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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

 


 

Selected Insights from Julia Quinn

By Pamela Gibson

I write historical romance and Regencies have long been one of my favorite genres. Over the years, I’ve sat through several presentations at in-person conventions, learning different perspectives from some of my favorite authors. Here are a few I recently came across from Julia Quinn, the author of the Bridgerton series. She made them during a panel discussion in 2016.

Plot or characters, which comes first? . . .

For the rest of the blog go to:

SMP Authors’ blog

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Friday Features

We think writing and Christmas have a lot in common.

Preparing for Christmas is like writing a book—not that anyone gets much writing done in the weeks before the holiday. The concept, however, is the same; start early and stay on target.

For an easy Christmas holiday:

  • Shop all year long, especially on vacation where you can get one-of-a-kind items, and avoid the mall rush.
  • Plan in advance. Knowing your menu weeks in advance and looking for recipes you can prepare ahead, freeze, or have on hand reduces stress in the kitchen and lets you enjoy the holiday too. Don’t want to cook ahead? Then remodel the kitchen (not before the holidays, of course) and get that second oven you’ve been wanting so all those green bean casseroles will fit in. Better yet, let someone else host.
  • Get familiar with your Christmas dishes. Start using your Christmas dishes at the beginning of December so you don’t have to get them out of storage at the last minute. That 24 piece place setting of hollies and Christmas trees needs to be used more than once at Christmas dinner!
  • Get next year’s Christmas cards as soon as they go on sale.  After all, you have a pretty good idea how many you will need for next year, and they never go out of style.
  • Begin next year’s Christmas letter now. Start in January and keep a running tally of the important things you want to include. If you bind the letters in a notebook you have a ready-made life journal. One stone, two birds.
  • Make a goal list. Shopping done before Christmas, house cleaned thoroughly by the first weekend in December, trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving (since you don’t have to shop on Black Friday), Christmas cookies baked by the second weekend (or cheat and just buy them), the guest room readied right before your guests arrive, and so on. Tweak the list to fit your needs.

For easy book writing:

  • Write all year long, every day. Then when you take all that time off in December to get ready for the holidays, you won’t feel so guilty.
  • Plan your book in advance. Some seat-of-the-pants writers claim too much planning takes the fun out of writing. We’ve done it both ways, and have found thorough planning and plotting keeps us out of those pesky writer’s blocks. You just have to be willing to let your characters speak to you even if they don’t want to go where you’ve planned.
  • Get familiar with your book and characters. Let the novel and your characters live with you daily. When you are thinking about the book all the time, the words come easily to the page and your characters’ voices sound more real.
  • Get your ideas as soon as they come to you. Carry a notebook, or use your phone, to jot down everything that comes to mind about your current WIP or ideas for new books. Even if you don’t use the ideas now, they may work, with some tweaking, for something in the future. Writers are always writing and we need to capture those ideas when they come.
  • Begin your next book now. Writers who don’t think about future projects while they are still working on the current one run the risk of writer’s block for their next book. A running log of ideas, thoughts, characters, or anything related to the next books will make coming up with the stories easier. We brainstorm when we drive places, capturing all our ideas, good or bad, in a composition notebook. In a single composition book we have at least 10 new ideas waiting to be developed. Will we write them all? Maybe not, but we have ready-made journal filled with possibilities.
  • Make a goal list. Set writing goals for yourself. Whether it’s 100 words a day, or 20 pages a day doesn’t matter. It’s the goal that counts. Tweak your goal list to fit your needs and you’ll be surprised how quickly those 100 words will turn into pages, and pages into chapters, and chapters into a book.

So this holiday season, when you are laying your gifts beside the nativity, under your Christmas tree, give a gift to yourself. Promise to start writing early in the New Year and stay on target. Who knows, with perseverance and a little luck, you could be tucking your brand new book under next year’s tree as a gift to someone else.

Happy Writing and Merry Christmas!
C.D. Hersh

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Tell Again Tuesday

A blog series where we shamelessly share posts from others that we have enjoyed.

Lesson Two From the Writing Path: Your characters will try to wrestle for the controls

Moonday Mania

a blog about writers, writing and the roadblocks we all face

Last week I started this series of blogs about my romance writing lessons, well, roadblocks really, with a post on how life gets in the way of my goals. You can read that HERE. This week I’m addressing lesson two. And in the following weeks I’ll be hitting the other three top lessons I’ve learned by writing and publishing paranormal romance.

On writing, plotting, and how characters are lying in wait, ready to derail your best laid plots.

For the rest of the blog go to:

https://jessicaaspen.com/2016/07/18/lesson-two-from-the-writing-path/

 

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We’re excited to announce our first guest interview at A Splash of Romance in Your Life blog, along with an excerpt from book one of our recently released paranormal romance series The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles).

Click here to go to the blog interview.

And here is the writing tip of the week:

And easy way to keep track of your plot, scenes, and POV characters is to create an excel sheet, or a word tables document. Using a column for each character POV, insert your scene and chapter info. This way you can easily move scenes or whole chapters around until you get the flow right. We charted the second book of the Turning Stone Chronicles in this manner. For us it makes writing much simpler.

What tools do you use to keep track of plot, scenes, POV, and chapters when you are writing?

