Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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Show, Don’t Tell… Writing to inspire…

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It’s barely above 25 degrees this morning here in Georgia. So, burr… It makes my coffee that much better, if that’s even possible. Anyhoo, today we’re talking Show, Don’t Tell… What? Yes, that’s I said. So here goes!

Have you ever read a book and you felt like you were there? Why? Because the writer put into words what the character was seeing. Of course sometimes in our own imagination, we see the world the writer creates. But, it’s important for a writer to let us see their world that is being created with words. Help the reader take the journey with you. And as a writer, you know what I’m talking about. We see the story in our head, but the reader doesn’t unless we let them in on the whole thing, not just the words.

What do I mean? Well, if your character walks out and it’s bitterly cold, then you want your reader to shiver. But how do you do that? Let’s go through an example:

Telling: Rose walked outside and it was cold. She got the mail, then went back to the house to warm up. (Ok, so here in this example, the writer is telling you it’s cold outside, but you don’t know how cold or anything further than it’s cold. This would work, but let’s try this again.)

Showing: Rose opened the door to an artic blast hitting her as she stepped outside. The temperature had dropped to well below freezing and the wind seemed to slice through her thin coat. The walk to the mailbox was bone chilling as she struggled to keep her jacket tightly around her. When she turned to go back to the house, she looked forward to the crackling fire that was waiting for her. The moment she shut the door, leaving the bitter cold outside, the warmth of the fire seem to melt the ice from her as she held up her hands to give them a good thaw. (Now, you feel the cold, the wind, and the characters reaction to those elements. Not to mention, it was more wordy so you made more of a punch. See the difference.)

So, with that, think about how you express things in your writing. The reader doesn’t know the wall is red until you tell them. But remember, tell them the shade red, how the red makes the character feel, etc. Get it. Now, go out there and write up a storm, literally.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Get up and move!

 

woman in black leggings while walking on brown road

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

 

Ok, so yesterday I was talking about moving some. It’s important, especially when you sit for most of the day. Since I’m an accountant for my day job and a writer, well, that involves a lot of sitting, which causes health issues.

I try to walk at least three to four days a week for 45 minutes or more each time. And recently I set a timer to remind me to get up every hour and move! Yeah, I struggle with this one, especially if I’m in the middle of complex figures or a storyline that is filling my world at the moment. But, I’ve made it my goal to get between 8,000 and 10,000 steps a day. I use the health app on my phone to keep up with my steps. Since my mailbox is at the end of my steep driveway, I walk it several times a day.

Since I’ve started focusing on my moving, I’ve noticed reduced pain in my legs and I’m feeling more energized. Not to mention the health benefits and weight too. For many writers, this is a struggle, but with a little focus, you too can get moving.

Oh, and while I exercise and walk, I work through plots and scenes. It’s amazing how a brisk walk can remove writer’s block completely. Try it, you might be surprised. So, get moving and make a healthier you…

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Oh it’s easy, anybody can do it…

Good morning all, hope all is well with you. As a writer I often hear someone say when they hear I’m a writer, “Oh it’s easy, anybody can do it. I need to write a book.” My response is always, “Go for it.” I try to encourage people to write if that’s what they want to do. But it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Writing is easy enough, but getting a manuscript down that could be published isn’t as easy. Most people can sit down and write many pages of a story, but can they make it stand out. A manuscript needs to make a statement. You need to have a start, a middle story and an ending. It may sound easy, but it’s not.

Here are a couple of things to think about before you start your novel:

1 – Are you willing to put in the time it will take to get it right? A novel isn’t written in a day.

2 – Writing the words isn’t the only step, you’ll need to edit, edit, and edit some more.

3 – The story will need to stand out in the crowd and I mean stand out. Remember you’re not the only one in the field.

4 – After it’s written, edited and ready for publishing, you’ve got more steps to go. Now you need a blurb, or rather you need the description that will make people want to buy your book. To me this is the hardest part of the whole process. In just as little as two paragraphs you’ve got to sell your book. Sound easy, well try it sometime.

