About Florence Osmund:
Three-time indieBRAG honoree Florence Osmund acquired more than three decades of experience in corporate America before retiring to write novels. Her website, dedicated primarily to helping new authors, offers advice she wishes she had received before she started writing. Osmund is currently working on her next novel while enjoying all the things the great city of Chicago has to offer.
What inspires you to write?
I love to write. I find it challenging, rewarding, and fun. Writing fiction allows me to unleash the creativity that lives inside of me.
Tell us about your writing process.
You can’t create a believable storyline if the characters aren’t believable, and I find it much easier to develop the storyline if I am completely familiar with the main characters before I start writing. To help me do this I create a chart for each character that includes a word or two about their physical characteristics, their likes, dislikes, values, secrets, mannerisms, dreams, biases, flaws…the list goes on.
Another thing I do before I start writing is create an outline of the story that includes bullet points for a few select chapters. For example:
Chapter 1 – Setting, introduction of the protagonist, sometimes a hint to the protagonist’s problem/goal.
Chapter 3 – By this point in the story, some tension, drama, or conflict should be taking place.
Chapter 12 – The protagonist’s conflict usually climaxes half-way through the story.
Chapter 25 – How the story ends.
That’s not to say I always follow the outline–sometimes characters develop a mind of their own and end up going in a different direction, and I’m okay with that. The primary objectives of the outline are to make me think the story through before I start writing and give me a sense of direction in the beginning, a starting point if you will.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Okay, I admit to talking to my characters (particularly when the cat’s not around). I can be creating a scene and will catch myself saying to the character, “Would you really have done that?” or “You need to get more excited about this,” or “Let’s scratch that dialogue and save my editor from doing it later.” I find that talking to the characters provides clarity to the scene I’m creating.
What advice would you give other writers?
The most fundamental advice I can offer to a new or aspiring author is if writing is your passion, don’t let anything or anyone discourage you from pursuing it.
“To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”
–Pearl S. Buck
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I thought I was ready to publish my first book (I really wasn’t ready—I just thought I was), I wrote query letters to hundreds of agents. I got a few bites, but no takers. That was in early 2010 when self-publishing was still considered taboo by many, and so I didn’t want to go that route. But then the publishing industry started changing, and in 2012 when I was ready to publish for real, I took a closer look into self-publishing and decided to go that route. I have never regretted that decision.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Several things are affecting the book publishing industry these days, and self-published authors are a significant factor by creating more competition for traditionally published ones. Amazon claims that 25% of their top selling books are self-published, and according to Bowker, self-published titles increased 17% in 2013 from the previous year and 437% from the previous five years, enough to make traditional publishers re-think their business models.
The significant increase in e-book publishing is also affecting the industry by driving the cost of books down, increasing the average number of books a person buys, and decreasing the number of printed books sold. For example, I write literary fiction, and 95% of the books I sell are e-books.
The book publishing industry appears to remain strong while it goes through this evolution, but I suppose just when things start to settle down, something else will come along to stir things up, keeping us authors constantly on our toes.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?: Literary fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print