Happy Book Birthday, “Whispering Hearts”!

Whispering Hearts by Cassandra ChandlerToday is the release day for Whispering Hearts!  I love this book so much. I find it to be a sizzling hot read that gives me chills at the same time!

It was hard for me to get behind Rachel’s shields and understand who she was when I was first writing the book. I was fooled along with everyone else by her socialite’s veneer. The first peek I had into her true personality was while she and Garrett were on sabbatical Continue reading “Happy Book Birthday, “Whispering Hearts”!”

Patience—Revisited

One of the skills I’ve been really building lately is patience. Every step of the way in the publishing process, waiting is involved. Get an idea. Patiently type out each word until the book is done. Set it aside, even though you want to edit it NOWNOWNOW. Realize edits will take much longer than you thought, even though you really wanted to submit it right away. Rewrite, edit, repeat. Submit it! Oh wait. First you need to write the synopsis and query letter. Okay, then submit it!

Then wait.

And wait.

And wait.

I didn’t realize that all of that waiting was actually great practice for when the acceptance letter finally arrived. The publishing process takes time, and it can be months until your work hits the shelves. Months full of rushing to meet deadlines, then waiting to receive the next ones–short bursts of activity followed by long weeks of wondering what to do next.

It’s important to remain productive during the limbo periods. Patience will serve you well throughout each step of the process (and probably in your non-writing life as well!).

Reading from the Shelved Pieces

My current process is to write a rough draft as quickly as possible, edit it immediately until it says what I think I want it to say, then put it on the shelf for at least a few months (if possible). At that point, I have enough distance to edit it mercilessly, then polish it up and get it ready to send out.

It is such a delight when I take something off the shelf and find that it doesn’t need much in the way of editing. It’s rare, but it does happen. And an even better treat is when I read something I wrote, and set it down with a satisfied sigh, thinking, “What a great story!”

It’s hard to admit to thinking that, but really, if I don’t think it’s a great story, how could I finish writing it in the first place? Writing takes staying power, and trying to force it doesn’t work for me. I have to genuinely love the characters, enjoy the world, and be eager to see how the plot plays out. If any of those pieces are missing, the story will fall flat, and no reader, not even me, will enjoy it.

Conversations with Characters

Most of the people close to me write. We all have wildly different methods for writing, varying experiences with this creative art. It is extremely fun to talk about and learn new ways I might try to approach things, or even hear about techniques that I know will not work for me.

When I’m writing, it’s like I’m watching scenes from a movie and trying to get everything I notice down as quickly as possible. We even do multiple takes if I need to figure out more of what a particular character is feeling or thinking, or if the action in the scene doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, the characters break the fourth wall, or if a scene is too intense, I’ll imagine that it’s a movie set, and I’m the director, and I’ll yell, “Cut! Great job, everyone!” and we’ll all shake it out before moving on.

I also sometimes have meetings or conversations with characters in my head. I might write them out or just let them play out in my head. Either way, it helps me learn more about them, the story, and my writing. It immerses me in the story, and keeps me excited to write it down.

What about you? Do you ever interview your characters to get to know them better? What’s your writing experience like?

Series Arcs in Miniature

My project list is long, and there are pieces I’m very excited to get started on. I’m getting closer to being ready to start the long paranormal romance series that started my love of writing the genre. And the sequel to that series!

I’m going to finish my current paranormal erotica novella series project first for a very particular purpose. It’s condensing many aspects of writing a series into a short time span, giving me a chance to sharpen skills needed in writing a series. Two of the books have overlapping action. I would much rather figure out techniques for managing that when working with 18,000 word novellas than with 80,000 word novels.

Working with shorter pieces allows me to see everything at once, to figure out where I’m missing the mark and develop tools and practices for making a series tight and entertaining. Plus, they are incredibly fun to write! Two weeks to a finished rough draft? Yes, please. And when I’m done with this series, I’ll have honed the skills I need to make the series arcs of my novels sing.

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.