Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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If your story falls apart, use duct tape?

Duct tape is a house staple, just as salt, sugar and flour are food staples. For many years people have fixed almost everything with duct tape. At Church we even fixed a broken Christmas tree with duct tape, no really we did. It’s strong and durable. Also you can get it in any width and color so it’s versatile.

What if you’re story is falling apart? We all have those manuscripts that start out really good and we have a phenomenal ending planned, but the middle has so many holes and fractures that it puts a real stink on the beginning and ending. Well, put a little duct tape on it. What am I talking about? Well, here goes the answer in a nutshell.

By duct tape I mean sit down with your beginning and ending. Then really look at it. Where is the character headed? The middle needs some suspense or issue that needs to carry the reader over the hump to the end. It needs something that only the ending can shed some light on. This is where the duct tape comes in.

As I said above, duct tape is strong and durable with lots of versatility, so the middle of the book needs to be taped up neatly. But be careful not to just add fluffy filler that makes the reader fall asleep with boredom. If the first of the book is power packed, then make the middle explode with tension. This is the strong duct tape. Add an element of complete surprise. Let the main character have a major problem that needs solving, or maybe a secret that is threatening to come out, but the secret has to be life altering.

But make sure that it can mesh with your great ending. I did this one time and a book that started out being only around 30,000 words went over 50,000 words with a little duct tape application. Crazy, but true. I had this really great beginning that pulled you in and the ending left you breathless, but the middle was just a bunch of fluff. As I did my first read through I was almost dozing and that’s not good. I sat down and spread out the beginning and ending, then totally restructured my characters. I added a whole new dimension to them that took them on an adventure that meshed well with the ending and soon I had a complete story that I was proud to hit the publish button on.

So, get you some duct tape and pull that story together. If you use the right duct tape it will hold together nicely.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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How do you contain yourself?

As a writer you have to have some patience. Unfortunately when a story is pressing in on you patience is hard to find. When a story pops into my brain it normally comes in with a vengeance. It presses on my brain until I start writing it. I have to relieve the pressure of getting it started. Usually I get the story outlined before I forget what needs to be said. 

When I start writing the story I get excited and can’t hardly wait to see how the middle and end unfold. I have to contain myself and not just jump through the story and leave out some important information. Sometimes I tend to want to see how it ends before it even begins. That’s kind of like reading a book and skipping to the end because you just have to know how it ends.

Remember if you do an outline, which is very important to me to keep me in line 🙂 then you need to stick with the outline. If you just have to skip ahead, then mark where you stopped and go back to fill in the important elements needed to make the story flourish. 

Hope this helps. Remember you’ve got to be patient and let the story flow out. It’s hard, but if you practice you can do it.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…