Ignoring My Inner Perfectionist

So, yes, I’m participating (unofficially) in NaNoWriMo. I can’t say it’s fun, but it’s getting words on the page. Every morning, I wake up (early) and spend my first hour of the day writing. It’s still dark and I’m tired. I’ve also been ignoring the fact that what I’m writing might be crap. It might be repetitive and it hasn’t begun to touch on the depths I want my character to discover.

But, on this 6th day of NaNoWriMo, I have nearly 12,000 words written. And that is better than none, which is what I had on October 31.

I’ve been thinking about this story for a while. As most stories do, it has undergone massive transformations in what I want, what I would say and what I would tell. I decided to go back to my original concept, only because that’s the one that had gotten me excited. I did change some things, finding inspiration in Dante’s Purgatorio and waffling on genders until I settled on the M/M concept I’d started with, but lacking any erotic content. I can change everything again later, if need be.

I decided to incorporate a vague concept(s) brought to us by Dante Alighieri in his famously enduring trilogy the Divine Comedy—Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Dante was an Italian poet who lived in the Middle Ages. He wrote the Divine Comedy seemingly as a socio-political commentary, much like I do occasionally with My Bone To Pick. He pointed out the bad things going on, some of the good things, and expressed both guilt and regret over the things he’d done, too. His friends and his enemies were both called to the carpet, and his home city of Florence went so far as to exile him. They regretted that later, and even created a false tomb for him after death though his body was interred in Ravenna.

His Comedia is still regarded as one the greatest pieces of literature.

I’d only read Inferno, so I find myself searching the internet nearly every day for Purgatorio references. In Purgatory the sins his MC encounters on his travels has a difference in the severity of the same deadly sins in hell. Hell is primarily reserved for sins that were intentionally harmful, while purgatory seems more neglectful. I’m trying to incorporate that distinction in a general sense.

My MC, Christian, killed himself, which should put him straight to hell according to Dante and his medieval beliefs (some of which persist today). Suicide is a mortal sin, no coming back… Except Christian learns from his guide, Cato (yes! The same name as the guide in Purgatorio, but a totally different take) that spirits called Siphons had attacked him until he couldn’t fight back emotionally. They drained him of all energy and positivity and left nothing but negativity until there was literally no light left in his world. True energy vampires (having just set one of the human variety free from my life, this concept is highly motivating to me).

Christian is getting a second chance after death to prove that, given a different set of circumstances, he would choose a different way. Hopefully.

This is non-erotic, but there is a romance. In just a few more days, I’ll bring Christian to meet Beattie, a poor, beleaguered young man just over the age of majority, so it’s not too weird. Christian is twenty-two.

Beattie’s father is the CEO of a private hospital specifically dealing with mental health issues. Beattie is gay, which his father isn’t too happy about, and also sees spirits, which is the ultimate reason he’s locked up. His brother and sister are fighting their father in court to get their brother reinstated as a fully competent adult, but, in the meantime, he’s in the hospital getting attacked by the same type of spirits Christian was attacked by.

Now, Cato the guide has been having a hard time getting Christian to feel any emotion after being so damaged by the energy vampires, let alone getting him to feel empathy for others. But something about Beattie captures Christian’s attention, and he discovers they have so much in common. He starts to care, then he falls in love…

And Beattie with him.

Of course, they’re doomed for what might amount to be a tragic ending in the world of Romance, but they will each get a different type of happy ending. This story is about learning to love others just as much as you learn to love yourself. It’s acknowledging that not every love you receive in your lifetime is meant to carry on until the end of days, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

I’m excited, no matter that I sometimes want to take a day off (God, and that’s only a week in) or that I want to go back over and pick this story apart with a fine-toothed comb. I want to edit my mistakes, but I’m resisting. I’m letting this thing go, letting it grow wild like a vine, I haven’t even plotted the damned thing except a synopsis so I know what should be happening, but not when. When I’m finished, on December 1, I’ll start looking it over and see what I’ve got.

