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I absolutely love talking to new authors and learning about their journey. Kimberly Michelle Scott is someone I stumbled upon recently and we had a little chat about her new book, The Collection: A Book of Short Stories. Here’s a brief interview with Kimberly.
Q: What is The Collection about?
A: The Collection is a compilation of short stories and flash fiction. The first story, “Ms. Addie’s Place” chronicles the story of Nora, a compelling character with a deep secret, who moves into a boarding house for African American women seeking to better themselves. There she meets Ms. Addie, who runs the house. With a turn of events, her secrets grow, but luckily she has Ms. Addie, who will help her protect her secret at all costs. Below are the premises for some of the other short stories in the book:
Set at a funeral, a young girl struggles to cope with the death of her mother, while contemplating where she will live and how to deal with family members in which she is unfamiliar all while coping with being the black sheep of the family as a striking similarity to her deceased mother.
In the story, “Wide Tooth Comb,” Maggie finds herself in a predicament when she goes to extreme measures to avoid getting her hair combed. The trouble Maggie faces for doing away with her hair comb brings about anxiety that can only be erased by “coming clean” and leaving herself at the mercy of her mother.
Living in the world of underground prostitution and balancing being a high school student is no easy task for the main character in “Kat House.” As she compare her life to her classmates, she draws from only the harsh lifestyle to which she is accustomed. Just when she thinks life could not get any better, she is faced with one last difficulty that just may break her.
Tania resents the fact that her brother basically threw his life away, choosing his girlfriend and a baby over the college and football career that he was destined to have in “Rest in Peace.” More than her brother’s choices, she resents his baby’s mother. While reminiscing about the past, the future of all the characters change one fateful night.
These stories and a host of others will keep you turning pages in The Collection.
Q: What sets it apart from other collections?
A: The Collection is a diverse literary collection in style and content, making it the perfect read for everyone. It has short stories and flash fiction. It has historical fiction, contemporary fiction, horror, and science fiction. However, many of the themes are the same.
Q: How long have you been writing, and what advice would you give other writers?
A: I have been writing since I was about four years old. In Kindergarten, when all the other kids were drawing pictures, I was creating books with words and pictures on my construction paper! I have always loved writing! I would tell other writers to be persistent, follow your heart, and do your research.
About Kimberly Michelle Scott
Kimberly Michelle Scott is an author, poet, and educator from Montgomery, AL. She has written numerous online articles and has several projects in the works. Kimberly has been featured on Chicago’s Poetry Exhale with Pizaaz and was also featured on the Be A Bestseller website. As a previous Yahoo! contributor, she has also done guest blogs. She has received her Bachelor’s degree from Liberty University. Her book, NAKED: A Book of Monologues for African American Women was released Spring 2013. “Moments of HerStory,” a book of memoirs, in which she was featured, was an Amazon bestseller and made # 1 on its Hot New Releases list at #1.
Here is the link to her books:
Visit her website
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A few months ago, I wrote a post about the struggles of living in Las Vegas without a car. The bad news is, I still don’t have a car. But the good news is, you get to hear more about my silly struggles. Yay!
First of all, let me explain, because I’m sure many of you are wondering why a young, intelligent person couldn’t get herself a car within 6 months. Well, the answer is simple, I spent the money I saved and went to New York City. Twice.
I know, I know, I’m sorry okay? I just couldn’t help it! I mean look at this place.
It had been my dream to visit New York City since I was a five year old, especially in the fall season. Actually, I also wanted to visit it during Christmas but I was able to control myself and not go. Well, my account did all the controlling for me… So anyway, I chose to fuel my soul and cross something off my bucket list instead of comfort and crossing something else off my bucket kist. And believe me, I don’t regret it one bit.
I didn’t regret it when an old man pissed his pants while sitting next to me on the bench of the bus stop then got on the bus and took a seat. I didn’t regret it when I spent over a $200 in Uber rides last month because we have that in Las Vegas now and it’s making me lazy. I didn’t regret it when I waited for thirty minutes for the bus to arrive in the dead cold and got sick for two weeks. And I’m not going to regret it now that I feel like a burden to all my friends because they have to pick me up and drop me off whenever we need to go out.
