Stephanie Hurt – Author/Accountant/Children's Minister

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Starting with a good foundation

Writing a book is not as easy as it looks. There are so many steps to making a readable novel. Of course you can just write a story and publish it without following the needed steps, but I don’t recommend it. Make sure what you put out to the public is the best it can be. As I stated in my post about polishing it up, take the steps to make it the best it can be.

This starts with a good foundation. You don’t want to build your house on shifting sands, so why build your story on a whim. Writers are full of stories, it’s the way we’re made. A story line comes to us and we immediately start writing, but in many cases we need to sit down and make sure that the story line is strong enough to hold up a novel to the end. If you can’t make the story line hold up the whole book then you might want to rethink the process.

Sit down with the story idea. Think it out. See where the story goes in your mind. Most of the stories that come into my head actually keep poking at me until I do this. You all know how I am about outlines and yes, I know some of you are groaning, but they help keep the story in line or somewhat in line. 

Also, you need to make sure that the story idea will keep a reader involved and interested throughout the middle part and the ending. If the story does not have enough backbone to hold out to the end, you might want to rethink it. Sometimes when you sit down and really give it some thought you can make it work. A writer has a way of making the story come alive and evolve. That’s what your story line idea has to do, evolve. 

Using an outline can help build the foundation of the story. You can sway some from the outline, but make sure that the story stays consistent so that it follows neatly behind the leader. Don’t forget the reason for the story, the backbone of the story. That’s what builds the foundation on a sturdy foundation, not a sinking sand foundation. Make your book the best it can be, so start off right. Do your homework. Writing a book takes work, so give it your all.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Finishing Touches…

When you start a new manuscript it’s all about get the story down. But when you finish it’s all about getting it ready for your readers. Some writers have said they write like a mad person for the first draft and then polish it to a shine afterwards. Others say they like to take their time while writing so that the polishing is to a minimum. For me I fall somewhere in between. I do some corrections as I go during the first draft, but I’m trying to wean myself from doing that. It really hurts the writing process.

When you type The End it’s nowhere near the end. This is when the work begins. The task ahead is sometimes daunting and hard for the author. There’s so much to do in the final stages. Most of it is painful for a writer. The reason being, while writing the first draft you’re doing what you’re made to do, but in the final stages you’re not writing, you’re correcting and deleting. It hurt’s and takes time.

What happens if you put out the first draft without polishing it up? Well, let’s just say, don’t go out and buy anything on credit in hopes to pay it off with a disaster. What’s funny is even the biggest authors say that their finished product still has flaws. Sometimes it’s hard to get it all out of there, especially if it’s a really long manuscript.

So here are some of the steps that I go through to polish up my manuscripts:

1: As soon as a manuscript is finished I take a breather. I step back for at least a couple of hours, if not a couple of days. It helps to get you into the right state of mind to do the deed at hand.

2: Then I hit spellcheck. This helps to eliminate the common spelling and grammar issues, but please don’t leave it just to spellcheck. 

3: Make sure that you read the manuscript all the way through. You’d be amazed what spellcheck misses as far as grammar. I recently found some of the craziest errors in my work. When you’re in a writing frenzy sometimes what’s in your head doesn’t come out of your fingers exactly the same.

4: It might help to read it out loud. Sometimes certain parts need to read out loud to make sense. I’ve made more changes after readind out loud.

5: Make sure you read it from a readers point of view, not your own. Make sure the plot has a pivotal point and that your characters draw interest, not flies…

Of course I only listed 5 items to start with, you need to take your manuscript apart. Make it the best possible writing you can. This is what sells more books. If you make stupid errors and don’t correct them, readers will grow weary and ignore your work.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Easter Celebration Book Sale!

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Good Morning Everyone! Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter early… As you can see from the picture above, I’m having a Easter Sale of all my books on Amazon. Even the 3 book and 2 book sets are only $1 each. Of course I have to correct my Amazon pages because it only shows $1.99. I think I was half asleep when I changed the settings.

I hope everyone has a restful, fun, exciting Easter weekend. Remember to celebrate the Ressurection on Sunday and spend some time with your family. Hopefully all the kiddies will have sunny weather for the many Easter egg hunts this weekend. 

As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You…


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Struggle for Writing Time!

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Do you have a hard time finding quality writing time? Do you struggle for a few minutes a day to put your thoughts and stories on paper? Does life, career and just general everyday chores get in the way? Well, if you’re a writer, it’s a real possibility that this has happened to you.

For me it’s a constant struggle. If you’re not ready to be a full time writer, then of course you have a job which takes up a lot of your weekday time. Not all of us have the luxury of writing being our full time job. That would be nice, but most writers are inevitably part time writers. But can we even go as far as calling ourselves part time writers. Let’s get real with the numbers. If you have a part time job, then it’s considered less than 30 hours a week. Most of us, me included, get less than 10 hours a week to actually sit down and write.

