Category Archives: The Writing Process

Editing, Writing, and More

 

I finished writing Awakened Moon and now I am stranded in no man’s land. The manuscript is off to my editor and the question of do I start the next novel begins to form in my mind.

The last book in The Hidden Realm Series is practically written. The plot, notes, and outline are firmly filed in my scattered brain and all I have to do is type out the words.

I have done the whole writing a new book while editing my current book at the same time and it’s not easy. I do however have a new found drive within me to wrap this series up and I am once again going to embark on the grueling path.

I also have another secret.

As many of you know, I hate to talk about a new project before I even start writing, but I am way too excited not to share some insight into my thought process. I had an idea for a contemporary novel. I really wanted to provide my readers with a more realistic take on the erotic, BDSM culture that has dominated the virtual shelves.

I suppose I wanted to try my hand at it because some of them are fairly ridiculous and I wanted to bring things down to my snarky level.

But then something changed. An idea that hit me like a ton of bricks and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

I guess it’s only natural. I live with two comic book geeks ( http://www.seppinrek.com ). It was inevitable that I would create my own characters and stories that mirror that genre.

Before you get too nervous or worry about my state of mind, I want to be clear that I am not writing a comic book.

I am however going to create my own vigilante.

Yup, I am going to do a realistic take on Batman.

 

I am a little nervous that my loyal readers who have embraced my paranormal romance books will not be happy, but in a way it is going to be a fantasy.

It’s also going to be darker and grittier than anything I have ever done. I still will inject humor into the story, but this is definitely out of my comfort zone and I kind of like that. The idea of doing something different that will challenge me makes me a tad giddy. I also believe that, at this point in my writing career, it is a perfect time for me to branch out a bit.

But before I start that journey I have to finish The Hidden Realm Series.

Awakened Moon has a tentative release date of April 28, 2016. I’ll have a firmer date when I get it back from the editor. I would like to shoot for late June to release Surrendered Moon, but we’ll play that by ear for now.’

I also have a children’s chapter book that I am working on with my daughter that will be out this summer as well. Oh, yeah, and helping my boys with their first graphic novel, as well as touring colleges for them and starting the process of loans, scholarships and senior year events.

 

 

 

Yes, it is a lot going on, but I am looking forward to this next year. There are going to be many changes and I might have to do a stint at the loony bin, I mean spa retreat, but I think it’s going to be entertaining to say the least.

No one has ever accused me of being boring, so I have that going for me.

 

~Shannon

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The Editor Dilemma…a Collaborative Tale with Val Day-Sanchez

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When I usually collaborate with Val, I post my view first and then post her take on whatever subject we are writing about, but today I am doing things differently. I am letting Val’s article be proudly displayed front and center.

 

Val’s Take:

As an Indie Author you are in charge of creating, publishing, writing, editing, selling, promoting really doing any and everything associated with writing a book.  So if you are like me and have a family, a job, (or two or three) you find yourself seeing your shortcomings.  Like you may be great a weaving a tale, but you may be awful at sighting grammatical errors so you think; “hey I’m trying to move my family to a new city, find my 5 year old a school, rent out our house, start a new job, finish a novel-while publishing another, I think I’ll hire someone to help me edit, it’s not my favorite thing to do, and I really don’t have time.”  So you do some research, find someone that won’t break the bank and get your book edited.  After all the  first go around it went great!  You’re reviews were exemplary they made you doubt that you put something out there that was so well received and then the third book happens and your editor screws you over.

They send you a fake edited manuscript, guarantee their work, and you believe them and publish it.  In case you’re thinking Valerie why did you trust them?!  It’s because as an indie author I have met amazing people from around the world.  All of which are not very affluent, and so dedicated to their work rather than the profit, you start to feel that you are a part of a tight-knit community that supports one another, that wants to see you thrive.  They too are also less concerned with money but completely engaged in the art that is being produced, so you trust people as if we are all intertwined in this creative community that looks out for one another and then you realize that there are still sharks.