Until then, I’m going to bury my control-freak perfectionist in a closet somewhere and write for the love of writing.

You can find daily excerpt s of this story on my Facebook page.

Magic of Books Birthday Bash!

Magic of Books Promotions hosted its first tour during the month of November three years ago.

The company was created from the passion and desire of its owner, Tami Adams, because of her experiences as an author. From her struggles to have her books viewed and appreciated she knew there had to be another way.

Three years later Tami no longer writes but is determined to show the world the magic that lies within the pages of all books.

The following authors are helping Magic of Books to celebrate its birthday. Enjoy.

Message from Tami:

The last three years have been an incredible journey. I’ve made so many friends who began as bloggers, readers, and authors. I have been privileged to present and showcase new and old books from seasoned and new authors. I’ve learned so much I didn’t even realize I should know prior to getting into this business. And after three years I can honestly say I’m still learning, I’m still growing, and I’m still making friends. I love and appreciate all of you who have supported my little slice of heaven. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

HISTORICAL

Historical in traditional literary terms is when the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Historical fiction can be an umbrella term; though commonly used as a synonym for describing the historical novel; the term can be applied to works in other narrative formats, such as those in the performing and visual arts like theatre, opera, cinema and television, as well as video games and graphic novels.

Please enjoy these books that focus on historical and all the sub-genres. The list is available in alphabetically order by title.Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

15 W. Gibson by Aubree Lane

Historical Romance

1954 – Stockton, California

Knowing Uncle Sam is about to come knocking, twenty-one year old Jimmy Franks saves the government the cost of a stamp and preemptively enlists in the Navy. He loads up on stationery and pens, and with a heavy heart, kisses his lovely bride goodbye. Leaving his precious Suzy is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do.

Pregnant and left alone to deal with their feuding families, Suzy Franks is heartbroken when Jimmy ships out for the Mariana Islands. Knowing Guam is considered safe and that she will eventually be able to join him offers her little solace. Suzy’s mettle is put to the test. Her husband’s letters of love brings comfort, but 15 W. Gibson is a lonely place without him.

Magic in Her Eyes by Donna Dalton

Historical Romance

Meredith Talbot has a secret. In fact, she has nine secrets – her own and those of the eight orphans at Seaton House, a home for children. Each of them has a special talent that if exposed would get them labeled as witches. It is her responsibility to protect the children and their secrets and keep them safe from persecution. Marauding Indians force them into a nearby fort where their safety is threatened by fanatical townspeople and a captivating army officer who try to unmask the children’s extraordinary abilities.

Lieutenant Preston Booth has one goal – to serve and protect his country. The military is the only life he has ever known. It’s the only life he wants. When a child is abducted and Preston goes after the culprit, Meredith has a vision of what will happen to him.

Does she risk everything by exposing her gift? Or keep her secret and risk losing him forever?

An Heiress by Midnight by Clair Brett

Regency Historical

Lady Louissa Adair was raised by her uncle to be anything but a lady, spending hours scrubbing the decks of his ill begotten ships. Now, he has tasked her with a more deadly task. If she refuses, any hope of finding her long-lost and possibly dead brother will be lost while her uncle moves up his timeline to marry her off to a most dastardly man. While doing her uncle’s bidding, a blasted Englishman running around Scotland sets upon being her champion – not that Louissa has ever needed one. If he doesn’t get them both killed, and she might just kill the fool herself, she faces an even bigger danger – losing her heart.

Lord Clive Colcord, Earl of Breakerton, had escaped to Scotland in an attempt to avoid scrutiny by his late father’s solicitors. It had been a quiet, if not boring rustication until he finds himself tasked by the local magistrate with apprehending the highwayman menacing the North Road. He doesn’t expect to discover a beguiling dark-haired beauty with more dangerous men in her life than Clive has sisters. Yet he finds himself offering aid in an attempt to protect this damsel in distress. He must help Louissa find the proof of her uncle’s crimes and find her brother before she is forced into marriage all the while not losing his own heart in the process.

