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Why Research Changes My Stories {Writer Wednesday}

I just started writing the second book in the upcoming Wyoming Cowboys series. I had a strong grasp on the general plot before typing the opening line, but there were many things I didn’t know (and still don’t!) about the story.

As I brainstormed possible scenes and reasons for them to happen, I kept Google open and researched questions as they came up. I always do this when starting a draft. Each article I find gives me insight into the issue and it usually changes my story.

 

The reason? I’m not an expert on anything. I have limited knowledge of many of the themes and situations I tackle in my books. One thing I love when I’m spiraling into research is when I realize I was wrong about something, but the article/book gives me an even better idea. For instance, the plot in my work-in-progress has a church youth mentoring program. My initial thoughts on how this would play into the story weren’t feasible due to the age of the little girl involved, but it allowed me to have the characters agree to a private arrangement, which serves the story better.

This type of thing happens all the time when I’m writing. It’s one of the reasons I really enjoy researching. You’ve probably read the advice to push yourself to come up with unique ideas by coming up with a list and using one of the final ideas you write. I’ve tried this method, but I don’t always find it to be logical. I want the story to be believable! Research helps me push the limits to find believable situations.

Whether you’re a writer or not, how do you feel about research? I love it!

Have a terrific day!

Expense Reports, Plotting Flow Chart, and Project Tips {Writer Wednesday}

Expense Reports, Plotting Flow Chart, And Project Tips {Writer Wednesday}

I recently revisited my For Writers page, and I realized I continue to use many of the writing tools I’ve written about in the past. That’s why I’m sharing a few posts from the archives. I hope they help you with different aspects of your writing, too.

Expense Reports and more #ww

 

Since it’s officially tax season, you might be frustrated trying to figure out your business expenses but having no clue where to begin. The following article will help you create a simple system that works for you. No, expense reports aren’t glamorous, but saving money at tax-time is!

Writing as a Business: Tracking Expenses

Just yesterday I created a new flow chart template to use when plotting a new book. And then I remembered I’d blogged about a similar one a few years ago. If you’re interested in trying something new before you type the opening to your next book, check it out.

Using Flow Charts to Plot

Next up is a topic I’ve learned to master. It has NOT been easy for this one-track-mind lady, but it’s necessary. Every week I juggle at least two projects, usually three.

Tips to Successfully Switch Between Projects

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What writing problem has been on your mind lately? I’d love to hear how you solve it!

 

Have a terrific day!

{Coming Soon} Game On

{Coming Soon} Game On

In April 2015, I sat down in a Panera with a coffee and ginormous triple-chocolate cookie. I was exhausted. But I knew it was time to start the project I couldn’t get off my mind.

As many of my ideas begin, this one started while I’d been trying to fall asleep. Two words had been seared in my brain.

Surviving Sports.

I’d been a sports mom for years at that point. If you’re not familiar with having kids in sports, it’s not all happiness and sunshine. Sure, it’s great having athletic kids, but the competitiveness and insecurities among parents can be contagious. I didn’t always like what the games did to me, and I often prayed for help. I wanted to be the calm mom, the one who brushed off bragging, politics, rough games and all the other anxiety-inducing elements of being a sports parent.

My prayers were answered, just not in the way I expected. When surviving sports flashed in my brain, I knew it was a book I needed to write. But how could I? I’m not an expert. I don’t write nonfiction. I write Christian romance novels! All I could think was I’m not qualified.

Back to the beginning of this post. Me. Panera. Coffee. Thousands of calories in that cookie. I had to answer this call. Had to write the book. I couldn’t drop everything and start writing, though. I had deadlines to meet. Instead, I decided to chip away at it even if only in ten minute increments stolen at odd times. I took a big bite of the cookie, created a new Google Doc and started to type on my phone’s teeny-tiny keypad.

Minutes turned into pages. Weeks went. The book grew. With each new section, another idea popped up. I found myself researching and gaining a better understanding of why I get so wrapped up in my children’s sports. Slowly, I changed. I couldn’t help it. As a Christian, I try to live my life according to Biblical principles, and one of them is raising my kids to be moral adults. I changed because my kids needed me to be a better role model, and I wanted to be one, too.

