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Edward Van Winkle

1. What inspired you to write your debut novel?

My debut novel actually started out as a ridiculous script I wrote in high school based off Snoopy vs. The Red Baron. My dad and I made a home movie, then another, then five, then an improvised audio book, then a few short stories, and finally an outline for a novel. It evolved a lot in that time. Incidentally, that outline isn't even the one I used in the end.

2. Why did you choose the path of Self-Publishing/Traditional Publishing?

I chose self-publishing because I felt it was unlikely I would be able to traditionally publish a debut novel in absurd comedy, I wanted this book published as it was, I wanted to control all aspects of it since it was a personal project, and I had no idea where to start with traditional publishing. It just seemed like a good choice.

3. Do you have any advice for other writers looking to pursue Self-Publishing/Traditional Publishing?

Just do it. Your worst enemy is your own inaction.

4. What inspired you to become an author & has it always been your dream?

It... has not. lol

I decided to become an author after working for two and a half years as an audio-book editor. I read over two hundred books in that time, most of them best-sellers, and figured I couldn't do much worse. I was both right and wrong. :p

5. Where’s your favorite space to write?

Where I can. Anywhere quiet, comfortable, and creative.

6. What are your top 5 must haves for a writing space?

Quiet, comfortable, and creative. Wow. Déjà vu. lol

7. How many hours a day do you write?

I don't really count. I also don't just focus on writing. I also write more than just novel-related material. Wow. My life's kinda complicated! lol

Sometimes I'll work on writing-related stuff for one or two hours, other times I'll stay up all night until 10am with eyes wide-open working on a cover or formatting. It varies a lot.

8. In terms of Outlining are you Plotter, a Pantser or a Plantser?


I start by brainstorming - a pantser-ish activity in itself. Then I polish the ideas and organize them on a template. This template, which I made for myself, guides me like an inkblot test into what the best flow of events might be. Then I write a book summary, then chapter summaries. I add writing prompts to each chapter based off the summary before I write them. These prompts allow me to return to a panster state and most of the actual content (including some characters, locations, and events) is improv though it flows from a highly organized summary.

I like to think of the process as my just-add-water technique, where I start with a simple idea and keep watering it until it grows into a full story.

9. Because I have a pretty Type-A personality, I’m always curious about other peoples scheduling methods. Do you use a schedule to plan out your life / writing & if so, do you use paper or electronic planning?

I wish I could say I planned well, but just... nope. lol

I've got a sketchbook that I use as a planner (without drawings), and I write whatever I do during the day in it. Each two-page layout is a single week and I include a list of long-term goals and daily goals just to remember they exist. If I tell myself to do too much during a day, I end up doing nothing. But writing down what I do keeps me aware of how I use my time and helps me make progress.

10. What is your favorite part about the writing process?

So far it's line editing. I love taking absolute crap and making it good. But I don't like fully rewriting. My template and plotting skills come in handy to prevent rewrites.

11. What is your least favorite part about the writing process?

The actual writing.

It sounds weird, but I love brainstorming, editing, formatting, outlining, titling, character creation, location creation, cover design, everything... except the actual writing.

At least, so far. It seems to be growing more enjoyable as I get better at it.

12. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Forever. lol

13. What’s your biggest internal obstacle in getting your writing done?

Depression, anxiety, self-doubt, inexperience (because of not practicing enough), hesitation, reformulation, and getting up for a snack too often. There's too many to choose from! lol

14. What’s your biggest external obstacle in getting your writing done?

It used to be dogs barking, cars going by, not having a laptop, not having a set place to write, not having a stable living environment, etc.

Now that I've got my own house, it's mostly just struggling with Linux.

15. Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

It exists, but I think the term is used to describe a symptom that stems from many different roots.

I overcome the fear-based writer's block by taking a walk or just starting to actually write. Sometimes the anxiety of starting to write keeps you from writing, which then feeds into that anxiety because you don't feel like you're able to write because you haven't written.

I overcome fatigue-based writer's block by taking a nap. Sometimes you're just tired.

I overcome plot-based writer's block by reviewing the outline, looking to external sources for inspiration, and even inserting random elements if I have to.

I'm sure there's other types too. None of them are the end of the world and you just need to know how to deal with them.

16. Does writing energize you or exhaust you?

It depends on which part of the process I'm in. Brainstorming energizes, outlining exhausts, actual writing exhausts, editing exhausts, proofing energizes, formatting makes me pull hair out, and cover design is just addicting... in a bad way.

17. Best piece of advice for other writers?

Just do it.

18. What is your favorite quote about writing?

"There are quotes about writing?" - me

19. Which authors are your biggest inspirations?

Douglas Adams for his absurdity and comedic brilliance.

Isaac Asimov for his ability to turn logic problems into stories.

20. What are you currently working on now?

I'm about to republish my debut novel, with two other WIPs (Works In Progress) partially completed and several more ready to get started.

21. What is your Favourite Season (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer)? Does the season impact your writing life / creativity?

Fall's my favorite season because I can harvest goods from the garden, the weather's nice, and the heat's out of the way for the year.

The season totally impacts my creativity. Winter is horrible for my depression and likewise drowns my creative process. Summer's just too hot to think sometimes. Fall and spring are gold.

That's a very interesting question, and I wonder how my response will align with those of others!

Connect with Edward

Twitter : @EdwardVanWinkle

Youtube: @EdwardVanWinkle

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