Jeffrey Hite: How I do it!

Jeffrey Hite is the creative genius behind the weekly Great Hites story contest. He is also a frequent contributor and an encourager of writing at all levels.

General Writing Questions

1. Before you begin writing, do you script out the general outline of plot and characters, or do you let these situations evolve as you write?
I used to try to outline or script, but my work always ended up being too stilted.  I have found that my best writing is when I  let things to flow as free as possible.  Most of the time when I start a story I have no idea where it will end up, even when I do have an idea about where it will go, it does not end up there.

2. I’ve heard repetitively that writers should deal with writing as any other job. Do you have a scheduled or structured writing routine? Please detail.
I don’t know that I have what it would take to be a professional writer, not that I don’t want to be just that I don’t.  I write 3/6 times a week, I try to write for a an hour or so at a time.  When I do write, again it is best not to have aplan about what I am going to write.  Some times I just play with ideas until one strikes my fancy.   My normal time to write is over lunch time, for hour I have for lunch.

3. What is your writing environment like? (cats, music, computer etc.) How has this evolved/changed?
My writing environment is as chaotic as my writing style.  I like to listen to music but some times is distracts me.  We have a couple of couches at work that were left over from the former owners and if I write during lunch, I usually sit there.  If I am able to write a home, I write usually at the kitchen counter.  I do occasionally hand write stories but, my hand writing is so bad i often have a hard time reading it, so although I like the feel of pen on paper, I don’t do that all that often.  the long end short of this is that I write when ever I have a moment and in whatever form I have available to me.  I have even written a few stories on my ipod.

4. Do you write anything, or have you, that is solely for yourself? (no intention of sharing with a large audience)
I don’t keep a journal or anything like that.  I have kept travel diary that I only planned on sharing with my wife and kids, but no I don’t write things just for me.  I look at the whole writing experience as for me, as I do it because I need to / have to other wise the stories in my head would drive me nuts.

5. How has social media played a role in your writing?
Socical media has given me an outlet for my writing that I didn’t have before.  I feel good sharing my work with people, and I think that is the one thing that has helped me the most.  Even if my writing only reaches a few people, they are people that would have have read it before, and hopefully some one likes it

Podcasting Questions

1. What type of OS do you prefer? Linux? Mac? Win? What are your machine’s specs?
This is a more difficutl question that is sounds like.  I am not a windows fan but, my knowledge of Windows pays the bills so I guess I like it in that way.  But for podcasting it is a MAC, macbook (white) (a couple of years old now.)  My web server and my data server / backup webserver / and fire wall are all linux, Fedora core all the way man.

2. Would you please describe your current studio? How has this changed? (What did you start with?)
Studio?!?! My office (the little room that holds the servers is where I do most of my recording, but I will record wherever I can find a quiet spot.   I started recording in the front seat of my car, moved to a  small room at the office, then moved to my wife’s closet, but when I came back from y last business trip I found that my recording would wake the baby so I have moved to my office.  I shut down the loudest of the servers and play with the mic unit it can’t “hear” them.

3. If you were able to build your dream studio, what would it include? Be as specific as you wish.
I am too much of a geek for this question.  I would want all the best, sound proof walls, a lacky to run some sort of mixing board and check levels and wonderful microphones.

4. Other than a computer, what piece of HARDWARE would you recommend to a new podcaster?
A decent Mic.  You can’t go wrong with buying a nice mic to help you with your sounds quality.  I have had a couple, but each time I upgraded I wondered how I tolerated the last one I had.

5. What have you had to learn for yourself that you wish someone could have warned you about?
How to use the filtering software.  I had to play with so many of the settings and experiment with them with figure out what sounded best for quality.  I wish I could have sat down with someone to show me what each of the setting did and have them explain to me which ones were good for me and which one would hurt my quality.

6. What would you consider a “beginner’s mistake” you’ve either experienced or hear others making?
I feel like I am too much of a beginner to make a comment about this one, remove the log from your own eye before remove the splinter from your neighbors.

7. How much time does it take, once you have all the elements, for YOU to put together a 30 minute podcast? (please describe your production technique)
My podcast requires that I listen to three or four stories, when decided how they should go together.  That usually takes a hour or so.  Then I put them all together and record intro for the podcast (yup different for each one) and intro for each story, my reaction to each of them and then an outtro for the whole podcast.  Total time, for a 30-40 minute podcast probably 3 to 4 hours.

Casting Questions (answer if you can)

1-4 No Answers

5. What is the hardest part of putting together a “straight read” podcast?
I read like a third grader.  I usually read the story three or four times to myself before I read it to record, and it still sounds like I don’t know how to read.  So the short answers is editing my own reading.

6. As far as cast goes, what would you like to try, but haven’t so far?
Not answered

General Questions

1. If someone approached you with THEIR book, and asked you to podcast it for them for a fee, what would you consider a reasonable rate per episode? (The way YOU do it)
Would I do it. Yes, I don’t know what a good rate is.

2. Do you podcast as part of a larger plan, or because getting your content out in some manner IS your plan?
That is my larger plan, just getting people to see what I have written, I don’t care if I get paid for it.

3. What is the nicest compliment you’ve been paid or what keeps you coming back?
That Great Hites was someones EscapePod replacement. [Editorial note… I seem to remember that comment being made on Twitter]

4. How important are numbers of downloads/subscribers to you? Do you keep track?
I keep track, and them mean something to me, but I am not sure what.  Obviously the larger the numbers the better, but honestly I think it bigger numbers make me happier for the other writers than for myself.

5. How important are reviews left on Podiobooks/iTunes/other venues to you?
I like them, but since my podcast is about writing practice and other peoples writing I find that constructive feed back is more important.

6. If not answered previously, how do you read your manuscript while recording (hard copy, teleprompter, etc)?
I have tried reading on my computer screen, on paper and on my iPod.  I think right now I like reading it from my ipod best because it makes so little noise.

~ by odin1eye on 5 May, 2010.

8 Responses to “Jeffrey Hite: How I do it!”

  1. Odin, I usually enjoy reading each and every one of your blogposts, but a bit of spellcheck would’ve been nice here.

  2. The spell check is my fault not odin’s. My apologies.

    • No worries… I am less than a passable speller myself… great content though! Thanks for playing!

  3. I am seconding Odin’s positive comment on Jeff’s welcoming site, Great Hites. He started it to showcase his work and anyone else who wanted to play along to learn how to write from a prompt and record a podcast. From the first time I stepped in and recognized that I would be able to send in my work, I felt welcomed. I found the site through Some Other Scotland, (what ever happened to that great story?).

    Since this interview was finished, Jeff has decided to move on to something that, I am sure, will be a lot of fun when he releases his “secret project”. I have recommended Jeff’s site, Great Hites to new writers and I am sure his next project will be as accessible and friendly as Great Hites was.

    • I hope that any project that Jeff embarks on is as successful and fun for everyone as Great Hites has been. I know there will be much interest in the community to see how it turns out.

      I have it on good authority that SOS will be returning soon. I surely hope so. I need to hear Razor’s voice again.

  4. Odin, I wanted thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It was a lot of fun. I helped me answer some questions that I had not actually thought about much, and in that way was as much a help to me as I hope it to anyone else

    • You are not the first author that has said that answering the questions helped them solidify their own thoughts. While that really wasn’t my intention (more the selfish “want to know” for me thing there) I am really glad it was helpful to you. I hope it helps others as well.

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