There’s no right way to learn to write a novel. Normandie Fischer discovered that when she learned to write fiction. What works for one author won’t always work for another, but just in case you’re curious, here’s what’s worked for her.
What genre do you write? How did you pick it?
I write women’s fiction. I hadn’t a clue what that was when I began my writing journey, until my then-agent suggested it might be a fit. I thought perhaps my Isaac’s House novels dipped toes into romantic suspense, but the RS folk think not. So, WF it is, usually with a bit of romance thrown into the mix.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
Usually women’s fiction. I like the richness of story, the complications of layers inserted by the best authors.
How long did it take you complete your first manuscript (published or not)?
A year? And then 20 years of various rewrites before it became my fourth published book.
Have your follow-up novels been easier or harder to write? Why do you think that is?
Oh, much easier. The first was a learning-how-to-do-it book, as most first manuscripts are. It may have won me an award two years after I finished it, but it was not ready for publication. I’m grateful for the timing that gave me all those years to hone my craft and move from non-fiction/narrative non-fiction/poetry into fiction. I found my voice during those years.
What’s surprised you the most about the book-publishing process?
How long everything takes. I had two agents over the years and yet my first contract didn’t come until 2012.
What’s been the most challenging part of getting a book published?
Marketing. I loathe the word, but the process feels worse that a dentist’s drill without Novocaine. I love the writing part, the editing part, the production part, but trying to get the word out that I’ve actually written a book? I’d rather just write a new book.
What’s your favorite part of the publishing experience?
Writing the book, followed closely by having a reader tell me she loves the story or loves the writing—or, best yet, the story touched her in a meaningful way.
For learning the writing craft, which do you prefer – books or conferences? Why?
Books. I’m a visual learner. I can place words on a page and remember them, but I won’t do well if you only tell me something.
If you could recommend one writing conference, what would it be? Why? (If you haven’t attended one, which one would you like to attend? Why?)
Each conference I’ve attended has offered something different. I love my tribe at Women’s Fiction Writers, and the yearly retreat nourishes me in renewed friendships. So did the ACFW Conference I attended this year. I’d been back in 2010, but this one was about fellowship and learning, not about trying to get published.
If you could recommend one writing book, what would it be? Why?
When I first began writing, I read everything Writers Digest Books published about craft. I don’t think I can recommend only one book, because we’re all at a different place in our walk, which means we’re all going to need something that fits that particular place. In recent years, I’ve devoured Donald Maass’s books.
To be honest, the best tool for a writer is to read voraciously—and to read well. We need to teach our ear to hear beautiful language; only by reading widely and well will we uncover the secrets of excellent writing.
You can connect with Normandie Fischer online here:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Normandie-Fischer/e/B00BSIF2NI/
BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/normandie-fischer