Hey there word nerds!
Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Jeff Somers on the show!
I first met Jeff at BookExpo this past spring and had the opportunity to hear him speak at the Writer’s Digest Conference this past summer, and the moment we crossed paths I knew that we were going to be instant writing besties. First off, he’s hilarious. Second, he’s an iconoclast, so not really into following the rules, which is totally my jam. Plus, his wife is also super-awesome which means he has great taste. This is why I just knew I had to have him on the show so we could geek out about his book Writing Without Rules.
But first, a little more about Jeff.
Jeff began writing by court order as an attempt to steer his creative impulses away from engineering genetic grotesqueries. He has since published nine novels, including the noir-scifi novels in the Avery Cates Series, the darkly hilarious crime novel Chum, and most recently tales of blood magic and short cons in the Ustari Cycle, which includes the novel We Are Not Good People and four novellas.
He has also published over thirty short stories, including “Ringing the Changes,” which was selected for inclusion in the Best American Mystery Stories 2006, writes about books for Barnes and Noble and about the craft of writing for Writer’s Digest, which also published his book on the craft of writing Writing Without Rules in 2018. He considers pants to always be optional.
So listen in as Jeff and I geek out about this awesome book, debunk some of the greatest writing myths in history, and discover exactly why pants should always be optional.
In this episode Jeff and I discuss:
- Why only writing what you know creates boring books.
- What “show don’t tell” really means.
- Write every day, the god-emperor of bad writing advice.
- Solving the mystery of “kill your darlings”.
- How to expand your vocabulary, without a thesaurus.
Plus, Jeff’s #1 tip for writers.
About Jeff Somers
Jeff Somers began writing by court order as an attempt to steer his creative impulses away from engineering genetic grotesqueries. His feeble memory makes every day a joyous adventure of discovery even as it destroys personal relationships, and his weakness for adorable furry creatures leaves him with many cats.
He has published nine novels, including the Avery Cates Series of noir-science fiction novels from Orbit Books (www.avery-cates.com), the darkly hilarious crime novel Chum from Tyrus Books, and most recently tales of blood magic and short cons in the Ustari Cycle, including the novel We Are Not Good People and the novellas Fixer, The Stringer, Last Best Day, and The Boom Bands from Pocket Gallery (www.wearenotgoodpeople.com).
He has published over thirty short stories, including “Ringing the Changes,” which was selected for inclusion in Best American Mystery Stories 2006, “Sift, Almost Invisible, Through,” which appeared in the anthology Crimes by Moonlight edited by Charlaine Harris, and “Three Cups of Tea,” which appeared in the anthology Hanzai Japan.
He also writes about books for Barnes and Noble and About[dot]com and about the craft of writing for Writer’s Digest, which also published his book on the craft of writing, Writing Without Rules, in 2018. He lives in Hoboken with his wife, The Duchess, and their cats, and considers pants to always be optional.
To connect with Jeff check out his website at www.jeffreysomers.com.
And if you’d like to check out Jeff’s new short story, “Rolls Upon Prank”, mentioned in the episode, you can get a copy of the December 2018 issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine in paperback here: www.amazon.com/Mystery-Weekly-Magazine-December-Issues.
Writing Without Rules
Most writing guides imply—or outright state—that there’s a fixed, specific formula or list of rules you must follow to achieve writing and publishing success. And all of them are phonies. Well, not completely. There are real, applicable techniques and strategies in any writing reference to help you.
But the idea that there’s only one way of writing? Nuts!
With unconventional approaches to the craft, fresh angles on novel writing and selling, a healthy dose of humor, and no promise of refunds, Writing Without Rules is for those writers who have tried and tried again—and are ready to succeed on their own terms. In these pages, accomplished author Jeff Somers will show you:
- The key to a successful writing career is doing the actual writing, no matter the circumstances.
- Fantastic ideas are available everywhere—you just need to know how to tap into sources through a variety of approaches.
- Important craft aspects that you should focus on, such as characters and dialogue, while spending less time on others, like setting.
- Effective ways to get published—whether it’s traditional or self-publishing—and how to supplement your income.
Whether you’re a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in-between, Writing Without Rules is for those writers who are looking for a fresh take on tackling the challenge of writing and selling a novel, and building a career. As Somers will show you, it’s less about being perfect in everything, and more about having the confidence to complete everything.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
Link to Episode 236
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!