Dealing with the Viscount by Clair Brett

Regency Historical

After making a wager of marriage to settle her father’s gambling debts, Ella Bowen-Thorn Renwick escaped the husband she foolishly began to fall for and disappeared into the Scottish countryside carrying a secret. Four years later, and the owner of her own bakery, she is still not free of the demands of men when a violent and anonymous blackmailer threatens her, her livelihood…and her daughter. And then, there is him…

Viscount Renwick still mourns the wife he began to love before her untimely death–that is until he discovers her alive and well living in Scotland. Now, Devon’s face to face with the wife he thought he’d buried and the daughter he never knew existed. He’d like nothing more than to welcome Ella back into his arms, but mysterious and troubling incidents and a history with an unloving father have Ella trusting no one.

But, if Renwick convinces his wife he’s the husband she always dreamed of and the father their daughter deserves, will the scandalous secret the blackmailer is holding threaten their future together once more?

On Wings of Time by Linda Boulanger

Historical Romance with Time Travel elements

Just because they weren’t looking for love doesn’t mean it won’t find them, even if time itself has to bend to bring them together.

One man with a dragon’s soul.

A self-proclaimed bachelor for life, modern-day Luke Tavish has no idea he’s more than a mere man. One thing’s for certain, though… he’s not looking for love. He doesn’t want a relationship, but he needs the fair maiden from the past… in more ways than he knows.

One woman with the key to unlock his powers.

Amileigh McCollum isn’t your typical Medieval Lady. She’s always known there’s something special about her. She just isn’t sure what. The day she rides beyond her father’s gates alongside a man who isn’t her husband, she’ll learn that destiny is about to find her.

Six hundred years separating them.

Forward to go back, time spirals out of control in an attempt to bring together a couple that is six hundred years apart. When Luke finds himself back in Ami’s world, he has to come to terms with his newfound identity and prepare for a battle he didn’t know he would have to fight, all while falling head-over-heels in love.

When the future calls him back, will he ask her to go? Would she say yes if he did?

Watch out, because Fate’s carefully woven web is about to be tested by human will, a kiss, and the flip of a coin.

✯ ✯ ✯ ✯

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Editing is hard work…

Editing is really hard work. I know this because I’ve had to edit many things by now. Most recently, Enthralled with Visions, and my God how I winced at what I’d written before. I needed a better editor back then.

My first ‘real’ edit, by which I mean someone under the gun from an actual publishing company and not just a median-price proofreader I hired, taught me more about writing well than anything else before or since. I will forever be grateful to her because her critique and requests and the tears I shed, helped me progress to the next level in my writing.

The experience was awful, wrenching…then I saw one author’s post (and I was really dumb back then and never made a note of who, so I can’t give proper credit). She saved my sanity, so I’m passing on her advice:

 

editors dont know

 

You’re hearing a hallelujah chorus right now, aren’t you? I did too, when I read that. They will often suggest changes, and as time goes by, I find that more helpful. (Previously, I did not) They will tell you something is awkward, impossible, weird, overwritten, underwritten, etc. But you are the writer…so write something to fix it. In that vein, there were very few changes I resisted in that first edit, or since.

NOTE: this next section does not apply to Beta Readers or Critique Partners! That is a more personal relationship and you’ve got to work out between you how you’d like information to be conveyed. Me and mine write directly into the text, but highlight it, and I have no problem with that even though…

I once had an editor decided a word needed capitalization, and so she did a Find/Replace for that word that wasn’t meant to be capitalized which led to utter chaos, including strange uppercase letters in the middle of other words. Over 300 instances where I had to fix what someone else wrote into my novel. She probably thought she was being helpful, but a note at the beginning asking me to change it would have been better, right?