Does it vex me that I have to leave my house at least at hour ahead of time to get anywhere where it would take me 10 minutes to get there with a car? Does it drive me insane that whenever I’m on time the bus arrives early and I miss and then the next bus is late? Does it trouble me that I have to walk home many times because I can get there quicker than if I take a bus? Yes. Yes. And not so much now, but Vegas summer is right around the corner… But the point is, I have a plan. Of course, I had a plan six months ago, so don’t mind me, I may just be back in a few months to tell you how it all went wrong again.
Until then, keep me in your thoughts and prayers whenever you get into your car in the morning and turn your heaters on. Let me be your gentle reminder not to take anything for granted.
Congratulations of finishing your first draft, I know it probably took you a long time and a humongous effort to get here. And if this is your first time, you’re probably asking yourself, what’s next? What do I do now that the first draft is complete? The brief answer of course is edit. But it’s a little more complicated than it sounds.
First, it’s important to note that if you have just finished writing your book, the best thing to do is not to edit at all. Set it aside for a few weeks, let it out of your head completely. It will give you a fresh set of eyes when you get back to it later. The second thing you need to remember is that hard work only just begins now and that editing is a painstaking and redundant process, but, hey, it’s worth it, trust me.
I used to hate editing. In fact, the only novel of mine that I actually got around to editing thoroughly was my last one. I have edited that book over 15 times already, and once with the help of a professional editor. Here’s how I did it—and this is a compilation of advice I read or heard as well as thing I learned along the way.
Before you correct anything, and I mean anything at all, first read your book all the way through. Read it in one sitting if you could—I think I read that one in Stephen King’s On Writing. That way you can pay more attention to the holes in your plot. Make notes of these and correct them on the first round of edits.
On the second round of edits, I like to pay attention to characterization. Do any of my characters speak or act differently than they are supposed to? Did I mention that one character’s eyes are green then changed it to blue?
Look out for discrepancies like that. Keep a journal of your character’s descriptions and refer to it whenever that characters shows on the page.
On the third round, you can start paying closer attention to sentence structure and the flow of words. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the tone as well. Often times, our tone of writing reflects our mood on certain days. So if you were writing a murder mystery on a joyous day, you may detect—and the reader sure will—a change in tonality. The third round of edits is a good time to fix that.
It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend to read your work and share their opinions with you. Having someone who would critique your story, its structure, flow, characterization, plot, and spot those evasive typos will be very helpful to make your book much more presentable and professional when time comes for you to submit it.
The next round of edits can be mainly concerned with grammar and typos. Although, many writers suggest to do a full grammar and typo edits after every edit. So, for example, after the first edit where you only fixed plot holes, do a round of edits for typos.
It’s a good idea to let the book sit for a few days between every round of edits. I know it seems like the editing process is going to take too long that way, but that will only make it so much better. I actually found out that the editing process takes much longer than the writing process. With my latest novel it took me only thirty days to finish the first draft, but I have been editing this book for almost a year now. I have edited that book over a dozen times and I still feel that I have more things to fix.
To help me feel more confident about my writing, I hired a friend and a professional editor, Esther Newton, to give me an honest and professional critique. I recommend her, and the idea of hiring a professional editor to any writer. Don’t worry about the cost. It’s an investment in your career.
Final pieces of advice. Be ruthless and objective. Don’t think of the book as your own. Think that it belongs to a complete stranger. Don’t be afraid of the words “Cut” and “Delete”, in editing, they could be your best friends. Also, now that you actually finished your book, you can worry about what people would think of it. Read it out loud and imagine the reaction of your most judgmental family member as you utter every sentence. This could be bad, depending on how dysfunctional your family is. But generally, it would help you cut a ton of clichés you weren’t even aware of before.
Reading out loud is a good idea anyway, especially when it comes to dialogue. It will helps you hear the character’s voice clearer, and therefore adjust any discrepancies. Also, it will help make your characters sound more authentic.
There will be a time, however, when you’ll need to stop editing and trust that this is your finished project. Well, until an agent picks it up and suggests a few changes, then an editor picks it up and suggests a few of their own. But until then, enjoy the process and all that you will learn from it. Personally, I felt that editing my book helped me learn more about becoming a better writer than writing the book did.
What are some pieces of advice you can share about editing a novel?
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