These sharks want your money and they don’t care how many years you have waited to pursue your dream.  They don’t care how your only wish was to see your work in print, to have your name among authors, your heroes.  This carelessness leads to them giving you horrible work that you then publish and receive a backlash of reviews for, because the small fan base you have managed to acquire feel disappointed and betrayed that you would put something out that was so unpolished.  The readers don’t realize that you made a mistake and trusted the wrong person.

This blog is an apology as well as a rant as well as a warning.  If you want to pursue your dreams be careful who you ask to aid you on your journey.  I asked fellow author Shannon Barczak if she to has experienced such woes during her journey in self-publishing and she had this to say.

 

My Take:

 

Val’s view on this is written eloquently and with passion. I felt like raising my fist in joyful solidarity when she emailed it to me.

I am not going to be as nice as Val on this subject because quite frankly, I am ticked off on her behalf, and I also have a tremendous amount of guilt weighing heavily on my shoulders.

Several months ago, I found a reasonably priced editor. I checked out her website and her references. I crossed my fingers and sent her my manuscript, as well as, half her required payment.

At first glance, I thought she did a good job, but then I noticed a few discrepancies and I was disappointed. I chalked it up to a lesson learned and moved on.

If I acquired any useful knowledge about the experience is that she used the Macro widget on Word to plug in overused words and adverbs. I, being a newbie, had no idea about this wonderful invention, so when I became aware that I could do that by myself, I was psyched.

In my disappointment and new found Word prowess I had forgotten that I had mentioned her to Val. I saw that she used her as an editor and I figured that she had better luck than me so I wasn’t going to mention my experience because I didn’t want to cast any doubts in her mind if she was happy with her choice of editors.

When I received Val’s email describing her recent disappointing situation, I wanted to email this person myself on Val’s behalf, and write a profanity laced letter.

Val touched on something that I think is extremely accurate. As an Indie Author, we do come into contact with great people that are in the same boat as us and we form an immediate kinship. We do support one another and when one of our own gets the shaft, we take up arms and batten down the literary hatches as one.

I think what is important to convey to everyone, is that as an Indie Author, we wear many hats and it is always a relief to find someone that offers us a service to help make our lives easier.

Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are or how vigilante we are in checking references and reviews, we can still be taken in by someone with no conscience.

The simple reason is greed. You can spout off different excuses, but it all comes down to money in the end.

All I have to say is, shame on you.

How dare you take a writer’s manuscript and not do what you say you are going to do.

A copy of a writer’s book is like an extension of themselves. In some way, it is our baby, our child that we nurtured from nothing but a thought and developed them into full blown characters with a history, as well as, a future.

When we give it to someone else to read or edit, we are trusting that person to help make it better. It’s like when we send our kids off to school and we pray that they are kept safe, and that they receive the love and attention they deserve.

To have someone that poses as an editor not fulfill their obligation can be crushing and I have to believe in a little thing known as karma because Val did not deserve that nor did her book.

If you have read my blog posts or know me personally, you might have an idea on what I did when learning this news.

This editor received my favorite kind of greeting when I pulled up her email…my trusty middle finger.

 

 

 

 

SXSW Monthly Collaboration: Juggling Writing and Editing at the same time.

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How excited am I to be working with the fabulous Val Day-Sanchez again?! Our monthly SXSW articles have been hard to write because we are both so busy and it’s nice to get back into the collaborative swing of things. This month we are focusing on the art of juggling both writing and editing.

 

Shannon’s Take:

It’s always difficult to brainstorm for articles with Val. We always have so many ideas and we are always on the same page that it is hard to pick just one. I have had several questions running through my mind lately and I recently asked one to a Facebook group for Indie Authors. It was fairly simple, but the answers I received were astounding.

I wanted to know what other authors thought about editing one book and writing another book at the same time. It turned into an extremely interesting forum because the more responses I got, the more insight I gained into the mind of fellow writers.

I almost had to laugh because it started to feel like a pissing contest. I had a few that answered right away and one of them them mirrored my thoughts that it almost feels like your cheating on one book if you write another.

