Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Leave your Emotions in the Story - but HOW?

How do you detach yourself from the Fictional character emotions get back to day-to-day life after each writing session?

I’m currently writing some scenes where my heroine, Sera, is kidnapped and she must work through her emotions to find the best strategy to stay alive and escape her captors.  The kidnappers are part of a group who want to find an ancient relic before the Sera’s newly found family, the Jade Witch Coven, do.  It’s a battle of humans who want to become immortal (as they believe collecting all 3 ancient Jade relics will give them this), and the Jade Witch Coven who are sworn protectors of the 3 ancient relics and know their true purpose is not immortality.
There are dark forces, evil dudes and dudettes and a bunch of good guys all trying to to get to the Jade Wand first, which is the 1st of the relics to be hunted.
In writing these kidnap scenes Sera is going through a range of emotions as you would expect, but it’s how she handles each situation that is draining me.  Especially as one of the kidnappers is a past love, her 1st love, and his betrayal of her and her heart has not yet healed.  To write these scenes I have been digging into my past and reliving some hurts and pain and it’s great material to help me get into character.
The part I’m currently struggling with is how to detach myself from the emotional state I’m in once I finish my writing session and need to get back to family life and do normal stuff again.  I’m finding if I was writing a cranky scene I’m cranky with my family - for absolutely no reason, than I was in that mindset and I haven’t worked out how to trigger a switch back to normal life.

How do you get our of your characters head(s) and get back into your own when you have finished writing for that session?

Any tips from seasoned writers?

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Happy writing to all the writers out there and Happy reading to all the romance readers out there 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

R is for Rockstar Romance


I’ve recently discovered a new category in the Romance genre - Rockstar Romance.

Every now and then a new category pops up and some are not for me and some are intriguing and I get into them for a bit. Like werewolves and vampire when they popped up.
Now I’m into the Contemporary Romances for Rock Stars.  The series that really caught my attention is The Stage Dive series written by Kylie Scott.  The guys are hunky and inked and are rock Gods.  They are all very different personalities and quite real in the way Kylie writes them.

I’m loving the series and it’s my new favourite category.

If you are a Romance reader, have you come across this category yet?

What's your take on the inked hero?

Q is for Quirky Characters

Quirky Characters can be really cool and sometimes take over the story.  They can even get their own book in the deal if they play their cards right.

I am attempting to write a quirky character in my current book and it’s proving to be quite a challenge.

How quirky do I make them?  Are they really funny, or just weird?  What fits the story better? Am I wasting too much time on the sub plot with this character when I should really be writing the story!?
Yes, it’s a never ending circle of questions for me today.  Still, I’m writing and that is always the main point of things.  Only I'm getting too much into this new character and having to re-edit sections because there is too much in the sub plot that isn't progressing this story.

This character isn’t the main hero or heroine, but the heroine’s friend.  I’m considering she’ll be the heroine in the next book in the series, so trying to add a bit of her into this book that entices readers to want the next.  Of course she isn’t the only sell point, the book has to actually be a great read and well written.  Naturally, that will happen, but how quirky can a character be before they are just a ridiculous waste of words?
Decisions, decisions.  Today is my quirky character day and I'm giving in to it to explore where it will lead me.

P is for Publish or Self Publish?

So you want to be an Author, a Published Author - but which route should you choose?

As a writer who wants to be an author, I’ve been researching these options quite a bit over the past few years and they both have good and bad points.
On the one hand you have the kudos that goes with being published via the traditional route of a recognised publisher.  This is not as easy or fast to get sorted as it is to Self Publish.
Self Publishing your own manuscript is fast becoming very popular and sounds great as you are in control of the time lines to get your book to the market and start earning sales(which are way faster than the more traditional route), but there is a lot of effort to do that yourself.  You need to be your own PR, Marketing, Editing, Proofing, Formatting and administration.  It can be quite overwhelming and time consuming to organise an account with just one of the retailers you want to sell with, but there are others too.
So once you decide if you’ll sell just with Amazon via their KDP - Kindle Direct Publishing, or if you want to expand your horizons, and hopefully your sales, with other retailers you need to set up your accounts.
If you aren’t really use to the online forms and dealing with all the questions and processes it can be really daunting.  I work with computers daily and have been a personal assistant in a past career where I used a few different word processing applications and even I was daunted.  There is a lot to read and when you are keen to just get it done and get your finished manuscript out into the world then it’s a very frustrating wait.
Try to consider it all as an investment in your writing career.  After all you are doing this for a career aren’t you?  If you start a new job there is always a learning curve to learn new processes and applications, and this is no different.  Put some time aside to do a task at a time.
  • Format manuscript as a print book on Createspace - tick
  • Set up account on Amazon - tick
  • Format manuscript as an eBook on Amazon - tick

