• Ask Us Anything!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in ABCs of Writing     Comments 88 comments
    Aug
    17

    Discussion questions: This is a Reddit-style AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) where you’re invited to ask any writing- or non-writing-related questions of David and/or Justine — who we are, what we’re about, what kind of writing we do and why. Or about WriteByNight itself — how it was founded, its various iterations, why we do it, how we do it. Leave your questions in the comments below. 

    Note: We’re not taking requests for writing advice here. If you need some, we’d be glad to offer you a free consultation. Also, we reserve the right to ignore/remove anything we deem offensive. So it’s more like an “Ask Us (Almost) Anything”; or “Ask Us Anything (Within Reason).”

     

    I subscribe to a number of TinyLetter emails, and I’m often astounded by the openness of some of these writers, baring their souls to strangers on a weekly or monthly basis. Sometimes I come away feeling like I really know the person, even though we’ve never met.

    Same goes for those Reddit AMAs (“Ask Me Anything”), especially when the interview subject really means anything.

    I try to bring some of that spirit into my blog posts and weekly email messages, though often I feel the need to rein it in a bit because, in the end, I am running a business.

     

    In the past couple of weeks I’ve gotten some notes indicating that I could be doing a better job of putting myself out there. One of them read, “I’ve read your [posts and emails] for years but only lately do I feel like I’m getting to know who you are…..like when you talk about death.” (She was referring to this recent post.)

    In another email exchange, I mentioned to a Milwaukee writer, one we interact with regularly, that I grew up in Milwaukee, figuring she most likely already knew that. She didn’t.

     

    Next week we have something very cool to celebrate, so ahead of that, this week I’d like to give you all a chance to get to know me and Justine and WriteByNight better.

    So… ask us anything!

    Maybe you’d like to know what we write about, or what our wildest dreams are for our own writing.

    Maybe you want to know about our upbringing and families, or our plans for the future, or our deepest fears and desires.

    Maybe you merely want to know what we eat for breakfast and what TV shows we watch.

    Maybe you have a particular FMK in mind? (Or KMK, if you want to keep it cleaner.)

    Maybe you’ve always wondered how the two of us met, or how WriteByNight got its start, or something about our various WBN duties.

     

    If you’ve got any questions for us, leave ’em in the comments below. Use a pseudonym if you’re shy. And we’ll answer them throughout the week.

    But keep it clean(ish), please. Shoe size? I’ll tell you that. Athletic cup size? We don’t need to go there.

    Also, we’d prefer to stay away from writing advice questions. But know that we offer a free writing consultation, which is a great way to get such questions answered.

    Bring it on! Ask us (almost) anything!

     

    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2019 writing project that you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

     

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    Justine DuhrSusanJanet SchwartzBrigitteMary Beth Recent comment authors
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    Sarah L
    Guest
    Sarah L

    I think you guys do a good job of getting yourself out there. But since you mention TV, I’ll ask about that. Because almost every time I watch Tv I think to myself “I should really be writing instead.” So I feel guilty, and I can’t help but wonder how much TV, if any, most real writers watch. Do you guys watch a lot? Do you ever think you should be writing instead? Do you ever watch TV like a writers, where you think about the dialogue they use or how they map out the story?

    JL
    Guest
    JL

    What’s your guilty pleasure reading? You know you have some, but I never hear you talk about James Paterson or JD Robb or anything. do you have any guilty pleasure WRITING? A romance novel hidden in a drawer or a screenplay for an episode of Community or a nocelization of Caddyshack.

    Barbara Mealer
    Guest

    Other and what you are doing now, what types of jobs have you held? What made you turn to writing and coaching?
    Okay, so that’s two questions but they are tied together.

    Erik Carlson
    Guest
    Erik Carlson

    Following Barbara, do you do any freelancing and if so, how much extra income do you get from that——if you’re willing to say. I’ve been thinking about freelancing but I know it’s hard to make a living.

    david lemke
    Guest
    david lemke

    I’m going to be nosy; What are your long term life goals?
    Do you work from a home office, or do you have a long drive to work”
    You’ve seen my home office can we see your?
    Do you have kids, pets, hobbies outside of writing?
    Who are your “Teams”?
    Am I being too nosy?

    Barbara Mealer
    Guest

    I lived in Wisconsin in the Racine/Kenosha/Union Grove area for 7 years and graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BSN. The state was overrun with nurses so I ended up in FL to take care of my parents. I was a Lambeau Stadium when they were unveiling the statue on 2003 with the HOG group from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. on our way to the 100 anniversary of Harley-Davidson. I still have fond memories of living there.

    Don Draper
    Guest
    Don Draper

    You guys have a live/work space or is WBN’s office separate building?

    Elissa Malcohn
    Guest
    Elissa Malcohn

    David, you seem to be the main voice of this blog, so I’m curious about Justine. Justine, where do your writing and reading styles differ from David’s, and where are they similar? What are the joys and challenges of working as a team? I’m also curious about the mechanics: is there a clear division of labor? Do you perform the same tasks but approach the work with different perspectives, a complement of strengths and weaknesses? Thanks for letting us grill you!

