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Archive for the tag “Torrance Sené”

My Writing Process Revisited: Has it Changed/Evolved?

Okay, so this is a topic we’ve touched on before, and unless you’re really new here, you already know that I am the Pantsiest Panster Who Ever Pantsed™.

Since my process hasn’t really changed, and in an attempt not to rehash previous posts, I thought I’d lay out my process with my latest release, Rewritten, Book 7 in the Bound series that I share with Jess Jarman.

Despite the fact that my non-writing workload has been nuts this year, not to mention the whole cover identity problem where we learned that I am, in fact, the literal worst, the book itself came together fairly easily, and in my usual Pantsiest Panster Who Ever Pantsed™ way.

As always, the first step was getting a line of dialogue in my head. Well, in this case, it was three lines of dialogue.

“I don’t need a minder. Didn’t ask for you. Don’t want you.”

And I had my usual thought: Who the hell says something like that? The immediate answer was, obviously, an asshole. Probably someone like this, but with a Scottish accent instead of an Irish one. So, you know, an asshole named Angus. A hot asshole named Angus.
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The next question is why is this guy such a dick? I realized pretty quickly that it was someone who was experiencing a lot of frustration and and guilt over the poor life choices that led him to whatever emotional hole he’s in.

Then I had to decide who he was saying it to? And why. Normally, it takes me a little longer to figure out a character’s backstory is. But I knew right away what Eliza’s past entailed and exactly what her secrets were and what she had to hide. But I was stuck on the why. Why she was stuck babysitting Angus?  What was his damage that he needed a keeper anyway?

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I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t comb through a ridiculous amount of Aidan Turner photos on Pinterest while trying to answer that question. But, when I saw this picture, I was like, “He’s the super hot George R. R. Martin of Sci-Fi–that’s why!”

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(Side note: If you’re my husband or children, and you hear me announce random stuff like this on the regular, you just roll your eyes and say things like: “I hope he writes faster than the actual one.” or “He’d better not sell a TV series before he’s done writing his damn books.” Or, if you’re my daughter, “So…how hot?” Which, I suppose, is proof that most writers don’t live in a vacuum. And inspiration is everywhere. Or something.) 

Once I knew that much about Angus, (thanks, Pinterest and fam) I knew why Eliza was there and what she was supposed to be doing and exactly how much he was going to hate it.

This is the part where I wish I could tell you that I plotted like a reasonable person. But I don’t. It’s not for lack of want or trying. It’s just that thinking all the way through a plot doesn’t work for me. It’s just not how my brain is wired.

But this was the point where I sat down and thought seriously about what specifically Angus and Eliza each wanted at this point in their lives, why they wanted it, and why they couldn’t have it. Good old GMC: goals, motivation, and conflict.

Usually, the dialogue that starts a story idea growing in the first place doesn’t end up working into the story until later in the book. For instance, the line that ended up being the impetus for In Bounds :

“Butterscotch chips can’t dance with all that skirt.”

didn’t end up showing up in the story until page 37. So I had to do a lot of working backward to figure out how the hell that conversation would even happen.

Angus’ dialogue was clearly the opening of this story which made it a little weird for me. I like working backward because it feels like I have a better sense of who the characters are when I start the actual story. But, I knew what their GMCs were, I knew their story would require shoving them both together whether they wanted it or not, so sci-fi cons and author events seemed perfect.

At this point, I think I had ideas for two or three scenes that occurred  later in the book: a scene where she’s pissed at him for invading her privacy, one where he finds out what her previous name was, and one where she has a pretty brutal panic attack. The trick, as usual, was getting there.

I knew the privacy invasion scene would come first, so again it was a case of working backward from there to the line, “I don’t need a minder.” and start writing. Then I sent chapters to my CPs for feedback as I wrote toward the next plot point that I was aware of. I was surprised by how the revelation of Eliza’s former name came out and more surprised by everything that happened afterward. The way I’d originally thought it would go was…not at all how it went. But, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Writing really went fairly well until I got to the reason for Eliza’s panic attack. Without giving away too much, I was having trouble maneuvering the cause of her panic attack to the venue where it began. And that required multiple (probably whiny) phone calls to my series partner, Jess (who is all things patient, wise, and brilliant).

