Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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A crisp, cool morning…

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Good morning! Here in Georgia, it’s finally feeling like fall. I love this time of year. And the fun part is, my writer’s brain goes into overdrive. Which gives my fingers a workout and my computer a heart attack.

I’m working on the 2nd book in the Wishful Harbor series. It’s actually based at this time of year, so I feel the cool, crisp bite in the air as I write the words. I can see the landscape around me. The leaves are turning and the sky is bluebird blue. As my characters walk up the sidewalk, I can smell the fresh crisp clean air. Yes, I get lost in the world of my characters everytime I work. It’s amazing the world’s I’ve seen through the eyes of my characters.

So, when’s your favorite time of the year to write?

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

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Friday writing…..

Good morning everyone! It’s Friday and I’m feeling ready for the weekend.  I know, I’ve been out of pocket for a little bit, but I’m back in the saddle. With several projects on the horizon, I’ve been focusing on those.

Speaking of juggling projects, as a writer, I’m constantly striving to better myself and my writing by taking courses, reading everything I can about it and checking out other author’s style of writing. It’s just the way I roll. So, in several articles lately, I’ve read that the first thing I need to do is write, then write some more. Everything stated that hitting a word count every day was important, so that’s what I’ve been working on. The only thing is since I run a busy accounting office, that leaves little time to blog or promote on social media like I need to.

I’ve always talked about my writing planner. It keeps me on track. But, for the last couple of years, I’ve pushed myself too hard and inflicted high daily word counts on my brain. Well, in one of the articles, it said to get real with yourself. It has actually helped me. I grabbed a new planner at the store and rewrote out my plan of attack. I’ve lowered my daily word count and it’s amazing the amount of work I’m able to do. This is my first week with the new counts, but I’m already seeing a huge difference. Even though my word count is lower, I can write more if I have time, but I’m not pushed into doing too much and putting myself in a bind.

So, are you pushing too hard? Try the lower word count requirement and see if you’re not more productive without the added pressure. It’s helped me.

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


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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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Life…As a Writer

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Good morning! Hope everyone had a great, productive weekend. Let’s make the best of the week ahead.

Life as a writer is sometimes crazy. There are stories running through our heads at every turn. Some days it’s hard to do my day job because a character is knocking on my brain, wanting out. But, when I finally sit down to let the character out, they are stubbornly sitting there with arms crossed refusing to come out.

Then, when you get a couple of days to do some serious writing, everything else has to be done. I try to do social media posts and write on weekday mornings. Of course, I need to train myself to wait on the social media posts until after I’ve written my designated word count for the day. Social media is like a leech, it sucks the time out of the morning.

What’s fun is when you have a great story come into your mind, but you’re in the grocery store… LOL! That’s why I have notes on my phone. Usually, I’ll stop where I am and at least get the basics down, if not, I’ll forget them until a much later time.

Oh, and then you have a deadline, but also a list of things to be completed. That’s when you get creative with your time. Even eating breakfast while typing. Ok, so my laptop has crumbs in the keyboard, but it still works.

So, how do you juggle things?

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


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Where did January go?

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It’s hard to believe that it’s already February! I feel like I just got settled into the new year and then, bam, another month has passed by in a flash. My grandmother always said, the older you get, the faster times goes by. Of course, when I was young, I thought that was the silliest thing ever. Now, I get it.

So much water has flowed under this bridge that some days I can hardly believe that I’m nearing the half-century mark. Don’t go there! I don’t feel my age and I certainly don’t act it, but it’s there none the less. And to think, my baby is graduating high school in May, what???

Another milestone I’m facing this year, but it’s a good one is that I’ve been a published author for five years. May 12th will mark Ghost Lover’s fifth year in publication. To think, this time five years ago, I was still skeptical about putting my name and work out to the public and now I’m nearing the publication of my 30th book. Yes, I said 30! That’s another thing that baffles my mind. I guess the old adage is true, time flies when you’re having fun!

This Sunday, the hubby and I will celebrate 23 years of blissful marriage. Some days it feels like just yesterday, then other days it feels like we’ve been together our whole lives. That’s what romance does to you, it blows your mind. I wouldn’t take anything for all of the adventures we’ve had and the things we’ve shared.