A certain level of vagueness is, in fact, the mark of an excellent editor. If you find someone who tells you something’s funky but doesn’t try to tell you how to fix it, you might be paying the right person.

gaiman quote

 

Remember, you are the writer. Your creativity did not, hopefully, exhaust itself in the writing of your story, so dig a little more, fall out of love with your own words, and change what needs to be changed in a manner your heart can bear. When you first write your story, you will be ridiculously resistant to cutting out words or rearranging sentences, etc. You want to keep them so badly, you know you just NEED them. If you’re like me, you’ve always got an eye on word count, too, right? You need to stretch a little, make that quota you set for yourself…

That was my problem with Enthralled. I had a difficult time getting that one in shape. I remember rushing to get it out in time for Halloween when I wrote it, and I apparently thought it was in competition with Tempted by Nightmares in terms of word count.

Thankfully, a couple of years really gives you a bit of space to see your mistakes. Plus, I’ve learned so much. I was able to cut out a lot, and add in necessary explanations I failed to include the first go-round. It is now streamlined, more cohesive. If I’d had a better editor before, I wouldn’t have had to go through this now.

Look, editors are expensive, and maybe it’s hard to tell the difference between proofreading and content development by someone’s profile…but try. Use that free sample, and know the difference between an editor preserving your voice and just doing a lazy edit. And when you get your first round back and feel like giving it all up, dry your tears and remember…by the time you finish doing all that’s necessary, not only will you have a better book, but you’ll be a better writer.

Buck up. It really is worth it.

 

Erotica: Down & Dirty

Erotica is literature or art that is designed to arouse you. That’s the definition.

Erotic literature, until recently, specifically used sex to tell the story.

sex

I’m not one of those people who argue the difference between porn and erotica. Quite frankly, I don’t care, but I respect that other people do. That’s not what this post is about, however. This post is about sex in stories, in books, even in movies, maybe.

When I wrote my psychic trilogy, I did what all brand new, aspiring authors do and researched everything I could about my genre, how to tell a story, etc. Generally speaking, I wasted a lot of time, because there is no piece of advice in the world that is as helpful to a writer as simply sitting down to write. (But we keep giving it, and we keep trying to get it, too…Even me! Check out my advice posts on Tumblr) That being said, I did stumble on to something that changed my outlook, especially for those first novels, but it’s something that I cling to, even today.

take out

If you can take out the sex scene and still follow the story completely, it’s not true erotica.

I anticipate a lot of emails about that statement, but suffice it to say it’s not exactly mine. It’s something I came across a long time ago, and I wish I knew where I’d seen it so I could give credit where it’s due.

I will never be ashamed to be an erotica writer and I will never let another shame me for being an erotica writer. I love erotica and romance. I love the sex scenes, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t write in the genre. I don’t care if they move the story in an obvious way or not, because if there is sex in your story, you’re probably showing something about the characters or the plot. Even in a twenty three page short story.

Most of my stories follow the premise above—without the sex scene, you’re missing something. You can skip the sex …but if you’re skipping those scenes, why are you reading erotica? Granted, I take pride in having a great story too, but that story is told in the context of sex. It may not be obvious right away—especially in my Tithe Collector series—but eventually, the piece of information I have conveyed in each, individual sex scene, will be necessary to the whole story. (The Tithe Collector is a long story…it might take a minute, but I promise, you’ll eventually be like, OMG, I remember, and so THAT’S why…)

In some of my other stories, the sex is there in the same way it’s present for other romance novels. To show relationship, communication, forgiveness, a deepening of emotions, or even a lack of emotion. Humans are complex, and sex is just as complex for them. That is why so many romances include graphic scenes.

So what does that tell you about the definition of Erotica?

WRONG

It tells me the dictionary can be wrong! Erotica is more than just trying to get your readers off. It’s about conveying the most complex human idiosyncrasy. Sex is joyful, it’s communication, it’s a promise, and it’s a weapon. Sad, lonely, vulnerable, weak, strong…all at the same time, too. A connection between two people, or desperation on behalf of one. Sex is beautiful and horrible, pleasurable and harmful.

