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Plotting Blues? Try Something Different

Plotting Blues? Try Something Different Jill Kemerer

Last month I took a few days to flesh out my next novel and promptly got a case of the plotting blues. Almost eighteen months ago, I’d figured out the basic plot (it will be the sixth and final book in my Wyoming Ranchers series), but I knew I needed to develop it further before I can begin writing it.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been anticipating writing this book for a long time! I know the hero. I’m excited to write his story. But when it came time to flesh the story out? Nothing.

I prayed about it and relaxed. The story would come to me at some point. They always do. But in the meantime, I decided to try something different.

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Writing Slow: What Went Wrong?

Writing Slow: What Went Wrong? by Jill Kemerer

Last week I finished writing the first draft of a new book. It took a week longer than usual for me to finish the draft. Getting started each day was a struggle. It usually is. This time, though, it was also hard for me to stay writing once I’d gotten started.

Basically, I was writing slow.

Writing slow is not the same as being deliberate. Some writers naturally write slow–it’s their process. However, I write a hefty chunk every weekday when I’m drafting a novel, and when I’m writing slow, it typically means something is wrong.

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Basic Story Structure: 5 Plot Points

Basic Story Structure: 5 Plot Points by Jill Kemerer

If you’re like me, you probably have twenty-plus books on the writing craft hanging around. They’re on my office shelf. Stacked on my desk. Lingering under my nightstand in my bedroom. I can’t seem to get enough books on writing!

Not only do I keep buying books (which is part of my personal continuous education plan), I review old ones periodically to refresh my skills. One of the topics I return to again and again is key plot points.

Since I’m a novelist, creating a cohesive plot is very important to me. What’s more, I write commercial fiction. Readers of commercial fiction have clear expectations for story, specifically what makes it good and what makes it compelling.

Writers don’t always know how to translate the idea in our head to the page in a cohesive way. That’s why understanding basic plot points can be so helpful for plotters (writers who plan the story out before writing) and pantsers (writers who pour the story out as it comes to them).

What I’m sharing today is my personal bare-bones, essential 5 plot points. These were derived from various plotting methods (I’ve included links at the end of the post).

One nice perk of knowing this basic story structure is that the 5 plot points make a simple synopsis. Expand on them for a more detailed synopsis.

You might have a different take on key plot points. That’s fine. Whatever works for you! This works for me.

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Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects

Bite-Size Sessions for Lower Priority Projects by Jill Kemerer

This month I’m sharing tips based on my experience with setting and meeting goals. I’ll be the first to admit I’m self-motivated and disciplined. However, I have blind spots about habits that don’t always work well for me.

Three years ago, I got serious about reworking my schedule to address those habits. You can read about it in “Get More Done with a Plan.” The schedule worked really well until the pandemic hit.

Then…things fell apart.

I slipped into my old habits. Yeah, I still met my deadlines, but I was no longer making time for the lower-priority projects. When I don’t make time for them, they NEVER get done. Because there’s always another high-priority project to jump the line.

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The Right Idea for the Wrong Book

The Right Idea for the Wrong Book by Jill Kemerer

Last week I was coming up with plot ideas, and the perfect one came to me. I was so excited! The book I’m plotting is pretty murky at this point, so my soul did a little sideline cheer when the idea hit. Since this is a story toward the end of a series, I had to go back through my notes for the other books to make sure it would work.

Guess what? It didn’t.

I was bummed. Like, literally, heavy sighing and maybe an eye-roll occurred. But then I remembered that the final book of the series had a really weak area I hadn’t addressed.

The perfect plot idea that wouldn’t work for the current book? Perfect for the final one! Yay!!

Of course that meant I still needed to figure out the current story, but I wasn’t upset about it. In fact, I headed to the park and took a long walk to allow my brain the time and space it needs to work on the problem. While I didn’t get the exact solution on the walk, the questions rolling around in my mind led me to the breakthrough the next day.

For me, figuring out plot holes or plots in general, takes time, many questions, a lot of thinking, and sometimes reviewing the rest of the series. In this case, a YouTube video proved a good starting point, too.

Have you ever gotten the perfect plot idea and realized it was for the wrong book?

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Check out these giveaways!!

I have partnered up with Celebrate Lit Publicity to do an amazing giveaway where you can win a spectacular prize of over 50 books or a $500 Amazon gift card to buy books you love to build up that TBR pile!

Be sure to enter Celebrate Lit’s Bring on the Fall Multi-Author Giveaway going on now through October 16.

Enter here: https://promosimple.com/ps/11771/2nd-annual-bring-on-the-fall-multi-author-giveaway

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There is still time to enter my big prerelease giveaways for The Prodigal’s Holiday Hope!

