Tell us about your current book/project
Is there any writing advice you think is dangerous to new writers?
If you could do it all over again, which mistakes would you make more quickly this time?
I’d definitely start pitching to agents at conferences and submitting cold queries to agents sooner. It would have been good to get this self-torture phase out of my system up front so I could focus on medium and small publishing houses. As it was, my first conference pitch to a New York agent ended in disaster. As soon as she arrived in Colorado, she suffered a horrible allergy attack. As I tried to pitch my first mystery, she paced back and forth, sneezing and dripping, and hating everything about Denver, the conference, my book pitch, and me. It was ten minutes of hell. As for those mailed queries, most of them ended up in the twilight zone. A lot of wasted time and effort…
Plotter, pantser, or some mix of both?
I don’t know what I am. I don’t know what I’m doing. I binge write like crazy and then screech to a halt while I try to put order to my timeline. In November 2013 I started a new project during NaNoWriMo and halfway through the month realized at the pace I was going I’d have the whole story told in about 30,000 words of confusion. I dropped out of Nano and started working on a chapter outline. After my critique group took a look at what I’d done so far, and pretty much slapped me upside the head for lack of structure, I went back and reorganized the whole project with an outline. I hope to get the first draft done by the end of October (2014) so I can start a new project during NaNoWriMo (2014), type like crazy for a couple of weeks, screech to a halt in frustration and despair, and do it all again.
Tell us something we don’t know.
(Head bowed, thinking, thinking….) Okay. This is a trick question. I don’t know any of you people so I have no idea what you know or don’t know. What if someone from my past lives follows Jim Heskett, someone who could expose my deepest, darkest secrets? Like the fact I’m nice on the outside and a cynical smartass on the inside.
So truly, the only thing I could tell you that I know you don’t know (at least until I tell you) is something that happened recently. Here it is. I just had my third and last routine screening colonoscopy. “Last” because due to my age and uneventful previous procedures, and in spite of two cases of rectal cancer in my family, I’ve graduated. From now on, something has to go horribly wrong before I have another, and it would be diagnostic rather than screening.
Lucky for you, I have no intention of trying to top Dave Barry’s 2009 Miami Herald column on the process so you will not get TMI from me. I will only say that the screening saves lives. Don’t mess around. Do it. Dave Barry: A journey into my colon — and yours.
Holden Caulfield and Atticus Finch play Monopoly. Who’s more likely to cheat?
Seriously? Caulfield is too cynical to believe Finch is really a noble champion of the downtrodden so he’ll figure Finch deserves to lose. And Finch is a lawyer. He does what he needs to do to win. They’ll both cheat.
Did I mention I am a cynical smartass?
Read all of Jim’s author interviews here.