How to Leverage Business Hours into Creative Nirvana

How to Leverage Business Hours into Creative Nirvana

These days writing comes with hours of “business” related nonsense. I’m watching one of my Critique Group working on her book release, and I am exhausted. Social Media, Blog Tours, Facebook Parties, etc. Not only do you have to do these activities and to get your book seen, but you need to figure out when you will get the most bang for your buck. 

Read More

When it’s Time to Start Again

When it’s Time to Start Again

Books are a moving target. I’ve never had a book become stagnant. What I mean by this is I am going back to old work. Maybe I am submitting, or editing or doing yet another set of beta readers, or maybe it’s all business of writing stuff. Point being, I don’t have any work that doesn’t live in my head. They are all up there.

Read More

How to Get Out of a Hole When Editing Your Book

How to Get Out of a Hole When Editing Your Book

What follows below is how I've tackled my work. Mileage may vary. Take what works for you and leave the rest.

We all have this happen. After finishing a book, there is a huge burst of energy. A little while later, there is a huge drop off as you think about edits.

What we all like to do (and what feels natural) is to start another book. Ideas seem to fire as you get towards the end of a first draft. Tasty morsels with all kinds of delicious plot tropes.  All you can think about is getting to the new story.

Read More

Do You Read What You Write?

Sitting at the Annual Christmas Party for one of my writer’s groups, I heard a writer mention she loved to read Sci fi/fantasy, but writes romance.  I’ve read her stuff, and it’s fabulous. She is writing stories that sell. But it’s not what she reads.

The comment has been percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. I am still not positive on why it resonated with me with such power. In my muddling around to figure things out, I’ve been thinking about what I read and why.

Read More

But I Don’t Want to Write Today!

But I Don’t Want to Write Today!

I haven't met a writer who doesn’t feel like throwing a toddler temper when faced with a blank page. You know need to do the work, but you don’t want to. You can think of fifty million other things you would rather be doing, eating, and reading.
 

Writing is a capricious beast. Long periods of stagnation can open up beautiful vistas or a deep black abyss. Some writers face the page with fits and starts. No two get to the end of a piece in the same way.
 

But the one thing I can say about all writers? They write.
 

They fuss about it. Tweet about it. Facebook about it. Take photos to post to Instagram about it. Eventually, they all have to sit down and do it.

Read More

What to do when you type "The End."

What to do when you type "The End."

finally finished the Sci fi/ Fantasy book I had been working on. It ended up taking more time than I thought. Months in fact longer than I wanted it to. When I looked at the tally of the word count, 140,000 words. Good gods.

I’ve had several people ask me, what now?  Are you going to publish it? What do you want to do with the book? Is it a trilogy? Do you want to break it up into different books?

When this book was over, done, stick a fork in it, I didn’t want to look at it again for a little while. The book had eaten my soul, and I needed to refill my passion for writing with other things.

I took a month off. I took a vacation. Sat around. Crafted. Played with the dogs. Read books. Gardened.

Read More

Plan What You Can and Write the Rest

Plan What You Can and Write the Rest
“The only thing you can control in your career is your writing,” Beverly Jenkins RWA 2016

You get nowhere without hard work and your eye on the prize. Just the way the cookie crumbles. If you are driving your career by the seat of your pajama pants, get a hold of yourself. It’s time to sit down and figure things out.


I shared photo’s of different planners last week.  I’ve talked on social media about business plans and why you need one whether you are an unpublished noob, or a well established NYT bestseller with lots of zero’s in your check.  Now I want to talk about the day to day planning.

It’s hilarious that I am even writing this article. I am twenty four hours off an eight hour iv treatment. I’ve been ill for five days, and I haven’t even been able to look at anything white since Sunday morning without wanting to rip my own eyeballs out.

Read More

I've gone back to a Paper Planner for Writing. Bliss!

I've gone back to a Paper Planner for Writing. Bliss!

I have always been organized. My granny gave me a little leather planner with a grown up pen when I was eleven or twelve. We were just back from coming stateside, and my adjustment had been rough. I didn’t like American school’s, television, or clothes. The weather was hot, and the mosquitoes in Louisiana could eat a person whole.

