Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Friday morning editing…

Good morning! Hope all is well. For me, well, all I can say is I’m pleasantly exhausted. This has been a crazy week with VBS, but it ended last night. By the way it was great!

As for my writing I’ve been reading a lot of articles about writing lately. It’s amazing the amount of information out there for authors. Some of it is really good and others not so good. We need to remember that in order to stay up to date and on our game it’s important to make sure our skills stay updated.

It’s a business just like any other. For instance, with my Accounting business I need to take courses yearly to stay on top of my game and to make sure that I am current with all the regulations and laws. Everyone can use a little nudge here and there. One of the articles I read this week was about the use of adverbs. It was an eye opener. I went back over one of my older manuscripts and well let’s just say I wasn’t happy. The article made me think about the words I used and why maybe they weren’t the best choices.

Have you been keeping your craft polished and publishing ready? If we keep our skills up to date then we will make a better manuscript on the first try. I’ve changed my writing style in the last three years due to studying the rules and using the information to make my writing better. It helps make your work stand out.

So, try reading some articles every week. Make your work the best it can be and you’ll see the results in better sales. it will also help with the editing process.

As always, good writing and May God Bless you…


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Don’t push that button!

It’s Friday people and it’s time to celebrate the weekend, well almost time. For me it’s already the weekend. I’m taking a couple of days off to get over the 12 hour days for the last three months. But of course I’m writing and working on publishing things that have been left out in the cold for too long.

Since I’m working on the finishing touches of Oakley, my mind goes to deciding when to publish. Well sometimes we get so excited about our finished manuscript that our need to get it out there for everyone overrides the fact that we’ve left off a couple of needed steps.

When you publish a manuscript you have a responsibility to your reader to make sure the work is polished and pretty… Have you read over the work. Have you read over it more than once? Are you feeling really good about the finished product? When I get my work completely finished and edited I have this feeling of “Yes it’s as it should be” and that’s when I hit the button. If I have any doubts I read over it again and usually I find something that I missed the other times. It’s worth the time.

So, make sure you feel good about the finished manuscript, not just excited that it’s finished. It’s your work, shouldn’t you want it to be the best it can be?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Sleepy Friday Morning

It’s overcast here in Georgia. The temperatures have been amazing the last couple of days. But today starts a seven day trend of ran, storms and just plain out nasty weather. The overcast darkness makes me sleepy and it’s hard to stay awake.

My night consisted of fighting with the bed for about two hours, then going to the den to curl up in the corner of the couch to read for about thirty minutes (actually read for 2 hours) and then going back to bed and finally drifting off to sleep. For some reason my sleeper was not working last night. Don’t you just hate those nights when you’re sleepy but once your head hits the pillow it goes away.

So this morning may be a pot of coffee instead of just a couple of cups. I have managed to get in about 850 words this morning so I guess that’s a good thing. Of course my current WIP may be one of the reasons I’m having problems sleeping. The characters keep screaming in my head. I’m at a pivotal point in the story and it’s exciting…

So how’s your Friday morning going? I hope you’re planning a fantastic weekend. For me I have a wedding to attend tomorrow and you all know how I love weddings. They inspire me as a romance writer. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Finishing Touches…

When you start a new manuscript it’s all about get the story down. But when you finish it’s all about getting it ready for your readers. Some writers have said they write like a mad person for the first draft and then polish it to a shine afterwards. Others say they like to take their time while writing so that the polishing is to a minimum. For me I fall somewhere in between. I do some corrections as I go during the first draft, but I’m trying to wean myself from doing that. It really hurts the writing process.

When you type The End it’s nowhere near the end. This is when the work begins. The task ahead is sometimes daunting and hard for the author. There’s so much to do in the final stages. Most of it is painful for a writer. The reason being, while writing the first draft you’re doing what you’re made to do, but in the final stages you’re not writing, you’re correcting and deleting. It hurt’s and takes time.

What happens if you put out the first draft without polishing it up? Well, let’s just say, don’t go out and buy anything on credit in hopes to pay it off with a disaster. What’s funny is even the biggest authors say that their finished product still has flaws. Sometimes it’s hard to get it all out of there, especially if it’s a really long manuscript.

So here are some of the steps that I go through to polish up my manuscripts:

1: As soon as a manuscript is finished I take a breather. I step back for at least a couple of hours, if not a couple of days. It helps to get you into the right state of mind to do the deed at hand.

2: Then I hit spellcheck. This helps to eliminate the common spelling and grammar issues, but please don’t leave it just to spellcheck. 

3: Make sure that you read the manuscript all the way through. You’d be amazed what spellcheck misses as far as grammar. I recently found some of the craziest errors in my work. When you’re in a writing frenzy sometimes what’s in your head doesn’t come out of your fingers exactly the same.

4: It might help to read it out loud. Sometimes certain parts need to read out loud to make sense. I’ve made more changes after readind out loud.

