w/ Jeni Chappelle
Tell me a little about your writing.
KJ Harrowick: I write fantasy and science fiction with dark worlds and dark deeds. My characters usually walk onto the first page quite broken before I toss them into dire situations to test their strength and resilience.
Jen Davenport: I write pretty much the opposite of KJ. I love my romance and contemporary settings. Where she’s dark, I’m far from it. Three things you can always find in my books: romance, an alpha male, and a heroine who won’t hesitate to put him in his place.
KJ Harrowick: Like Jen, I love to have romantic entanglements for my heroes and heroines. Though, to find their permanent place in one another’s lives means traversing a stolen moon or dethroning a pretentious dragon.
What is Rewrite It Club? What's your mission?
Jen: Rewrite It Club is a weekly chat on Twitter where we discuss editing, revising, and all the things in between. We talk world building, digging deep into the why of your story, plot structure, and all the fun things about editing we want to avoid but can’t.
KJ: Part of our goal with Rewrite It Club is to offer encouragement and support to writers who are struggling in the revision trenches. Whether a storyteller is in developmental revisions or tackling line edits, Jen and I ask a lot of ‘why’ questions to help bring revision methodologies into the spotlight.
Jen: I would say our mission is to give others a place to find a community during the editing stage of writing. Hopefully a community that they’ll stick with for the long haul and share their knowledge with others.
KJ: Each crafting idea we discuss during the chat or on our blog site will hopefully become a resource to help each writer grow and expand their knowledge, both in their current stories and future ones.
How did Rewrite It Club come about?
Jen: Rewrite It Club is something KJ and I started when we both had edits to work on and realized there wasn’t anything really on Twitter or anywhere beyond contests that talked about revisions and resources for edits. We were talking in our Slack group one day about how we needed a Twitter hashtag and that afternoon we kicked it off. The rest as they say…is history.
KJ: As Jen said, we weren’t just searching for how to write a book or even how to edit out extraneous words, we wanted a resource for the revision space that happens after the first draft. When a writer takes a tangible idea and fleshes out character arcs, builds a structure from the main backbone down to scene and paragraph level, or needs to dig into why a character has a problem they can’t avoid and how to nudge those subtle shifts to resolution.
We couldn’t locate an online space with the resources we wanted, so we made one of our own to help others and to learn for ourselves along the way. While Jen and I took the first leap into this space, credit should be given to our writer group, Oceans 11. All eleven of us had been discussing for some time how to give back to the community, so when we found the space we wanted, all that hard work leapt out and fit perfectly into everything Rewrite It Club embraces.
I would say our mission is to give others a place to find a community during the editing stage of writing. --Jen Davenport
How has community benefited your personal revision process? Do you find that it's mostly helpful to the mindset/mental health of a revising author, or is there a more practical component as well?
KJ: On a personal level, the Rewrite It Club community challenges me to find new revision methods and to start asking some of the harder questions in both other people’s work and my own. When the chat comes to life each week, I always find that someone has a new resource to share, a new approach for a specific revision, or they ask their own questions in such a way that I can look at my own work with different eyes.
As for helping the mindset and mental health of a revising author, I certainly hope so. We’ve had several writers step forward to tell us they’re struggling with a specific element in their revision and need encouragement or support, something we’re only too happy to offer. A virtual hug goes a lot further than people think.
However, there’s also a practical component to these chats. We discuss how to approach and tackle specific items within a manuscript—book structures, character arcs, world-building elements, outlines, plotting sheets, the list goes on. So when you combine both practical and wellness mindset together, writers have a space where they can learn, grow, engage, and be encouraged to just keep writing.
Jen: I had to think about this question for a minute. the Rewrite It Club community has made me evaluate my process and my editing style. In preparing for the chats I’ve used my own writing as an example more times than not, so I’ve had a chance to look at my character development with a new approach. When KJ runs the chats her questions have me diving deep into my own work as well. The community has provided additional resources and points of view that give me even more ways to work through editing. Their answers to our questions have really opened up the world of editing for me. I’ve learned what I thought I was doing as far as deep content edits were really more surface. That realization has helped not just in editing, but the first draft as well.
