The Call – Part Two

I am so happy to announce that I have another piece coming out with Samhain Publishing in 2015! And I get to work on it with the amazing Holly Atkinson!

I’m still a bit in shock. This one is a science-fiction erotica novella. It’s not due out for a bit yet, so I’ll be saving the details till closer to publishing time, but I am over the moon excited about it! It was ridiculously fun to write, and I’m thrilled to be working with Holly and Samhain on another title!

I was standing next to my husband shortly after I received “the second call,” and I asked him, “How is this happening?” He looked at me like I was crazy, which triggered my memory. “Oh, right. I’ve been working my butt off for this for years.”

Hard work, great fun, and absolutely worth it.

Being Reasonable

Recently, I set out to write a new book. While working out the pacing and the timeline for the draft, I set my word count goal. And missed it. And missed it. And missed it. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then I finally realized that I had doubled my daily word count goal after cutting my writing time in half (I was editing a piece – more on that next week). I was being completely and utterly unreasonable.

The effect on my writing morale was devastating. I was used to making my writing goal every day. I started questioning everything until I finally realized what was wrong. I backed off from the word counts, and did world building instead, developing character back-story, figuring out relationships, tying everything together. And when I was ready to write again, I looked at how much time I had to write, and set my word count reasonably.

It makes a big difference.

Starting with Love

Before I can really dive into the plot of a new project, I usually need to map out the relationship between the hero and heroine. Once I have a handle on what obstacles they’re facing, the very compelling reasons they have to surmount those obstacles, and how and when they’re going to overcome them, the rest of the story comes together much more smoothly. This also helps me to keep my focus where it needs to be – on the characters.

When I read or write a book, I’m most interested in the characters. I need a vehicle into the story, a narrator that I can relate to on some level, no matter how small. World building is fun, and I can get lost in the details of a new universe for weeks. But I can never let my readers get lost in those worlds. It’s my job to guide them through the sights, and for that, I need to create characters the readers enjoy spending time with (even if they spend much of that time yelling at them to admit they’re in love with each other already!).

Sustainability

Balancing a job, a family, friends, maintaining good health, and launching a new writing career is difficult. I’m still searching for that magic formula, a schedule that feeds all of these important aspects of my life. But I also know that life is constantly changing. What works one week won’t cut it the next. It’s a constantly evolving challenge.

The most important thing for me to focus on is sustainability. Whatever system I create, it has to be flexible, and it has to be something that won’t burn out any of the other things that need my attention. I’m finding that multitasking is counter-productive. When I try to think about plot while spending time with my family, I’m not really connecting with them or my stories.

But there are things that can be combined. I can plot while I take a walk, getting good exercise and working through story issues. I can share story ideas with some of my family members and friends. The biggest challenge is always carving out time to myself, where I can get the words on the pages uninterrupted.

Life is full of distractions. Keeping in mind the important things, making time for each and giving them my full attention, is the best way for me to build a sustainably happy life.