Ep 112 How to make an editor happy and meet romance writer Kylie Scott.

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podcast-artwork In Episode 112 of So you want to be a writer: Grammar mistakes you should correct, visit a book store with no books, and Chuck Palahniuk releases a colouring book for adults. Find out which six dialogue habits are killing your story and discover the meaning of milquetoast. Also: meet romance writer Kylie Scott, find out if it’s worth pitching to overseas publishers, and discover how to make an editor happy.

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Show Notes

17 Grammar Mistakes You Really Need to Stop Correcting, Like Now

This Redesigned Bookstore (Without Any Books) Is the Smartest Thing You’ll See Today

Here’s The First Look At Chuck Palahniuk’s Coloring Book For Adults

6 dialogue habits that are killing your story

Writer in Residence

Kylie Scott

author-kylie-scottKylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into ten different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

Follow Kylie on Twitter

Working Writer’s Tip

Is it worth pitching to overseas publishers?

Ask the writer: 5 more questions answered

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Microsoft’s Snip tool

Building Your Author Platform Tip

Industry Insider: How to make an editor happy

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Win a FIVE-book MEMOIR PACK!

Your hosts

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers’ Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Email us

podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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Interview Transcript

Allison

Kylie Scott is the New York Times and US Today bestselling author of Stage Dive super-hot romance series, the Flesh Series and others. She was voted Australian Romance writer of the year in 2013 by the Australian Romance Writers Association. And her books have been translated into six different languages.

 

Her latest book, Dirty, the first book in the Dive Bar series, was released in April 2016 and immediately shot up the New York Times Best Seller List.

 

Welcome to the program, Kylie.

 

Kylie

Thank you very much for having me.

 

Allison

Well, I’m very excited to have you. I’ve been watching your book on social media and stuff, your new book, and it’s just going so amazingly well. It must be very exciting for you.

 

Kylie

It really is. It’s been a wonderful release. It’s been… Dirty has been received really well by fans and everyone — yeah, it’s been awesome.

 

Allison

Do you get a little bit nervous about putting out like a new series, because I know that the Stage Dive series has been so popular and I know you get asked a lot if you’re ever going to do another one in that series. Is putting out something new a little bit like, “I hope they’ll like it?”

 

Kylie

Absolutely, absolutely.

 

I was watching on Twitter another author was saying, “This is my tenth book,” but you never quite know if this is going to be the one that they’re going to throw into the fire and dance around it or something. There’s just no telling how things are going to be received. So, while we always hope for the best you just can’t always tell.

 

Allison

All right, so let’s start from the beginning. What was your path to publication? Like, how did we get to this point?

 

 

 

 

Kylie

I was actually operating a floral shop in a small country town about — gee, it must be nearly ten years ago now. And, even though I had a good day, you’d still often have hours of free time.

 

And so I thought, “Well, I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I’ve got a beer in the shop, and I’ve got the computer, I might as well make the time.”

 

And then I started doing… I did some courses with the Queensland Writers’ Centre, and read some manuals, and I joined a critique group, and then I worked with a mentor and then we started entering competitions. That was all over about six or seven years.

 

Allison

OK, and you were always writing romance the whole time?

 

Kylie

I started out doing more sort of urban fantasy. Then someone passed me a romance book and it just went from there.

 

Allison

What was the first book you ever had actually published?

 

Kylie

My first book was Flesh, that was a post-zombie apocalypse erotic romance.

 

Allison

 

Kylie

I know… but, the zombies don’t do anything. Apart from eating people the zombies do not do anything.

 

Allison

OK, that’s an interesting thing.

 

What year was that? When did that happen?

 

Kylie

That happened in 2012, I believe.

 

Allison

All right, so not that long ago.

 

Kylie

No.

 

Allison

And I think the book that really took off for you was a book called Lick, is that correct?

 

Kylie

It is, we thought we were so clever with that name. We love our puns.

 

Allison

Yeah, right.