I can still see the little notebook in my head. It was black fake leather with yellow and pink things on the outside. Inside there were pockets, a pen loop and a calendar with places to write all the important secrets a pre-teen wants to remember.

Many of my female characters are organized. I can’t help myself. Part of who I am goes into every character, so yeah, they are planners. They use real calendars. They don’t forget appointments, show up late, or ask for forgiveness because they didn’t plan for something. They are the movers and shakers who execute a focused plan to get to their goal.

Read More

Writing Groups and You

Writing Groups and You

I've written before about receiving and weeding through someone's feedback, but it might be time to discuss when/if to join a Writers Group.

First, let's define what I am talking about. There are all kinds of groups out there.  You can meet up to talk writing, you can join a profession organization, or join a critique group. Each one will come with it's own expectations.

Read More

What Software Are You Using to Write?

What Software Are You Using to Write?

I am fascinated whenever I walk into a Barnes and Noble or a Starbucks. There are people cradling their technology everywhere.

Probably first and foremost, I see the Apple symbol everywhere. (Which is why I wrote this article earlier this year.) Ipads, Ipad Pro’s, Macbook’s of every kind and lots of iphones. 

After that, I see a smattering of other devices. More Dell laptops than anything else, and a ton of Samsung phones.

Really there seems to be only two sides on the actual operating system front.  Apple and Microsoft. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a Google laptop, and I sure don’t ever see a Linux box in the wild. 

Different machines have

Read More

Does it Hurt to Kill Off Characters?

Does it Hurt to Kill Off Characters?

My guy was reading a preface an author had put in a book, and he asked me if it was true it hurt to kill off characters.

As a writer my instant answer was, it depends.

In my last book, I didn’t kill anyone. I sure wanted to though. I have several characters I may edit right out of that thing.

In my current book, I ended up having two love interests. I am not sure what my brain thought it was doing, but the only way I could figure out how to solve it was to kill one of them off.  I cried.  I am still not convinced I killed off the right one.  I swear during rewrites I am going to bring the other one back and try him out.

Read More

Can't Think of What to Write Next?

Can't Think of What to Write Next?

I have been struggling to think of what to write next.  I wrote a fun contemporary last year, and I didn’t enjoy writing this last book, a Alien mystery,  as much as I thought I would.  I have been sitting around trying to think of what I want to do with a new story.

I keep a little list of idea’s I have.  I date them, and keep track of where I was or what I was reading when the idea came to me.  You just never know anymore when someone Is going to claim they had the idea first or something.  It might be all paranoia on my part, but I do it anyway.

Read More

When Writing Your Characters Feels More Like Herding Kittens

When Writing Your Characters Feels More Like Herding Kittens

I love the research at the beginning of a book.  I want to find pictures of my character, write out a detailed chart with things like funniest joke, or ironic trait, or what’s in their pocket, and I want to know they are opposites.  I like the duality of people.  We love what we like least about ourselves.  It’s so telling.

My current cast of characters can’t seem to stop misbehaving.  If there is a way for them to screw up a conversation, throw out the conflict, or just not show up at all, they do it.  Every single blessed time.  I’m not kidding about thinking about killing off the hero.  He’s unpredictable as hell.  I am wondering if when I go back for edits I will find he’s not in character all the time.

Read More

Ways to Find Your Creative Edge

Ways to Find Your Creative Edge

I managed to eek out 500 words tonight.  There has been a bloody war going on in my head, and I have written myself into such a corner. Do I put this chapter into the trash bin, and start over? 

I've struggled with the last two thirds of this book.  The last book finished itself.  I am don't even remember typing much of the ending.  I know I cried, but I think some other part of me was doing the writing.

This latest book hasn't been as easy.  Part of this has been the fault of medical issues.  A switch of a medication tied my creativity up in a straight jacket.  It took me a little while to realize what was happening, and coming back has been a slog through one hell of a quagmire.

Read More

What does your Voice say about You?

What does your Voice say about You?

Authors, Writers or Artists, however you try to label yourself, hear ad nauseam “You must find your voice.”

Most of us aren’t sure what this really means until we have been writing for a little while.  This nebulous advice includes the subtext favorites like “Write what you know” and “Show, don’t tell.”  Wrapped together in the “here’s your present” red bow, you find yourself with more of a bomb than a gift.

Read More