Make sure you start with Createspace if you want the print options, because there is an option to create the ebook for you and you don’t have to do the process twice.

There are loads of other options for self publishing, but I'll save those for a later post.

O if for Organisation

How organised are you with your writing time?

If you are like me, you have a family, a day job, a social life and your desire to write - but how do you fit it all in and get the washing done and the house cleaned.  The lucky ones have a helpful family but for me, I’m a solo mum with a 4yo, so while he is helpful, his helping sometimes takes me longer to get the house tidy, but at least he’s helping.
Planning the week is essential for me to actually remember what needs to be done, but also to schedule in my writing time.  Here are a few of my tips for the week with the end goal to have some writing time:
  • Plan in some downtime for your brain - if you don’t sitting in front of your computer willing yourself to write will be a waste of time
  • Every Sunday I find some time to think about meals for the week and plan them out, get the groceries and sometimes pre-cut some of the veggies for the next day.
    • A slow cooker is great for when we have an after school class and get home write n 6pm.  With a meal popped in the slow cooker in the morning it’s then ready when we walk in the door in the evening.
    • I actually do this a couple of times a week and make enough to freeze a meal or two for another time.
    • Most meals I’ll prepare a bit extra and freeze for those nights when I’m too tired to cook, but we still need something other than take away.
  • Driving to my day job in the morning I’m planning my work day and on the way home in the evening I’m plotting me next book or chapter for when I can type it up that evening.
    • If I don’t have writing planned for that night I’ll let myself think about other things and let the brain have a little rest about having to be ‘on’ all the time.
  • Don’t schedule writing for every spare moment you have, make sure you get a little ‘me’ time and watch your favourite show, or read a book, meditate, or spend time with a partner.  Just do something that you don’t have to do — it’s amazing how good you feel when you allow yourself to do this.

The main thing is that if you really, really have the drive to write then you will and if you want to be more productive when you do, then you need to do some planning.  If you don’t it will never happen.

Do you have any great organisation tips?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

N is for Novella or Novel?

How many words before you Publish?

It's quite tempting to write just enough word count for a Novella length manuscript but are you cutting your story short - could it really be a Novel.
Most novels are approximately 55,000 to 75,000 words and this is very dependent on the genre and who/where you are publishing your manuscript.  A Novella (often will average between 20,000 to 40,000 words) can be a lot shorter than this which has some great benefits.

  • quicker to write
  • quicker to edit
  • quicker to get to being published (especially if you are self-publishing)
Erotica is quite popular in this word length for readers and so sales could be quite good for an author.

An Author friend of mine has recently mentioned she is doing quite well with novella length erotica and readers borrowing from KDP.

As a reader though, I feel a bit cheated with a Novella as my preferred genre is a Contemporary or Historical Romance.  I really like a fully developed plot and characters and don't feel that really happens in the novella.

How about you?  Do you have a preference for story length?

M is for Mystery Writing

I have recently learned the hard way that to write a suspenseful mystery you actually need to start at the end and work backwards.

I had begun at the beginning and was writing my way through and constantly going back to the beginning and changing little things to make something I’d written in the middle work.  I was frustrated at spending months going around in circles until I read a blog about mystery writing that discussed starting at the end.  I can't remember where I found it now, but it was simple and really very logical.

Decide on who did it and why, then add in a few possible suspects and there you go.  You've started at the end.  Smatter some clues around the chapters and don't forget to start with a 'bam' opening chapter.

I’ve scrapped loads of word count and started again as I really love the idea I have going on, but am writing it backwards now.  Well not completely like that, but I’ve plotted each chapter out from the end to the start and made notes about when/where to write in a smattering of clues.

If you write mystery is this how you are tackling it?