As you know, we’ve been visiting with co-authors of Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Please welcome Susan Helene Gottfried, author of the short story “Undaunted.” Here’s the first paragraph to get us started:
It rained on our wedding day, and now it’s raining on his funeral. I never got to ask his mother, but it probably rained on the day he was born, too.
Oh, snap! You instantly set the tone and hooked me with very few words. Well done!
What inspired you to write “Undaunted?”
I ran into one of my son’s friends the day of the AP English final. One of the prompts had been “puddles” and no one in any of the classes knew what to do with it. Her head was still reeling. Mine took off in new directions.
Do you write full-time? If not, what do you do for a living?
Nope, I’m a full-time freelance editor to authors of fiction. I actually hadn’t written anything new of consequence in years before this sprang out of me, almost fully formed.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Learn. Learn absolutely everything you can, from the craft of writing to how the publishing industry works. Learn about commas and transitions and echo words. Learn about what it means to sell first rights. Learn the difference between self-publishing, using a small press, or finding an agent who’ll open the gates into the big publishing houses – even if you don’t want to go any of those routes. Learn about them anyway.
Learn what NOT to do. How NOT to query. How NOT to open a new chapter. How NOT to listen to the bully in your library’s critique group.
Learn that “write what you know” doesn’t mean you are confined to the life you live. It means it’s your golden ticket to becoming more than who you currently are. Your character’s into roller derby? Go find a team to hang around and observe. Maybe you don’t lace up a pair of skates right then, but maybe you do. Or maybe you do six months from now. Or maybe never. That’s okay, too.
Learn that being a writer means it’s okay to be insatiably curious. And it’s okay to learn a little bit and flit onto the next thing, so long as what you’ve learned up to your departure point is what you need to be able to write authentically.
Just… learn. Drink in the world, and then give it back on the page.
Where can readers learn more about you?
Readers, be sure to subscribe to Susan’s blog. She talks about books, hands out free editing tips, and offers the odd writing prompt.