Today’s guest is writer Jo Sparkes. Her new book is directed at writers, but a lot of people can relate to it. It’s called Feedback: How to Give It, How to Get It. A Writer’s Guide to Spinning Gold.
Jo is currently on a virtual book tour, and has a $50 Amazon gift card on the table for a lucky commentor during the tour. So, comment below and on any of her other blog tour stops for a chance to win.
A well-known Century City Producer once said she “writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.” Jo’s body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, television commercials and corporate videos. She’s been a feature writer on several websites, including Arizona Sports Fans Network (ASFN), where she was called their most popular writer, known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals. She has adjunct taught at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College.
She’s currently teamed with a Producer on a low budget thriller, and a Director on a New Dramady.” When not diligently perfecting her craft, Jo can be found exploring her new home of Portland, Oregon, along with her husband Ian, and their dog Oscar.
Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Jo. Please tell us about your current release.
Feedback: How to Give It, How to Get It. A Writer’s Guide to Spinning Gold is a process I had to find to survive being a writer. It’s a short, simple tool to take any criticism – from a boss, a spouse, a parent or family member, from life really – and transmute it down to the marvelous gems inside for you. And then for heavens sake release the rest.
What inspired you to write this book?
It came from a day in a college class I taught.
In the entertainment industry – really in the arts, I suppose – criticism is so difficult. I think it’s because we wear our hearts on our sleeves, allowing the world to see inside of us. When a boss criticizes a computer program you wrote, it’s usually not really personal. But with art it always feels that way.
The information needed to be shared.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve got a television series pilot I’m hoping to persuade a great producer to do. I know he’s tempted …
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Before I could read, actually. I would sit with pen and paper, scribbling rubbish. I think I was the only first grader to try to edit Dick and Jane.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Depends on how you define full time. It’s feast or famine with me.
I do my best writing in the morning, starting around 5 a.m. If I’m writing a script for a video, I’ll probably talk to the producer at a reasonable time, and do my research on the internet. Then I’ll talk to the client when he/she is ready.
I have to have a morning to write before I send them the first draft. I could write all afternoon, working on a mere five minute piece, and then get up the next morning and in half an hour have thrown it out and come up with something much better.
Usually at that point I send it to the producer, and either it goes on to the client or we make changes first. The producer decides how each project is handled.
There’s almost always one more iteration. The client and/or producer have some ideas, so we change the piece. I usually polish again in the morning.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably titles. Finding the name of a script or book is so very important.
I’ll actually write down all the words that feel right in naming/describing it. I’ll hit my Shakespeare references, famous quotes, and the thesaurus. I love it when that title leaps off the page, and you know it’s exactly right.
There are times, however, when I only get closer, and never really feel I’ve arrived at the perfect title.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
So many things. I wanted to write, of course. I also wanted to be a physicist, like my dad. I wanted to be a singer – but let’s just say I lacked the proper qualifications.
I never wanted to be a teacher – and yet it turns out I love it. I enjoy editing, helping people. Helping artists forge their path.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Just – to go for it. Whatever ‘it’ is – whatever your dream, your secret hope, the life you’d love to live. Find that first step and take it. Because it’s only after that first step that second one can be taken.
Thanks, Jo. Great closing thoughts. Readers, don’t forget to comment for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!