I love my sisters dearly and so for their birthdays, I decided to share a little of that birthday joy with you!
Don’t miss out on this Spring Steal of A Deal! Get your copies while supplies last!
Beware of Shadows.
Soulstice Washington has lived a life on the run. In constant fear of the shadows that have brought her nothing but trouble. Then, Makai Inigo, a real-life shadow, infiltrates her last efforts of living a normal life.
Makai has waited patiently for the right moment to stake his claim on Soul. Yet, his time has run out. Soulstice is special; her bloodline a rare commodity to the vampiristic Saurian. The rising competition against his claim forces his hand.
Caught between legacy and love, Makai Inigo must prove that Soul is his to keep.
2021 Update: All of this is still pretty accurate for me as far as how I complete my first drafts. Of course, writing the first draft as a new author is different from a mid-list author, but only in the fact that today I have a much better idea of my strengths and weaknesses.
This article is going to be a little more pep talk than informative. Writing the first draft is a significant accomplishment for any writer. It’s the first chance to see where that idea in your head is going to go. Even if you have outlined your story to death, surprises are sure to come when you finally put pen to paper.
Here is a list of “rules” I use to get my first draft completed with as little hair pulling and head-bashing as possible.
The first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect. Don’t fret if not all your characters have the perfect names or one scene doesn’t quite fit the way you hoped.
If you are anything like me, you may be tempted to polish that paragraph a bit. Fix those spelling errors and minor grammar issues as you go. Please don’t do it. Not only will it slow the writing process, but how will you know if your paragraph makes sense there if you don’t have completed work.
It may be super tempting to discuss your cool ideas with friends, family, and fellow writers. While it’s not always bad to bounce ideas off people when you get stuck on something, it can also lead to second-guessing your plan.
2021 Update: While I still find this ‘rule’ helpful at times, I talk about my writing all the time now! Yes, I may get distracted by shiny new ideas or ramble my way into a complete rewrite but in the end, talking about my work helps me work out the kinks. I have cultivated an amazing group of friends and fellow authors to bounce ideas off and talk through my struggles. If you haven’t found the right group or prefer the solitary writer life, grab a stuffed animal or rubber ducky to use as a sounding board.
Unless you have a publisher breathing down your neck (or inadvertently posted a publication date before your first draft was ready), don’t get caught up with the clock/calendar watching. Getting the first draft done is arguably the best part of the writing process. The time when your imagination should be able to roam free and mingle with your excitement to write. Take your time and smell the pages.
2021 Update: I am a major procrastinator! I know it, I embrace it, and I plan accordingly. It’s one of the reasons I chose Self-publishing over traditional publishing. Yes, the production schedule is more intense, but It’s my schedule to set. That being said, having some deadlines is important. I usually go with a looser month deadline instead of a set date and adjust that deadline as needed.
You can’t have a first draft if you never write it in the first place. Writing is hardly the best time and best place sort of activity. Get your words in whenever you can, and don’t be afraid to mix things up to help you get in the writing groove.
Now that you know the “rules” for completing your first draft, it’s time to get writing!
I am not going to get into the Plotter or Pantser debate in this post. I am simply going to provide my opinion on outlining in the process of writing. Now that you have an idea of what you want to write, it’s time to get those ideas organized. How you organize them, like everything else in writing, is based on your personal preference.
My personal preference is not to outline.
I’ve tried multiple times to be an outline person, but in the end, I produce a much better product when I am flying by the seat of my pants. Does this make things more complicated for me in the editing stages? Yes! It takes a lot longer to edit, and I have to do substantial note-taking to keep up with continuity across my series, but it’s worth it for me. I find Outlining makes me overthink the small things and hinders my creativity.
With that being said, I haven’t given up on Outlining completely. I tend to do some sort of outline post writing, even if it’s just to ensure my story flow hits the right marks or as a guide for event timing in future books.
I guess you could say I have Story/Series Bibles that I store my pertinent information for reference but nothing that really details my work’s content. In addition to the Outlining Strategies from my previous article, I will be adding a few systems I’ve incorporated over the last year.
Get the bigger picture and find some wall space!
It doesn’t have to be an entire wall but maybe the size of a large wall calendar. Give yourself enough space to expand with as much or as little detail as you.
I took up an entire wall of my office to try and organize my Secret of Ceres Series. It was very helpful for me to visualize the crossover plotline, but other than that, this idea fell flat for me. That isn’t to say it might not work for others. Longer novels with lots of complex moving parts could benefit greatly from this option. You have plenty of space to put note cards, post its or whatever you want to organize your scenes and thoughts.
Speaking of Note Cards….
Use note cards, both physical and virtual! Notecards work great when you need to shuffle ideas around. Most writing-specific software includes a notecard format in their outline section for that reason.
I use Scrivener for most of my organizing. Freeing up my wall to be filled with painting and other artistic inspiration. Having the virtual notecards not only makes my notes more portable (Scrivener has a cloud save option), but I’m also more eco-friendly! Also, using virtual notecards ensures my notes don’t get destroyed or lost due to sidekick shenanigans. I don’t think readers will accept “my dogs ate my notecards” as an excuse for why my novels are delayed.
Remember, your outline doesn’t have to be fancy or complex. A simple line graph can be just as effective for some people. A good working outline will not only help you create your masterpiece in record time but will help streamline the editing process. So even if you are a Pantser like me, give outlining a try. You might find you are Plantser instead.