By this point, I had a few more vague scene-shaped ideas that I knew were coming up, so I continued writing toward those. But there were still tons of surprises for me along the way–like Angus’ friend Tansy, more about his brother (which forced me to go back and change some things earlier in the book), and more about how truly isolated Eliza had been.

There were more (also whiny) phone calls to Jess when the big black moment arrived because I was, again, having trouble getting the cause to the venue. And there was also the borrowing of Jess’ character, Kit (OMGYOUGUYSICAN’TWAITFORHISSTORY!) who was instrumental in the secondary plot resolution.

But that’s basically my process. Get a line of dialogue and some vague distant-y sort of plot points and write until I reach them while occasionally whining at Jess. I think this works for me for a couple of reasons. I’m not really a linear thinker–not with my own writing, anyway–editing is a completely different story. Also, I have Attention Deficit Disorder. No, it’s not a superpower or anything, it’s actually a pain in the ass in a lot of ways, but it’s a gift when it comes to making connections that I never would have seen if I was trying to plot a book prior to writing.

I’ve realized that whether I’m consciously thinking about it or not, I understand and can utilize the tenets of story structure. Even better, now that I worry far less about knowing how everything is supposed to go before I start writing, I allow the story to unfold in ways that surprise me every time. And even if I don’t consciously know what’s going to happen, my subconscious apparently does because as I get to the last third or so of any story, I realize that I’ve laid the groundwork for various events earlier in the book without even realizing it. I love it when I see those connections pop up and I figure out how to use them. Pretty sure that’s an ADD thing. But trusting the story to unfold in the way it’s meant to, and trusting myself to get it there, has been huge for me as a writer.

I know that probably sounds super crunchy granola, but that’s the process that works for me. Anyone else write like this? Be sure to check out Torrance and Kris‘ processes, too!

If you’d like to read Rewritten, that would be awesome! You can find it at these fine places.

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(excerpt)       Amazon  *  B&N  *  iBooks  *  Kobo

And if you’d like to read the previous posts on this topic, check out:

My Writing Process in 30ish Steps

How I Create My Characters AKA The Children’s Book Proposal that Tanked: If You Give a Bron a Line of Dialogue

Writing Hopes and Aspirations

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So, my writing hopes and aspirations are pretty simple. I’m not looking to hit lists or become a millionaire, I’d just like to:

  • To make enough to support myself by writing full-time–not that I don’t genuinely love my other jobs, but…this is the dream, people.
  • To write stories that provide people with an enjoyable escape from reality for a bit.
  • To write stories that I love and am proud of.

I’m actually feeling confident about number three. Really need to work on number one.

Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ writing hopes and aspirations.

Jess * Deelylah * Torrance * Kris

Monthly Goals Check-In: August 2017

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August is, historically, not a great month for me to get stuff done. I’m not sure why that is. But since Jess Jarman has been coming to stay with me every August, I’m getting more done.

This month I…

  • wrote all my scheduled blog posts and an extra or two
  • went to the Rust City Book Conference with Jess Jarman and Jenny Trout and did panels and a book signing and played Cards Against Humanity and helped name a new martini and had a fantastic time
  • prepped two audio books (I’ll have three done by month’s end)
  • edited two novels (180K)
  • started helping a friend with a new aspect of her business
  • wrote over 21K that I’m really happy with and I still have a few days left of August to make it to 25K.
  • I’ve been working on 3 websites
  • I went to see Billy Joel with Jenny Trout and her daughter

 

Next month, I want to…

  • Release Rewritten
  • Finish all my scheduled blog posts
  • Continue writing daily
  • Finish building the websites
  • Make progress on some re-releases I’ll be putting out
  • Complete the assigned audio preps
  • Complete the spreadsheet for my friend’s business
  • Finally sort out the bedding and purge my clothes
  • Finish two very late Christmas presents

So, that’s it for me. What’s on your list of things to accomplish for September? And be sure to check out what Jess and Torrance are kicking ass at!

Halfway Through the Year—2017 Goals Check-In

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So…it’s come to this. The halfway through the year goals check-in. Things aren’t…going as well as I’d like.

These were my goals at the beginning of the year:

Get a handle on the negativity that’s seems to be plaguing me.

Do what I can to affect positive change in the world–even if they’re only small things.

Write day and night like I’m running out of time.

However…this is how I’m currently feeling.