It is all these things, and Erotica is the only genre fighting to show every nuance.

You want to write a Romance?

I’m not going to lie. This is about a post I saw giving some ‘basic concepts’ to writing Romance. Except what the author of the post wrote is backwards. It holds just fine if someone is writing a different story and there HAPPENS to be a romance in it, but not if you’re actually writing a romance novel. I’m not going to rehash the points made in the other post, I’m just going to offer a little wisdom on the Romance genre for those who wish to write an actual romance.

romance

The ROMANCE is the story. This is, apparently, quite a hang-up for those who don’t read or write romance. It’s nice to add outside plot elements, those can really spice your story up…but the focus is the relationship. Romance is not used to set the mood or describe the customs of your time or place. It is not there simply to raise the stakes so the hero has to rescue the heroine and the heroine can then rescue the world. Nope—the ups and downs of the relationship are the core of your story, it is the world, it is the suspense, the conflict and the resolution all wrapped into one.

Follow the tropes, and a few clichés aren’t bad either. It’s one of the few places where ‘expected outcome’ is a necessary, though you may feel free to twist other things however you please. Try not to be overly dramatic, but that’s still much better than being too subtle to feel the chemistry between the characters. If you begin with insta-love, make sure the characters FEEL it all the way through—they can have doubts about the direction of the relationship, what they truly feel and even if things can work out (etc.), but their mind should be occupied with this other person, they should agonize a bit over things. Love at first sight isn’t all that common, so if they feel it, make it special.

Erotica and romance aren’t the same thing. There is a bit of cross-over. They can be connected. They can both be present in the same story. But for the love of God, please stop confusing the two.

Finally, I will add, as so many others have, that romance and its authors take shots to the chin a lot. On the flip side, every time some author from a different genre sits down to write a romance they feel the need to then blog about how difficult it was. Yes, prepare yourself, it is difficult finding the proper balance of things, but if you keep looking at the events of your story through the prism of falling in love, you’ll stay on the right track.

Magic Matched: Motherhood

motherhood_facebook

 

In witching society, there is a strict hierarchy. Family covens are ruled by Mothers or Fathers who hold the bulk of their bloodline’s power and archaic rules are enforced, disregarding modern sentiments. Magic and politics are the only things that matter, and marriages are arranged for advantage rather than love.

motherthood_800

Christiana Davenold doesn’t want to be Mother, but her husband is pushing for her to be named heir. Milo just wants to protect his wife, and he believes the position of leadership would keep her, and their unborn child, safe from the challenges of her cousins.

But Mother Madeleine refuses to name a successor.

As the Davenolds gather in the hopes that they can heal their Mother from the dark magic attack that has left her weak and near death, Silviu Lovasz and Georgeanne Davenold find themselves at a turning point neither could have expected. Troublesome Family members, secret alliances and the unexpected arrival of Father Daniel Levy cause an emotional upheaval that will test them both.

Only love can see them through the danger, but in witching society, magic and politics are all that matter. The connection they’ve managed to forge will be tested as suspicion grows and trust is broken by the ultimate betrayal.

 

won't let them teaser

~~Excerpt~~

Frustration heated the back of Silviu’s neck. “I’d hoped for a little more than a small moment, love.”

“Make an appointment,” she snapped. “Silviu, I have a lot going on right now. I appreciate you doing what you can to help my grandmother, but while she’s ill the Family problems come to me. I have a job to do and I can’t let everybody down.”

“They could solve most of these problems themselves.” He shook his head, irritation tightening his muscles. “They bring you silly things for no other reason than to occupy your time.”

She steered him to the right and opened an inconspicuous door. Inside wasn’t what he’d expected, until he reminded himself that the estate belonged to the secondary branch and wasn’t Madeleine’s primary residence. In New Hampshire, the Davenold Mother had a bright, opulent office, but the space he followed his betrothed into was dimly lit with a single, narrow window and filled with an overly large desk.

