BIW Member Interview
Kathy Priebe is the author of “Stones of Iris” serial, “The Stones of Iris” book edition and “The Littlest Mermaid” available at LuLu.com. Her non-fiction piece “What Does A Grandma Do?” was printed in Lakeland’s Write On 2000 issue and reprinted in the 2001 issue.
Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Kathy Priebe: I’ve always written. It was my place to escape to, but I rarely shared what I wrote. I finally started to look at it as more than a hobby when I ended up back in college. I had the luck to have a great English professor who was able to instill in me, a belief in myself and my own abilities.
Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?
1. Research your market. Research the publications you want to submit to. Research the facts surrounding your plot and characters. If everything your writing is completely made up, edit what you made up! I’m in the middle of developing my own small section of coast line and even that needs research. From climate to roadways. By the time I’m done, I will know this fictional area better than my own neighborhood! Research: Besides the aforementioned, it’s a great way to learn new things and you might find more stories screaming out to be written.
2. Back story and characters’ histories. Your research will lay the ground work for the people, places and things in your book. Separate the back story and/or history of those people, places and things from the rest of your book. If you have to add some of that info into the story, do so wisely. Too much history or back story can make even the most exciting plot, boring.
3. Edit and edit some more! At least once a year thumb through your favorite grammar book (okay, I’m fairly certain there’s an oxymoron in there somewhere). And before submitting, give your piece of work a rest and work on something else for at least a week, especially if you don’t have anyone else to look over your work. Invest in a read-out-loud program, freeware or shareware. When you read your own work, your mind ‘sees’ what you meant to write, whether it is there or not. A read out loud program reads what you wrote. Run-on sentences and all.
I had a story that was accepted for serial publication. I was quite proud of that. The story was my first published. It ran for 81 issues, had an assigned ISSN and everything. That was a couple of years ago. I had to wait until the rights reverted back to me. When I re-read the story to start putting it into book form, I cringed! I was able to change some things with the second edition but boy was that a wake up call. Edit. What’s that saying that you see plastered all over the place: “When in doubt, leave it out!”
Moe: What are you working on now?
Kathy Priebe: What am I working on now? About 80 thousand things! Seriously, about ten different stories. Half novel length and the other half are shorts. I find I have less trouble with writer’s block if I can work on something else. It keeps the creativity flowing. Besides, remember that fictional coastline I mentioned? Though the stories themselves are unrelated, the locations are general to each other.
What is your favorite writing website?
Kathy Priebe: I don’t have just one. There are many, upon many good sites dedicated to the art of writing and publishing. Though I have to admit those I visit most are writer’s groups. Individuals sharing their pains and triumphs and sharing what works and what doesn’t. One of my favorites is the Muse Conference Board.
Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?
Kathy Priebe: Turn off the editor! Words flow much easier when you are not worrying about the where, what, and when of grammar. If you decide after BIW to continue or try to sell your piece, then go back and start your rewrite and editing.