Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Midweek Writing Tip…

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It’s already Wednesday, but the weekend seems so far away. I’m snatching a few minutes out of my morning to write and blog.

Speaking of snatching minutes to write… Today’s writing tip goes along those lines. It’s important to a writer to have time each day to write. It could be just a few minutes or if you’re lucky, maybe a couple of hours. Either way, try to sit down and write everyday if you can.

Why do you need to write everyday? Well, for me it helps my sanity. The characters running around in my head go crazy when I don’t at least get in a couple of minutes. But maybe it’s to meet a deadline, or just to keep up with your commitment to yourself.

So, if it’s early in the morning before anyone else gets up… If it’s at lunch… Or maybe you’re a night writer. Grab some writing time and keep up to good work.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Almost the weekend… Coffee Anyone!

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I’m almost to the last chapter of my latest manuscript and it’s so exciting. But with tax season deadlines breathing down my neck, I’m snatching writing times when I can. Of course the characters are always teasing me with lines to include and different scenarios. Good thing I keep a notebook beside me all the time.

But with the busy days and late nights, I lean on my coffee time heavily. Actually, that reminds me, it’s coffee thirty. Enjoy the rest of your Thursday and live, laugh, & most especially, love…


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Monday Morning Outlining…

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Happy first day of March! Can you believe we’re already into March? But, in other news, my new series, In Harm’s Way is coming along smoothly.

This weekend the first book, Safe, took a new turn, which means I’m adjusting my outline. You may be asking, why even outline if the story is changing anyway. Well, the original outline got me going in the right direction. And I’ve always said that the outline can change. That’s the fun of writing, sometimes your characters take over.

I was able to get in almost 5000 words this weekend, which was an accomplishment considering I working in my accounting office most of the day Saturday. But the story is filling my head with so many possibilities. Although I know how it will end, I’ve been thinking about the middle and last part of the story. As I was writing this weekend, I ended a scene and something else came to mind. I decided, or rather my characters decided to take another turn. Now the story is going in another direction. It’s the same story, just a little deep into the back story that will pull it all together in the end.

As with any outline, things can change. It doesn’t have to written in stone. And never, ever stick to the outline like glue if something isn’t going well. It’s best to make changes than to keep going in a direction that doesn’t make the story pop. Your story deserves the extra effort to make it flow as it should.

With this series I’m working extra hard on going the extra mile. Although I always work hard to make my work go as it should, this one is pulling something in me. I’m excited in a way I haven’t been in a while. And on top of that, I haven’t put it on preorder, so I’ve got the time to make it the best it can be.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Let’s talk Scrivener…

Good morning! Who wants to write in an organized way? Who wants their outline and characters right at their fingertips? Me! Here’s how I do that…

I use the program, Scrivener. And no, I don’t get any money for talking about this program. What I do get by using this program is piece of mind. So, here are my top five reasons that I use Scrivener to bring my words to life.

  • Easy to use. Folks, once you sit down and start using Scrivener, you will realize that even though it has all those bells and whistles, it’s so easy to use.
  • Character Bio list. Yes, this is amazing. I have all of my main characters running down the left side of my manuscript. And if I forget a characters occupation or eye color, all I do is click and double check.
  • Place list. This is a life saver. I can keep the places in my story straight. Because it’s hard to remember everything, but with Scrivener, I have it at my fingertips.
  • Outline. Yes, I’m an outliner most of the time. And with Scrivener, I have my outline to the right. And it’s always open. The fun thing is, I can separate it by chapters or sections, then mark done when I’m finished with that section. This helps because Scrivener also separates by chapters.
  • Word count progress. I have a window to open that tells me how many words I’ve typed in a session. I also can put a daily word count need, manuscript word count expected, and keep up with my progress. It helps keep me on track!

So, this is just a little look into all of the things that Scrivener can do for you. There’s also a script writing part integrated in the same window. And you can change the way your Scrivener looks at every turn. I use cork board for my outline, which gives a story board feel.