5: Make sure you read it from a readers point of view, not your own. Make sure the plot has a pivotal point and that your characters draw interest, not flies…

Of course I only listed 5 items to start with, you need to take your manuscript apart. Make it the best possible writing you can. This is what sells more books. If you make stupid errors and don’t correct them, readers will grow weary and ignore your work.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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The delete button is painful…

Ok, how many of you have had to hit the delete button? If you’ve ever worked on a computer you’ve eventually hit the delete button. Some of you are probably wondering what I’m talking about. Well, for a writer, delete can be a dreaded, horribly painful button. Your finger hovers over it fighting with you not to do. Your finger screams “NOOOOO”, but eventually you force it to do what you’ve told it to do.

Now, let’s get past my dramatic description to the meaning of this post. I was working the other day on one of my books when I hit a brick wall. The unfortunate thing about this brick wall is it was very high and wide, no way around it. Suddenly the story just ended suddenly. What do you do when you hit that dreaded brick wall in a story? Is it too early to end the story, or do you just end it there?

Well, in some instances the story just ends there, but what happens when you know the story needs to go further in this book? If it’s a part of a series, well you just start the new book on the other side of the wall, but if it’s a stand alone, well, you’ve got to get past that wall. But how?

I sat staring at my screen, unable to think about the inevitable. After much thought and wondering what happened, I finally took a look at my outline. I was confused because it was going along so well and then I ran smack into a wall. Why? Then as I read down the many lines of my outline I realized what I’d done. Duh!!! Ok, so I’m blonde, I’m given at least one, maybe two blonde moments in a day. What I’d done was skip a couple of pivotal story line turns. For some reason I’d totally jumped over some very important happenings in the book. I’d actually skipped several chapters. 

You may be saying, how on earth did you do that? Well, if you’re a writer you may be saying, yep, been there done that. That night I didn’t start writing until late in the evening after a long day of tax return preparation. I was exhausted and just wanted to get lost in my manuscript. That’s the problem, I got lost in my own manuscript. Sometimes when you’re really tired, you just need to step back and do something else. Maybe design a cover or work on some character descriptions, but beware if you step into a manuscript.

I had to delete three chapters, yes you read it right, three whole chapters. I’d totally skipped several chapters of important parts that would lead correctly up to the end of the book. My brain had literally skipped some of the main plot rendering parts of the manuscripts. As I read through what I’d typed it began to become obvious. All I could do was delete.

You may be asking why I didn’t copy the work and then paste into the end after I entered the needed work. Well, the ending I’d typed did not actually go along with the missing work. That’s another reason I map out the work that comes into my brain. If life steps in and walks all over my memory, well then I have some reminders written into the outline. It totally saved the manuscript. Needless to say, it will take a little longer to finish, but at least it will be complete as it should be, not just a quick ending to the story.

So, a little piece of advice. If you need some help with your manuscripts flow, sit back and take a deep breath. Then try out an outline, it really saved me this time and definitely saved the story.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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It’s Finally Friday!

If you haven’t looked at your calendar, yes it’s Friday. This has been the longest week in many ways and then again it’s been really short. I was blessed this week to have my assistant home from UGA for a couple of days to help me in the office and with some covers. We finally finished the paperback cover for Finding the Right Time. It’s awesome and I’m so excited for it’s release March 31st.

Along with good, usually a little bad comes. One of my clients and good friends found out she had cancer this week. It was such a blow when she called. It made me think about a lot of things. This was such a shock to her and her daughter. But she’s handling it with such strength and positive thinking. I would hope I could do the same thing in such a situation. My prayers are lifted up to her today.

As for my writing, I received some wonderful advice this week about writing. It helped me to think about some of my previous releases. Did you know that even the most famous writers go back to their first releases and revise them? It’s funny when we first start out writing it’s a learning process. The more we publish the more we learn. I’ve learned so many things over the last couple of years through writer friends and lots of research. So, when I get a little time between manuscripts, I might revise some of my earlier works. We’ll see how that goes, especially the time between manuscripts 😉

It’s Friday and I hope you are planning a fun weekend. It’s supposed to be a rainy last half of the weekend here in Georgia. I’ll be working on tax returns, but I do have some time scheduled in to work on the book that’s currently taking over my brain. I’ll give you a snippet later on, but for now, I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

As always, good writing and May God Bless YOU…

 


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Dusting off an old manuscript…

As most of you know I’ve been writing stories most of my life. Several of my books come from manuscripts that I wrote many years ago. I was cleaning out a drawer the other day and ran up on a spiral notebook. I didn’t think anything about it and set it on the table with some other papers to go through. 

When I finished cleaning out the drawer and the one below it, I decided to see if the notebook was just a old one from my son. He’s bad about saving them from prior school years. As I opened it I was surprised to find one of my stories. Of course I dropped everything and sat down to read the story. The funny thing is I didn’t remember writing the story. As I read it I smiled thinking that it would make a great book, or at least a good book 😉

So, I put it in with my other manuscripts in the works and went about my day. But as any writer will tell you, the story started to fill my head. I kept going back to the words in the book. Soon the story came back to me and I couldn’t help but to sit down and write a few notes before I forgot them again. Yeah, it’s not fun to get older and lose your memory easily…

For now it’s still in long hand form. I plan to one day put it in my laptop, but it’s just a whim. It will be an interesting change from my normal writing. I will let you in on the story line soon, but for now, let’s just say I’m holding this gem close for a little longer.