I mentioned that I also think it’s important to take time in between each project and I was almost scoffed at, but not in an unfriendly way. The conversations were cordial, supportive and helpful, but again, I couldn’t help feel that everyone was trying to one up another.

One woman has four different books in various stages of production. She wrote that if you want to publish several books in a year then you have to work all the time. There were several other individuals that made similar statements.

I had an uncomfortable thought though, and it is one that I did not share because I did not want to seem rude, but if you’re focused on so many different books that you’re writing, can you really be churning out decent stories at such a fast pace?

Now, I have to be honest, I can’t imagine writing three or four different stories at once. When I write, I become deeply involved with my characters and their situations. The thought of even trying to disassociate myself from one book to another is impossible for me.

If I do have an idea for another story then I make notes so I can reference it later, but I have never even attempted to try and start another book when I am writing.

One man mentioned that it is possible to edit one book and write another at the same time, but it requires discipline and I agree. I think it easier to do that when you are writing a series and I have done it before with The Fae Witch Series.

I also vowed not to do that again, but here I am starting on book two of The Hidden Realm Series, The Fairyland Queen, while I wait for The Fairy Door to come back from my editor.

I have to be honest at the end of the discussion thread I almost felt an amateur loser, but then I realized something. We are all in the same boat. We’re all Indie authors trying to make our way in this tough world and we have to be on top of our game all the time.

We are the writer, the publisher, the promoter, and all those different hats have to be presented, as well as, articulated whenever we have that chance.

I do believe that each person that responded wanted me to know that it was possible to do several different aspects of writing at once, but I also feel that they were in a way promoting their abilities.

I was envious of the lot, I must say. There are some truly talented authors out there, but at the end of the day I need to do what’s best for me.

I tip my cap off to those that can achieve so much in a short amount of time. I know that I will never be able to write three or four different books at once. When I start something I need to finish it before I can move forward.

I have no interest in creating and writing several different characters, and stories because I feel that my characters deserve my full attention. Their story is important and one I must tell with every attention to detail, as well as, with my heart.

I’ve accepted that I will never be the kind of writer that publishes seven or eight books a year. I’m honest with the fact that I suck at promoting, and I have no interest in a Pulitzer.

I write for me. The stories I tell are what I want to read. Writing is not about making money, it’s about being able to express your creativity. I wish I could be more driven, but I can’t and frankly I don’t want too.

Again, I applaud you authors who are cranking books out left and right. I am amazed by the way some of you can compartmentalize different stories and characters at once.

Writing is my passion and if it ever started to feel like noose around my neck then I would probably stop publishing my stories. I know that the lure of fame and fortune can cloud your judgment as you type and edit furiously, but isn’t the process of writing enough to make your soul enriched with a deep sense of creative joy?

I think I’ll just stick with one at a time and adopt my son Wyatt’s favorite quote:

Slow and steady wins the race…

 

Val’s Take:

 

After a brief break, Shannon and I are back with our joint articles!!!  I missed her deeply and so this week when I emailed her it was kismet, as it so often is with the two of us.  We each had a few ideas for a topic to blog about and they were very similar (seriously I think she lives in my head, weird and a tad creepy I know, if I haven’t lost you yet, read on I promise it gets better/less weird).  We decided to talk about something that we’re both going through, juggling multiple writing projects.

I know that both Shannon and I, like most writers perhaps, have written the majority of their lives.  However they don’t get to pursue it full time, it’s a hobby until it make you money right?  That’s the society a lot of us grew up in?  Writing is something we love but could never dedicate the time to it that it truly deserved.  A little over 5 years ago I decided to do just that.  I was lucky to have the opportunity that was becoming a stay-at-home mom to an infant. It provided a work schedule all of its own doing but I got to write again and after I finished my manuscript I was determined to publish it.  And when I told people about it, it was described as a “once and lifetime experience.” But then, I had started a trilogy, I had never planned on once.  I didn’t let myself, I completely ripped the option from the table.  I was going to be a full-time writer.  And so in the beginning I could never conceive of multiple projects I was just so happy to be able to write. To make sense of my life; what it had been, what it was becoming that I was still feeling lucky.