I still have my moments. I’m not perfect. Never will be. But I love being a sports mom, I love my kids, and I can keep the game in perspective. If you’re curious about the book, click on Game On for more information. I have a few spots open for digital advance review copies. Leave a comment or email me at jill(at)jillkemerer(dot)com if you’re interested.

Coming Soon!!

 

Game On: The Christian Parents' Sports Survival Guide

 

A GAME PLAN FOR CHRISTIAN PARENTS

For years I couldn’t escape the anxiety that came with my children’s sports. The competitive atmosphere prevalent among parents often left me anxious, upset—even bitter. But all that changed when I defined why I wanted my kids playing. Instead of fretting about their performance, I saw opportunities for them to grow. Now I enjoy watching them play without letting politics, other parents, or my own unrealistic expectations get in the way.

Join me in exploring the realities of sports, the reasons parents get caught up in unhealthy competition, and strategies to keep the big picture in mind when we’re too close to the game. We can be composed and confident while our kids are in sports.

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Game On: The Christian Parents’ Sports Survival Guide will be available in paperback and digital books online at major retailers in early April. And I’ll be hosting a Game On giveaway next month on my home page, so be sure to check back!

Do you have children or grandchildren in sports? What do they play?

Have a terrific weekend!

 

{printable} Weekly Progress Spreadsheet

{printable} Weekly Progress Spreadsheet

2017 has been a year of changes for me. Most of the changes have been little, but hey, small steps equal steady progress. One of the things I’m doing is tracking my progress in two areas. I created a year-at-a-glance spreadsheet that can be used for any goal. I’m tracking my exercise habits and how many hours of “important work” I accomplish each day.

Below is a snapshot of it. Notice there are spaces for each day of the week as well as notes. For my health spreadsheet, I use my own code. FY stands for Foundation Yoga. BC stands for Boot Camp. GS stands for Green Smoothie. 2W stands for two miles I walked. Obviously, the number changes with the miles. This allows me to see my consistency over the course of an entire year. It’s been motivating!

 

Weekly Progress Spreadsheet

For my Important Work spreadsheet, I printed the exact same form, but each day I simply jot a number in the slot. The number represents the amount of hours I spent doing things on my Important Work list. (You can see my list below.)

By important work, I mean tasks that directly contribute to my income, which is based on writing and selling books. I got this concept from Cal Newport’s excellent book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. I don’t track my “deep work” hours because some of the things I consider important do not fit the Deep Work philosophy.

Your list will look different than mine. We all have our own concept of the most valuable tasks in regards to our work. The things I don’t include on my Important Work list are necessary parts of my job, but I place less value on the because they don’t directly contribute to my income based on writing and selling books.

Things I track as Important Work:

  • Doing research for a book
  • Plotting a novel
  • Outlining a nonfiction book
  • Creating a synopsis
  • Writing the actual book
  • Revising a manuscript
  • Any editorial tasks required
  • If Indie publishing, any cover research, formatting, uploading
  • Setting up promotion for a new release

What I don’t track as  Important Work:

  • Reading and responding to emails
  • Being active on social media sites
  • Administrative tasks (income/expense report, etc…)
  • Volunteering to judge contests, help writers, etc…
  • Writing blog posts

Again, the things I don’t track are necessary to my job, but I don’t log the hours I spend doing them.

If you’re interested in tracking any aspect of your life, feel free to print your own Weekly Progress Sheets. Just click on the link below! I’m also including this pdf file on my For Writers page if you’d like to print more out in the future.

Click for the printable PDF Weekly Progress Spreadsheet.

I find this especially helpful for reluctant writers. If you find yourself going days on end without writing, try this. It’s evidence of how much or how little time you actually spend working on a manuscript.

If you’d like to track your Important Work hours, spend a little time determining what equals important work to you. Enjoy!

Does charting your progress motivate you? Have you ever tried a year-at-a-glance weekly spreadsheet?