Do you have manuscripts that are unfinished, but still in your mind? Have you put them away for another time? Tell me about it and share something from it. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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2nd Cup Monday…Maybe 3rd Cup

It’s Monday if you haven’t figured it out. When my alarm went off at six this morning I groaned wanting it to be Saturday again. I sat up way too late reading last night and man I feel it this morning. Working toward my 3rd cup of coffee.

As for this morning’s post here goes. I have several manuscripts in the works as always. I put in several hours on these this past weekend. I’m so excited about the manuscript that will be entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. My book “A Love Never Lost” made it through to the 2nd round last year which was a huge accomplishment for this writer. I just have to finish this one up and get it entered. 

Have you ever edited 3/4 of the way through a manuscript. I was typing this weekend and had a AH HA moment. Suddenly it became clear which direction the last part of the book would go. Of course I know the ending, but the part a couple of chapters from the end had been bugging me. I went back and did a editing read, which helped to confirm the change that would take place. It’s funny how your characters truly speak to you. 

This morning I’m going to give it a couple hundred words before I shower and head to my office. I’ve set up a work schedule that allows time to have a few minutes here and there to get in a few words. Since this is the start of my busy season I want to get as much done on my WIP as possible. Deadlines also drive this need for time slots that allow me to write. 

Have you scheduled your day to include some writing? This actually helps me to destress during the day with a little time away from numbers and clients. It’s amazing how calming my writing can be. It’s a time that I look forward to every day. So make sure that you plan a little time every day to write and get lost if only for a section of time.

As always, Good Writing and May God Bless You…


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Changing up…

Before I published my first book I did a lot of investigating. The general comment that I saw from several well known writers was to keep writing. They said that the more you write the better your craft and the better the sales. Well, I wondered how this would pan out for my future career as a writer. 

Now that I’m coming up on my two year publishing anniversary I can say that this is a fact. It’s funny that when I read my first published book I shake my head. I’m in the process of revising a couple of my first books. I’ve learned so much about the process and writing in the last two years. I changed a lot of how the process goes. Also, I’ve slowed down a bit. Of course that could be age, but let’s get past that point.

I’ve seen a huge difference in sales. The first 6 months after publishing my first book my sales were minimal. Every month after that I’ve seen a upswing. I’ve also learned to put a decent price on my work. Even though you might sell less in numbers, the end result if a larger profit. 

As for my covers I’ve stepped up the game. Now I put more effort in making each new cover pack a punch. I want them to stand out in the enormous crowd of other newly published books. I study other covers that I see and what the current trends are. I get a lot of response on my covers which makes me smile. 

One thing I’ve learned from multiple published books, I’ve added more descriptions. I’ve added more insight into the characters and more information on the surroundings. Some of this comes from fans writing to me. They tell me that my earlier books were good, but they wanted more from the characters. I’ve listened to the readers and now I write further detail into every book. Patience has been a hard thing for me to have in my writing. When you can see the end and your excited, sometimes you press it too quickly and lose the middle structure. 

My publishing process has become very detailed. I’ve slowed that process too. Now I do a little more marketing than before. As you’ve noticed in my blogs I’m working on several manuscripts that have been in the works for a while. I also have a couple of surprises coming up, but that’s for another blog down the road. 

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


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Good morning after…

Well, all’s said and done on this Christmas season. The gifts are opened and the food consumed (Sighing heavily)… As I walked into my den this morning I groaned. I was met with the mess that I ignored last night. It looks like Rudolph and all his reindeer trampled through my den and did the two step.

I quietly poured a cup of coffee and waded through the empty gift bags, wadded up wrapping paper, Christmas balls and sat down. Sighing I took a long sip of coffee and clicked the heating pad on for my back. It’s over. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is behind us. Now for the clean up and return lines. Yeah, did I mention I didn’t read my sons new wireless controller for his game system. I bought the wrong one. I’m not game savvy ok…

Now’s time to get things in order and get back to work on my manuscripts. Especially since I have one with a deadline of January and two February. YIKES!!! So much for resting til New Year’s. HEHEHEHEHEHE…

What’s your plans for the next couple of days? Are you writing, cleaning, or a combo of both? I’ll be doing both as I ponder the new year. I wonder what the new year will hold for my writing career. I have some plans for submitting a couple of manuscripts to Avon. We’ll see how that goes. 

Last week I was surprised by a wonderfully sweet card from a reader who received one of the giveaways in December. She was very appreciative and said she couldn’t wait for the rest of the Saga to come out. Of course I’m talking about the giveaway of “Victoria”. The next book will be coming out in the Spring, so keep an eye out for updates.

I do hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…