Then Harlow was released.  Others were reading about her. The second book, when I asked for it, was hard-coming so I changed my life’s course again.  And when things had worked themselves out, I wrote the second book in three months, with ease.  But it had come clamoring through me, a mind of its own, I had no time to doubt. I wrote as if no one would ever see it.

Book 3 began the same way because we were going home, me and my characters knew who they were and what they wanted so again I didn’t ask for it, it appeared on the page, every line, every sentence.  Even when I edited, it finished my thoughts.

As Book three was seemingly flowing through my fingers Lucas Saavadra had showed up, said without much bossiness but full of confidence, that he was the protagonist of my first standalone novel.  How could I deny it?  I was going to write a book that I had no idea about except this singular character???  The moment I ignored it, went to back Book 3 to edit or complete it.  (An emotional wreck because it was over). I would have these conversations with Lucas and every time I tried to write it…It was garbage, nonsensical first draft ugliness.

I can’t be surprised that is how the entire project went.  So when I was finally publishing Harlow 3 Threshold was coming to a close.  But there lies the question.  Is it fair?

Are you cheating on your work?  I’ll let you know after I edit Threshold next week…​
Want more Val? Check out her links below:

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

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First off, let’s take a moment to pay homage to one of my favorite movies ‘Dazed and Confused’. I love this movie. It is one of my favorites and if you can’t randomly identify or throw out quotes from this example of fine cinematic greatness, then you probably shouldn’t be my friend.

Okay, now that I have got that out of the way…

I saw something today that stunned me a bit. I was perusing the books being promoted on a few Facebook groups and I clicked on a link because the book looked interesting.

I read the synopsis and then I came to the end. I know that I am a relatively new author, but I know my way around the kindle book store and I have never ( can you hear me emphasis never?) ever, seen this before.

At the end of the book blurb, the author, wrote that if a reader is dissatisfied with the book and is tempted to give it 3 stars or less to please write her or her publisher before submitting such a review.

I’m sorry. She didn’t say please, she used the word implore. She implored you the reader not to leave a bad review.

Anyone who uses the word implore means business…that’s all I’m saying.

I was confused, shocked and I have to admit, a little amused by the plea.

I almost felt like writing a review on her book blurb. I wanted to say “Sweetie, you’re in the wrong business,” but I didn’t. Instead I have been stewing about it all afternoon.

Writing a book is hard. That is a fact that every intelligent person is aware of in this world. Publishing a book is even harder. Not only are you selling a piece of your soul for anyone to read, but you are also inviting criticism which can lead you to be brokenhearted.

It’s a terrifying proposition, but it is one you must consider before you publish. Every, single, author has had a bad review. I don’t care who you are, we all have had them and does it sting? Yes, of course, but I believe it is what also makes us be a better writer.

We all know about the buying of bogus reviews. If I see a book that has 300 four or five star reviews with not a single naysayer then I am now suspicious. I hate it. I wish I wasn’t weary, but I am now.

I wish I could speak to all the readers who didn’t like one of my books, but I can’t and you know what? It’s okay. I realize some people may not like profanity and graphic sex scenes and that’s why I write a disclaimer. If I see a review that mentions it, then I have to admit, I don’t lose sleep over their words because I’m honest about what I put out there.

My early reviews mentioned typos and whatnot so I fixed them. I read the criticism and agreed. I finally admitted that I needed help and I couldn’t do it on my own.

I took the words to heart and I am a much better writer now.

I have had two one star reviews. Now, I don’t think that’s bad considering I have published seven books, but boy it sucked to read that they thought my story was silly.

There’s no other word for it. It sucked. Big time.

Those are the times you put on your big girl panties and move on with a smile.

I’m not trying to make fun of or bash this author. I know how hard it is to get those bad reviews, but trust me when I say that at the end of the day, those reviews are what makes us stronger as authors.

There’s a part of me that wants to reach out to this author and tell her how I feel. I wish I could convey to her in the nicest way possible that frankly it sounded a bit pathetic and that she doesn’t need to persuade people to like her book, but she needs to believe it herself.

