Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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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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Writing in Sections

As a writer I’m constantly trying new ways to organize me thoughts for books. Some days my mind is riddled with different scenes and it’s hard to concentrate on just one part. So I’m trying a new way to do things that I’ve read other authors do.

Since my mind seems to want to go ahead of itself, I’m letting it. When I start a book now I also start another word document that I name Segments of “book name”. In this document I write the scenes that are later down the road, that way I don’t lose the thought process and also it helps with the current parts. I know where they’re headed and can keep everything flowing in the right direction.

I’ve noticed that my mind seems less tangled when I do this process. I guess getting the parts that are screaming at me on paper helps the words flow better without obstacles. Try this process out and see how it works for you. But don’t forget to label each section so that you can copy and paste it in when your writing gets to that point. It really helps!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


5 Comments

Writing Backwards

Have you ever started a book at the end of the story and worked your way forward? Sometimes when I sit down with an idea for a book I start at where I want it to go. As you know from previous posts I like to do an outline for the story line. That way I stay in line. But sometimes it’s the end result of the story that drives me on. 

I have a book that I’m working on and I’ve worked mostly on the ending. You may be going are you crazy. Well, yes, but that’s beside the point. The ending seems to inspire the beginning. It’s not as hard as it seems. Try it sometimes. You might be amazed.

Be sure if you do this method of writing that you keep the first part in the same style as the ending. An outline helps to keep that part in check. It’s really fun. It’s like walking backwards and using a mirror. You can always see where you’ve been, but you also see where you’re going.

Let me know if you’ve done this before. Or tell me if you try it out and if it helps. Sometimes the best stories start at the end and work their way backwards.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


3 Comments

Lists & Writing

As a writer I’ve had to get better organized. Not that Accounting didn’t already have me organizing, but in writing it’s different.

Someone asked the other day where I advertise and where I sell my books and where all I blog. Funny thing is sometimes I get so caught up in the whirlwind of it that I have to sit and think. That’s where the lists come in. 

Here are the lists I have to keep in order to keep up:

1: Books (Funny enough after about book 4 I lost count and had a hard time remembering names)

2: ISBN numbers – very important to keep up with when entering other book sites.

3: Advertising Sites

4: Social Media Sites

5: Where your book is currently listed

6: Most importantly the user ID’s and Passwords to all the above sites. This can get tricky.

7: Characters for each book. Yep I forget sometimes who went with what book. Sign of my mind growing old 😦

8: Blog sites 

9: Books in process (Very important so that if I mention them on a blog I can identify them later.)

10: A list to keep up with the lists. Yep, I have a 4″ notebook with all this organized in it. Thank goodness my editor and partner in crime keeps this book up to date. My way is sticky notes in a box. 

As for you, this may not help. You may add more lists that you need, but this is just the ones I keep up with. May sound like a lot, but it keeps you from going crazy, well for me crazier.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…

 


3 Comments

Self Publishing: Do or Don’t?

I’ve read several posts lately regarding the decision whether to go traditional publisher or do it yourself. It’s a hard question to answer without some investigating your options. That’s what I did before I published my books. Here’s my findings and remember, this is just my experiences and opinions.

When I first decided to publish my books I sent a query letter to a traditional publisher. Well, after several months I didn’t receive a response and I was really wanting to the book out. So, being the person I am, I started looking into other options. I didn’t know a lot about self publishing, but soon I was immersed in the how-to’s. It was an interesting concept. What really impressed me was the royalty rates versus traditional rates.

One of the issues was that in traditional publishing you have someone doing book promos for you and the self publishing market you do it yourself. Being an accountant by trade I wasn’t sure about this. But with more in depth investigating I realized I could do this. Thank goodness my assistant is in college and she is very with working computer magic.

The funny thing is that it was easier than I had ever imagined. I was not a social media butterfly, so easing me into that part of the marketing was extremely funny to my assistant. The first time I received a follower on Twitter I was like, really, someone I don’t even know followed me. She just laughed and rolled her eyes. Since then it’s been crazy. I blog, I tweet and I have my books on every website I can find. My accounting office has turned into publishing central.

We even design our own covers and have gotten some real good reviews on them. I have gotten a couple of calls from traditional publishers wanting me to sign with them. That’s been gratifying but the only thing is some of them want me to pay for their services. I asked one the other day and they are a big publisher, what are you going to do to market my book? Guess what, I was doing the same exact thing they were going to do, and paying thousands less than they wanted to do it.

So, I guess with me, I’ve had a good experience with self publishing. I won’t say that I’ll never go with a traditional publisher, but for now I’m happy with doing it myself. I have been talking with a small publishing company that is interested, but that will be later on. At least with self publishing I can get it out there now, not next year.

Hope this helps you if you’re trying to decide. As always great writing and May God bless you!