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. 

Emmie on the Web:

Monday, 29 April 2013

Welcome to My Guest Author: Jacqui Jacoby

Today I welcome Author  Jacqui Jacoby to my blog!   

Jacqui is giving away a copy of With A Vengeance to one lucky commenter!  So over to Jacqui...

The Road I Took

I always thought Tom Petty said it best in his song The Waiting:

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

Most of what made up my writer’s journey was waiting. 

I started writing my first book when my son was eleven months old.  He turns twenty five this coming May.  With A Vengeance is my debut novel.

I don’t regret any of the time I put in as a writer though it seemed to some that maybe I was taking the long route.  It was the life I choose to live while I was raising my three kids and spending time as a housewife.  Writing was flexible and fulfilling and gave me a creative outlet in a daily life that otherwise might have turned stagnant with loads of laundry and caravans to drive. 

Stories gave me something to look forward to every day.  When the kids were in school I was at the keyboard typing out my imagery worlds and loving every minute of it.

When making up stories wasn’t enough, I added writing short non-fiction to the groove.  These eventually turned into magazine articles and it was great to see my name in print, even if it wasn’t on the cover of a book.

I kept on typing, switching from romantic suspense to paranormal. I enjoyed writing the books, the non-fiction was helping, but something else was missing.  I had all these years experience and I was sure I could help someone else.

I started to teach online workshops.  I was able to reach people who wanted to hear what it was I had to say.  I enjoyed being there to help them along, to share what it was I had to share. It was another aspect of a career that added depth and interest to what I was doing.

When I added live workshops, appearing at the RWA National Conference to discuss the TV series Firefly, it was a level of exposure I never expected.  It was terrifying and exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And still I kept writing novels, visiting places in my mind I hadn’t expected.  Paranormals opened up new worlds with new rules and I was enjoying the discovery.

I added a mentor program to my schedule, taking on one student per year. This was a lesson I had been taught by one of my first mentors: Pay it Forward and reach out to someone you can help.

When the request for With a Vengeance came, I was ready.  I had years to prepare and was able to meet the demands of the extended editing process. I put aside the paranormals and came back to my roots, the romantic suspense.

I think Tom Petty is right.  The Waiting is the hardest part … but if you can fill up that time and space with something that captivates you then the waiting is bearable.  I know for me, I wouldn’t have faced this writer’s journey any other way.

Award winning author, Jacqui Jacoby lives and writes in the beauty of the Valley of the Sun. Currently adjusting to her new digs, Jacqui is a self proclaimed, self-defense hobbyist. Having studied martial arts for numerous years she retired in 2006 from the sport. She is a working Mom, whose career includes writing books, teaching online and live workshops and penning short non-fiction. She can be reached via her Website.

Jacqui Jacoby on the web:

Blurb - With A Vengeance:

The more she wanted out, the more they dragged her back in!

Daughter to murdered CIA officers, niece to a deputy director, Jaime Walsh has never known life 
outside the world of espionage. Until a high-action case in Buenos Aires leaves her gutted. Physically, emotionally…and professionally.

She’d planned for her long-overdue vacation to be a time to rest and reassess. With her longtime partner Stephen not far behind, it’s a tropical paradise away from work. A paradise where boundaries will be tested.
From their training days, Stephen Reid has watched Jaime kick ass while performing what has become his second job—watching her back. But now his feelings have grown.

As best friends look at each other in a new light, they like what they see. And Jaime dreams of a new life outside “the company”.

Except someone from their past won’t be satisfied until Jaime and the man she loves are hunted to the brink of death. Now Jaime must find the strength to trust her heart and let go of her fear. Before she loses everything…

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