Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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What it takes to write…

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Good Wednesday! It’s chilly here in Georgia. My fingers are stiff and it makes writing difficult, but I’m forging on.

I hear people all the time say, ‘I can write a novel. How hard can it be?’. Sometimes I just let it blow over my shoulders, then other times I look at them and tell them what it takes to write that novel. Usually by the time I’m done, they have changed their mind. So, let’s go through some things it takes to put those words on the paper.

Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone can put words on a paper, but… Words on a paper… What a concept…

To write a novel that actually makes sense, you have to get it in the right order. Make sure that you don’t bust the bubble too early and lose the reader. You have to focus on the ebb and flow of the story line. If you write in a up and down motion, meaning there is constant conflict, then resolution, then more conflict and more resolution, the reader will grow tired. It’s important to have a story within the conflict and resolution. The reader needs to be pulled into your story. It needs a purpose.

And an important part of writing is patience. The words don’t write themselves. You have to be patient as you put your story together. If you just haphazardly write, then you’ll get the wrong result. The story needs to be polished and ready before you send it out. Believe me, I’ve been impatient before and the results were less than mediocre. I’ll never do that again.

So, when someone says they could write a novel, explain to them the process. And I’ve only touched on the many intricacies of getting a story completed that will sell and bring you joy. There are so many facets of the writing process that it would take many posts to accomplish.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Make bad reviews work for you…

Good Tuesday morning! Let’s talk about reviews. Yes, I know, some say don’t read them. Some say read them. Me, I read them. But how do we react when we read them? Anger? Confusion? Laughter? Happy? Sad? There’s a lot of things that go through your head when you read reviews of your work. But I have a couple of things to discuss with you about them.

Make them work for you…

What am I talking about? Well, hear me out… Bad reviews can go two ways, one being they are just nasty and have no meaning for your writing, or two, they are well thought out reviews that can tell you something about the work.

Let’s talk about some ways to use bad reviews to make your work better. Here goes:

1: There are misspelled words and grammatical errors!

                We know that it doesn’t matter how many times your work is edited and even if it’s by the best editor out there, mistakes can be missed. I’ve read some of the bestsellers out there that have some mistakes that weren’t caught. SO, use that bad review as a reason to read through your work just one more time with a critical eye.

                Now, do remember, some people are not experts and what they think is a grammatical error, really isn’t. But, I still go back over my work, just in case I missed something, or my editor did. It’s worth the effort in the end. Especially if you get several reviews about the same problem.

2: The book was left on a cliffhanger!

                Ok, this one shocked me the first time I read it. When I read a book that’s part of a series, most of the time I expect a cliffhanger to get me to read the next one. Think about a series on television. They always leave you at the end of the season wondering what the heck just happened and what will happen next. The reason I put this one in my post is because if you get this and it bothers you, then insert a sentence in your description that says, ‘This book ends on a cliffhanger’. That way you don’t have to worry about a reader not understanding that it’s a series and can end on a cliffhanger.

3: The characters were not fleshed out…

                If you get this one, maybe look back at your work and see if you never described your main characters. I know that as a reader, I love to be able to picture the characters in my mind. I’ve received this type of review before and realized that I was so into writing the story, I never fleshed my character out. Yep, that was a facepalm moment for me. Go ahead and add a little description, because as a writer, you know in your mind that you have a picture in your mind of the character.

4: The book was too short… or This book was too long…

                Now this one took me by surprise. But yes, reviewers have opinions on the length of your book. There are those that don’t like them too long and those that don’t like them too short. My thoughts on this are, input in your description, at the end, ‘This is a novella’ or ‘This is a full-length book’. Maybe that little key point will stop some of those lower star reviews.

5: The story doesn’t flow well…

                Now this can be a problem if your story doesn’t flow well. My suggestion is to read the manuscript out loud and don’t do it as the writer, do it as a reader. Meaning, in your mind, you’re the reader wanting to be entertained by the story. Believe me, I do this with my books before I publish them and its eye opening. Sometimes I wonder what on earth was I thinking…

Now there are many more aspects of reviews to look at. Also look at the good ones. This keeps you motivated and let’s you know what your dedicated readers loved. Of course, there will always be those that give a bad review just to do it. I’ve had those.

If you do have a review that’s particularly nasty and doesn’t match your book, report it to the distributor whether it be Amazon, Barnes and Noble or iTunes. I had one that mentioned characters that weren’t even in my book. I reported it to Amazon and the review disappeared. But I had one that didn’t represent my book and they didn’t take it down.

The moral of the blog is this, use even the bad reviews for good. Let them roll off your back and move forward. Now, if you get only bad reviews, then I would definitely take another look at the work. But hey, smile and keep writing. A writer has to have a thick skin. Sometimes when I get my work back from my editor, I have to thicken my skin and push through it. So, keep up the good work!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Upgrading Computer today!

As an Accountant and writer I’m attached to my laptop several hours a day. Today is going to be a test of my patience. I’m carrying my laptop to the shop to be upgraded and added to. Believe me when I say I’ve backed up my computer on two different external harddrives. I’m being over cautious I know, but I have a lot on this computer.

It’s crazy how dependent we become about our computers. I’m actually not looking forward to several hours unplugged. So if you notice my social media presence is really low today, that’s why. I’ll let you know later how it goes. My computer guy has assured me several times that everything will be alright, but it’s my baby, errr, my computer.

So, keep your fingers crossed and the next time I talk with you I’ll be on a newly renovated version of my old laptop. Yikes, just saying that gets my nerves all jittery.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…