Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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…

 


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Our job as an author…

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Good morning! It’s Monday morning and I’m ready for a productive week. Of course, my hubby is on vacation this week, so I’ll get to see him a lot, which is a great thing.

So, as an author, what are we trying to accomplish? I’m not talking about earning money, I’m talking about with our words.

Here are my top five things I try to accomplish with the words that come from my heart…

1: First and foremost, I want to entertain my reader. I want my ready to enjoy what I write and to want more of it. I want them to smile, laugh and cry when they read my work.

2: I want my readers to be taken away to another world. With Tuscany, I wanted to make them feel like they were in Italy. I wanted them to feel the warm Mediterranean breeze on their face. With my Christmas books, I want this to smell the Christmas spices, to feel the joy of the season and to feel the cold of the snow all around them.

3: My readers should feel what my characters feel. I want them to feel the happiness, the sorrow, and the anger.

4: With the romance, I want my readers to get lost in it. I want them to experience the romance of the story. So many people tell me that they haven’t ever had true romance, so I want them to feel it with every book they read of mine.

5: And finally, this is what every writer should aspire to do and that’s to take your reader to another realm of reality. Whether you write romance, mystery or horror, you should strive to take away the everyday troubles of your reader. Help them get lost in another world, if only for an hour. But help them forget everything but the characters and stories that are within the covers of your work.

So, what do you want to accomplish with your writing?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Character Sketch – Jordan Reed…

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Good morning everyone! Today I want to talk about the main character in Breakwater Lane, the first book in the Wishful Harbor series.

Let’s me introduce you to the spunky, strong willed woman that brings Breakwater Lane to life. Her name is Jordan Reed. She was born in Georgia, but when her parents divorced, she moved with her mom to Denver. But as a child, she spent a couple of weeks every summer with her grandfather in Wishful harbor.

She’d enjoyed those summers. They’d cook together, go to the beach and climb the steps to the top of the lighthouse, then laugh as they reached the top. She’d gained her love of cooking while standing by her grandfather in his deli. Then, when her parents divorced, her mom moved her across the country. She no longer was able to spend her summers with her beloved grandfather.

But she carried on the love of cooking by going to culinary school and becoming a chef. Although her dream was to own a restaurant, she thought it was just a whim. Then when her grandfather died, she was called into a lawyers office for the will. Her grandfather had left her the deli. She was overwhelmed.

Upon arrival in Wishful Harbor, she wondered if she could live in a small town again. Would she be able to get by without the hustle and bustle of Denver? Then she set eyes on Skyler Evans and things began to fall into place, but there was something brewing in the small town of Wishful Harbor that would put everything she’d ever known to the test.

Ok, so, I can’t go much farther without giving away too much of the story, but as you can see, Jordan is a spunky woman with big ideas. You’ll have a love hate relationship with her. Tomorrow I’ll do a character sketch on Skyler Evans.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Monday’s coffee & writing…

Oh my, it’s Monday already! How did the weekend go by so fast?

So, this morning I’m hoping to be back on schedule with my daily writing. Of course, that was supposed to be last Monday, but life happened and that didn’t happen. I have itchy fingers and characters stomping their feet in my head, so… Writers got to write!

Two thousand words, here I come…

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


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While I wasn’t writing…

Old Notebook Paper

What a wonderful day to write! It’s rainy and a little chilly. Yes, I’m back to writing and so glad.

But what happens to me when I don’t write… What happens when tax season takes all my time and leaves none for writing… Well here goes!

1: The characters in my head go nuts. Really… They go nuts. They run around screaming and yelling, constantly! Some days I wonder if I’ll lose my mind before I can write again.

2: The untold stories are filling the space around the crazy characters. Every moment of my day is filled with thoughts of where my characters can take their lives. I name characters while I depreciate assets. Yes, one character might turn up named Asset, just saying.

3: I wonder around feeling unwhole. Does that make sense? To writers, it should. As a writer, we fill the voids with our writing and when we can’t write, it just makes a hole.

4: I’m terminally stressed when I don’t write. Writing is my stress reliever… so what happens when I can’t write, well, my stress level goes up, up, up…

5: The most important thing that happens when I can’t write is I get behind and have to catch up.

Ok, so, you get the picture. Writing is my stress reliever and it helps keep me sane in this insane world. Maybe you don’t have this problem, but I do. As an Accountant, wife, mother, children’s minister, and writer, I need to keep the characters at bay or my mind will explode.

Yesterday was my first time to write over 500 words in over four weeks. It was as though my head cleared of the fog and I relaxed. My characters were walking around in my head, whistling and happy. It was a great day. Now, as I sit here, preparing to get in my daily word count, which sounds great… I’m smiling.

Just a little tidbit, I have a new series coming this summer and I’m uber excited. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be revealing a few little things about it. But, you’ll have to be patient. Let’s just say it is big, real big, at least for me…

As always, great writing and May God Bless You…

P.S. Please help me get out of Twitter jail by going over to https://twitter.com/StephanieHurt4 and give me a follow. It’s hilarious that I finally get up to following 5000 and have over 4300 followers, but Twitter locks me down from following anyone until my followers go up. LOL! Yes, I just asked you to follow me on Twitter, I told you my mind has been compromised from lack of writing.