Part of being an adult is that we can move forward even after hearing or seeing something that makes us upset or hurt. We acknowledge our faults and try to use them for personal growth.

I would much rather hear a person speak the truth than listen to their lies. The thought of begging someone to like my books is ridiculous. My stories are a part of me and if you don’t like them then that’s cool.

I like them and in the end that is all that matters.

Write for yourself and no one else…have I mentioned that, like, a million times already?

 

 

 

 

 

Go Fund Yourself: A Realistic View on Self-Publishing Costs

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So I have noticed something interesting the last few weeks and I actually took time out of my insane writing schedule to address this particular topic.

I came across several different posts on Facebook, either posted by an aspiring author or friends/family of an author, that has set up a Go Fund Me account.

I was shocked to say the least, especially after reading the more in-depth funding page that tells the story, and asks for money. I’m going to be honest, the ones set up by family or friends, are very sweet and I’m not trying to be bitchy, but some of the pleas were a little ridiculous.

I actually read one that wanted people to donate money because they needed it for an editor, a proofreader, a beta reader, and an eBook format editor. They also asked for money so that they could quit their job to focus solely on their writing.

Oh, and did I mention that most of them hadn’t actually finished writing their books yet.

Say whaaattt?

I scratched my head over this and I swear I now have a new wrinkle forming on my forehead after scrunching up my face when I read these Go Fund Me pages.

Let’s break down the actual costs, but first I’m going to tell you aspiring self-publishing authors a secret.

It didn’t cost me a damn thing to publish my first book.

Okay, now that we got that admission out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

 

1) The most important thing is to….drum roll, please, FINISH YOUR DAMN BOOK FIRST BEFORE YOU THINK ABOUT PUBLISHING COSTS.

*Exhale*

Before you or anyone else of your loving family or friends sets up a Go Fund Me page, why don’t you finish writing your first draft? I get it, I really do understand what it takes to write a book. I’ve written seven and I’m almost finished with my eighth.

I have three kids. I know how hard it is to find time to write and I have been known to stay up into the wee hours of the morning because it was the only way I could get any quiet time. I know what it’s like to drag your ass out of bed after a few hours sleep.

I get it. I’m an author and guess what? There are thousands of us in this world and we all find the time to write because it’s what drives us to the brink of sleep deprivation and insanity. I’m sorry if you have a full time job, two kids, and a mortgage to pay. I know other authors who are in the same boat and they have never even thought to ask for money to help them on this journey.

But, I digress. So again finish your book first and then worry about the costs.

 

2) If you have finished your manuscript, then I have a tip for you. Put it in a drawer or hide the file on your computer and walk away for a few weeks or even a month.

See? I just saved you a bunch of money right there.

 

3) After you have taken some time off from your writing, go back over it and revise and edit several times.

Again, cost savings…huge.

 

4) When you are ready to throw up if you read another word you have written then you are ready to think about the future.

Now is the time to think about self-publishing vs. regular publishing. What route you decide is your decision and your decision alone.

I chose self-publishing for a few reasons.

-I was a little scared to death of submitting my work because it felt so personal to me,

and..

-I’m a control freak.

This will take a few weeks and the thinking process is entirely free!

 

5) If you chose the regular route of mainstream publishing, be aware that you will need to have a query letter. This is a one page letter in which you try to sell yourself and your book.

This wonderful one page letter can also be the source of many nightmares and plunge you into the depths of self-doubt so great that you will question your ability as a writer.

Also, be aware that the unwritten rule is that you can only query one publisher or agent at a time so get comfy.

 

This could save you thousands because it could take you a few months or a few years before getting a contract or generate any serious interest.

 

6) Self-publishing cost’s are all over the spectrum. You can go high-dollar or you can find some short cuts to ease the cost.

-Editor. The average cost for an editor is about $100 a page. If you have a 300 page book it can be out of reach, especially for most first timers.