 

Kylie

We love our puns, and it actually means guitar lick, but of course…

 

Allison

But of course, yeah.

 

Kylie

Never mind, never mind. We were too clever for our own good, so I’ve spent the last few years going, “Look, it’s not that kind of ‘lick’…”

 

Allison

It kind of is really as well though, isn’t it?

 

Kylie

It kind of is really as well. There’s a little bit of that in there.

 

Allison

All right. So, how did that book come about? How did you go from post-apocalyptic zombie flesh-eating romance to guitar licks and other licks?

 

Kylie

Well, that’s the fantastic thing about romance. It can move between sub-genres. So, I’ve done two of the post-apocalyptic zombies, and I just needed a break from that world. I wanted to do something a bit different.

 

And so I went to Momentum, who were my publisher, and they were digital experiment of Pan Macmillan Australia. They sadly just closed down.

 

Allison

Just closed recently. Yeah.

 

Kylie

Yeah. They did a fantastic job, though. They really brought digital publishing in Australia a long way.

 

And, so Joel Main said to me, “Well, what do you want to do?” I said, “Well, actually, how would you like a contemporary romance set in the music world of rock stars”, and he was like, “Bring it on.”

 

I grew up, probably like most people from my generation, countdown, MTV, back when they used to play music, all of these sort of things. So, I play a bit of guitar myself and have been in a couple of bands that mostly just played on back decks at parties. And, yeah, it was just a lot of fun to get into that world.

 

Allison

The music thing is something that comes through in quite a few of your books. It’s particularly loud rock and roll, you’re obviously a fan. I remember going to a romance writers’ conference about ten years ago and being told quite adamantly to steer clear of musicians and sport stars. So, clearly things have changed. Perhaps the fact that Momentum was publishing a whole range of different things, not just straight romance, might have been a good thing?

 

Kylie

Absolutely, because when I put Lick out there had been a couple of more erotic romance sort of rock star books, but nothing that was a bit more in the medium. So, it was… there was a lot of interest in that, even from when I was just still writing, to see what I would actually come up with. It was perfect timing, I was extremely lucky.

 

Allison

Do you think that’s what it was? That it was timing, like in the sense… because it really went nuts right from the start, which is an unusual thing. Like, for it to stand out like that in that very crowded marketplace, what do you think the key to that was?

 

Kylie

There’s always that element in publishing. You can write a great book, but actually getting it into the right hands so that people are talking about it and building that buzz, and so much of that is just luck, unfortunately.

 

Allison

Yeah, I know.

 

Kylie

Yeah, how to describe it… because people… I don’t… a bit of a reputation with the zombie books for doing something a bit different. This was before the Walking Dead was really big.

 

Allison

Yep.

 

 

Kylie

And so quite a few bloggers were interested to see what I’d do with a contemporary. So, the zombie books really helped pave the way for me. Without them I wouldn’t have had the name where people were willing to take the risk.

 

Allison

Like the fact that you had bloggers interested and then talking about it and all of that sort of stuff, it does help you sort of spread that word of mouth for you, doesn’t it before you start?

 

Kylie

Oh, it was a huge help. It really was. To have people on social media going, “I just read this, you’ve got to read it.” You can’t pay for that kind of promotion.

 

Allison

No, you can’t.

 

Kylie

It’s pure luck.

 

Allison

Keep your fingers crossed luck.

 

All right. So, tell us about Dirty. It’s a new series for you, with the Dive Bar series. What do you think are the biggest challenges about writing a romantic series? Like, that’s essentially what you’ve done with Stage. I think they’re kind of connected, but not an on-going saga, are they?

 

Kylie

Yeah, I wanted to move away from the millionaires, because money does solve a lot of problems. I wanted to bring it back down to a sort of medium wage reality a bit more.