I think our chats have both a practical component as well as helping with the mindset and mental health of revising. We try to discuss topics surrounding editing that really help authors dig deep into their story and provide new resources for areas they’re already comfortable with. At the same time, it helps to have a community of people who are at the same place you are at the process. One thing I love about this community is it doesn’t matter whether you’re published, have an agent, or are just starting out, we all have to edit and we all have things we can contribute to help others.
Jen and I ask a lot of ‘why’ questions to help bring revision methodologies into the spotlight. --KJ Harrowick
I know there are other members of the Rewrite It Club team. How do you all work together, and who do you want to give a shout out?
KJ: We have eleven people in all behind the Rewrite It Club scene. A few have chosen to remain as silent partners for the time being, but all others you can find on our website here: http://rewriteitclub.com/the-team/
We work together as critique partners, as a support group for one another’s lives, and have some of the best brainstorming sessions. One of them led to the novel Jen’s working on right now, and I can’t wait for it to be ready to share with the world.
So apart from Jen, a special shout out to our silent partners, as well as the following ladies: Abby Glenn, Melody Haaf, Laura Hazan, Sanyukta Thakare, and Megan Van Dyke.
Jen: Yep what she said.
What other resources do you recommend for revising authors?
Jen: There are so many resources out there. I’ve read a bunch of craft books lately like Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need by Jessica Brody and Story Genius by Lisa Cron. Sometimes a simple Google search for what I’m in need of at the moment provides the best resources. Jami Gold has a website FULL of helpful resources. The RevPit crew is full of great tips and tricks too.
KJ: Each writer is so different it’s hard to say what will work and what won’t. One thing we’ve done at Rewrite It Club is create a page of the resources we’ve found useful, and we hope to keep expanding this list.
Jen: We’re always looking to add books and articles to our page of resources, so if anyone has a something they use and want to share it with others, we’d love to know about it!
What's advice would you give an author who's in the midst of revisions?
Jen: Don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to step away or beat your head against the wall. Find a community who is going through the process so you have someone to relate to and vent to. But don’t give up.
KJ: Think about how you want to move through your revisions. Make a plan of elements to tackle, then break that into smaller chunks so you have solid tasks to work through on a daily basis. This will help you feel like it’s a consistent project, not one overwhelming storm cloud.
Where can people get all the details about Rewrite It Club and about each of you as authors?
Jen: KJ’s got this one. It’s her baby.
KJ: Ha ha ha . . . Jen loves me. Rewrite It Club can be found on our website (http://rewriteitclub.com) or every Monday at 5pm EST on our hashtag: #RewriteItClub. Writers can also follow us on Twitter @RewriteItClub.
If you want to know who I am as a writer, you can find me on either of my blogs: Hàlön Chronicles (http://www.blog.halon-chronicles.com) or K. J. Harrowick (https://kjharrowick.wordpress.com), or you can find my profile on Rewrite It Club (http://rewriteitclub.com/k-j-harrowick/). I also spew random nonsense on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KJHarrowick) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KJHarrowick).
Jen: You can find me mostly on Twitter (https://twitter.com/Jen_D_Davenport) and sometimes on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/jen.d.davenport/). All of us admin a group on Facebook too for RevPit Hopefuls that’s really blossomed into a support group for any and every author (https://www.facebook.com/groups/207036893360574/about/)
KJ: I also do freelance web development and design work if anyone is searching for help with their blogs, email campaigns, or book media. You can find some of my professional services and portfolio here (http://www.blog.halon-chronicles.com/services/).
Jen: We’re looking to bring a few authors and editors in for guest chats during Rewrite It Club, so if you’re interested we’d love to hear from you. You can hit us in DM on Twitter or email us at RewriteItClub@gmail.com. We also have a Slack group for anyone who’s interested in continuing the weekly conversations and finding a community of fantastic authors. Just click here to join.
Sunflower Vase Vintage by Yuri_B on pixabay
Tip Jar by @sam_truong on unsplash
Book-read-students-board by @geralt on pixabay