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road

Photo by C.D. Hersh (c) 2012

We recently  come back from a trip to the Boston, Massachusetts area. During the 2-day, 18 hour drive we spent time plotting the third book of the Turning Stone Chronicles series, and wrapping up plot holes in book two. We always plot books when we travel. In fact, the Turning Stone Chronicles series was conceived on the road after we saw an exit road sign for a place called Turning Stone, New York.

Plotting on the road makes the time go faster for Donald, who drives, and keeps me from seeing all the crazy drivers tailgating us and zipping between semi-trucks and our safety zone. Nothing drives me nuttier than watching an F-150 Ford with a full jump cab try to squeeze into a space that barely fits a smart car, without giving us a signal! Fortunately, we were nowhere near the Jersey Turnpike where everyone drives like maniacs, although I think quite a few drivers must have had lessons from a Jersey driving school.

So what’s the point, you ask?

Here’s a few things we’ve learned during our loooong drives:

  • Aging knees don’t like being cooped up in a car. Imagine that.
  • It’s really hard to read plot notes written months ago while driving on a bumpy interstate.
  • It’s even harder to write on a bumpy interstate road.
  • I should really transcribe my notes as soon as we get home.
  • Especially when words written while driving on the buzz strips on the shoulder of the road make my notes look like an EKG reading.
  • We need a better system of capturing our discussions—and a tape recorder isn’t the solution. We tried that and there is so much road noise we couldn’t hear what we said.
  • I like plotting almost better than writing—or maybe it’s the traveling I like.
  • My husband plots very well—most of the time. I did have to throw a few suggestions out the car window.
  • We need more road trips because we didn’t get book three finished.
  • Writing with a collaborator is fun!

How and where do you plot your books?

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Christmas blog post

Preparing for Christmas is like writing a book—not that anyone gets much writing done in the weeks before the holiday. The concept, however, is the same; start early and stay on target.

For an easy Christmas holiday:

  • Shop all year long, especially on vacation where you can get one-of-a-kind items, and avoid the mall rush.
  • Plan in advance. Knowing your menu weeks in advance and looking for recipes you can prepare ahead, freeze, or have on hand reduces stress in the kitchen and lets you enjoy the holiday too. Don’t want to cook ahead? Then remodel the kitchen (not before the holidays, of course) and get that second oven you’ve been wanting so all those green bean casseroles will fit in. Better yet, let someone else host.
  • Get familiar with your Christmas dishes. Start using your Christmas dishes at the beginning of December so you don’t have to get them out of storage at the last minute. That 24 piece place setting of hollies and Christmas trees needs to be used more than once at Christmas dinner!
  • Get next year’s Christmas cards as soon as they go on sale.  After all, you have a pretty good idea how many you will need for next year, and they never go out of style.
  • Begin next year’s Christmas letter now. Start in January and keep a running tally of the important things you want to include. If you bind the letters in a notebook you have a ready-made life journal. One stone, two birds.
  • Make a goal list.  Shopping done before Christmas, house cleaned thoroughly by the first weekend in December, trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving (since you don’t have to shop on Black Friday), Christmas cookies baked by the second weekend (or cheat and just buy them), the guest room readied right before your guests arrive, and so on. Tweak the list to fit your needs.

For easy book writing:

  • Write all year long, every day. Then when you take all that time off in December to get ready for the holidays, you won’t feel so guilty.
  • Plan your book in advance. Some seat-of-the-pants writers claim too much planning takes the fun out of writing. We’ve done it both ways, and have found thorough planning and plotting keeps us out of those pesky writer’s blocks. You just have to be willing to let your characters speak to you even if they don’t want to go where you’ve planned.
  • Get familiar with your book and characters. Let the novel and your characters live with you daily. When you are thinking about the book all the time, the words come easily to the page and your characters’ voices sound more real.
  • Get your ideas as soon as they come to you. Carry a notebook, or use your phone, to jot down everything that comes to mind about your current WIP or ideas for new books. Even if you don’t use the ideas now, they may work, with some tweaking, for something in the future. Writers are always writing and we need to capture those ideas when they come.
  • Begin your next book now. Writers who don’t think about future projects while they are still working on the current one run the risk of writer’s block for their next book. A running log of ideas, thoughts, characters, or anything related to the next books will make coming up with the stories easier. We brainstorm when we drive places, capturing all our ideas, good or bad, in a composition notebook. In a single composition book we have at least 10 new ideas waiting to be developed. Will we write them all? Maybe not, but we have ready-made journal filled with possibilities.
  • Make a goal list. Set writing goals for yourself. Whether it’s 100 words a day, or 20 pages a day doesn’t matter. It’s the goal that counts. Tweak your goal list to fit your needs and you’ll be surprised how quickly those 100 words will turn into pages, and pages into chapters, and chapters into a book.

So this holiday season, when you are laying your gifts beside the nativity, under your Christmas tree, give a gift to yourself.  Promise to start writing early in the New Year and stay on target. Who knows, with perseverance and a little luck, you could be tucking your brand new book under next year’s tree as a gift to someone else.

Happy Writing and Merry Christmas!

C.D. Hersh

Khron Conservatory Crib. Cincinnati Ohio

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