    JohnDavid
    Member
    JohnDavid

    Justine and David, you both read a lot. What stories leave you wanting more? And what stories are oh so difficult to get through? For both, if you could narrow your reading list to the top five or ten, what would they be, and why? Do you think your writing style has changed in the last five, ten, or fifteen years? What fun conversations would you have with each other if you could go back in time six months before you started WBN – what would you say? When you travel what is easier to do read or write?

    Angela Webber
    Guest
    Angela Webber

    Are you two ever competitive over each other’s writing? Do you share your writing with each other? Do you ever write at the same time?

    Angela Webber
    Guest
    Angela Webber

    Oh yeah, and who asked whom out? :)

    Kenneth Harris
    Guest
    Kenneth Harris

    Did Justine tamp down neon-lit misgivings, swallow her pride, ignore her parent’s hand wringing and marry you any way? (That’s what my wife did. It worked-as of this writing).

    Kenneth Harris
    Guest
    Kenneth Harris

    It did work to a degree-wife knows I have to be chained to tasks to finish them before calendar turns. I managed to finish a short story and now working on a compilation of short stories soon to be a sought after door stop. Sure, it looks odd, logging chains drooping from arms and shoulders, but a dawdler’s gotta do what a dawdler’s gotta do.

    Hans De Leo
    Guest
    Hans De Leo

    Okay, you said ask you anything. Well, I’ve heard about fan mail, hate mail, and strange mail. So here’s my question: What’s the strangest mail you’ve gotten?

    Anon A. Moose
    Guest
    Anon A. Moose

    Ever had a near-death experience, and if so did it show up in your writing? What was your painful death, and did you write about it?

    Anon A. Moose
    Guest
    Anon A. Moose

    Sorry, your *most* painful death. I mean like friend or family. Death on the mind today.

    Mary Beth
    Guest
    Mary Beth

    I haven’t seen this question posted yet, so forgive me if it’s a repeat, but what is the story of you and Justine meeting? … and out of curiosity, why did you leave Texas to return to (or come to) New York?

    Brigitte
    Guest
    Brigitte

    Okay, what kind of writing do you guys do and why?

    Janet Schwartz
    Guest
    Janet Schwartz

    After much thought about what I wanted to know, I landed on a big concept with two sides. Motivation can come in a variety of ways. In our circle of influence, we receive both positive and negative feedback from family, friends and acquaintances. What is the one positive piece of advice that you received that confirmed you were making the right decision to be a writer and start Write by Night? What was the negative piece of advice that gave you the determination to continue to prove that person wrong?

    Justine Duhr
    Guest

    Awesome questions, Janet. I’ll start with the negative piece of advice because it’s top of mind. I just thought about it the other day, believe it or not. In a creative writing workshop in grad school, a professor who did not much like me or my writing suggested aloud in my presence (i.e., during a workshop in which, as the writer under consideration, I was not allowed to speak) that I “get a craft book.” Translation: Justine is working towards an advanced degree in fiction writing, a subject which she knows absolutely nothing about. I was intensely shamed… and then… Read more »

    Susan
    Guest
    Susan

    David and Justine,
    I think one of your posts mentioned petting the dogs? I am curious what kind of dogs you have, what are their names? What endearing things do they do? Do you think people resemble the dogs they own–either physically or in terms of character traits?
    And where I work AMA means against medical advice.

    Justine Duhr
    Guest

    Hey Susan. There’s nothing David and I like more than talking about our beloved Daisy, so thanks for giving us the opportunity to do so. Daisy is a five-year-old, forty-pound mutt, a rescue so we’re not sure what breeds. Something real cute. (Can we post pictures in comments? David?) Everything Daisy does is endearing. No, really. Everything. But probably worth mentioning specifically is the way that she yawn-screams (shrieks loudly while yawning wide, especially when stressed); invites you to scratch her inner thigh by slowly and pointedly opening her leg wide; and waits by the bed in the morning until… Read more »

    Susan
    Guest
    Susan

    Awwwww. That’s so cute, she has your eyes. You are definitely doggone.

    Brigitte
    Guest
    Brigitte

    Thanks for the response in regards to writing fiction. I wonder if writing is something people enjoy because it allows room for so much creativity.

    Is that one aspect of writing you like too?
    Brigitte

    Justine Duhr
    Guest

    Absolutely, Brigitte. I feel at my most creative, imaginative and playful when I’m writing.

    Is that your experience too?

    Brigitte
    Guest
    Brigitte

    Hi Justine, Yes, basically since I was a little girl, about the tender age of seven, I found comfort and peace through writing a journal. I used to write in class and still remember my second grade teacher telling me she would love nothing more than for me to become a writer. I wish I could tell her, she was absolutely right on target, But it took me so long to accept myself for being different, creative, and an artist! Nice to know there are other people out there like myself. Thanks for the response!

    Justine Duhr
    Guest

    Amazing how deep this stuff runs, isn’t it? I wonder what it would be like for you to write a letter to your second-grade teacher now, as a writing exercise/experiment…

    Brigitte
    Guest
    Brigitte

    Justine, that sounds like a great idea! And perhaps I may try to write Mrs. Blackham a short note this evening to tell her, she may have been one hundred percent right. I really did not believe her. Yet,I still remember how she walked past me while I wrote and the manner in which she glared at my journal entries. l titled a short story Lona and Nona. They were two twin sisters who spent their days roller skating, and eating pizza together. I never forgot her words when she brushed past my lined journal and saw me writing. She… Read more »




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