Writers all have different processes when it comes to writing and revising. In the last issue, Adi Alsaid discussed his experience working on his novel Let’s Get Lost, and in the next issue, Jessica Spotswood, author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles will join us with her perspectives on writing and revising a trilogy. This week, I had the chance to chat via email with Jenny Kaczorowski, author of The Art of Falling, a YA contemporary romance available now from Bloomsbury Spark.
E.M. Caines: Your debut novel, The Art of Falling, was released this past December, and it will be available in Germany in the not-so-distant future. How long did it take you to finish the first draft? What was that process like?
Jenny Kaczorowski: I finished my first draft of The Art of Falling in a month! I am normally a very slow drafter and it remains the only manuscript I’ve finished in less than six months! I wrote about 1,600 words a day, every day, even if it meant typing on my phone. I’d guess I wrote about 1/3 of that draft in Evernote on my phone. I loved the immediacy of writing fast – I never forgot what happened and the emotions stayed with me. But it was exhausting!
E.M. Caines: What can you tell me about the process of finding beta readers or critique partners for The Art of Falling? How would you describe the critiques and comments you received from them?
Jenny Kaczorowski: The Art of Falling is the second manuscript I queried, so I had a solid group of critique partners when I finished my first draft. I think I had three or four read the entire manuscript, with a few more on spots that needed help. The comments I received were very encouraging–I’d never written a straight contemp before as my previous manuscripts had all been fantasy of some sort. But my CPs really gave me the courage to try a few contests and that’s how I landed my deal with Bloomsbury!
E.M. Caines: I know for me, letting other people read my work is a nail-biting experience. How many passes did you go through with The Art of Falling before you sent it along to your beta readers?
Jenny Kaczorowski: I went through two passes on my own before I sent to my first CP. After her notes, I sent to second, then did a contest, incorporated that feedback, and sent to the last round of readers before I began working with my editor. I’m always a nervous wreck before sharing my writing with anyone! It’s such a soul-baring experience and because this genre was new to me, I was extra nervous!
E.M. Caines: As you mentioned, The Art of Falling was picked up by Bloomsbury Spark, and you had the opportunity to work with Meredith Rich. What would you say is the biggest difference between the feedback you received from critique partners and the edit notes from Meredith?
Jenny Kaczorowski: One of the reasons I knew Meredith was the right editor for The Art of Falling is because of how well her notes matched up with the feedback I had from readers. She took what my CPs said to the next level. Her notes really helped me dig deep to pull out the things my CPs pointed out.
E.M. Caines: What would you say is the most important thing to remember about accepting criticism or edit notes?
Jenny Kaczorowski: Until your final pass, any manuscript is a work in progress. Criticism makes your writing stronger, so be open. It’s easy to feel defensive when someone points out a flaw, but as the writer, it’s impossible to see your work from the outside. Find caring, trusted, invested critique partners and let them help you make your work shine!
E.M. Caines: Thanks so much for your time, Jenny. And congratulations on your debut!