It was perfect.

“You have to understand how nervous they are.” Georgie’s tone turned mildly scolding, “Our Mother is ill with no cure we can find and the Family is frightened. I must provide them with the leader they need.”

Put that way, the Davenolds’ dependence on her made more sense. “You are the natural choice,” he conceded.

“Yes, and if I’m not available, the witches here are more likely to go to Suzette than Christiana. Most of the people running around here belong to the secondary branch. What did you need to talk to me about?”

There was no way he could tell her the truth. He knew she would reject him outright if she had even a hint of his plans. He would scare her off and offend her at the same time.

A flick of his fingers locked the door before he leapt on her. Silviu trapped Georgie against the desk and hauled her to his chest, his mouth coming down on hers before she could protest. He crushed her close, pressing his rigid dick to her belly and smoothing his hands down her back in a single, hard stroke.

He wondered if she could taste his desperation as he twisted his lips against hers and thrust his tongue into her mouth. If she could feel the thrum of his magic sliding over her, sinking into her, and if she would understand what it meant, if she understood what he was doing. He wondered if he cared what she thought as she went to her toes and moaned. Silviu pressed his advantage.

Her lack of magical knowledge was his saving grace and he fully intended to use it to the best of his ability while he still had the advantage. Before her suspicions became engaged. He gripped her hips and dragged her against his cock until Georgie was clinging to him for balance. He kneaded her ass and bit her lip.

She broke the kiss with a gasp. “Silver, I don’t have time—”

“Make time,” he growled, attacking her mouth again. He licked and rubbed, used the hard edge of his teeth against her soft curves and sucked her lower lip. “I need you, Georgie.”

Milo teaser

Totally Bound  /  Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Barnes & Noble  /  Kobo

Magic Matched

 betrothed_800

The game they’re playing turns treacherous

Totally Bound  /  Amazon   /  Barnes & Noble  /  Apple  /  All Romance  /  Kobo

married_800

A minefield of lies and betrayal

Totally Bound / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / Apple / ARe

adDelve into the emotions, dive into the erotic.

An extensive traveler who loves to incorporate various legends from around the world into her tales, Lola White likes to twist reality at its edges in her stories. She likes delving into the emotions of her characters, finding their strengths and weaknesses, and seeing (and showing) how they get themselves out of whatever trouble has found them—if they can.

For news, exclusives and special deals, sign up for her newsletter

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Three Acts

Here’s some free advice for every aspiring write out there: Write a three act story.

3 acts

(super simplified, but you get the point, right?)

Even short stories follow the format, though some have more events and others have less. Hell, even non-linear tales have this format buried somewhere in the back and forth of chapters. You need a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of those needs build-up and a challenge the character(s) must face.

The beginning should have at least some build-up, though not an info-dump of backstory. We should get to know the character, start understanding what the problem of the story will be and at the end of the beginning, the first major turning point of the conflict should occur and draw the character into the drama. Like a mini cliff-hanger.

Middles are tricky, don’t let yours sag. The middle needs some backstory and character insight so the reader continues to care and root for success. The middle needs some action—whether that’s actual plot events or emotional action. The middle also still needs world-building or some setup, basically some driving details to pull the reader ever further into the conflict, the struggle, the feels…and it needs to contain the MAJOR turning point somewhere between halfway and three-quarters of the way through the whole story. This is where everything changes, and if it’s somewhere in the middle of the middle, you’ll still need a cliff-hanger to push the character into the end.

The ending should, of course, have a resolution, even in the case of actual cliff-hanger endings! (A cliff-hanger still resolves one problem before introducing another, usually larger, challenge. That gives a sense of satisfaction for the reader. Ah, problem solved…OMG, look what happened! Get it?) The ending must have a conclusion for the character, and preferably at least a little extra to tie up any loose ends, unless you’re carrying it on to a new story.

