Below, I'll give the two questions asked, and how I would have liked to answer them. The official responses had to be much much shorter, as we were only allowed 250 characters per question. Certainly not enough to both answer and show our personalities.
Question 1What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?A:It was my senior year of high school. Before English class (and before the other students had come in) I had presented one of my new poems to the instructor, Ms. Silva, for her feedback. I was worrying about the delivery and motifs being too cliche, since I intended to have it published under the pen name I was using at the time. She had already seen me working on a project I intended to be a series of novels in my free time. To my surprise, she was eager to see both published, and whenever I brought a project to her for feedback, the editing suggestions were always made very kindly, she's tell me my weak points and make suggestions, then show me my strengths too. It had gotten so that she would do it with my vocabulary sentences as well, because I would use those assignments to practice short stories as a way to keep things interesting for the both of us. Her best advice, echoed by Ms. Akridge, another teacher that handled several subjects, was "just keep writing."
So I do.Question 2When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?A:Sometimes I'll start a new story with an outline, and sometimes I won't. If it is a novel, I generally have an idea, and things fall into place a chapter or so in... then I'll write out the chapter outline and work from there. Rarely, I'll draft a full outline before I start, but then I generally end up rewriting several more times than usual because I'll be fighting overstructuring. "Kiss Cursed Princess," which is what I submitted for this contest, is an example o writing without a formal outline, as is "The Little Blue Rosebud" that I published many years ago under a pen name. My novels in the Dragon Shaman series, and Selkies' Skins, all have outlines.
So what got submitted for the official answers? Click here to find out. While you're there, share my story (it's free to read) with your friends, leave your feedback, and of course vote if you like it (or if you think it stinks, there's an option for that too in the dropdown box). Voting's weekly.