I asked Jaclyn if she'd be willing to answer a few questions on my blog, now that FicFest is over, and she was nice enough to oblige. Take it away, Jaclyn!
1. How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first story in third grade with a friend, which was basically a sixteen-page run-on sentence about a leprechaun and his adventures. :) Throughout school and college, I didn’t particularly enjoy writing at all, and the jobs I held didn’t necessarily require it, so it all worked out great.
In 2011, however, a story idea found me as I was reading Cinderella to my daughter, and it wouldn’t leave me alone until I made the decision to put it on paper. I then spent the larger part of a year researching how to write, through books and lecture. I read novels and wrote down what appealed to me in the authors’ writing, and then I tried my hand at it.
The manuscript I entered in FicFest is the same one I penned in 2012, although at that time, what I didn’t realize was that it needed a ton of work.
2. What made you want to enter FicFest?
I loved the idea of getting the chance to work one-on-one with an author, someone who was many steps ahead of me in the publishing game and who had a great sense of story, plot, characterization, etc. In the years since 2012, the revisions I made were based on the few words I’d received in rejections from agents on what my story was missing and some insight from critique partners, both of which were valuable and made my story better. It was still missing something, however, but I didn’t know what that was, and I couldn’t afford to pay an editor to help me.
I remember the day the FicFest finalists were to be announced, I was in my garage getting something, my heart longing to get this chance to discover what it was that was missing in my story. I needed the help FicFest could offer.
3. What did you enjoy about FicFest?
The best part was working with you, RuthAnne! You have an incredible eye for both detail and bigger picture ideas. You showed me where my story was running off course and how to streamline it. You asked tough questions that readers would ask and gave me the chance to fix my errors. You helped me discover what was missing and made me a better writer. Thank you! I am forever indebted to you for taking a chance on me.
4. What would you tell another writer who was considering entering a writing contest like FicFest?
Do it! It has been a game-changer in my writing. It renewed my joy in both writing and in my story. I fell in love with it all over again. It also connected me with fellow writers on Twitter, a beautiful support system in the highs and lows of writing. Even if you don’t become a finalist in FicFest, you’re better already for having taken the chance, for you see that your writing is worth putting out there and fighting for. Don’t give up, for you never know just how close you are to your goal.
Thanks for the interview, RuthAnne!