 

Allison

 

Kylie

I think the hardest thing with writing a series is not letting your brain get lazy and sort of… if you read sort of 3 books by an author in a row you’ll often see that they kind of have a recipe. There’s a map that they follow. And so even if that is just the beats when the plot turns, actually making sure that the plot points are different, your themes are different in each book, so if it’s a love at first sight one the first time, then you really need to bring in some new element the next time… a different couple so they’re not all just sounding the same.

 

Allison

Yep.

 

Kylie

I think that’s a huge thing, because our brains can trick us. They’re like, “No, no… no, that’s good.” And then your critics out there are going, “Dude…”

 

Allison

“You’ve already done this…”

 

Kylie

Critique partners and pushing yourself to come through with new and interesting ideas. Really, watching what you’re doing is so important. And, I think a fair amount of that is — it’s practice, but, yeah, critique partners… they’re invaluable. Great —

 

Allison

So, you’re still working with a critique partner now?

 

Kylie

Yes, I am. Mine is Joanna Wilde, she’s American-based, and she writes motorcycle books. She’s brilliant. She’s actually an ex-journalist. So, she… that sounds like weird sort of thing, doesn’t it? Ex-journalist.

 

Allison

I don’t know, there’s a few of them out there.

 

Kylie

But, she brings a really different eye to things, what she picks up on.

 

Allison

Right.

 

Kylie

That’s another great thing with critique partners and beta readers, everyone brings something new, everyone sort of sees things differently. So, having a couple of them, not just one, is a really good idea.

 

Allison

So, how do you factor that into your writing process? Are you allocating time for that critique stage, as far as when you’re scheduling in your head how long something is going to take you and stuff like that?

 

Kylie

I try to definitely, because I know that generally I do a lot better if I’ve worked through a portion of it with her.

 

Allison

 

Kylie

Because she pushes me. She really pushes — my agent is also a really great editor, and I’ve got a couple of fans that beta read for me. I made sure they weren’t afraid to slap me down if something —

 

Allison

Doesn’t read right, yeah.

 

So you have these people read it, it comes back to you, you take onboard the things that you feel are important, and then it goes off to your publisher at that point, is that how the process works?

 

Kylie

I tend to sort of bring in critique partners about the midway point and again at the end. So, if there’s anything really wrong or if the plot isn’t quite working, the whole book isn’t done.

 

Allison

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.

 

Kylie

I can really weave through new plot points there and sort it out before I go further.

 

Allison

OK, that makes sense. Cool. So, you’ve got like a team, which is great.

 

Kylie

Yes! Yeah, I think every author needs their posse.

 

Allison

Yeah, I think so too. It’s really important, whoever that — whatever that’s made up of, you definitely need those people around you who are going to support you and also tell you when it’s all not working.

 

Kylie

Absolutely. I think today you sort of… I do the promotional pictures as well, so I’ve got a wonderful graphic designer cover lady that I work with, there’s a photographer that I love. It’s really great how indie publishing has opened up all of these different avenues.

 

Allison

Yeah, definitely.

 

Kylie

And we can access them so easily. It’s just brilliant.

 

Allison

All right. So now that Momentum is not publishing you, what’s happening at that end of it for you?

 

Kylie

When Lick when big I got handed upstairs. And being in the American market was extremely important to me, because that’s always sort of been a good 70-80 per cent of my audience.

 

So, they talked to St. Martin’s Press in America and to the UK Macmillan and they worked together and put together a deal. I believe that was the first time that’s ever happened. So, I was extremely fortunate everyone was so into the book and willing to work together. And that’s been brilliant for me.

 

Allison

Fantastic.

 

You have detailed sex scenes in your book, it’s one of your trademark sort of styles. Is that something that developed through the zombie books and things like that? Or is that just the way your stories have always come out? Is that just what you like to read, so that’s what you like to write? Or, how does that work?

 

Kylie

It did sort of develop. When I first started writing… we’ve all got those horrible manuscripts under the bed… my great paranormal epic, which will probably never see the light of day, unless I get some time and rewrite for Wattpad or something, by book number five I had really gotten into writing romance, so I attempted my first sex scene. I could have sworn the Pope was standing right behind me looking over my shoulder the entire time.

