Welcome to the
sometimes frustrating life of a writer; rewarding as it can be.
month I made the difficult decision to skip the Romance Writer’s of America’s
conference in Dallas. Several tight deadlines dictated that I kept my butt in
a chair and concentrated on writing that great American novel. If you did attend
the conference drop me a line and share the highlights with me. I really missed
seeing old friends.
control and discipline is something every author quickly learns. Let’s face it,
most of us would rather be out promoting our books, learning something new at
workshops, or socializing with friends. But if you don’t write, you don’t get
published, and if you don’t get published, you don’t get paid, and so the cycle
That said, this
month we welcome Cindy Breeding, a graduate of the Writing for Love or Money Program
and the first author to get published. She’ll be contributing regularly and I
can’t wait to read her articles. Find out more about this talented and driven
novelist by logging onto http://www.cindybreeding.com/.
in this issue is an exciting author interview with a personal favorite of mine;
Cindy Kirk. Cindy’s book is the third in Harlequin’s Mediterranean Nights Series.
You may pick up a copy of The Tycoon’s Son at your favorite book store or at http://www.eharlequin.com/. For a sneak preview
be sure to read Cindy’s upbeat interview below. You’ll get a great sense of her
well into summer and most of us are have a difficult time sitting indoors. Why
not bring that laptop poolside? There’s nothing like sun to spark your creativity
and get the adrenaline flowing.
Editor -- Romantically Yours
Tools of the Trade
Breeding is the author of Camelot’s Destiny and My Noble Knight, both published
by Kensington. She has a novella, Capture Her Heart, contracted to Samhain Publishing
for release in January, 2008, and a novella to be published in an anthology by
Highland Press as well. In addition, two more completed manuscripts are on editor’s
desks, as well as fully detailed outlines for five more books waiting to be written.
the recent RWA conference, I heard Nora Roberts speak. One of the questions that
was asked her was, “What is your writing process?” She gave us her answer, but
also added that the writing process is an individual thing and what works for
one writer might not work for another. There is no one “right” way to “write”.
That same answer applies to avoiding writer’s block. Each
author must work out his/her own method. However, here’s what works for me:
1. Set aside
a designated time, even if it’s only one hour, each day to write.
time is SACRED. No interruptions unless blood is being spilled or an ambulance
arrives at your door.
3. Make yourself sit down at the computer at that time
even if you don’t feel like it.
A comment I often hear from
aspiring writers is that they have a great idea and even a great beginning and
then, suddenly, they just don’t what else to write or where they want to go with
second rule in Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is: “Begin
with the End in Mind”. I love this idea.
got a wonderful idea for a story. How do you want it to end?
The ending will
be your guideline for plotting.
After I decide that, here’s what I do:
1. I decide on who my hero and heroine will be. On separate index cards, I do
a physical description of each and also what personality traits I want each of
them to have. This is the time to really think about what inner conflicts each
of them will have since that drives your story. You can add more details as your
characters come-to-life for you.
2. What major events are going to happen
in your story? There must also be some kind of outer conflict that brings the
hero and heroine together. Again, using 5x7 index cards, I jot down the MAJOR
things I want to happen, one to a card. I label the cards Chapter One, Chapter
Two, etc. One card per chapter.
3. Do you have a sub-plot? If there is going
to be a secondary story or strong secondary characters, jot down the major things
that are going to take place within that sub-plot as well. Some of those things
will be listed on the same card as the major events.
4. Fill in the details.
Next, I go back and fill in the details that need to take place in each chapter.
I usually have four or five details that will be developed into scenes per chapter.
More sub-details will pop up as this happens and can always be added even as the
story is being written.
of this is part of the writing process and, as Nora Roberts said, no one process
works for everyone. I like using index cards because they can be rearranged or
extra chapters can be added as the plot develops. Some people like to jot down
just major ideas on a piece of paper or use sticky-notes. Try not to give in to
the temptation that “I’ll just start writing and see what happens”. It doesn’t
usually work for newbies.
what major things should happen between the beginning and the end is the way to
avoid writer’s block.
me, the more details the better. Usually, I fill up the entire front side of each
chapter card and part of the back, as well. This enables me, when my Muse is late
for a writing session, to know where I want the story to go next.
I start writing. If I’m feeling particularly “blocked”, I start with dialogue.
Have the hero say something to the heroine. Get a conversation going even if it
doesn’t make much sense. The hero can even “ask” the heroine what she wants to
do next... With word-processing, it’s easy to delete once the creative urge surges
through you and you can get back to the main plot. Don’t be surprised, though,
if your characters actually come up with some good ideas. In Camelot’s Destiny,
Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar took over on more than one occasion!
