My name’s Joshua Loveday. I write literary and upmarket contemporary novels and short stories, as well as the occasional poem. I’m in the beta-reading stage of a character-driven upmarket contemporary novel in which an alcoholic wife must choose between finding sobriety and dealing with her husband’s Alzheimer’s or continuing to drink and miss out on reconnecting with him before he no longer recognizes her. I’m also querying a plot-driven literary novel that explores the personal narratives we tell ourselves, how heroes are not what they seem and how there are no true villains. My short story THE BEACH was a finalist for the 42nd Flash Fiction Contest by New Millennium Writings, and my story IN THIS LIFE appeared in Grit Magazine.
When did you start writing and why?
Author: The first chapter book I ever read was TRUMPET OF THE SWAN by E.B. White. I think I was eight or nine. It fascinated me how I lost myself in a world that existed only in my mind. I used to imagine stories all the time, but to discover that I could write them down for others to enjoy motivated me. I’ve been writing ever since.
How long did it take you to finish your first book?
Author: My first novel took about four years. It was short and crappy. One of my college professors had told me the first book you wrote was only practice. After you finish, put it on a shelf in your closet and write a good one. He was right. I’ve written five novels now, each one easier and better than the last.
How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?
Author: My first critique comes from my spouse, usually in bed at the end of the day as I read aloud what I wrote that day. My local writers’ group–and if you don’t have one, find one or start one–gives great feedback. Then I send the completed book out to beta readers and critique partners. Twitter is a great way to find other writers willing to help you hone your craft. There are certain websites I use, as well: CritiqueMatch and BetaReader. The more feedback you receive, the better the finished product.
What do you want your readers to get out of your works?
Author: If I can make the reader laugh and cry, I feel I’ve done my job. I love seeing the emotions I wrote into my work manifest themselves in the reader.
Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?
Author: I love reading literary and contemporary novels with elegant and flowing prose that leave me breathless. A writer who doesn’t read isn’t much of a writer. Reading is essential to becoming a better writer. It’s how you learn the craft. That being said, I do indulge in a good sci-fi or fantasy novel on occasion.
What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?
Author: I used to be a pantser, then I discovered the Snowflake Method, and after trying it out, I was hooked. I’m a firm plotter now, laying out everything in the story before writing the actual prose. If you google it, you’ll find a link explaining what it is. I’m not going to lie. It’s hard work. It takes a good three weeks of intensive plotting and character development, but when you’re ready to put words on paper, you’ve already done the work, and all you need to do is write the scenes. I’ve found I can write better novels in less time by using this method.
Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?
Author: I write in the morning, usually until my spouse drags me away for lunch. I usually become so absorbed with my work that I forget to eat, then wonder why it’s dark out and I’m light-headed and dizzy.
How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?
Author: Writers must have a thick skin and unwavering determination and belief in themselves and their work. They find this out when they get their first critiques and feel attacked or grow defensive. But after some self-reflection, they realize that no matter how harsh the critique, the advice is invaluable, and they learn to welcome it. It is the same with querying agents or submitting stories or poems to magazines for publication. You will get rejected. A lot. Usually with a form email. Then one day you’ll receive an email that is personalized. It’s still a rejection, but you garnered some attention. Then you’ll receive an email asking to look at your work or accepting it for publication, and you’ll forget all about those countless rejections. I look forward to rejections now. It means I’m putting my work out there. When I submit a story or query an agent, I simply assume it will be rejected and line up the next submission, so that when the rejection arrives, I can send it right back out somewhere else.
Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?
Author: I have one very big and essential piece of advice: FINISH YOUR BOOK. So many new writers get caught up in editing their work over and over in a self-defeating cycle. Stop editing and write till the end. If you never finish your book, you’ll never write more than one.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change?
Author: When I was young, I had this skewed romantic notion that writers were somehow different or disturbed, that other people didn’t understand them, that they were somehow gifted. That’s crap. Talent is common, but writing takes hard work. You must sit down every day and write. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would make the commitment to write every day. Plus, I used to drink a lot of alcohol. It’s hard to write when you’re drunk or at the bar or hungover. When I quit drinking, my writing became prolific and improved exponentially. You have to ask yourself, how bad do you want it? How important is writing to you? What are you willing to give up to sit down for hours every day and write?
What is your favorite writing snack and drink?
Author: Coffee, coffee, coffee.
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