We’re thrilled to add a new blogger to our team at Writers’ Rest: author Molly Noble Bull.
Molly writes only for the Christian market and has published with Zondervan, Steeple Hill and Tsaba House (her first novels, For Always and The Rogue’s Daughter, were published in 1986). Two of her Zondervan novels were later reprinted by Guideposts’ Book Division.
Molly will be sharing her writing knowledge with us but first will share some things about herself. I pummeled her with questions and she graciously answered every one … which is saying a lot! So welcome to Molly Week, a time to look inside her writing world and learn how she keeps things going.
Leigh: You’ve been involved with Christian writing for years and have seen a lot of changes. What’s the hardest or most important thing you’ve learned as a writer?
Molly: The hardest thing I’ve had to learn is that even published authors get rejection slips. I think I thought that once you were published, you never got another of those, and that could be true for some. But don’t count on it. I still get them. Sales are better.
Leigh: Good point – we do love those sales! Do you have other advice you wish someone had shared when you were starting your writing career?
Molly: I wish I had known how much time I was going to have to spend promoting my books. I never thought about that at all. I just wrote. Now I have to spend time promoting, and that means less time writing.
Leigh: When I read your bio and began learning more about your books, it seemed like many of your books incorporate aspects of your own life (Texas, Germany, twins, Huguenots). Do you look for ways to tie in your own life through your stories, or does it happen on its own?
Molly: All my heroines have a little of my DNA; all my heroes have my husband’s. But I am a dyslexic, which means I am bored easily. If I am interested in something, I can block out the world for a while. But I have to be extremely interested in something in order to do it. Therefore, my projects always mirror what I am interested in, and I look for ways to make that happen. I have to personally like the books I write and read. Once I wrote three chapters of a novel and put it on the backburner—never tried to sell it. It bored me. If a novel bores me, it would bore my readers.
Leigh: Story is king, as they say. So how do you weave your stories together? Are you a plotter or a seat-of-the-pants writer? Do you have any advice for helping all the ideas in a writer’s head come together and make a sensible, realistic story?
Molly: I am a plotter. Here is how I put a novel together.
I write one, two or three chapters from the seat-of-my pants with no real idea what is going to happen next. This is really fun for me, but I do it because it helps me get to know my characters. Then I take a yellow pad and number it from one to ten or one to fifteen or the number of chapters I plan to have. Let’s say I plan to have fifteen chapters in all.
By number one, I write in one paragraph what happened in chapter one of the chapter I wrote by the seat of my pants. I do the same with chapters two and three. Then I skip down to chapter 15 and write in one paragraph how the story ends. Next I back-skip to chapter eleven, and I tell in one paragraph what must happen in order for the story to end as it does in chapter fifteen. I keep back skipping, paragraph by paragraph, until I reach about chapter seven. Chapters four through six must blend the story so that the two ends meet.
I decide what is going to happen in the climax of my novel and write it in. Then I write my book.
Leigh: Thanks so much, Molly. You have great insights for us whether we’re new to fiction writing or have authored a shelf full of books. We’ll continue our interview on Wednesday when Molly shares how she’s grown as a writer and how her fiction connects with her faith. On Friday, we'll spotlight Molly's latest book Sanctuary. We hope you readers will join us!
PS -- My apologies for posting this first installment of our interview so late. My ISP had problems so I was Internet-less until late on Monday. The joys of technology ... :-)