I’d like to go back to the beginning. Sit down at the computer at the designated
time of day, every day, even if you have to stare at a blank screen for a few
minutes. The mind hates a vacuum. So do your characters. Something will come to
you. Write it down. Get the process going. You’ll be surprised at how well it
August 17-19, 2007
of New Zealand
Crown Plaza Hotel
Auckland New Zealand
Keynote: Jennifer Crusie
Moonlight and Magnolias Conference
Location: Hilton Atlanta Northeast
Keynote: Linda Howard
To register visit:
Put A Book In Your Heart
The Sheraton at Woodbridge Place Hotel
Keynote: Karen Robards
For details: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerald City Writers’ Conference
Keynote: Jayne Ann Krentz AKA Amanda Quick
Cindy Kirk is an award winning
writer of contemporary romances. This lifelong Nebraska resident expertly juggles
two successful careers. Cindy holds down a day job and yet this year she’ll release
three books. She’s smart. She’s sassy. And she’s willing to share. Want to know
more about Cindy? Log onto her website http://www.cindykirk.com/.
with Cindy Kirk
just attended RWA’s National Conference in Dallas. Can you share with the readers
some of the highlights?
highlights for me were probably nothing that would interest your readers. I go
to RWA to meet with writer friends from all over the country…some I only get to
see once a year. The one thing I miss is the time to attend the workshops. I attended
RWA for three years before I sold and loved the workshops. The only ones I can’t
attend are ones where they talk about character arcs etc. Those confuse me.
us a little about Cindy Kirk? What inspires her and what is she passionate about?
have to say that Cindy Kirk is passionate about family, writing, and travel. She
also adores animals of all kinds.
talk character development. When you get an idea for a book what steps do you
take to flesh out your hero and heroine? Guide us through the process.
really learn about the hero and heroine by writing the first five or six chapters.
I continue to learn more about them as I write the book. When I get a story idea
I start off by asking “what if” questions-like what if a woman led two lives?
Sometimes I start writing the first chapte r before even firming up a synopsis.
I’m very much a seat-of-my-pants writer. Usually I have no idea how the H&H
are going to get together and how the book is going to end. When I sit down on
Saturday to write my twenty pages, I don’t know what I’m going to write.
author has been rejected at some point or another. How do you overcome rejection,
remain positive and keep writing?
believe that it is through adversity that we grow stronger. I also believe that
my writing career will go in the way it’s meant to go. The closing of the Silhouette
Romance line made me decide to work on a single title idea I’d had clanking around
in my head. That led to my first sale to Avon
us about the Tycoon’s Son, the third in Harlequin’s Mediterranean Series.
involves a rich man’s illegitimate son who not only finds his true love but comes
to grips with the father who has never wanted anything to do with him. Writing
Theo was a challenge for me since he was Greek and definitely a strong alpha male.
Like most readers I want to fall in love with the hero and so I had to soften
some of those strong alpha traits…just a little.
you weren’t writing novels would you be in another creative field? If so what?
is an interesting question because I’m not that creative in any other field. I
suppose I would try my hand at writing lyrics. I love songs that tell a story.
many books do you typically write a year?
do you successfully juggle the responsibilities of a day job with that of your
writing career? Any tips for both the aspiring and seasoned writers?
writes differently. I write all my new pages on Saturday (in longhand). My goal
is 20 pages per week. I key the pages in on Sunday, editing as I input. I print
the pages out and take them everywhere with me for the next week. Any spare time
I have I work on cleaning them up.
has to be something you want enough to put toward the top of your priority list.
The more you write the more creative you’ll find yourself being. And writing the
pages and actively moving toward the end of the book will fuel your motivation.
currently live in Nebraska. Has Nebraska been a setting for any of your novels?
was the setting for the very first novel I sold. It was an inspirational novel
released in May 2000 as Unforgettable Faith. My working title was Faith on a Harley.
I’ve often wished I could have kept that title. Can you guess what the heroine’s
name was and what she rode?
of my biggest challenges as a writer is to introduce new and exciting careers
to the reader. Do you have any words of wisdom about Internet Sites or books to
introduce the reader to careers other than the standard lawyer or doctor?
are some sites that will give you insight into the day-to-day life of certain
occupations, but I prefer to find someone actually working in that profession
and ask them questions directly. If I don’t know anyone with the occupation I’m
looking for, I post a request on one of the many writers’ loops I’m on and someone
advice regarding promotion would you give to someone new to the writing business?
What’s the best money that can be spent with a limited budget?
think having a website. As a reader, if I’m interested in an author, it’s the
first place I check out.
what sparks your creativity? How are you able to come up with new and different
can spark an idea…a song, a phrase, something I see. I’ve found that the more
actively I’m involved with the writing process, the more creative I’ve become.
From the time I was small, I’ve had ideas. I thought everyone made up stories
before they fell asleep or changed the ending to television shows and movies they
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Did you know?
great advice on juggling parenthood and a writing career successfully. You’ll
get valuable tips from other successful writers.
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Yours is a FREE monthly newsletter. I would love to hear from you. Please send
comments, news, research, or story ideas directly to Marcia King-Gamble at email@example.com