Have a terrific day!

Scheduling Creative Sessions {Writer Wednesday}

Scheduling Creative Sessions {Writer Wednesday}

Creative Sessions = Dedicated time to problem solve, plot, explore ideas.

In the past two weeks I’ve read two nonfiction books that made a big impact on me. The first was The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and the second was Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. Although very different books, they shared a common theme–focus. The Wright brothers devoted much of their free time to solving the dilemma of human flight. Their passion helped them focus, and they spent hours, weeks, months and years experimenting and problem solving. In Deep Work, Cal Newport puts forth a compelling argument why anyone who wants to excel in their field needs to be deliberate about what they’re spending their time on. In other words, excellence requires focus.

 

Scheduling Creative Sessions

 

Writing, like inventing, involves a LOT of creativity. And creativity is a form of problem-solving. Fictional characters don’t always behave, and plots get off track. And then there’s the issue of what to write next.

I have many ideas I’d love to explore, so many books I want to write. Time always feels like the deciding factor. But over the past couple of years, I’ve broken free from my belief that producing a higher volume of quality books requires putting in massive overtime hours.

Last year I was tired of constantly setting aside a pet project to work on my contracted books. It hit me that if I didn’t schedule time for it, I would never finish the project, let alone publish it. I had to figure out how to work on it while fulfilling my contracts. I sensed that I could accomplish far more than I thought possible, but I didn’t know how. So, I read several time management books, prayed, talked to trusted writer friends, and finally decided to go for it.

Through trial and error, my beliefs shifted. I reworked my daily schedule, limited the frequency of social media breaks, silenced my phone and pushed myself to meet daily and weekly goals. I also added more time to studying the Bible and praying each morning which had a direct impact on my day by giving me the boost necessary to believe I could meet my goals.

In 2016, I plotted several books, wrote two category length books, a novella and a nonfiction book, promoted two novels, and organized my writing business. This was far more than I’d produced the previous year, and yes, sometimes this meant working overtime, but overall, I fit these projects into normal working hours. How? By deciding in advance what I would work on each day, devoting 30-60 minutes to my nonfiction book (the one that kept getting neglected), and limiting distractions.

The great thing about revising my schedule? My writing continues to grow. I’m confident about the books I’m writing because I’m making the time to thoroughly plot, write, revise and polish them. If my only goal was to publish more books, I’d be tempted to use shortcuts and skimp on the quality. My goal has always been to write the best book I’m capable of and that means no skimping.

One thing I’m adding this year: scheduling regular creative sessions just to think and jot notes. These time blocks will be used to plot, work through a current book problem, explore ideas for new books, and creatively solve any business issues. Setting aside 2-3 hours a week, or even 30 minutes a day, to just “sit and think” seemed absurd until I realized my brain does so much heavy-hitting for me beneath the surface of my consciousness. Scheduling regular creative sessions is another tool to get more work done in a limited time frame. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Do you ever sense you could accomplish more in the limited time you have? What strategies do you currently use to make the most of your hours?

Have a lovely Wednesday!

Self-Discipline and Meeting Your Goals

Although I gave up New Year’s resolutions years ago, when January rolls around I usually take some time to think about my life. What worked well the previous year? What didn’t? In what areas have I slipped into poor habits? What habits are improving my life?

 

Self-Discipline and Meeting Your Goals

 

I also think about my goals, professionally and personally. Did I meet my goals? Exceed them? What allowed me to gain momentum? What halted my progress on goals I didn’t meet? Is my current schedule supporting my goals? Am I wasting time? What needs to change?

If I hide away to a quiet place, this reflection period comes easily. I’m able to identify what habits are hurting me and which ones help me.  The solution to my weak areas is usually self-discipline.

When I consistently exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables, my clothes fit better and I don’t have a lower backache. When I automate both–setting a time each weekday to exercise, and prepping my fruits and veggies ahead of time–taking care of my body suddenly becomes easy. I know this. I’ve done it in the past. So why do I slip out of the habit?

