Monday, 22 July 2013

Welcome to My Guest Author: Emmie Dark

Today I welcome guest author Emmie Dark to my blog!  So over to Emmie...

Fake it to Make it – Getting to “The End”

No matter what kind of writer you are—what genre or style—writing the whole book, all the way through to ‘The End’ is a daunting task. I think it’s even more daunting for romance writers, because so many romance publishers ask for an initial three chapters as a submission. It’s easy to get good at the first three chapters—and never navigate the choppy waters of the middle or the end.

But if you’re serious about getting published, you need to be able to write a whole book—all the way to ‘The End’. Here are a few tricks that I’ve learned that have helped me get there.

Avoid distractions
You’ve  just worked out that your heroine loves horses. In fact she used to have a horse when she was a child. What kind of horse? You don’t know that much about horses, but Wikipedia has everything you’ll ever need to know!

We’ve all been caught in an internet black hole. You go searching for ‘Shetland Ponies’ and two hours later emerge with beautiful photos of a New England-barn style interior d├ęcor and a knitting pattern. It’s been fascinating, but you haven’t got anywhere near reaching your word count for the day.

Unless it’s central to your plot and you absolutely cannot continue without knowing more, resist the temptation to go internet surfing. That kind of research can be done at other times of the day (when you’re watching TV for example) not during your precious writing hours.

Same goes if you can’t find exactly the right word you want. Just type XX and move on. Come back to it later, when you’ve got time to forage through Roget’s.

Write ‘as if’
A good friend and critique partner gave me this advice and it’s been invaluable. I’m primarily a ‘pantser’—I tend to write the story as I go, although once I get some of the way in and have a better idea of my characters, I do tend to do a little planning.

But always, in every book, at some point in the story something comes to light with a character or a plot point that changes something I’ve written earlier. Sometimes it’s simple—a minor detail about the character’s family or background. Sometimes it’s more complex—something to do with the character’s whole motivation.

It’s tempting to stop at that point and go back and fix everything related to it in your earlier chapters. All this will do is slow you down. Keep going ‘as if’ you have gone back and fixed it. Make notes somewhere about what needs to be fixed so you don’t forget, but keep going. You’re going to have to go back and revise anyway (possibly multiple times!). So keep the fixing for all at once.

It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson, but I’m convinced it’s speeded up my writing.

Turn off the editor and write anyway
It’s such a common piece of advice given to new writers I know I pretty much got sick of hearing it. “Turn off my inner editor? Yeah right! You haven’t heard that voice nagging on and on and on…”

I understand, believe me, I really do! But you know what? This is one of those times where you just have to do what your mother has probably told you a hundred times: Put on your big girl pants and deal with it.

All writers, no matter how successful, have days when they wonder if what they’re writing is crap. When it’s a struggle to get every word down on the page. The difference between published authors and wannabe writers? Authors do it anyway. There’s no, “I’ll wait until I’m in the mood tomorrow. I’ll write better then.” Yes, you might. But you’ll have lost a day of writing. Yes, it is easier to write when you’re ‘in the mood’. But as Ernest Hemingway (I think!) said, “It’s easy to write. All you do it sit down at a typewriter, open a vein and bleed.”

If you’ve never made it all the way to ‘The End’, I highly recommend you give it a try. Not only is it good discipline. Not only does it give you practice at writing a whole book—practice you’ll dearly need once you’re published. It also gives you the most inspiring sense of satisfaction. But I can’t tell you exactly how wonderful it feels to type those words—you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Emmie’s latest SuperRomance release "Just For Today"“ came out in June and is available now online. 

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