Now, as I sit here, getting ready to do my morning writing, I’m gazing at my calendar. Yep, I had better get off this post before I fall further behind and have to deal with my assistant’s frown. She has a tendency to look at my writing calendar and tsk tsk at me. LOL!

As always, good writing and May God Bless You!


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Character Sketches…

It’s Friday! Yea! But I have some work to do. With two new series starting up this year, I have several things to do and one of those things is character sketches. If you’re asking what the heck is a character sketch, well, let me fill you in…

Alright, here goes… When you start a new book, there are several steps, but one of the most important during the writing process is the character information. Let me explain how I do my character information sheets.

1. I grab my notebook that will be for the series notes and I keep all my information in it. This notebook stays in my writing bag for quick retrieval. This is very important to have at your fingertips because if you’re halfway through book two and can’t remember what someone’s name is or what they do, you’ll need to be able to grab that without having to read book one to jog your memory.

2. First off, you need to name your characters, starting with the main ones. Then add the details. Let’s face it, when you’re writing that character, you know what they look like, but your reader doesn’t unless you show them. So, under the character sketch, you put every detail you can. I include A. Name

A. Name

B. Description: Hair color, eye color, height, build, disposition, age, birthdate, etc. You       get the idea.

C. Family that might show up in the stories. Brothers, sisters, parents, etc.

D. Where are they from and where do they live now?

E. Now, this is where the fun starts, leave plenty of room for added notes. As a story     unfolds, you’ll build the character sketch. If they get a new career, get married, have children. Add anything new to the character. This helps down the road and keeps you from having to keep looking back.

3. Make sure you have one for every character you add. Well, if they are only making a one time appearance, leave them out, but if it’s even just the store owner and your character occasionally goes to the store, then you need to add them.

So, do you prepare character sketches? I didn’t for a long time and it was so frustrating, but through writing studies, I’ve learned how to make life easier. Writing is a crazy world of names, places, plots, and so much more that you have to have a way to keep it straight.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…

 

 

 

 


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My writer’s bag of goodies!

As I promised in yesterday’s post, here’s my writing bag. This bag goes with me everywhere, even the beach. Also, one thing, if you’d like a writer’s bag, I’ll set up one like mine for a fee. I love helping authors get started in this amazing business.

So, here’s the full package:

Ok, so I know you’re curious what everything is, so here we go:

1: Most important, the bag. It needs to be large enough to hold everything and have a padded section for your laptop. Also, pockets on the inside help keep everything separated. This bag was purchased at Walmart for only $20 and it is perfect and roomy as you can tell in the picture on the right.

2: I always keep a couple of notebooks handy for notes. The large black spiral book is for scene breakdowns and the cute smaller one with the leaves on it is for upcoming projects along with notes for characters. Of course, with notebooks, always have a couple of pens, sharpies, and pencils on hand!

3: The yellow binder holds my schedule, which I’ll share another day this week. It’s a special schedule that I’ve set up for myself which helps and I’ve changed it several times until it was just right for me. It also has pockets and extra pages for additional notes.

4: The large green accordion folder is labeled by month. Each month holds a folder for each individual book that is to be written that month. Inside the folder, I put notes, outlines, character sketches, and pictures that inspire things in the book.

5: My wrist brace is always with me. Yeah, I know, I’m getting older and need a little help every once in a while, but it’s always available for when my wrist gets stiff or painful.

6: Index cards are also included for quick notes and plotting. I like to number them and lay them out beside me as I write.

7: Of course my laptop is included along with a mouse and my trusty laptop lap desk, which of course doesn’t fit in my bag. But if you’ll notice, it has a handle so I can hold it along with the bag.

8: Headphones are essential for listening to inspiring music, which I’ll also post something on in the coming days. I always have a couple of pairs, just in case I misplace a set or one goes out.

9: Last but not least, my Kindle. It’s for research!!! Authors need to read a lot in their genre, to keep fresh. So, when I’m stumped, I read 😉

Ok, so you know some of my secrets! Shhhhh! Don’t tell anyone that I’m somewhat organized because it will totally throw off my reputation.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…