Monday, April 26, 2010

Middle Of The Book

This can sometimes be called the sagging middle, I just call it the middle.

The middle of the book can be difficult for a writer.

I found myself in the middle of my manuscript where the characters are starting to discover each other and some of the early minor conflicts have been resolved, but now what?

I realized as the writer I needed to ratchet up the main conflict between the characters, this is where the internal conflict, which keeps the two from confessing their love at this moment and living the happily ever after in the middle of the book.

Internal conflict is not easy to write, I struggle with it each day. Yet, I know I have internal conflict in my life almost daily, it's how I solve that internal conflict that helps me apply it to my writing.

In the middle of the book, I gently remind my characters why they can't be together, why they have an internal conflict with the other character, and all the reason's why they're not suited for each other.

The middle is now taken care of, because my characters are now fighting against falling in love because of these internal conflicts. But of course they will over come these conflicts and be happy together. After all I write romance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting Past The First Page

Sometimes it's very hard to start the new page of a manuscript. Maybe you're not sure where to start the book, or the blank page drives you nuts. It could be anything.

Starting a new book is fun for me. I'm always excited to start a new manuscript, to explore the world and my characters.

Does the first page stay the same from the first draft to the final draft?


I start where I think at the time the book should open, but that's not always the right place. And figuring it out is important.

Think about the last book you read, do you remember how the book opened? Was it exciting? Did it draw you into the book? Make you want to read more?

The first page should draw the reader into the book, creating the same excitement the writer had when they wrote the book, the reader will be excited to turn past the first page and read more.

Sometimes I write the first page even though I know it's not the right place to start the story. Why? Because I don't know where the book should start, this is the first scene that came to mind, so I start there. Later I'll find the right opening.

The first page is important, but so are all the pages that come after that, because you want to keep your reader interested, excited and reading your book.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Picking Up An Interrupted Work In Progress

Last week I blogged about finishing the next book after I sold. When I sold to The Wild Rose Press, I was in the middle of writing another manuscript. When I sold this WIP was set aside.

Now, I can finally pick the WIP back up. The rough draft was already done, now I'm at the editing/polishing stage. I started to read what I'd already edited to bring myself back into the story.

It's amazing what I see now, compared to then. I can only thank my editor Karen at The Wild Rose Press. During the editing stages with IN PLAIN SIGHT, she pointed out to me areas that needed help and over usage of certain words.

As I pick up my WIP, I realize I still have a lot to learn. And I'm enjoying the process more than I thought I would.

Even with the manuscript I finished and my critique group read, I still use the same words over and over. I think all writers do that.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Finishing the Next Book

While I've finished more manuscripts than I've sold, this is the first manuscript I've finished since I sold last August.

It's taken a while, mainly because when I sold IN PLAIN SIGHT, last August, I had to make some changes to the book, then several rounds of edits, then galleys, then promotion. That pretty much wiped out September, October and November.

Back in Sept. 09 there was a call for submission within the Scarlet Rose line for manuscripts with a special theme called "Cowboy Kink".

In December I came up from air from my first sale, and an idea sparked for the Cowboy Kink book for The Wild Rose Press. The lucky thing for me wast I had two weeks of vacation at the end of December from the day job.

While not all the days off were spent writing, I did write because I had my own self imposed deadline. I worked toward the deadline with excitement and a little bit of apprehension, because this book was pushing my own boundaries.

The book seemed to write itself, and by the middle of January I'd finished the rough draft. Then I started in promotion for IN PLAIN SIGHT, my first Scarlet Rose book. This gave me a chance to distance myself from my newly written book.

It wasn't until Mid-February that I was able to get back to the manuscript and begin editing it. It was amazing what the distance and a great workshop by Donald Maass had done for me, I realized I had to make some massive changes.

I put in place another self-imposed deadline, and missed it by a mile. That bothered me because I'm usually very good with my deadlines. I sat down with myself and started looking at where my time was going and why I missed my deadline. There were several different factors, only a couple of them were within my own control.

I set a new schedule and a new self-imposed deadline, and went back to work. I made the next deadline which happened to be March 21st. I promised my critique partners I would have the book to them by then so they could read the entire manuscript and give me feedback.

This taught me I can keep my own self-imposed deadline, and reminded me that I'm the only one who can make my writing the number one priority in my life. I'd done this before, I had to remind myself about it.

And this was a timely reminder for me, because this is my career, I've wanted to be a writer for a long time. My day job is still there, but in another couple of years I can retire, and write full-time, but now is the time to get my priorities straight, now is the time to put that discipline in place I'm going to need later.

One of the things to remember is: If it is important to you, you'll make time for it. Be it time for your writing, spouse, children, parents, painting, friends, exercising, etc.

It's your choice.