Writer Spotlight: Julie Kusma

Updated: Aug 30

The Writer's Workout is starting a new series of profiles where every few weeks we post an interview we've done with one of our members about their writing process. Writers learn by talking to other writers. With this series, we hope you can learn something new about your process by looking at what others are doing. This week's profile is with Julie Kusma.

WW: The writing process is different for each writer. Some view it as the place they write, what resources or software they use, or their setup, while others see it as being the steps you use while writing such as brainstorming, outlining, writing a first draft, revising and editing. How would you describe your writing process?

JK: For me, the writing process is pretty organized. Once I have an idea, I write down the story concept. Using this story concept as my template, I create an outline of key events that need to happen. This outline allows me to see where foreshadowing best fits in, and what needs to occur within the story for it to feel cohesive. With the outline in hand, I write the first draft, edit, revise, sometimes change the starting point, and sometimes change the POV. Not an easy task once the first draft is done, but I have done it. Then I revise and edit again, and again, and again.

WW: How do you get started? Where do you get ideas from? What inspires you?

JK: Well, this is interesting- for me, if an idea doesn’t immediately pop into my mind, I attempt to brainstorm. And by attempt I mean I try to reason something out- that doesn’t usually provide great results. However, if I am patient, a story concept will just pop into my mind. For example, during the Writer’s Games 2017 Individual portion, we received the event prompt on Friday night. I read over the core concepts, and the event concept then slept on it. When I woke up, the story concept was in my mind fully developed, and I began with my writing process mentioned above. That is how I moved through the seven events- it was fun and inspiring.

WW: Do you create an outline before you start writing? If so, do you ever stray from it while writing?

JK: I do create a rough outline. It is more of a map of the events from point A to point Z. The details organically unfold during the actual writing process. I have strayed from the original intent of a story concept during the writing process. Sometimes a fantastic idea is just there and needs incorporating, but typically, the road map (story concept outlined) stays true to original idea as far as the destination is concerned, but detours, road blocks, even scenic routes might find their way into the process.

WW: Is there a genre you prefer?

JK: The easier way to answer this for me is to say that I don’t think I would like to write Fantasy. I have never tried, but in general, it doesn’t appeal to me. Probably my favorite genre is Magical Realism.