Enter here: https://jillkemerer.com/the-prodigals-holiday-hope-giveaway/

Have a terrific day!

Decisions, Decisions…Writer Priorities

Decisions, decisions...writer priorities by Jill Kemerer

Last Friday I spent some time with my planner to figure out my writer priorities. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on–drafting the rest of the Love Inspired book due in November, working on promo items for my release in October, or drafting more of my nonfiction book for writers. Besides these three options, I was well aware summer is on its last legs here in NW Ohio. Sure, it will be warm through mid-September, but after Labor Day, my brain switches to fall mode.

After thinking it through, I decided to draft the rest of the Love Inspired book due in November. However, I also gave myself permission to focus ONLY on that. Each day when I meet my word count goals, I can either kick off and soak up some sun or work on promo items for a bit. I’m not ready to lock into my full-time fall/winter/spring schedule again just yet.

After deciding on the big stuff, my brain buzzed with a million and one tasks I needed to get done around the house and professionally. So I started a big, ol’ brain dump on my oversized notepad. Nothing was too small to write down!

When I say nothing, I mean nothing. Here’s a sample:

  • Put away bags
  • Make hummingbird food
  • Clean desk
  • Books?? (I always have author copies stacked in the corner, on shelves, teetering in odd places…)
  • Find place to store immersion blender (Yeah, I bought an immersion blender! I’m really excited about it. I love making creamy soups, and this will make them extra creamy…)

As you can see, the things on my mind are REALLY important. *rolls eyes* Anyway…

Part of figuring out my writer priorities is taking into account the season I’m in. I plan on enjoying the end of summer, even if I’m simply sitting on my deck reading a good book at 4pm instead of working on marketing!

What are your writer priorities right now?

If you’re looking for a fast-paced Christian romantic suspense, I highly recommend Jessica R. Patch’s Cold Case Double Cross. It’s excellent! Click on the title for purchase links!

Writing Through Your Moods

writing through your moods by jill kemerer

When I’m feeling blue, I don’t want to write. I don’t want to do anything writing related, either. I just want to sit on the couch, eat peppermint patties and caramels, take a nap, then sip coffee and watch the Food Network.

Do I sit on the couch and do all those things? No.

Well, I might take a thirty-minute break to indulge in them, but for the most part, I force myself to get something done on my work in progress.

Writing through your moods is a necessary skill.

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Trying a Makeshift Standing Desk

Trying a Makeshift Standing Desk by Jill Kemerer

Writers sit. A lot.

This writer certainly does! But I’m trying something different–I put together a makeshift standing desk to avoid sitting so much.

Some writers (and other work-from-home professionals) buy special stands to convert their desks from sitting to standing. Others have invested in treadmill desks. Then there are those who walk and dictate. I’ve tried dictation. It works in a pinch, but isn’t a long-term solution for me personally.

All of these methods to get out of the chair intrigue me, but I’ve never been motivated enough to try them.

Well, last week I was exhausted. I’m talking tired every day to the point I barely got anything work-related done. Part of it was a disruption in my routine (I had appointments every day). This week, I decided something needed to change.

For one week, I’m working while standing for at least an hour every day.

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How I Distribute Digital Review Copies

Distributing Digital Review Copies. Jill Kemerer

Distributing digital review copies–where to start? One of the many struggles authors face in today’s publishing world is how to get advance copies of our ebooks to reviewers.

In the early days of having my street team, I would put out a call for anyone in the group willing to read/review my book. I would then gather their email addresses and send them a digital copy of the book. As the group grew, it became more difficult.

A street team is a group of readers who help promote your books by reading/reviewing ARCs, sharing book news/graphics with their social networks, or by generally getting the word out about your book.

An ARC is an advance review copy or can be referred to as an advance reader copy.

Distributing digital review copies. Jill Kemerer

Problems with individual distribution of ARCs:

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Maintenance Marketing for Writers

Maintenance Marketing for Writers by Jill Kemerer

Promotion and marketing are ongoing tasks for writers. What’s the difference between them? I’m not a marketing major, but I’ve been doing my own marketing and promotion for years. I have my own way of defining them.

I promote my books. I market my author name/brand to build my platform.

For me, marketing is the overall strategy of building my platform. Promotion, on the other hand, is the overall strategy of selling a particular book.

There isn’t anything technically accurate about this definition. It’s just the way I separate the two in my mind.

There are things I do on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis that I call maintenance marketing for writers.

The goal of these tasks is to provide content to my platform on a regular basis as well as attract new readers to find and follow me. Then, when I’m promoting a new book, the additional book-centric content is a natural continuation of what I’m already doing.

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