Idea boards – Similar to the notecard method, write your ideas for scenes on a notecard or sticky note. That way, when it comes to organizing your novel, you have something handy to play around with to help you decide on your story flow!
Story/Series Bible – A notebook or file folder that contains all your notes and pertinent information for the continuation of your story or series. (More on Story/Series Bibles in a later post)
Spelling and Pronunciation Guides – A must-have for your story/series bible. It will help you streamline capitalization and spelling across books, help your editor find inconsistencies, and be needed for audiobook narration.
Hey, Creatives! Below are a few book promos to help you find some new to you authors and round out your 2021 TBR! Each Promo has 20+ books in the Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Suspense, and Speculative Romance Genres!
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I hope you all enjoyed my latest read, Unforgettable Valentine! I had no idea that it would be so fitting for this year’s valentine’s day! Did you enjoy your valentine with a special #BlizzardBae? As always feel free to hit me up on discord or reply to this email with your answers!
That being said, I hope everyone is safe and warm during this blustery weather, or maybe it’s cleared up in your area already and you are enjoying a little sunshine. I for one will be huddled in my Creative Cave pounding away at my keyboard to bring you the latest and greatest adventures that are spawning in my head.
Peace, Love, and Happy Reading!
Before you even put pen to paper or finger to keyboard, you need to have an idea. Some call it a spark of genius, others just dumb luck. No matter how it gets to your brain, that is where the magic starts. Here are a few ways I get my ideas flowing.
As if you needed an excuse to binge your favorite programming.
I am a sucker for Foreign dramas! Give me a K-pop idol crush, a scandalous telenovela, or a black comedy from across the pond. Stepping outside of your head could be just the thing to get back in it. There is a reason why fanfiction is so popular. Even the best plots can deal with a little tweaking or continuation. Just remember to put your own spin on things to avoid plagiarism. Any streaming service with a wide variety of international content is golden. I’ve found Netflix to be the cheapest and most extensive but I’m sure there are other great options available too, you just have to look!
A great example of a story being revamped for different audiences are the multiple adaptions of the Manga Series Itazura na Kiss written by Kaoru Tada
My fave adaptations
Mischievous Kiss (Japanese TV)
Playful Kiss( K Drama)
It started with a kiss (Taiwanese film)
Music had been extensively researched in its ability to effect mood and productivity levels but just like my favorite dramas, a good heartfelt melody can be the perfect backdrop for an inspired writing session or the bases of a scene. Try movie scores to set the mood. Country, blues, and R&B/Soul are great places to grab an emotional storyline. Don’t forget that music can also provide visual inspiration through music videos!
I used Who Knew by Chloe X Halle as my mood setter for Unforgettable Valentine!
Original Opening Paragraph from 2019
Ever have a day that turned out crazier than anyone would believe? Well, guess what? You just found a new story or poetry idea. Your local news outlet might have some crazy story ideas for you too. Imagine your character as one of those laid off journalists or perhaps fictionalize the life of an Oscar Winning Composer
When I first wrote this post like most of us I had no idea what as in store for us in 2020. Current Events became a nonstop stream of shenanigans even the most dramatic and twisted Author wouldn’t have dared cram into a single novel. That being said, using current events is still good advice. No matter your genre a level of relatability can be achieved by tying in a major event from the time period your work is set in or maybe putting a spin on one for a fantasy world. However, although I would never get in the way of anyone’s personal freedom writing Corona Stories is a bit to soon for my taste.
Maybe you don’t have time for inspiration to just strike or you’re feeling a tad lazy on the imagination front. There are plenty of places online to find writing prompts. My favorite places are Reddit and Google. Seriously! Just google writing prompt and your preferred style/genre. I dare you.
A simple google search can lead you in the “write” direction!
While I still feel this is valid advice. I myself have moved away from this. I have a new prompt tactic that I will share in the next section!
Random word generator– There are several random word generators online that give you a handful of words to test your creative ability.
Word generators are great but if you want a low-tech option that’s less likely to land a virus or get you spammed with gross ads, grab some popsicle sticks and a dictionary. Write a word or phrase on each popsicle stick and keep them in a cup on your desk. If you get stuck, grab a stick and see where your imagination takes you.
This method can be further expanded on to include a variety of writer’s block helpers which I will further detail in another post.
Now that you’ve gotten a few ideas on where to get ideas, it’s time to bust out your favorite writing tool(s) and get to work! Feel free to share your muse magic in the comments.
I don’t know about you, but I am exceedingly glad that 2020 is firmly in the rearview!
That said, 2020 has made a lasting impact on my writing process and my growth as an author, publisher, all-around entrepreneur. As much as I love my original blog series about the Write Process and believe it still carries some great insight and information, I will be reexploring the Write Process from a post-2020 perspective. In the coming months, I will recreate your favorite posts from The Write Process, Publishing, and Software with new experiences, new insights, and a whole new perspective from 2020 and Beyond!
Peace, Love and Happy Writing!
Langsmith Shifters 3
Otto and Raya from Coy Wolf reunite in this spicy romantic short.
Raya’s plans for a fun visit with her best friend Sequoia are dashed when turmoil in Langsmith forces her into close quarters with the Shifter of her dreams.
Otto wants nothing more than to make Raya his, once and for all. He just needs to make sure his bear doesn’t force the issue too soon and scare the skittish Raya away for good.