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Because everything is chaotic and scary and I’d like that shit to stop now. So…I’m looking for volunteers for this:

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I’m desperately hoping that my end of the year check-in is a hell of a lot better. And I’m also hoping Deelylah, Torrance, and Jess are having a better time of it.

Monthly Goals Check-In: April 2017

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Man… this has been a month. A long, weird, disquieting month.

Sadly, my mother-in-law died recently, so much of this month has been dealing with grief, and frustration, and anger at a certain family member on that side who needs to be throat punched. But that’s life.

Weirdly, I managed to accomplish quite a few things. This was my list.

Finish the client edits I have scheduled. (Yep. Scheduled 3. Edited 6.)

Complete all April blog posts. (Yep.)

Finish up work on 2 of the (now) 5 websites I’m working on. (Finished one, progress on two and waiting for client response on both.)

Knit 3.5 pussyhats (Yepper.)

Progress on new book and Mist & Stone. (Progress on new book. Zilch on Mist and Stone rewrite.)

Continue with the Organized Home Challenge (Yes and also no. We’re still cleaning and purging but not in order of the list.)

Finish sorting stuff for donation. (Still sorting. Still donating.)

Sew more journal covers and open Etsy site. (Nope.)

I also completed a bunch of things that weren’t on the list.

I proofed, reformatted, and reuploaded 6 of my books.

I did a podcast with Focus on Fantasy Romance about editing.

I updated my blog links.

I cleaned up my blog tags and categories.

I also read 6 books from my TBR pile.

All things considered, I did pretty well this month.

Okay, so…my goals for May are:

Revise and re-release at least one of my stories that I have the rights back on.

Progress on RP.

Progress on TFAD

Complete 7 client edits.

Complete all May blog posts.

Progress on 4 client websites.

Complete the 7 sewing projects I owe people.

Begin deconstructing and reconstructing wedding dress.

Read some more.

Be sure to see how the other bloggers did. Jess, Deelylah, Torrance, and Gwen.

Top 10 Things I Avoid

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I think we all have things we avoid in life–at least, as much as we’re able. Here are a few of mine.

10.) Clowns. (I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. They’re creepy AF.)

9.)  Wet paper. (I don’t know why, but it makes me gag.)

8.)  Large warehouse stores like Home Depot, Best Buy and Ikea.  (They stress me right out.)

7.)  Fluorescent lights. (They make me twitchy and give me headaches.)

6.)  Aspartame. (It gives me migraines.)

5.)   Cilantro. (Because it tastes like soap.)

4.)  Spicy food. (Because I have baby mouth.)

3.)  People who use others to try to get ahead in life.

2.)  People who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions (or inaction).

1.)  People whose version of the truth changes depending on who they’re talking to and what they want from that person.

So…what do you try to avoid? Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts to see what they avoid. Jess, Kellie, Deelylah, Torrance, Gwen, and Kris.

Monthly Goals Check-In: February 2017

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I can’t believe it’s the end of February. Though, I probably said that at the end of last month, too. Sigh.

Okay, so last month, I said that I wanted to:

Continue with whatever’s next on the Organized Home Challenge (Yep.)

Finish revising and expanding Mist and Stone. (Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.)

Progress on DN & EP (Nope.)

Finish 5 more pussyhats (I did!)

Progress on the other two websites I’m putting together. (Yep, and I added a third.)

Oh yeah, and start that damn yoga program. (I did it!)

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And I edited several novels, worked on my annual writing plan did a massive amount of cleaning and sewing, and I’ve been happily hanging out with Jess Jarman for the last  eight days! And we’re gearing up for a mini writing retreat weekend. Oh, and I’ve developed an unhealthy washi tape addiction.

Oh! And I finished a bonus goal – organizing my bedroom and altering the quilt I bought that lied about fitting a king size bed.

So, for next month, my goals are:

Finish revising and expanding Mist and Stone. 

Progress on DN & EP 

Continue with that damn yoga program and exercise program.

Update Writing Bujo

Put together Publishing and Promo Bujo

Knit 4 more pussyhats. 

Continue with whatever’s next on the Organized Home Challenge.

Finish at least two of the three websites. 

Complete all client edits. 

Complete all March blog posts. 

Okay, that’s it for me. What are some of your goals? Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts, too! Jess, Deelylah, Gwen, and Torrance.

Wordless Wednesday – Winter Where I Live

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This winter has been weird, yo.

