors who have a series is that you need to know where the characters are going at the end of the series. It doesn’t have to be a set plan (like it or not, our characters are allowed to change their minds) that determines what will happen with them but there has to be an idea of where you want them to end up. This pulls the story along and helps to keep that pesky plot on track.

Sometimes you have to let the story take you where it needs to go.

You’ve got a nice plan. You’ve got a well-formed plot and you sit down to start writing. But the story you planned is not the story you are writing…and that’s ok. Sometimes the story needs to go in a different direction.

But it is more than letting the story go where it needs, it’s about trust. Trust in ourselves and trust in our art. When you let the story take the turns that it needs, you also permit yourself to be creative without all the distractions of a world that regularly tells us no.

It doesn’t matter if it is the first book or the 20th, every author has the pre-release jitters.

Everyone experiences those pre-release jitters. That fear about how the book is going to be received if the reviews are going to be good or will it get all the negative reviews. The reality is that it doesn’t matter if it is the first book of the 20th, every single author feels that anxiety. In many ways, that’s part of being an author, looking the monster of anxiety in the face and saying screw you, I am doing this anyway.

 

We often hear that the best advice when it comes to learning who to write is to read everything from the classics to the back of shampoo bottles. However, when it comes to learning about craft, sometimes the best teachers are not just books, it’s the authors themselves.

What is the best advice that you received from other authors?

 

 

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About Diana Giovinazzo

Diana Giovinazzo is the co-creator of Wine, Women and Words, a weekly literary podcast featuring interviews with authors over a glass of wine. Diana is active within her local literary community as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. Her debut novel, THE WOMAN IN RED, was released August 4, 2020. Her second novel, ANTOINETTE’S SISTER will be released January 2022.

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