 

My shoulders were curled over, I should have been wearing a hood. I felt like I was up to nefarious little terrible deeds on the computer. But, it just… it seemed like such an important… if I was going to write about a couple, it seemed like such an important part of the relationship development.

 

I’m cool with books — that sounds awful. You have my permission not to have sex scenes.

 

Allison

That’s very kind of you, thank you.

 

Kylie

I do like a well-written sex scene. I think it does add quite a lot. Relationships are so layered, how people relate to one another, as friends, as lovers, as… it just… it makes… it gives another added layer, which I enjoy.

 

Allison

Let’s just talk about that a little more, because you said a well-written sex scene is a good thing. But, there are… you know, they’re not easy to write. It is not easy to write —

 

Kylie

No, they’re not!

 

Allison

— a well-written sex scene. I’ve been there, I know.

 

Do you find it difficult to come up with… well, a.), creative sex scenes, because, you know, it’s about mixing things up a little bit, as you’ve talked about before.

 

Kylie

Yeah.

 

Allison

But, also to kind of know, you know, it’s not sort of slot a meets tab b, you know, all the way through. It’s got to be something a little more to it.

 

Like, how do you come up with sort of the different ways of going about it? And what is it that you think your readers are looking for in a sex scene? Is it about the emotion, really? Is that where it comes from? Or what do you think it is?

 

Kylie

Most definitely. It’s how it fits in with the emotional story and development of the couple. That was the big misunderstanding I think about Fifty Shades of Grey, was that it was porn for women. No, not even remotely. If that Cinderella story, this wonderful story that got so many people back into reading, if it wasn’t there supporting the sex scenes and developing, it just wouldn’t have had any… half of that impact.

 

I mean — yeah, I think it’s silly for people… they love writing off romance… we won’t go down that angle. I shan’t rant.

 

Allison

We could rant about that, couldn’t we?

 

Kylie

Oh, I could. But, let’s talk sex.

 

Allison

Let’s talk about sex. Far more interesting.

 

 

 

Kylie

As with many things I keep using the word ‘layers,’ and I think that’s another important one to look at with the sex scenes. The physicality needs to be different — “Where are they doing it?” “Oh my gosh.” It can’t always be missionary, obviously.

 

Allison

No, clearly.

 

Kylie

But… so, that needs to be different.

 

If the sex isn’t furthering the story, then it has no place in the story. In romance, sex for sex’s sake, that’s more erotica. So, they need to be getting to know each other through this sex. It needs to be meaning something. Each time they hit the sheets it’s got to mean something different, and it needs to develop that relationship further.

 

So, there’s the emotional side. There’s how well they get to know each other. How well they get to know each other’s bodies. And where in the story we’re up to. What sort of emotional hit is this sex delivering? Is it angry sex? Is it happy sex? Is it, you know, ‘I’m sorry’ sex? What exactly is going on here? Why are they doing it? It has to have meaning.

 

Allison

Does there also need to be, as you said it can’t be missionary all the time, does there also need to be an element of escape to it, in the sense that many of the readers, and I’m not going to tar everyone with the same brush, but many of the readers are possibly experiencing fairly missionary, vanilla, and possibly looking for something that’s a little bit more, you know, out there?

 

Kylie

Half of us have got kids sitting out in the easy room, it’s not easy!

 

I had a lock put on my bedroom door, and it was when there was some building going on at the house, and you should have seen me blushing tomato red going, “I just don’t want the kids to be able to come in all the time.” I’m sure this poor guy was going, “Lady, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know.”

 

Allison

“Please don’t tell me.”

 

Kylie

I’m just there trying to sort of, “It’s not to do with sex, it has to do with other things. Look, just put the lock up.”

 

Allison

“Let’s not talk about this anymore.”

 

Well, speaking of children, you have children, how does that work with your writing process and how do you fit it all in around them? And how do they feel about mum writing sex scenes…

 

Kylie

My daughter, she’s 14, she doesn’t want to know about it.