Remember that not every major plot point will necessarily concern the major plot. These turning points can be also be emotional turning points, places where the characters learn something about themselves, etc…Think of them as ladder rungs, adding or subtracting from this diagram as needed, but each rung takes the characters farther and gets them closer to their ultimate goal.

Write the Damned Story

Have you noticed how many blogs out there give tips on writing?

Spend just a few minutes online and you’ll be bombarded with what to do, how to write and even when to write. They’ll tell you how to make your story more romantic, more suspenseful, more terrifying. They’ll tell you how to world-build, and even when to stop world-building. They’ll tell how you how to develop your characters to the point you know them better than you know yourself, and then they’ll tell you not to use that information directly.

Sometimes, it’s enough to tear your hair out.

Do you plot, plan or ‘pants’ it? Do you fill out multiple-page questionnaires detailing every little thing about your character, or do you only have a general idea of what color their hair is? Do you draw a map so you can keep track of where in the world your story is happening?

If you really want some sage, down-to earth advice slicing through all the contradictions, then here you go…

THEN, and only then, after you’ve written the thing you’ll swear is your ‘baby,’ the next bestseller, the newest trend to hit the book market in at least a day you can go read those blog posts. ‘Cause they really do have some awesome advice.

Don’t be afraid to take the long way, though. Don’t be afraid to screw it all up and waste your time in epic fashion. Don’t be afraid to write a complete piece of garbage that will never see the light of day again, let alone sell a single copy.

Some of us have to make those incredible mistakes to find our voice. We have to ‘pants’ a few novels before we understand that plotting might be better for us. And that’s MIGHT, people. Not everyone will successfully plot a story EVER. Some are Pantsers for life, and that works for them.

Point is, you gotta figure out what works for you. How does your vision come across on the page? In a blinding stream of consciousness, or a meticulously laid out sequence of events? Do you write chronologically, with Chapter 1 always coming before Chapter 6, did you write the end before you even began the prologue or did you bounce around…Chapter 7, 4, 9 then 1?

After you figure out what works for you…well, don’t hold on too tight. There’s a downside to being ‘artistic’ and that usually involves your creative brain hijacking you and taking you for a hell of a ride. You might write your book in a step-by-step, logical fashion…all the way to Chapter 25, when suddenly Chapter 40 is so bright in your imagination that you just know the muses have gathered around you and you MUST write it down before all is lost…And later you go back to write the chapters you skipped.

Or, maybe you’ve got an outline that is absolutely perfect…until your hero drives over a cliff and suddenly your story takes a sharp turn. Don’t fight it, people. Inspiration like that is actually very, very rare. If your story does something you never expected, go with it…

See, it’s just that most people are hands-on learners. We understand best when we dive in and get our hands dirty. Maybe it’s a waste of time NOW (or maybe not) but whatever you discover will be put to good use in the future. You’ll have a better idea of how to craft a story, when to rein it in and when to let it run. You’ll have a better idea of your own talent, skill and determination.

Never out-write your own ambition.

Don’t understand that? Well, try writing a 500,000 word epic adventure (without a bunch of filler or subplots or excessive world-building) and you’ll understand. Write for as long as your attention span holds, for as long as your belief in your tale holds true. And I don’t mean that you shouldn’t get bored with your story, that happens, and I don’t mean stop when you think it sucks, because you probably won’t get past page two. What I mean is, if your gut says your epic adventure would be better served as a less-than-epic novella, do that. Otherwise, you’ll quit a third of the way through, and that might be a shame.

Above all, enact your vision. Only your story is yours. Yes, of course it will be similar to someone else’s story, we’re all writing variations of just a few themes and there’s nothing original in the world of story-telling… except you. You are the unique element, your voice is what we haven’t heard before. That’s your ace-in-the-hole.

So get in there, get dirty and waste your time. Learn what your voice sounds like, and learn what your methodology is. Write the damned story…

Then go read all the advice so you can write a better story next time.