Our “How I Write” series asks writers from the University of Louisville community and beyond to respond to five questions that provide insight into their writing processes and offer advice to other writers. Through this series, we promote the idea that learning to write is an ongoing, life-long process and that all writers, from first-year students to career professionals, benefit from discussing and collaborating on their work with thoughtful and respectful readers. Thanks to writing center consultant Jenny Kiefer for this week’s post.
Our featured writer this week is Dr. David Bell. Dr. Bell is the fiction professor at Western Kentucky University, where he has helped lead a new MFA program. An award-winning author of several horror/suspense novels, his most recent work is titled Somebody I Used to Know. Dr. Bell received his MA from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his PhD from the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Bell will be hosting a discussion and book signing for Somebody I Used to Know this Saturday, September 12, at Barnes and Noble, located at 801 S. Hurstbourne Parkway. The discussion will begin at 1 P.M. and the book signing will begin at 2 P.M.
Current project: Somebody I Used to Know
Currently reading: Cabal by Clive Barker
1. What type(s) of writing do you regularly engage in? I pretty much only write fiction. Novels and novellas. Unless you count Facebook posts and Tweets. Those are usually non-fiction.
2. When/where/how do you write?
I have to use a computer. My handwriting is so bad even I can’t read it. I mostly write at home, either at my desk or out on my back patio when the weather is nice.
3. What are your writing necessities—tools, accessories, music, spaces?
I can write in a lot of different places. In the summer and during the holidays I visit family so I write in their houses. I write in my office on campus. If there’s a deadline–and there usually is–I can work anywhere. I really can’t listen to music when I write because the music distracts me.
4. What is your best tip for getting started and/or for revision?
Don’t worry about how bad the first draft is. Revision can save a bad first draft. Just get it down and then figure out the problems later. No one has ever written a perfect book or story, so you don’t have to try to either.
5. What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
Write the kind of book you would like to read.