 

Allison

Yeah, fair enough.

 

Kylie

Occasionally… occasionally one of her friends will come up to her and say, “I read one of your mum’s books,” and she’ll go, “Mum…”

 

Allison

God, please don’t.

 

Kylie

I think she read one page once and went, “No, that’s too weird.”

 

Allison

Yeah.

 

Kylie

“That’s just too weird.”

 

My son, he’s not the least bit interested in reading it, but he’s very supportive and he goes, “How’s the book going, Mummy? Where are you up to?” It’s really great with them both in high school. You’ve got those hours during the day when they’re away.

 

My husband also works at home, so they’re pretty good about sort of leaving us up until 4:30-5:00, and then we move into family time.

 

Allison

Yeah, so you have two definite zones in your day of ‘this is my work time’ and ‘this is my family time’?

 

Kylie

Yeah. Yeah, we do.

 

Allison

Alright, so just to go back briefly into the actual books themselves, readers seem to absolutely adore your heroes. Like, they seem to have really taken to your blokes, your tattooed blokes. Clearly the tattoos are very important.

 

Kylie

They are!

 

Allison

Do you think that writing a great hero is the key to winning hearts in these types of fiction? Like, how important is he?

 

Kylie

He’s very important. It’s kind of easy writing the heroes, because as a sexual woman I know what I want from my guy, you know? I know what I’m willing to put up with and not.

 

Allison

Yeah.

 

Kylie

And, there’s always going to be that part where they mess up, but then there’s the grovel, and the grovel is great.

 

Allison

Yeah, yeah, the grovel is excellent.

 

Kylie

So, it’s the heroines that give me headaches.

 

Allison

Right.

 

Kylie

I don’t know what women want. They take me longer to really find their voice and to sort out exactly who they are, because another part of the lazy brain syndrome is making sure that your characters from book to book don’t all sound the same. They’ve got to want something different. They’ve got to have different motivations and things pulling and pushing them — their family and friend experience, and their work experience. They’ve all got to be different, otherwise you’re just… it’s the same thing over and over. Not cool.

 

Allison

So, getting to the heart of that character, as part of your actual writing process, is that where you start? Like, “I’m going to get to know these two characters and work out what it’s all about? And then I’m going to see what happens?” Or do you plot them all out? Or how does that work as far as, you know, do you just start writing because you’ve had an idea? How do you go about it?

 

Kylie

I start with the first scene.

 

Allison

 

Kylie

I have the first scene whole in my head, this idea of… usually it’s something horribly embarrassing, because what better way to expose people, than to throw them into the deep end?

 

And then I usually match it with a trope that I’m interested in looking at, whether that be, you know, a surprise marriage or friends to lovers, or whatever. And then I’ll start writing and also working at getting to know my characters. I do it a bit through the writing first, but I’m sort of plotting along at the same time, getting a feel for the story.

 

It’s also with that trope and with that first scene, “What sort of characters would make this story the most dynamic and dramatic? Who would most definitely just be completely thrown in the deep end if they ended up in this situation? Whose life would it make the most waves in?”

 

Allison

“Who can I torture the most?” is basically what you’re…

 

Kylie

“Who am I going to ruin their life?” Their life is over as they know it.

 

Allison

It’s kind of fun, isn’t it, really?

 

Kylie

Oh, it’s wonderful. But, I love that part. Getting those first few chapters down.

 

Allison

Yes.

 

Kylie

And this poor character is just flailing. Yeah, it’s wonderful. You can really expose people.

 

Allison

Yes, the torturous aspect of being a writer.

 

Alright, so just moving on a little bit. About your sort of… you’re quite active on social media. Like, how important is that engagement with your readers?

 

 

Kylie

I have a core group of fans, that stemmed off my Kylie Scott author page. So, I’ve got the Kylie Scott groupies. And they — I know. And I came up with Joanna Wilde’s junkies.

