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Goofy First Draft Stuff #WW

Goofy First Draft Stuff #ww

Writing a first draft for me is up and down. It involves wasted minutes (okay, hours) staring at the screen and having no idea what comes next. Then it’s manic typing when something so delicious happens I can’t get it on the page fast enough. Since first drafts are all over the place for me, I thought I’d share some goofy stuff I do to survive them.

Give secondary characters silly temporary names instead of taking the time to come up with a usable one. For instance, a few weeks ago I named a real estate agent Dexter Leatherface. Don’t ask why. I have no reason.

Binge on sugary candy. Right now there’s a box of little Gobstoppers on my desk. I also love hard candies and Bottlecaps. Chocolate is my first love, but I have to watch the calories!

Mangle Silly-Putty when I have no idea what to write next. Years ago my sweet friend and fellow author, Liz Johnson, sent me a care package with a plastic egg of Silly-Putty in it, and I’ve been having fun with it ever since.

Mentally berate myself. How could I have only written 257 words in one hour? Seriously, Jill? What’s your prob?

Blink several times when I’ve written far more than I thought. Can the word count be correct? Did I miscalculate? I’m always amazed when words pour onto the paper.

Sit there. And sit there. And sit some more until I get something on the page!

The big thing I MUST do when writing a first draft? Keep my buns in the chair! If I get up for any “good” reason like laundry, dishes, fixing the hole in my shirt that’s been there for months, organizing my pantry, going to the library to get research books (which aren’t for research in any way, shape or form–they are distractions!!), I might as well throw my goals out the window and light them on fire. The book will NEVER get done.

Now you know my weird habits. I’d love to hear if you do anything goofy while you’re writing a first draft!

How do you get yourself to stick with a project when it doesn’t always go as planned?

Have a terrific day!

Only one more month and REUNITED WITH THE BULL RIDER (Wyoming Cowboys 2) will be in stores! Eeeeekkk!!! 

Reunited with the Bull Rider. Wyoming Cowboys Book 2 by Jill Kemerer. June 2018

Goodbye rodeo, hello hometown. But is this Wyoming Cowboy ready to face his past?

Amy Deerson wanted to mentor a child. Her plan did not include former bull rider Nash Bolton—the little girl’s brother and guardian. It’s been a decade since Nash left town without a word, breaking Amy’s young heart. Now they must put their painful past aside to help fragile, traumatized Ruby. If only getting over their first love were that simple.

Researching Contemporary Settings Without Traveling #WW

Researching Settings without Traveling,

On Saturday I gave a presentation at the Researching the Romance academic conference (#BGSURomCon18) hosted by the Browne Pop Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, which happens to be the official repository for Romance Writers of America (RWA). It was an amazing conference. I learned so much from professors, university librarians, archivists, grad students and others who traveled from all over the country. And, guys, Beverly Jenkins was the guest of honor. She blessed everyone with her insight, wisdom, graciousness and humor.

Since researching settings can be difficult, I thought I’d share my topic with you. Here it is!

Researching Contemporary Settings Without Traveling

A novel’s setting is important because it shapes the story and influences the characters’ thoughts and actions. Ideally, a writer will be able to visit an area before writing about it, but there are two big reasons why authors don’t always travel to research a setting. Time and money. We don’t always have time to jet off to Paris or drive to Georgia, and traveling can be expensive. But with the right tools, we can be confident we’re getting the setting right for our readers.

I take a three-pronged approach to researching setting–Internet, Print, People.  This method goes from big picture to small details.

 I usually have a general area or town in mind when I’m deciding where to set a new novel. The first thing I do is spend time on the internet and start gathering basic material.


  1. Print out a map of the area.
  2. “See” it through Google Earth/Google Images. Verify the images have been tagged correctly. Some images are clearly not what they say they are.
  3. Gather and print a year’s worth of weather data. It’s important to know typical highs/lows and precipitation.
  4. Find out what economics drive the area. Is it a dying town? Thriving? What are the demographics? What are the typical jobs? How much does it cost to live there?
  5. Read a brief history. Who settled it? What interesting facts emerge?
  6. Browse through travel guides/visitors info. What are the local attractions? These might trigger plot ideas.
  7. Check out homes through What are the preferred styles? How much do they cost? Can I use this information as an area of conflict for a character?
  8. Search for blogs set there. For instance, when researching my Wyoming Cowboys series, I searched for “Wyoming ranch life” and found several blogs, full of pictures and rich details.
  9. “See” the area by searching YouTube—people GoPro everything!


At this point I have a good idea of the setting basics. I’m ready to narrow my research down to get “the flavor” of a place. So I move to print materials.


2. Print (Purchase or borrow from library)

  1. Memoirs set in the area (or general vicinity) will give you a more complete picture and plenty of details to make your setting come to life.
  2. Magazines. Regional magazines (Midwest Living, Alaska, Sunset, etc…) will give you fun facts and pictures.
  3. Ask librarian for help. Librarians know where to look beyond the travel section for information on specific places. Ask them!
  4. DVDs–documentaries and travel specials can be fun to watch!


Now I’m getting ready to write, but I usually have a list of picky questions I can’t find answers to. Example: How young is too young for a child to start riding a horse in Wyoming? Answer: Many children ride as soon as they can walk! How did I find this out? I asked people who live there (Thanks, Bree!!). How did I find these people? Social media.


3. People (Ask questions)

  1. Social Media. Get on Facebook, Twitter or even Google+ (there are communities for just about anything on G+) and ask specific questions “Hey, is anyone from X? I’m writing a book, and I’m wondering about Y.
  2. Put the word out to friends that you’re trying to find information about your setting. Chances are someone you know has a cousin/best friend/uncle’s first wife’s boss who lived there. Find out if they would be willing to answer a few questions. You can set up an interview (email, video, or phone) to pick their brains about the area.


Researching in person is ideal, but when finances are strained and you have no time, you CAN accurately reflect a setting if you work hard and DO sweat the details.

What are your secrets for researching a setting without traveling? Please share!

What Are Your April 2018 Goals?

What Are Your April 2018 Goals? Jill Kemerer Blog

On the first Wednesday of each month, I share my monthly goals and encourage you to in the comments.  Sorry I’m a week late this month! Before I list my April 2018 goals, I’m reviewing last month’s progress.

Last Month: Jill’s March 2018 Goals

  1. Start putting promo together for June release.
  2. Expand ideas for new series.
  3. Expand synopsis for next proposal.
  4. Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week and stay in calorie range most days by tracking food via MyFitnessPal.

How did I do?

  1. Yes! Promo is a never-ending task. Check.
  2. Yes, I’m very excited about the books! Check.
  3. Nope, but I wrote three chapters of the book instead. Kind of check.
  4. Yes. I recommitted to consistency, and it worked. I feel better about myself when I’m serious about the small, daily things. Check!

Next month: Jill’s April 2018 Goals

  1. Revise, polish and submit the proposal due later this month.
  2. Prep and speak at Researching the Romance symposium sponsored by BGSU’s Browne Pop Culture Library.
  3. Type background materials for a side project.
  4. Continue preparing for June release by sending advance reader copies to street team.
  5. Draft a short story that’s been running around in my head.
  6. Health: Exercise 4-5 days/week and stay in calorie range most days by tracking food via MyFitnessPal.


April is intense. My son plays baseball for the high school team, and I have a lot to accomplish in the next four months. I’m excited to meet my goals. And I’m excited for you to meet YOUR goals, too!

Although it snowed yesterday, the weather is supposed to start warming up soon, and nice weather always gives me a boost! Woohoo!

How did you do last month? What would you like to accomplish this month? I’d love to hear–share in the comments!

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