Normally, this is what winter in West Michigan looks like.

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The back of my house.

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My garage.

However, this year, there’s some weird shit going on. We’ve even had 50 degree days in February. This is not normal. This is what it looks like today.

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I just went outside without a coat on to take this picture. It’s like spring out there.

Check out the other bloggers’ posts and see what winter is like where they live. Gwen, Deelylah, TorranceKellie, and Kris.

Musical Musings #1

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Musical Musings is a new feature this year where we’ll blog about some of our favorites and not-so-favorites. This  month, the topics are: Song that Makes Me Want to Dance, Song that I Love to Sing Along With, and Favorite Soundtrack.

Song that Makes Me Want to Dance – this one is super easy.

Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way. Every time I hear it, I want to dance and dance–even when I’m driving.

Song that I Love to Sing Along With – This one is much, much harder – mostly because I love to sing. And if I know the words, I’m singing. Sometimes even if I don’t know the words. But I literally love to sing EVERYTHING, and I’m pretty much incapable of resisting singing along. But, I guess if I have to narrow it down to one, I’m going to go with Adele’s Rumour Has It.

Favorite Soundtrack – I’m hoping that a cast album qualifies because (and if you’ve been here before, you all know this is coming) I have to go with Hamilton. I still love this so hard I don’t even have words. It’s just fucking brilliant.

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Also…there’s this.

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Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ faves: Jess, Kris, Paige, Torrance, and Gwen.

Top 10 Things I’m Proud Of

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Okay, I’m gonna be honest here, as relatively easy as top ten posts should be to write, this one is hard mostly because of the same old thing–as women, we’re conditioned not to think too highly of ourselves. Where even saying “thank you” when someone compliments us is seen as bragging.

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So, I’m just gonna go ahead and try to go ahead and write this list without feeling weird about it. Or maybe feel weird about it and write it anyway.

10.) I haven’t missed a single scheduled blog post since January of 2014. That’s 300andsome posts.

9.) I finally learned to knit cables–it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I was afraid it would be. In fact, cables are a lot of fun!

8.)  I’m proud of myself for journaling daily with both a writing journal and a bullet journal. It’s helping me stay focused. And dare I say it? Organized.

7.)  Asking for help isn’t something I’m terribly good at, however, sometimes I really need it. I’m proud of myself when I can bring myself to do it.

6.)  I’m trying to make time for self-care. This is another thing that isn’t a hundred percent, but I’m proud of myself when I manage it.

5.) I’m getting better at standing up for myself. It’s not a hundred percent or anything, but considering I used to be the world’s biggest doormat, this is huge.

4.) I’m proud of myself for taking the plunge into self-publishing. I had become deeply disillusioned and unhappy writing for small presses. It was incredibly scary–even with my wonderful friends and colleagues to offer advice and assistance. But I did it. I wrote the book I desperately wanted to write by pushing past the barriers of negative self talk and the negativity of another person. That book found a home with people who seem to love it as much as I do. I’m proud of myself for jumping off that cliff, because let me tell you, the water’s fine.

3.) I’m proud of the time I spent doing daycare–18 years. Yes, some days, it drove me batshit crazy, but ultimately, I had a hand in raising 3 brilliant, kind, creative, passionate young women. For 12 years per kid, I was the second mama, the other parent for the two single moms, the room-mom for them at school, the homework tutor, and the tooth reaper. Today, I’m still their other mama and also their friend and confidant. They’ve all taken very different paths in life, but I truly couldn’t be prouder of them.

2.) I’m proud that my husband and I are coming up on our 28th wedding anniversary in June. (Remember, people – child bride…) I’m proud because we’ve worked hard at our marriage–some days when neither of us particularly want to–because we love each other and we’re committed to making our relationship work. And I’m proud that

1.) I’m so damn proud of my kids. Again, there were times they drove me batshit crazy (yes, there’s a theme, here) and to be honest, sometimes, they still do. But my god, I’m proud of them. They’re both wildly different people, but they’re both wildly creative, incredibly compassionate, kind and conscientious. They’re hilariously funny, brilliant and they’re both joys and challenges to parent. But I’m incredibly proud that they’re secure enough in our love for them that they’re both comfortable being exactly who they are.

Okay, so that’s it for my top ten list. Be sure to check out Gwen, Torrance, Paige, Kris, Deelylah, and Jess‘ lists, too.

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