It’s the same way with my writing tasks. When I take time each month to set weekly goals, then take a few minutes each week to set daily goals and review these goals each workday, I get a lot done, more than I think is possible. But when I leave each day up to chance, I tend to meet my goals, but I don’t always feel great doing it. And there’s never extra time to work on a pet project. I like pet projects. I must make time for them.

Self-discipline, for me, is a breath of relief. A sign I’m investing in myself. I trust I’ll see results when I stick to a plan.

So why is it so easy to stray from the plan? One day without exercising becomes two, and by day four, I’ve completely forgotten how great I felt on day one! I no longer believe I’ll achieve what I want. And for some crazy reason, I have this false idea that at some point the work ends while the results remain.

The work doesn’t end. I will always have to consistently exercise and eat more produce if I want to fit in my clothes and avoid the lower back pain. I’ll always have to carefully schedule my working time if I want to meet my professional goals.

You might be different. In fact, I’m sure you ARE different! We’re all individuals with unique habits, schedules and demands. But if you want to improve an area of your life, you will need self-discipline, too.

The biggest problem I face with new routines is not sticking with them long enough for them to become a habit. Turns out, I’m not alone and there’s a reason for it. In the Forbes.com article, “5 Proven Methods for Gaining Self-Discipline,” Jennifer Cohen states, “When a behavior becomes habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot. Therefore, breaking a bad habit and building a new habit not only requires us to make active decisions, it will feel wrong. Your brain will resist the change in favor of what it has been programmed to do.” This information is based on Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit.

It makes sense. When I’m trying to establish a new exercise schedule, I find myself questioning if I want to do this workout or that one, which, sadly, sometimes resulted in me not doing any workout. But when I decide in advance what workout I am doing on certain days and set the time for these workouts, I no longer have to make the decision. I just have to show up. This tells me I need to avoid having to make decisions about a new habit. I take as much guesswork out of it as possible, because my brain is already resisting the change.

As for my health goals, I automated my workouts in mid-November, and it’s working well for me. Sure, I skip a day here or there, but not having to think about when and what I’m doing each day has made a world of difference. And my writing? Scheduled well in advance. I’ve got this!

How do you approach new habits?

Have a terrific day!

The Inside Scoop with Barbara M. Britton

Today Barbara M. Britton is  graciously answering questions about her writing life. Barbara writes for Pelican Book Group, and her new book, Providence: Hannah’s Journey, is available now. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH BARBARA M. BRITTON

 

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I didn’t. I took creative writing classes in high school, but I don’t remember any teacher mentioning writing as a career choice. Three decades later, after writing curriculum for elementary school chapel, I had the prompting to write. I asked the Lord to “hit me with some creativity” to write my curriculum and I just kept writing. It has taken me nine years to birth a book into the world as I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m so old school. I write on a notepad and then hunt-and-peck my way on the computer to craft a manuscript. I also like to draw maps of the cities and areas where my books are set and tape them to a wall in my office. I tape perfume advertisements above my computer when I see a model that resembles one of my characters. My office walls are an eclectic smattering of pictures.

 

3. What inspired your book?

I taught chapel lessons about young people in the Bible who did brave things, and one of those brave characters was the servant girl in the story of Naaman in II Kings 5. I started thinking about how she got captured and I wondered if she ever received her freedom. Alas, Hannah’s story was born.

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

I received the best writing advice from the very first publishing course I attended. I was told to join a professional writing organization and get involved. Also, I was advised to go to writing conferences. I don’t know what I would do without the friends I have made in my writing groups. They are my biggest supporters, brainstormers, and marketing team. I am a member of RWA, WisRWA, SCBWI and ACFW.

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Barbara, I love that you asked the Lord to hit you with creativity! He certainly answered! And you write on pen and paper–I’m very impressed. My hand cramps easily, so the laptop is my best friend. Your book sounds amazing. I enjoy Biblical fiction. Congratulations!!

 

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Providence: Hannah's Journey

Providence: Hannah’s Journey ~

As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.

Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.

Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.

Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal and enemy commander.