As always, good writing and may God Bless You…


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3 reasons to plan out your story…

After a day trip to the North Georgia mountains yesterday, I feel refreshed and exhausted. Why is it that when you take a long, although beautiful drive, it just drains you? That’s kind of how a story without a plan can do to writers. As in the picture below, without a plan, your story could collapse around you and leave you with something that is unstable.

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As you’ve read over and over in my blogs, I try my best to plan out as much of my books as possible. So, here are my three top reasons that I do that:

  1. Map out the story. In my opinion, and opinions vary like the fall leaves, but my thoughts are this. If you map out the story, you know, get the feeling of the ups and downs, then you can build the ebb and flow better. It helps to keep your focus on the writing, not the building up of the plot.
  2. Character development. I have to plan my characters. Although some of their flaws don’t come out until midway of the story. But most of my character development is done beforehand. I need to get to know them so that I can correctly write their stories.
  3. Know your ending. And yes, sometimes the ending sneaks up on you out of the blue and everything changes. That’s writing. BUT, when you get started, have an idea of where your story is headed. When stories come into my head, I most of the time, see the beginning and the ending first. Sometimes it’s the ending that pulls the story into my heart. If the characters are to be wed at the end, then you need to make the rest of the story head in that direction.

So, as I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, this may not work for everyone, but it does for me. I’ve already got the bones of the five books of the series I’m doing in 2021. Everyday my mind goes through the storylines, the character details and yes, where I want each book to end.

I hope my post helps you get past your writers block or maybe just helps you develop your story more.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday Writing Tips

Now, on to today’s writing tip. You know when you have a story in your head, but you have a deadline looming on another story. Yeah, that’s a problem for a writer. But I have a solution, one that helps me out.

Good morning! I do hope everyone had a great weekend. For me, it was awesome.

When a new story idea comes into my brain, I have to get some of the idea down on paper or it will interrupt my other work. So, this is my tip. Give yourself at thirty minutes to write it down or put down an outline. Once you’ve given the new story a voice, it will help you to get back to the previous piece of work. Trust me, it helps.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You….


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Life steps in…

It’s Thursday, but it feels like Monday! Some days I wake up and just want to go back to bed, cover my head and sleep. Today is one of those days. But guess what, I’ve got a business to run and way too much to do for all of that. So, I managed to drag myself out of bed early so I could meet my morning word count. Did I meet it? Well, let’s just say I’ll have a writing lunch…

So, what is your day like? Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Southern Writer’s Magazine, which will come out soon. It was eye-opening as I wrote out my answers to the interview questions. I realized that every day I manage somehow to schedule in some stress-relieving words. You may be saying, didn’t you already know that? Some days I think I don’t get enough time to write, but then others I get more than enough.

Yesterday I caught myself daydreaming about a character that has filled my head lately. Before I knew what I was doing, I was filling up stick it notes with character traits. Thank goodness I was waiting on a file to download, or I would’ve gotten behind. Then, the rest of the day, my eyes would go to those notes, wanting to write the story. Well, hopefully, today I’ll get to put a little work in on it.

Life steps in, but writing is part of that life, so make some time to focus on your dreams. This life is short, so make the most of it. Don’t forget to get up and walk some, it’s good for you and many writers don’t realize this. But that’s for another post.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

black ball point pen with brown spiral notebook

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What’s in a character?

Good Tuesday morning!

So, how do you form your characters? Do you develop them as the story goes forward? Or do you write a character sketch before putting the first word into the manuscript? In Scrivener, I always start out with a blank page for each character. Of course, I know basically who my character is. When I start a new manuscript, I develop their main character sketch, but what is included?

Name – Oh, this can take hours for me. I play with first and last name combinations. It’s crazy, but as a writer, I know that when the right combination comes across, it will pop. So, I scan name lists, Scrivener’s name generator, and even newspapers. Sometimes things just stand out.