Oh yeah, then you have the need for quality writing time. This is time when it’s just you and your writing. There’s no outside interruptions, just you and your laptop or pad and pen, whichever is your preference. 

Do we have the obedience to make the time happen everyday? Even if you have obedience, life can take over and throw that in the trash can. Let’s be truthful, it happens, so get over it. But, does it help to set aside time. Maybe even discuss it with family and state, “This is my writing time, so don’t interrupt me for an hour or so.” *Laughing uncontrollably* Sorry, but it doesn’t happen that way. 

For me I try to schedule my writing time in the mornings after my son gets on the bus and my hubby leaves for work. It’s quiet except for the news low in the background. I also write at night as the family watches television. That way they’re into what’s on the tube while I write away. Some people ask how I concentrate with the tv in the background, well, it’s called totally immersed in my manuscript. Most of the time when I’m totally into a piece, I can get lost completely. I shut out everything in the background and it’s as if I’ve entered my characters world. If I’m having concentration issues, I just put on head phones and listen to one of my playlists. I say one of them, because it’s according to what I’m writing that decides the playlist. I have several by the way. 

So, do you struggle for writing time? How do you set your times, or does life set it for you?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Strong Characters

Good tax day morning… Let’s just say if you haven’t filed yet, you don’t have long. I’m counting down the hours until midnight. 

Now on to the post of the day. How would you rate your characters? Do you have weak ones, strong ones, or maybe those that start out weak and become strong? Well that’s the question of the day. Which characters do you consider strong?

When I get my character list together, I try to have at least one character that’s strong. Maybe they’re able to deal with any crisis or even help others deal with crisis. In my writing I try to make the strong characters inspiring. I want readers to be inspired by the strength in some of my characters. 

In Faith Through The Tears, Randy has to lean on his faith to keep strong for his two daughters. He fights with the weakness of his emotions when he loses the love of his life. But inevitably his strength pulls him together. He’s human and his strength waivers, but he does find his strength through the immense faith he has.

In Victoria, she’s the one that struggles to hold things together. Even with the Civil War all around them she keeps up her strength. But even the strongest character has weak moments. 

Then you have Lily, the main character in A Love Never Lost. She’s independent and strong willed. She knows what she wants and goes for it, even when her heart wants her to stay with Zane. Eventually her strength is tested, but she holds it together.

I love to read a romance with a strong character. It always inspires me to be stronger than I am. Do you have a character that’s strong? 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday, Monday, Monday

As I sit here sipping my 2nd cup of coffee trying to get my eyes to stay open, I notice the clouds moving in. Yep, we’re expecting rain here in the south today. I had a busy but wonderful weekend. Saturday was the Easter Egg hunt at our Church. That was really fun, but lots of work. It was worth it. Then yesterday was my hubby’s birthday. Also after Church several members (including my family) got the sanctuary ready for Easter and the Spring season. Considering our Church is three stories, yep I got my exercise. No need to work out today.

For all my American friends tomorrow is the last day of non extension tax season. That means I’ll be slammed with tax work today and tomorrow, but I’m taking the last three days of this week off. I plan to get some writing in that has been put to the wayside for the last couple of weeks. 

This is a reminder to all my writer friends. Make sure that you claimed your royalties and the expenses that you had. Don’t forget all those advertising sites, production fees, programs purchased to help with your writing, computers and printers, website fees, dues and subscription fees for all those sites you joined, and the many more expenses we writers incur in a year. If you received a 1099 for your royalties, don’t ignore them because the IRS won’t.

Hope everyone has a blessed Monday and don’t forget to smile today, it’s your day so make it over the moon!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Friday morning…keep the coffee coming

Well tax season is almost over for the most part. Only 5 days left of the regular season and boy am I ready for a break. I have all of these characters screaming in my head to be released, but time just hasn’t permitted much writing time this week. I walked into my house last night at 8:35 and grabbed a ice cream bar, then collapsed on the couch. I never even picked up my laptop.

As a writer we need to have that time to let the characters spinning in our head to express themselves. They tend to get really noisy when we don’t. As I laid my head down on the pillow last night, my characters were screaming in my head. Somehow, I guess through exhaustion, I pushed them into a quiet space and gave them a time out. I did promise them that starting Wednesday they’d have full reign.

So, as I sit here giving myself a little social media time, I also sip my 2nd cup of coffee. The day is starting off as a gorgeous, sun filled day. I’d love to just grab my laptop, find a shady spot in my yard and write the day away, but taxes are calling. 

Hope everyone has some really great plans for the weekend. As for me I put on my Children’s Minister hat tomorrow. It’s our annual Easter egg hunt. I can’t wait. I get so excited for the kids. I remember so vividly how much fun that egg hunt was. But as soon as I get home it’s back to tax returns, yep it’s that last few days crunch time. Hey, not complaining, that’s what I went to college to do, right? Ok, so I have to keep reminding myself of that. But it would be nice to just sit down everyday and write. Sales have got to get better before I do that :)

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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