Goodreads – T. VanEeckhoutte Answers “Author Questions”

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On Goodreads, I answered some “author questions” and I thought you might enjoy reading them, so I copied and pasted them here (I hope I’m allowed to do that). The questions from Goodreads are in bold text and my answers are in regular text.

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

It took me at least 15 years to write, edit, and self-publish my first novel, Transmogrified. In that time, I read a lot of fiction, non-fiction, and advice on how to write and edit stories. I wrote short stories for the Kindle as an experiment, just to get my work out there in some form.

Writing, like art, takes many hours of consistent (and persistent) practice over many years. I aspire to improve my writing over time as I gain more experience. I try to practice writing or drawing every day, even when it’s hard to get started. I would say that if this is your dream, keep plugging away at it. Get as much advice as you can on the craft of writing and get constructive feedback from others who have read your work before you publish. Also, do your research and learn to proofread and edit your own work. You may not agree with all the advice you find or get from others, but keep it in mind, think about it, try it out, see if it works for you first before rejecting it right away. I know other people have said this before, but I think it’s best to learn the rules of an art before you decide (carefully and thoughtfully) to break them.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

As a perfectionist, I have to learn not to get hung up on perfection, especially with my first draft. “Just write something,” I tell myself, “Even if you think it sounds stupid.” I know I’m going to end up rewriting and editing a trillion times later anyway.

Sometimes I have to just sit there and write, even if I don’t feel like it at first. Getting started can be incredibly difficult (although it used to be easy as a child, but as an adult I tend to criticize and self-censor a lot). I’ve had to set a timer for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, and just start writing something. Once the time is up, if I think I can go further I’ll set the timer again. I’ll keep going until I run out of ideas, then take a break. I’ll go do something else (art, chores, reading, exercising, etc.) and then start the process again the next day. If an idea comes to me while I’m doing other things, I sometimes write it down on a notepad or speak it into a recording device and save it for later.

Also, if I can remember my dreams, I find it’s best to write them down as soon as I wake up (or I end up forgetting). Sometimes dreams can generate interesting new ideas.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

I am very introverted and dislike travel, so not having to deal with a lot of people in a noisy, stressful, over-stimulating environment is perfect for me.

What are you currently working on?

I already have written a few chapters of the follow-up to my first science-fiction novel, Transmogrified, but I’m not sure if I want to continue working on that right now, or if I want to work on something different for a while. I have a lot of ideas, so it’s hard to choose. Maybe an art book to accompany Transmogrified? I have contemplated it. Also, I had the idea of gathering up my short stories and possibly some of my poems into a single book, but I’m not sure where to go with that yet.

How do you get inspired to write?

When I was a small child, I started drawing cartoons and created my own characters. Then I moved on to drawing comic books featuring my characters. After that, around 5th grade, I started making little chapter books. The books kept getting longer and longer as my writing improved and I got new ideas. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and as a child I created artwork and wrote stories for fun. I did it as a way to express my thoughts and feelings and to escape from the boredom or harshness I encountered in the real world. I still need that creative outlet today, perhaps more than ever.

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

I got the idea back in high school from teachers saying to the students, “You’re going to be the guinea pigs,” whenever they were testing something new on us. I had the amusing thought, “What if I made a story where someone literally becomes a guinea pig?” The story started off as a comic book about a man who gets turned into a guinea pig by a “mad scientist,” but the story has evolved and matured a lot since then and the novel is quite different from the comic I started with.

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Source (my Author Page on Goodreads):

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13506234.T_VanEeckhoutte?from_search=true