There are some ways to save though. You can check Craigslist or run an ad yourself. Always ask for references if you do this though. You can do a Google search. You can check Goodreads as well. There are several people that do this on the side and most of them seem to be graduate students in the English Literature field.

You can also check with local colleges and grade schools. Again there might be teachers that want to make a little extra cash.

There are many different software programs as well, but I stick with Word. I thought that I could edit all by myself and that was a disaster. I am lucky to have a mother who worked as a paralegal for forty years and she slashes my manuscript as good as any pro editor out there.

-Copy Editor.

I actually think a copy editor is all you need if you self-publish. They focus on grammatical errors, spelling, and punctuation.

Average cost is around $30-$50 an hour. For an 80,000 word manuscript, you’re looking at $1000-$1200.

Again, look around because you might be able to slash the cost in half.

 

-Proofreader.

A proofreader goes over the manuscript after the editor to see if there are any glaring mistakes.

I see no use for them. You should be able to do it yourself.

 

-Beta Reader.

You absolutely do not need to hire a Beta reader. If you have friends or family that you trust to give you an honest opinion of your work then that is all you need.

If you don’t want to let anyone you know read your book, then think about joining a writing group. They have them in almost any town and you can also check out your local library for book clubs that might be interested.

 

-eBook Format Editor.

These guys can run anywhere from $199-$1999.

Look, I’m not a computer genius, but even I was able to format my first book. It takes time to get the kinks out, but after you do one, it does get easier.

 

7) Marketing.

I hate promoting. I am the worst at it, but I do it from time to time…moaning and groaning

First thing you need is a website and start blogging. The cost is free, but you will have to shell out about $20 bucks a year for your domain.

Second, get on Twitter. It is the BEST place for authors. You can connect with great people who are going through the same writing woes as you and everybody I have talked with are always very supportive.

Third, start a Facebook page. That’s pretty self-explanatory.

 

8) Don’t quit your day job!

It can take years for an author to really make any decent money. I know that you have stars in your eyes as you type away and dream of fame and fortune, but seriously, get your head out of your ass.

Can you make a good living? Yes, you can, but it doesn’t happen overnight so before you set up a Go Fund Me page, realize that no one wants to support you financially for the next several years.

Trust me, the lure of you being an author, will wear off quick for them.

 

In conclusion, yes it could cost an aspiring author thousands of dollars, but it doesn’t have to! The most important worry you should have is that you finish your book. You can take several months off and still be left staring at your computer screen.

I understand that there may be some great people out there who want to help, but the greatest assistance you can give an author is your support emotionally.

I have always said that if you want to publish your book, you will find a way. I think the best part of being an author, as far as publishing goes, is figuring it all out on your own because at the end of the day, no one cares more about your book than you do.

 

One last note..

Finish your book first before you hit me or anyone else up for money!

I love you, but I’m writing…

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Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who wanna tell you a story, but don’t wanna make eye contact while telling it.”

-John Green

I have started writing my new book, The Fairy Door. I am completely immersed in creating new characters, new realms, new story lines, and crazy plots that will be woven throughout this six, yes I said six, book series.

Of course I’m not ready to discuss all of it right now because I’m writing.

To those of you who may not know this, when an author is writing, we are not here on this earth with all of you. Our bodies may be present, but our minds are spinning in a million different directions.

To even carry on a conversation for more than five minutes is difficult. If we’re at the start of a chapter, we’re trying to figure out how to begin in a clever manner that will entice our readers. If we are at the end of a chapter, we are trying to weave our story so that it flows continuously to the start of the next chapter.

If we are in the middle of a chapter…well, forget about it, walk away until we emerge or initiate contact.

I’m a week and 40,000 words into my new book. That means I’m in the nitty-gritty. I’m waist deep in the creative mud and I’m not wading out any time soon.

What started in my head as a quick, fun two book series has turned into a major project that I will be engaged in for quite some time. The first book is the most important. I have to get into the background for my main characters and then I have to set up, and throw in hints about the next several books.

No big deal, right? Just another day in the life of an author.