 

Allison

Look at you. Yeah, yeah.

 

Kylie

It’s fun. We talk about music and movies and we talk about what we’re reading. And, I tell them about what I’m working on and share bits. So, they’re very supportive, the core group, they really keep the love going.

 

I think to get a group of super fans, for want of a better name, not only to give you that support and that encouragement, because I find the writing process can be so lonely. So, to be able to stop now and then and to go, “Look, I just wrote this bit, what do you think?” And to get a bit of feedback straight on the spot, “Oh, it’s going to be great.” Rah, rah, rah… can really keep you excited about the project as well.

 

I don’t think there’s much use for Twitter these days. I’m experimenting a bit with Wattpad, it’s simply a very different audience. It’s a younger audience, isn’t it? They really seem to be teens and twenties. It’s very interesting what’s on there.

 

Allison

So, what are you doing on there? You’re putting up bits and pieces of stuff?

 

Kylie

I actually bought back the rights to a couple of early short stories, and I’ve been sharing them, just to see what kind of reaction I got. So, that’s been fun. That’s been good.

 

Allison

And do you find that… because I haven’t actually spoken to any authors who have used… you are my first, so great. I’m now about to exploit your knowledge.

 

Kylie

Oh, good.

 

Allison

Are you finding that, like, are your thoughts on that to just introduce your writing to a different audience and then hope that they will go looking for it elsewhere? Or, like, what is your… what do you think your main… do you have a strategy there, I guess? Yeah?

 

Kylie

Yeah, I went to a conference in Hawaii, I think it was in February. And, they had people from iBooks, and from Wattpad and from Kobo. It gave us a lot of new information about these things. And I was actually surprised by the amount of authors I know that are on Wattpad.

 

Allison

Right.

 

Kylie

And so they’re sharing exerts from their books, deleted scenes, and short stories, and all of these sorts of things. Definitely I’m attempting to expand my audience, because there are millions of people on there reading.

 

Allison

And if someone comes across you there and likes what they see then they are more likely to look for you on Amazon or whatever.

 

Kylie

Yeah.

 

Allison

 

Kylie

I tend to think things like this, they’re free. So, we may as well give them a go, see what kind of response we get from them. If we like that medium, or exactly what works for us.

 

Allison

Yeah, yeah.

 

Kylie

It gets hard to tell exactly if there’s any crossover.

 

Allison

Yep.

 

Kylie

But, at the end of the day some of these things are like, “Well, it’s free, it doesn’t take that much time.” Why not do it?

 

Allison

Yeah, have an experiment with it and see what it might do for you. Yeah, cool.

 

Did you do a lot of work on building your profile before your first book came out? Or was it… had you sort of done much in the way of preparing?

 

 

 

Kylie

I was writing a blog back then, so I would write articles on writing and the writing life, and TV and movies and whatever, just sort of about twice a week I think I did it. Just to try and build an audience. It was probably only a thousand people, max. But, to get some people used to my voice, to see what the reaction was to it, to get a few followers. It was just good practice in general, I think, because then I was tweeting that the new blow was up, and I was settling myself into Facebook and sort of starting on a following, just getting used to how everything operated.

 

Allison

Finding a spot for yourself?

 

Kylie

It all hit me at once.

 

Allison

Yeah, that makes a great deal of sense. And what are your favorite social media platforms, as far as it goes? You like… you were just saying you don’t think Twitter is that useful.

 

Kylie

Twitter is very…

 

Allison

Or as useful as it used to be, probably.

 

Kylie

Twitter is very there and gone, but you can catch some amazing… amazing… there’s a lot of talk about diversity going on at the moment. And there can be some great conversations going on there. I really enjoy Twitter, but it’s more of a fun thing, I think, than a really great promotion.

 

Facebook tends to be the front-runner.

 

Allison

Yep.

 

Kylie

It’s getting the clicks, of course. I’m not… I’ve been doing a lot of boosting, it’s hard to tell exactly how great the cross over is, but I think doing giveaways is very important. I try to do one a week. Just a signed book.

