Today, I’d like to introduce storywriter Diane Dickson from Diane’s Story Site. Diane has written and published both children’s and adult fiction as well as featuring serial stories on her blog.
Thank you so much for asking me, I have really enjoyed your interviews and was flattered that you thought of asking me.
Such an interesting life you’ve led! 🙂
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I was the only girl in my class at school who loved “composition”, which is what it was called in those days. I still have a book of my poetry that I started when I was about seven and it has just always been there, part of life.
That poetry book sounds like a treasure! I think it’s great that you still have it.
How is your process different when you write for adults?
That is difficult to answer. When I write my adult stories I like to think that I get inside the head of my characters. I do often find myself thinking and even behaving in the way that I think my book’s inhabitants would do, quite unconsciously I hasten to add, and it’s sometimes rather odd. With the children’s stories it is simpler, just telling tales that I think would entertain young people.
You write mainly short stories and novellas. I usually have a problem keeping my stories contained within the shorter format. What techniques, if any, do you apply to contain your stories?
With the very short micro and flash fiction, I find it helps me to keep the length in mind all the time that I’m writing and so subconsciously I am winding down when I think I’m approaching the maximum word count. With the novellas I don’t think about it much, they just seem to come with their length predetermined. I write quite simple stories with very few characters and locations and so they are limited by that, to an extent. Also, I’m not a very patient writer, I want to know how it’s all going to turn out. 🙂
How do you edit your stories in preparation for publication? Do you make use of critique partners or beta readers?
I read them over and over and over. Once I have the story very clear in my mind, I read the chapters randomly. That seems to help me to pick up typos and so on, as I’m not reading the story as much as the words. The Harper Collins site Authonomy is great for feedback. With Who Follows, my daughter in law very kindly proof read it for me but I try not to inflict my work on the family too much. I have never lived the sort of life that has allowed me to join writing groups or anything so, although I would love to share and discuss, I am pretty much on my own. I am sure that there are nits in some of my published work but I have come to realise that all I can do is my best and hope it gets near to being good enough.
I’m sure there are many people out there who would love to help you in this regard, should you need their help at any time, so you don’t have to ‘inflict’ your work on your family. 🙂
There are some stories on Shortbread that move me. Sometimes a story will make me cry, either with sadness or simply because of the emotion in the words. I love that. I have had one or two that have won competitions but strangely they are often the ones that I hadn’t really been that happy with – I’m a terrible judge of my own writing.
You have some interesting book covers. Please tell us about them.
These were all designed by my daughter www.studioanjou.co.uk
They are lovely! 🙂
It was about two years ago. I did have a website, which I used simply to advertise my books. The host was changing and I was looking around for a new platform and my daughter was blogging at the time and so I decided to give it a go. Once I realised what a great resource it was, how very easy it is to do and that it’s possible to have feedback from readers, I was totally hooked.
You mentioned Shortbread, earlier. Would you please tell us what they do there?
I had a computer glitch a couple of years ago and couldn’t access Authonomy and came upon Shortbread almost by chance.
Wow! Congratulations! That sounds like a marvelous site. If anyone wants to check out Shortbread Stories, you can find it here.
Yes,when I’m not writing I love my garden. We have about three acres here in France, more than half is forest and I try to cultivate bits. It’s a struggle because the soil is very poor but I do usually manage some fruit and vegetables and a bit of colour.
Do you have any other social networks that you’d like to share, Diane?
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, Diane. 🙂
Please take the time to check out her stories. Some will send shivers down your spine, others will make you laugh or cry. 🙂