Procrastination: What Happens Next?

Emilie Ogez, Flickr Creative Commons

Emilie Ogez, Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve hit a wall. I find myself going over what I’ve written–endlessly adding and subtracting–to avoid figuring out what happens next. Occasionally I eek out a few new paragraphs…but mostly, I procrastinate. I even came up with an idea for a totally different book, and have been forcing myself not to just move on to a new project.

I’m at that point where I’ve established the love interest, set up a roadblock, and now I’m figuring out how to keep it going for 40,000 more words. Part of the problem is that I instinctively hate when I feel like a story is being dragged out. When I watch old school sitcoms where a problem could be solved if the people on the show would just talk to each other, I bristle. I sigh. I turn the channel.

So how do I move the story along, keep up conflict, and not hate myself in the morning?

If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t be writing this post.

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Let’s Talk About Publishing

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Flickr Creative Common, mediamolecule

I write a lot about the business of digital publishing for my day job. With some regularity, I find myself writing about the wonderful world of self-publishing and railing against the gatekeepers–otherwise known as editors and publishers. But the non-work me still wants an editor to say, “Yes, this is good. I will take it to my boss, fight for it, and put my company’s massive resources behind publishing and marketing it.” More importantly, I kind of want to walk into a store and find my book on a shelf. Continue reading

Chapter 1: I Want Your Feedback

Kenneth Garcia, Flickr Creative Commons

Kenneth Garcia, Flickr Creative Commons

Part of this project is about getting feedback from you, the reader. This is a learning process after all. I want to hear from the experts–the readers–about what they like and don’t like. How is the pacing? Are the characters likable? So here it is: Chapter 1.

Let me have it! And, please, remember to share this with your friends. The more feedback I get, the better. Continue reading

To Outline or Not To Outline

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Torley, Flickr Creative Commons

Part of the appeal of this project for me was learning to write in a more structured way. I usually just wing it, but not this time… To that end, I keep Googling things like “how to write a romance novel.” One of the top answers to that question comes from the PBS POV documentary Guilty Publishers. Romance novelist Gill Sanderson gives some tips on how to write a romance, and there seems to be a lot of outlining involved.

Considering I’ve already written a couple of chapters, I don’t think I can follow Gill’s advice to the letter, but I can take a step back and follow that first little piece of advice:

  • Write a hundred-word outline of your story. You can think about it for a week, but writing it will only take an afternoon. Establish hero and heroine, names (important!), jobs, characters. Set the time and place. Are you going to write sweet, passionate, mysterious, religious, supernatural? Decide. Last and most important, what is the problem that is keeping your hero and heroine apart?

So here it goes: Continue reading

Who Will Be Our Romantic Hero?

I started writing last week. I don’t know how much of it I will keep, or trash, or change, but I decided I needed to sit down and get some words on a page. So I took my laptop to the nearby Barnes and Noble, I ordered a chai, and I started typing.

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Playing the Hero, JD Hanckock, Flickr Creative Commons

For the time being, I decided ┬áto set our story on a fictional New England island. (I had to do some research about lobster boats and other kinds of fishermen.) Setting the scene with a (not totally fleshed out heroine) was relatively easy, but when it came to bringing our hero into the scene…well, I stumbled. It’s easy to dream up a number of different characters, but what isn’t so easy is setting up conflict that will keep the story moving. Continue reading

Settling on a Setting

TampaAny real estate agent will tell you, “It’s all about location, location, location!” Perhaps that’s the reason the first question I want to answer in regards to this book is where it will take place. I can say one thing for certain, it will be New England.

Write what you know, that’s what our teachers all told us, right? I find the vast expanses of Wyoming and Montana as romantic as the next person, but I don’t know much about those places. Other than a roadtrip to Yellowstone as a kid, I haven’t spent any time there. I have a big enough learning curve when it comes to writing a romance that I don’t think I want to have to constantly be double-checking facts about my setting.

More importantly, I love New England. I love the coast and the mountains. I love the colors in the autumn and the first flakes in winter. I love the old houses and the family farms that still dot the landscape. It’s hard to imagine any place more perfect for a romance. Continue reading