 

Allison

Yeah, yeah.

 

 

Kylie

It doesn’t… it’s not going to take enormous amounts of your time or your money to send a signed book somewhere.

 

Allison

Yeah, yeah.

 

Kylie

But, it really does keep those clicks and views turning over.

 

Allison

Yeah, OK.

 

So, you’re very proactive about keeping yourself in front of people?

 

Kylie

Yes, yeah. I do definitely try to keep that in mind so that when releases and things happen you don’t have to try to pull everything up the mountain and get something happening from that time. The groundwork is already laid, people are aware that things are coming and they’re checking back.

 

Allison

Cool. All right. For our last question for today we will ask the question that we ask everyone. Your three top tips for aspiring romance authors.

 

Kylie

My three top tips? You can’t…

 

Allison

I should have warned you, shouldn’t I?

 

Kylie

That’s OK. You can’t go past Stephen King’s Read A lot, Write A lot.

 

Allison

Yeah.

 

Kylie

I think that teamed with working with a mentor — I worked with Louise Cuzack.

 

Allison

Oh, right.

 

Kylie

She was brilliant.

 

Allison

Yep.

 

Kylie

She really helped me to focus and taught me a lot.

 

Now, I’m going to have a blank out on his name, but… he is a screenwriting doctor… sorry.

 

Allison

I should have warned you. I usually remember to warn people.

 

Kylie

Yes, brilliant feedback is so important. You’ve got to develop that tough skin.

 

Allison

Yeah, OK.

 

Kylie

It sucks and it hurts, but you have to be open to feedback, it’s the only way you’ll develop.

 

Allison

Which is why you continue to work with a critique partner?

 

Kylie

Yes. Yeah.

 

Allison

 

Kylie

It still hurts.

 

Allison

It always hurts.

 

Kylie

Negative reviews. Pick one or two medium ones from people you kind of know a little bit about, but they’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong. You can pick it up from there, you don’t need to read, “I’ll never get these hours back. I hate her, kill, kill, kill.” You don’t need that in your head.

 

Constructive criticism is everything.

 

Allison

It’s so true, isn’t it? You’ve got to find a happy medium, because the five-star ones are probably your mum, and the one star ones are never —

 

Kylie

“I’m proud of her…”

 

Allison

Read the three stars and take it onboard. That’s hilarious.

 

Kylie

Exactly.

 

Allison

All right.

 

Kylie

And get active with your local writer centre. Go to workshops. There’s so much knowledge out there.

 

Allison

Are you still doing that sort of thing?

 

Kylie

Yeah, I love going to conventions for that — conventions and conferences, and listening to different panelists talk and — I love that. I find it really reinvigorates you as well, it gets you excited about being a part of the writing world again.

 

Allison

It does, you’re so right.

 

Kylie

Yeah, I love it.

 

Allison

And remembering you’re a part of a community of people who are all doing the same thing. It’s very good.

 

Kylie

Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that Michael Angelo quote, “I’m still learning.”

 

Allison

Yep.

 

 

 

Kylie

And that’s the brilliant thing about writing, there’s always going to be more to learn, and you don’t… books don’t have to be perfect, but you need to take away some new skill from every book. You need to be learning one thing from every book and moving on and getting that bit better. That’s my firm believe.

 

Allison

Now that’s good advice right there.

 

All right, Kylie, well, thank you so much for your time today.

 

Kylie

Thank you.

 

Allison

It’s been wonderful chatting. I’ve very much enjoyed it. And I’ve been actually telling myself to read your books for years, and now I’m even more super excited to get in there and have a crack. I might start with the latest and then move backwards.

 

Kylie

I hope you enjoy it.

 

Allison

I will.

 

So, thanks very much and good luck with it all. I hope that it, you know, cranks up the New York Times Bestseller List even further.

 

Kylie

Great. Thank you very much, Allison.

 

Allison

OK, bye.

 


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