Hello everyone. Thank you for stopping by on this first day of March. I know what you’re thinking-“TGIF!.” Clara54’s guest today is professional writer, author and editor, Joe Bunting. Please join me in welcoming him to the writers forum.
1. Congratulations on your blog The Write Practice being selected as one of the 10 best writing blogs of 2012! What did that feel like?
Thanks Clara. It felt like relief, actually. We won last year, too, and I was so nervous that we wouldn’t this year. Expectations make life so much harder. When you get what you’re expecting, you’re not satisfied. When you don’t, you’re angry and disappointed. It’s better to have low expectations.
2. I’m a subscriber to The Write Practice because it’s a great resource for those of us who love the Story and maybe want to write that great Novel someday. You have said that writing short stories is the best way to began this endeavor. Why is that?
I think the most important thing for a writer to do is start sharing his or her work as soon as possible. To be successful, you need to start making friends and building an audience sooner rather than later. Plus, I think, most of us writers have an innate urge to share our work. It’s scary but it’s thrilling, too, and it motivates us to work harder on the next story.
The problem with novels for the new writer is that they just take so long. They make it so much harder to get your work in front of an audience (even if that audience is just your mom). Stories allow you to audition, bringing a little bit of your best work to the world to see if they want more. Stories are little experiments. Novels are huge projects.
And the reality is that your first “finished” pieces will probably be very bad. I’d rather fail at a dozen short stories than a novel I’ve put three years of my soul into.
3. Can you talk a bit about Story Cartel? I joined the site as an Amazon reviewer and love that I get free books out of it! Is this the only stipulation for joining?
Yep! All of our books are completely free in exchange for your review. We wanted to create a really great resource for readers, almost like a speed dating site for readers and writers to connect. I’ve spent a long time talking just to writers, and I wanted to start connecting with readers. It’s been really fun so far.
4. What makes a great writer?
Sheesh, what a question, Clara! Proust was a great writer but that doesn’t mean I want to read him. I love Dickens but I know so many people who hate him. And a teenager who’s just finished Twilight might say Stephenie Meyer is a great writer, and while I’ve earned the ire of many a writer for sticking up for her, saying she’s “great” might be stretching the language a bit.
Still. I guess I’ll take a shot at it. To be a great writer, I think you have to create interesting characters whom you know completely, to tell a great story, to combine politics, history, religion, and setting without overwhelming that story, and write perfect prose with your own unique flare.
5. How do you handle criticism?
I grieve. Then I get back to writing.
6. You’ve recently introduced HANDS to the reading audience. I’ve read great reviews about this one. Share a few nuggets with us and how we can get a copy for ourselves?
Hands is essentially a story about music, how it connects us to ourselves and to others, even across obstacles like race, age, and death. The story is about Jim, a dying jazz musician who is losing the use of his hands, and a visit he has with one of his former music students, his favorite student, really. During the visit, Jim finds that he can no longer connect—he’s too old and too out of touch—except through the music.
If that sounds interesting, you can get a free preview of the story here:
Thanks for sharing a slice of Joe Bunting life with us!
No, thank you, Clara. You’ve been so great.
Are you guys encouraged to move forward and write that great short story or novel? What burning question would you have asked Joe Bunting?