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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How Do I Even Start...?

Happy Tuesday All,

Normally I'd have this up and running in the beginning of the day, but I got behind.

In my adventures as a writer, I come across people who say "I want to write, but I don't know how to get started." The really simplistic answer to that is "Just write." That really is a key part of writing is actually writing. But sometimes they want more information, or ideas of hints and help, etc. So here's a basic, general breakdown:

1. You have to write. What are you interested in? What story do you have to tell? Do NOT worry if it seems stupid or whatever to you. Just get started. You can always edit later.

2. Check out your favorite authors. A lot of authors have websites and/or blogs, etc. Some are on social media. Check them out. See what they say about the writing process and getting published. Find out what worked for them and see if it's something that'll work for you.

3.  Find a writer's group. Very helpful and you won't feel so alone. Some groups even offer workshops and classes. As a member of Romance Writer's of America, I've got access to all kinds of material off the RWA website, monthly magazine, online workshops, email newsletter, and chapters. A ton of information.

4. Read. Read things like Publisher's Weekly, Writer's Digest, publisher websites/blogs, agent websites and blogs. Check out their social media. Do research.

5. Write some more...in fact, between all this, KEEP writing.

6. Edit! Edit, edit, edit. And edit again. You will go through several drafts. You will get rid of pages and scenes and stuff that just doesn't work. It's okay...you want to put out the best and most polished manuscript you can. If you need help, check out freelance editors.  Jennifer Bray-Weber and Carla Rossi offer editing services (they're experienced writers/editors, and I know them personally. Very professional and helpful). There are others, of course. Those names are just off the top of my head.

7. Remember that oftentimes the first manuscript isn't the one you published. In fact, my first completed (that is, written beginning to end, not counting any editing to do) has never been published. I'd have to do some serious editing for it to be even CLOSE to publishing. In fact, other manuscripts weren't even completed. So, no, my first completed manuscript wasn't my first published work. (This isn't to say that someone's first manuscript can't get published, it's to say that in general it doesn't happen. There are, of course, exceptions, but this is in case you realize your first completed work isn't what you want to publish...don't lose hope or get defeated, you aren't alone).

So there you have it. 7 general steps that should help you get started. Remember, everybody's process is different, but you won't get started writing until you actual sit down and write. So go for it!

Have A Terrifically Tip-Top Tuesday!

Monday, May 21, 2018

You Mean It Isn't That...?

Happy Monday All,

We're getting closer to Romance Writers of America's National Conference (aka "Nationals" or "RWA18"). It's interesting to me how the longer I'm in the genre, the more of the stereotypes and comments that come my way.

For instance, last year, I was in the elevator going up to get something from my hotel room, and this person who was attending another event said to me, "Oh, you're with that book thing."

Now, I played it off. I mean, technically it is a "book thing", but this illustrates some of what we romance novelists encounter. Nationals are so much more than just a "book thing". We have a ton of writers there, sure, but we also have people in other capacities. There are agents, editors, bloggers, sometimes cover artists/models, and well, it wouldn't shock me if someone from film showed up...oh wait, they already did...PassionFlix.

Darling readers, any of you who have followed me (or any other romance novelist) for any amount of time are also aware of the vastness of the genre. There are so many sub-genres (no, I haven't tallied them up, but I imagine they keep expanding). Romances sometimes even contain some kind of mystery--even murder (example, Christie Craig's The Cop Who Stole Christmas). I'd venture to say that if one looks hard enough there's bound to be something for everyone. In my novels, I've got adventure, romance, suspense, humor--you name it.

The point is, Romance writers don't encompass just one thing. They're NOT all like whatever is popular (for example, I've gotten "Oh you write Romance...like Fifty Shades Of Grey?" and I've also gotten, "Oh, like Twilight?") No, it's a vast, expansive--whatever adjective you want to use to say the word "big"--genre and industry.

And we love our readers. Romance writers are incredibly big on being good to their readers. Case in point: author Elizabeth Hunter often does "Five Friday"--a live Facebook video where she answers reader questions/comments and talks about her upcoming work. She also does giveaways. I've done several giveaways. I also carry around swag (bookmarks) for people that include information on how to find me so if they want to know more they can find that information.

I honestly think that no matter your gender or background, you probably can find a romance that suits your tastes (I've even seen little bits of romance in mid-grade...like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine or Betsy & Joe and Betsy's Wedding both by Maud Hart Lovelace). (P.S. If you have a kid 10 years or older who is interested in writing and you live near Brewster, NY, Gail Carson Levine is doing a 6-week workshop!)

In any case, the Romance genre is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) genres out there. And the comments I've mentioned don't really bother me; however, they do remind me that there are a lot of stereotypes and at one point, yes, there probably was something to them (when there weren't a lot of options) but the genre has come a LONG way since then.

So, go ahead, and enjoy the genre. I know I do!

Have A Magically Marvelous Monday!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Excitement Building...

Happy Monday All,

Like I've said before, my posting on here is inconsistent. Blog topics are hard to come up with and my life is full of being mom, wife, and writer. But enough of excuses!

I'm gearing up for RWA Nationals 2018. I think I've been gearing up for it since Nationals ended last year. I can't help it. I had such a blast in Florida, I'm looking forward to what Colorado will bring.

I'm also excited to see some friends I haven't seen in a long time. Particularly one who was a year behind me in high school. We hung out in the same social group and had one class together my Junior year. She's a sweetheart and I've missed her. We're going to get manicures and hang out. I think it's going to be a ton of fun!

Nationals is a great way for authors (particularly Romance authors) to get together, find out what's new in the publishing world, and network. Publishers, agents, and other industry professionals come from all over as well. It's a HUGE event (I've heard numbers upwards of 2,000 people in attendance). 

Also, I've never been to Colorado. I've been a lot of places in the mainland of USA, but not there. So that will be interesting, too.

Unfortunately all this doesn't happen until July, so I've got to wait a little longer. But, it's nice to have something to look forward to doing. It's fun to feel the anticipation building as we get closer and closer. I can hardly wait!

What do you have to look forward to doing?

Have A Marvelously Magical Monday!