5 – Then of course you’ve got to make the book look really good by designing an eye catching cover. This is the selling point of your hard work. Some people buy a book just from the cover so make it shine brightly and call out to your reader.

This is only a few points, but you get where I’m going with this. Writing is one of the most rewarding and heart wrenching things you can do.

As always good writing and May God Bless You…


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Steps to Writing a good story…

Ok, so we’ve all wrote a story at some time or another. Whether it’s a school report or as a writer. But have we ever sat down and thought about the steps it takes to write a story, good or bad?

As a writer I’ve got several things I do. First, I’ve got to be inspired. I have people all the time telling me to write about this or that. Well, for me it doesn’t work that way. It’s got to come to me in one way or the other. Sometimes it’s in a dream or just a daydream. Those are the best. My novel “Ghost Lover” came to me in a dream. Well most of it anyway. It was as though I was possessed by the stories and characters. They ruled my life for a while as I put the thoughts in my laptop.

Second, most of my books have had a general outline. When a story idea comes to me I immediately try to sit down with pen and paper and write down the story in outline form. This way I don’t forget the basics. It would be nice to sit in one sitting and write a finished novel. If you have, please relay the story to me? What’s funny is sometimes as the story evolves so does the outline. Most of the time I make each line in the outline into a whole chapter.

Third I write a character sketch. As I get older my memory slips some 🙂 I hate to constantly be going back in the story to remember a name or place. As I add to a character or introduce a new place or person I write it down. This helps speed up the process.

Fourth, now this is the important part. If you’re writing and you lose the momentum in a certain spot, just make a note of a key spot to come back to. Then go forward and most of the time that inspires you to go back and finish the lost spot. Most of the time continuing the story helps. I usually know the outcome of the part, but the middle is somewhat fuzzy. Writing the ending helps to give you inspiration for the middle.

Fifth, keep the interest. Don’t give away the ending mid way. That really makes a story dead to me when I’m reading a book and the author gives away the whole story by the middle of the book. Then the ending just goes stale. So keep the momentum building. Maybe even have several momentum building moments that build on each other.

Sixth, the writing process does not end with the words “The End”. I’ve said this in several blogs. It is very important to read your story to yourself, even out loud. If you just finish and hand it to your editor, you’ve left off a big step. Every time I read a story over it brings on extra thoughts. I’ve added whole chapters just in one reread. Do it, don’t leave it to the editor. You’re the writer, take charge.

Seventh, Now that you’ve reread and rechecked details, now you’re ready to hand it to the editor. To me this step is the hardest, you’ve got to write a description. How on earth do you condense a huge novel or even a short novella to a couple of lines? Well, make sure you leave the reader guessing. If you give away the whole plot on the back of the book why would they want to read the book itself?

Eighth, so the writing is over, the editor has it and you’ve got the description. Now if you haven’t already set up the cover, now’s the time. Make sure the cover has something to do with the book. A vampire on the cover isn’t good if the book is about a horse ranch. Make it interesting and eye catching. Yes, you’ve got to pay a little to get the good pictures, but it’s well worth it. My first couple of covers were totally stocked pics from office. Not cool!. After they were published I said “YUCK”. My editor is an awesome cover designer. I tell her what I have in mind and she usually finds the pictures for me based on my idea. What’s funny is the latest book ‘Rekindled Flame’ had a completed cover before I was anywhere near finished.

Ninth, now just sit back and wait for the finished product. Go publish it and enjoy the knowledge that you’re a published author. Don’t worry at this moment if someone likes your work. Just check that off your bucket list. Wait a little while before you worry about if people like your work. Remember you’re going to have those that don’t like your style writing and others who love it. Go with you gut and enjoy yourself. If you get nothing but bad reviews you might want to recheck your work, but if you get good and bad then you’ve probably done alright.

These are just the steps I go through, maybe you do your steps totally different. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!