Flaws – Ok, so maybe your main characters don’t have flaws, but I try to make mine less than perfect. Of course, my first books had perfect characters, but I want my readers to relate to my characters, so I add flaws. It could be as simple as having an attitude, but I make it a flaw at the time.

Looks – Does my character have blonde hair and blue eyes? That’s something important because you don’t want to suddenly say something about their auburn hair halfway through. You need to know what they look like or at least have an idea so that it stays consistent throughout the book.

Career – What does your character do? Are they a lawyer, doctor or maybe a rodeo king? It’s important to know this so that you can add elements of what they do to your character.

Hobbies – This is not as important as other attributes, but if it’s going to play a role in the book, then you need to remember if they knit or oil paint. Changing it midway can confuse the reader at times.

You may be saying, but why are these important? Every writer is different in how they do their work. For me, I like to get to know my characters. As I write, I like to know what my character might say or do and why. In Scrivener, I always have a character note that details things and I can add to it as things happen. Believe me, it helps to keep the process going forward.

So, how do you create your characters?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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A little Monday Motivation…

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Good morning all! Yeah, I know, it’s Monday… I’m not ready to start the day yet, but my office won’t run itself, so…

Ok, so, you need some Monday Motivation. Here goes… As a writer, you have a story to tell. It fills your head and makes you crazy. The story wreaks havoc on every other part of your day, but, I have good news. Even if you can’t figure out the whole story just yet, it helps to just go ahead and put it on paper. If you at least let the characters talk for a little while, they’ll leave you alone for a few minutes.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Outlines, Notebooks & other such things…

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It’s Saturday morning and I’m ready for a little rest and restoration. Of course, you know I’ll be writing, it’s my Saturday thing to do. When you run a busy accounting office, most of your intense writing comes on your days off.

Take notes... You'll need them later...

Now with intense writing sessions, you have to use your time wisely. This is where detailed notes and outlines come in handy. When I sit down to write, I like to have everything at my fingertips. If I’m writing a book, say, for instance, Breakwater Lane, I want to have my character information close at hand. Why? Well, it helps me to just look at the character list beside me. If I forget a secondary characters name, I just glance at the list and keep going. But without this list, well, I’d have to go back to where I last wrote about them to check. That takes away valuable writing time.

Outlines are helpful…

I’m an outliner, most of the time. When a story comes into my head, I like to sit down and outline it while it’s fresh. If the story comes in bits and pieces as some do, then I just write down the basics of what has come to my head. As with Sky Ridge Series, I have in my head what each of the three books will be covering, but without the outline, I’d overtake the story from the next book. I want to make sure that each book covers its own situation.

Don’t let a lack of organization throw you off track…

Some people say that outlines mess them up and that’s ok. Everyone has their own style. It’s the way we’re made. But for me, outlines keep me focused on the story at hand. You might ask if I’ve ever changed a story from the outline? Yes, several times. Take, for instance, Finding the Right Time. I had it completely outlined, but my characters would not behave and they went off script. If you’re not a writer, that might sound a little off, but it’s true. Characters can have a mind of their own and they go off down the rabbit hole, leaving the outline in the dust. That’s when you pick up the outline, dust it off, then adjust as needed. It works, believe me.

Notebooks… Notebooks… Notebooks…

Now, I have notebooks for each of my series. I keep details about characters that are in each book. That way I keep up with who died, who left to never be heard of again and such as that. On my stand-alone’s, I don’t always have a dedicated notebook, just an outline with notes in the margins. I put the characters at the top, then the outline. But the notes in the margins can be added characters, character flaws or just location descriptions. Anything you think will be needed later, add it.

It only takes a second to lose that train of thought…

So, to sum up, my rambling from above, if you feel disoriented or unorganized when writing, it’s normal. But there are ways to make it easier on yourself. These are just a couple of the things I do.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…