Purchase Providence: Hannah’s Journey: Pelican Group * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

 

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About Barbara ~

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicks off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

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Have you read any Biblical fiction? What is your favorite book?

Have a terrific day!

 

{giveaway} Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson

The second book in Liz Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Dreams series is here!! Where Two Hearts Meet features Caden Holt and Adam Jacobs. If you read the first book in this series, The Red Door Inn, you’ll remember Caden as the baker of delicious cinnamon rolls. She’s now working for the Red Door Inn as a chef, and a mysterious guest arrives. I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say this–the romance progresses like a batch of the cinnamon rolls Caden whips up, rising, baking, and filling the room with a sweet aroma! I LOVED this book! I loved it so much, I’m giving away a paperback copy to one winner! Easy entry options are below (US residents, 18+)!

WHERE TWO HEARTS MEET

Where Two Hearts Meet
In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.

Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.

When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival–it might also break her heart.

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Purchase Where Two Hearts Meet HERE!

Enter to win a copy!

 

Want to know more about Liz Johnson  and her books? Visit her website, Liz Johnson Books!!

I would love to visit PEI! Where would you love to visit?

Have a wonderful day!!

 

 

The Inside Scoop with Alison Stone and a Giveaway!

The Inside Scoop With Alison Stone And A Giveaway!

Today Alison Stone is graciously answering questions about her writing life. Alison writes for Waterfall Press and Love Inspired Suspense, and her new book, Pointe and Shoot, is available in stores and online. Alison is graciously giving away one paperback copy. Don’t worry, I have all the links and book info below!

Let’s get to it.

THE INSIDE SCOOP WITH ALISON STONE

1. How did you know you wanted to be a writer

I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer until after my first child was born. I kept seeing those ads in women’s magazines about writing children’s books. Remember those? I’m talking twenty years ago. Anyway, I signed up to take an online creative writing class. From there, my love of writing grew. I switched my focus from attempting to write for children to eventually getting published in novel-length fiction with both Harlequin and Waterfall Press.

 

2. What is unique about your process?

I’m not sure my process is unique. As a former engineer, I want more than anything to be able to plot out the entire book and then sit down and write it. But, that never seems to be the case. I have a general idea, a few plot points, and then I start to write. I get some of my best ideas while writing. So, even though I can’t seem to plot everything out beforehand, my process seems to work. I also do a lot of rewriting. That’s okay, too. By the time I have a rough draft, I finally know the entire story and I really enjoy the editing process at this stage.

 

3. What inspired your book?

Pointe and Shoot is what we writers like to call “the book of my heart.” I broke into fiction writing romantic suspense for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. I enjoy writing for Harlequin, but I knew Pointe and Shoot wouldn’t work for this line. It’s what I like to call my “Dance Moms” meets “Blue Bloods” book. (You know, the cop show with Tom Selleck?) Anyway, both my daughters were competitive dancers at the time. (One still is!) If anyone knows what it’s like to take their children to any activity five or six days a week, you also start to live and breathe the activity – whether it’s hockey, gymnastics, dance or whatever. The idea of setting a murder mystery in the dance world wouldn’t leave me. My dance-mom friends even helped me brainstorm titles long before the book was written. Finally, when Amazon Publishing announced they were looking for proposals for their new Christian imprint, I knew this was my chance to submit my dance book idea.

 

4. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Despite not working in the corporate world for eighteen-years, I am still an engineer at heart. This means I want everything to have a clear-cut answer. You know, 2 + 2 = 4. However, writing doesn’t work that way and it was difficult for me to adjust. I am a perfectionist at heart (but hardly perfect.) The best advice I’ve ever received is that “you can fix a crappy draft, but you can’t fix a blank page.” (I’m paraphrasing here because the advice I received was much more colorful.) Like I mentioned above, some of my best ideas come during the process of writing, so I’ve learned to get out of my own way and allow myself to “just write.”

 

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Oh, Alison, I could relate to ALL of your answers! Yes, I do remember those commercials for writing children’s books. I’m impressed you signed up for an online course, unlike me who decided I could write one of those romance novels I so enjoyed reading (those early attempts were burn-worthy). And Dance Moms meets Blue Bloods! Perfect!! I’ve been a sports mom for many years, and yes, you can’t help but get immersed in the world. Thanks so much for being my guest!