I have used the phrase of my blog post, I love you, but I’m writing, all week. It’s so difficult to explain to people about how I feel when I’m writing. Let me be clear, I love my husband, I love my children, I love my family, and I love my small group of friends.

I want to be involved in their life and show interest, but honestly unless there is a death, bloody horrific injury, or an extreme sadness that has befallen on them, I just find it difficult to muster up any interest or appropriate response. There may be people that are hurt by that statement, but it’s honest and real.

I know how awful that sounds and I wish I didn’t even write that, but it’s true. I am a selfish, self-involved, slightly narcissistic artist. I wish I could be a better person when I write, but I haven’t found that balance yet and I’m not sure if I ever will or if I want too.

I like crawling so far into myself that its hard to get out. I enjoy the creative madness. When I slump on my bed and finally go to sleep, the exhaustion makes me feel alive because I know that the harder I push myself, the better the result will be.

To even take time to write this blog is tough, but I suppose my sense of guilt was weighing heavily on my mind.

I do believe living in your head all the time and making up stories can be dangerous to ones mental health. I am a big proponent of taking breaks in between writing and polishing up drafts, but your first draft is so important.

You want to capture the magic of your thoughts as they whirl around seductively in your mind. The tortuous groan of your keyboard only heightens your ambition and it tickles your senses.

I’m in my happy place right now. I’m writing my stories, not only for me, but for other people out there to hopefully enjoy. I wish I could sit down and have an in-depth conversation about what I am trying to achieve and what these books will be about, but I can’t right now and I hope you understand.

So in conclusion, I love you, I really do, but I’m writing. I promise to come back to the land of the living and when I do I will be better than ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My nemesis: Action Scenes

sword fight

Every writer has different abilities that they excel at and every writer also has areas where they will always need work.

I have no trouble rambling on with my characters inner musings and I am pretty darn good at dialogue, if I do say so myself.

The problem I have always been faced with is action. I tend to see it in my mind and skip over little details which in the end makes those scenes somewhat rushed. I have been trying harder to overcome this obstacle and with the last book in my series, The Cursed Scepter, I had to face it head on.

*Cue Eye of the Tiger*

I think what my problem is that I usually gloss over action scenes in a book. There’s a part of me that always yells, “Ok, I get it, you’re fighting, you’re punching, you’re running, e.t.c.”

But then I realized something as a writer. We are the only ones that can convey to our readers what the heck is going on and it is our duty to provide as many details as possible. I reread my first few books and I did the whole scrunched up face, hitting my head with the palm of my hand, and wincing almost in pain as I scrolled through in agony.

I have put a lot of thought into it lately and I have come up with a few tips.

 

1) Write as many details as possible. You can always come back later and take out any unnecessary adverbs… Actually that’s just good advice for every single line in a story.

*FYI: I am not only a comma whore, but an adverb slut as well.

 

2) Just because you as a writer can see it happening in your mind, doesn’t mean the reader can as well.

*Apparently when someone buys your book they do not get the mind reader decoder ring.

 

3) A thesaurus IS your best friend.

*There are many ‘established’ writers out there who poo-poo the thesaurus, but let me be the exception to that snotty rule and raise my hand as a proud thesaurus owner and user.

 

4) Keep the story moving as fast as possible. You do not want to get held up writing a scene about punching someone for three pages.

*Why is that, you might ask? Because people really don’t f-ing care that much and they will get bored. You might like writing about your beloved main character beating the crap out of someone, but chances are your reader doesn’t want to read two thousand words on an ass kicking.

 

5) Write what you know and if you don’t know much about full on fighting scenes (Um, did you see my hand raise again?) then either:

A) don’t include it

or

B) Fake it as best as you can!

 

The bottom line is this. Unless you have been on the front lines in the military, a professional boxer or an Ultimate fighter, chances are it might be difficult for you to write those scenes with any sense of accuracy. You might be tempted to dip your pen in the ink of plagiarism, but I really want to warn you that those things will always come back to haunt you. Stay true to yourself. I have fun writing action scenes when they involve magic and what not, but when it comes to the art of kickboxing, I’m going to leave that to the pro’s.