A graduate of the screenwriting program at the University of Southern California’s film school, Morgan Richter has worked in production on several TV shows, including “Talk Soup” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, and has contributed to websites such as TVgasm and Forces of Geek as well as to her own site, Preppies of the Apocalypse. Her book BIAS CUT was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She currently lives in New York City.
What inspires you to write?
My inspirations are pretty much a hodgepodge. I’m embarrassed to admit how often I’m inspired by 1980s pop culture; the genesis of my novel BIAS CUT, for example, came about while viewing a behind-the-scenes feature about Duran Duran’s 1984 concert video “Arena.” I watched a segment in which Nick Rhodes — tiny, beautiful, spoiled, effeminate, brilliant — cheerfully hot-glued a bunch of sparkly jewels all over his rugged post-apocalyptic wardrobe for their iconic “Wild Boys” video because he thought his leather jacket was insufficiently glamorous, and boom: I had the inspiration for one of my main characters, Laurie Sparks.
Tell us about your writing process.
I brainstorm everything first, usually by writing ideas down in a notebook in the early morning over the first cup of coffee, then mulling them over throughout the day. When my ideas begin to coalesce into a full-blown story, I do a chaotic but detailed outline by opening up a blank Word document and typing up my ideas in as much detail as I can, often including snippets of dialogue and descriptions. I try to write my first draft as quickly as possible, aiming for around three thousand words each day. I’ll refer to my outline, but I’m not wedded to it. After the draft is complete, I take a couple months off to work on other projects before I tackle the rewrite. In contrast to my first drafts, my rewrites are a slow, meticulous, often painful process. It’s a rare occasion when a sentence is left intact from my rough draft.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Not exactly. I *know* my characters, though, very deeply by the end of a novel. I have a good ear for dialogue, and if I know exactly who my characters are, I’ll know how they speak and how they think. If I’ve done things right, the relationship between author and characters becomes seamless. Laurie and Nicola in BIAS CUT, for instance, became my closest friends while I was writing that book. I liked spending time with them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read. Read everything, and let your reading tastes become as egalitarian as you can manage. Don’t be a snob; read genre fiction as well as literary fiction. If something about a book doesn’t appeal to you, take some time to pinpoint where it goes wrong. Are the characters unsympathetic or unrealistic? Is the plot convoluted? Is the dialogue clunky? Are the descriptions overly florid? You’d be amazed at how much you can learn about writing by reading some really terrible prose.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I could be flippant and say the decision to self-publish was made for me when no traditional publishers would have me. It’s more complicated than that, of course. Last year, I assessed my situation and realized I had six really good, strong, unpublished novels to my name, and that it was up to me to get them into the hands of readers. I formed my publishing company, Luft Books, last fall and have currently released two titles, BIAS CUT and WRONG CITY. Over the course of 2013, I will be releasing three more of my own books, plus I’ll begin publishing titles by other authors as well.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s all about self-publishing. The rise of eBooks and print-on-demand, and the subsequent ease and relatively low cost of getting into print, have a whole lot to do with that, though the traditional publishing houses haven’t helped themselves by becoming, as a whole, overly reluctant to take chances on new authors.
What do you use?
Beta Readers, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
General fiction, literary fiction, mystery, science fiction.
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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