***

Pointe and Shoot

 

Pointe and Shoot ~

Jayne Murphy has always put family first. That’s why she abandoned her dream of joining the police force to run her ailing mother’s dance studio.
When one of the studio’s most talented instructors dies in a car crash, Jayne isn’t convinced it was just an accident. Relentlessly pursuing her hunch, she teams up with Officer Danny Nolan, the best friend and partner of her brother Patrick, who died in the line of duty. Haunted by Patrick’s death, Danny has begun to question whether he should still be a cop at all.
As Jayne digs deeper, suspects emerge, including the victim’s clingy ex-boyfriend and a jealous foe from the cutthroat dance world. Her evolving insights into the case rekindle Jayne’s passion for police work. Danny, too, feels a renewed sense of purpose…and a definite attraction to his unofficial partner, which seems to be mutual. Now, if Jayne can only keep herself out of harm’s way, she and Danny both might get a second chance—with their careers and each other.

Purchase Pointe and Shoot HERE!

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Giveaway time! Alison is giving away one paperback copy of Pointe and Shoot! Entry form is below.

 

 

(US Residents 18 and older. Giveaway starts 10/12/2016 at 6:00am EST and ends Sunday, 10/16/2016 at 9pm EST. See entry form for complete rules.)

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Alison Stone

 

About Alison ~
With a degree from Georgia Tech, Alison Stone was an engineer in several industries before trading her corporate career for motherhood shortly after the birth of her second child. She became a novelist in a roundabout way, first trying her hand at writing children’s books and articles for local publications before eventually discovering her love of romantic suspense.
Stone lives with her husband of twenty-plus years and their four children in western New York, where the summers are gorgeous and the winters are perfect for curling up with a good book—or writing one.

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Have you watched Dance Moms or Blue Bloods? Which do you prefer, reality television or scripted?

Have a wonderful day!

Developing Ideas: Writer Wednesday

“I have an idea for you to write.”

I’ve heard this many times, and my answer is always the same. “Thanks for thinking of me, but I already have a ton of my own ideas and not enough time to write them all.”

Getting an idea is not the same as developing it into a book.

 

Developing Ideas

 

So how do writers develop ideas?

The tear-your-hair-out answer? There are countless ways.

I have friends who get the teeniest idea, and they sit down and start writing. I am not that person! My ideas always develop in my head long before I ever begin writing.

Here’s how I develop ideas:

  1. First, I have a kernel of an idea. It might be a possible plot. It might be a character. Either way I ask questions and spend a lot of time just thinking. Who is the main character? What does she want? Why does she want it? What will happen if she can’t have it?
  2. Once I have a few basics (by the way, many of you will recognize the above as Debra Dixon’s classic GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict–she’s a genius), I expand the questions. Will anyone care about these characters? Can I raise the stakes? How does the story start? Do I know the ending yet?
  3. I should be getting an idea of setting–where and when the story takes place–by this point. I wonder if a different setting would fit the idea better. If not, I research the setting.
  4. I have enough now to spend a day plotting. I fill out a few worksheets to help me determine the story elements and plot development.
  5. Research is a must. I do most of my research in the plotting stage and in the writing phase.
  6. It’s at this point I’ll write a short synopsis.
  7. And I’m ready to write. Yay!!

There is no right or wrong way to develop an idea. I use a variety of tools to expand my ideas. Sometimes, I’ll record voice memos about the story. If I’m out of the house and get a great idea, I’ll send myself a quick email on my phone. Pinterest is great for getting visuals, especially when trying to picture my hero and heroine. Occasionally, I brainstorm with a friend or two. It really depends on the project.

I’d love to hear how you develop ideas! Please share! And if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer.

I’m thrilled to be Dani Pettrey’s guest today! Please stop by her blog (Linked HERE) for my advice on being flexible when asked for revisions!

Have a terrific day!

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