CraftPlotting/ StructureSavvyBlogWriting Life

New Year’s Resolution – Write the *&#$ Book by Barbara Donlon Bradley

I have been writing a long time now. I can’t believe how much time has passed since my first book came out. I also can’t believe how many writers I have met on my way who never finished a book. That was one thing I’ve never had a problem with and I’m a pantser. People who write the way I do are more likely not to finish a book because they don’t have a blueprint to work off of. The thrill of beginning the story wears off and they start to flounder. The crazy thing is I always have an outline for my books, it’s just all in my head.

One young lady I knew was great at the first three chapters. She won contest after contest with those well honed three chapters but she couldn’t finish her manuscript. Don’t get me wrong, she tried, but for some reason she kept working on the same section instead of adding new scenes until she could write the end. She ended up leaving my local RWA chapter without a book done.

I know others who have all these brilliant ideas and have over a dozen books started but like someone with ADD they can’t seem to focus on one particular book long enough to write the whole story. I have that at times but I write a blurb in a journal marked for ideas and then go back to it when I’m ready to write it.

It’s obvious they had talent, why couldn’t they finish what they started? What was stopping them? Was it trying to find the right word every time? Was it not having a clear vision of the end of the book? Did they plot it out so much they couldn’t feel the excitement that comes with finishing a scene or a chapter?

I don’t know.

I learned to put one word in front of the other. It doesn’t have to be pretty I just have to get it on paper. As long as I write I can always go back and clean it up, but the idea has to go from my brain to print before I should start to worry about what I said and how I said it. I find that relatively easy, but I write every day.

I follow the rule that a writing friend of mine, Felicia Mason, said one time. She had a book she had to write that she didn’t have the drive to do, but she had a contract and had to fulfill it. She knew what she had to do so she made herself sit down and write for fifteen minutes a day. If that was all she could do then she at least worked for fifteen minutes, but a lot of times she was able to spend an hour or more on that manuscript and she got it done. It’s a good rule that can get you over writer’s block, lack of time, or whatever excuse you might use not to write.

We all have them. Excuses I mean. I need to clean the house/fix dinner/call someone. I’m too tired, need to check my e-mails/facebook/Pinterest/twitter accounts – did I miss one? I need to spend time with the family. I have homework to do. I got work projects that need to be done. Don’t let these things get in the way of your writing.

You want to know how others get it done while holding down a full time job and a take care of a house and family? Writing comes first. They set aside a certain time of day to write. I had a friend who got up at four am every day to write before she went to work. I stay up late to get mine done.

But there’s plotting and figuring out how to do this? Where do you start?

Each of us has our own way of writing. I’m sure there are more than the ones I’m getting ready to talk about but these are the ones that come to mind. Some will write the big scenes as they come to them then arrange them the way they want and write the filler to connect those scenes. Others will plot out the book. Keeping the ideas on index cards or post-it notes and arrange them on a board so they have everything they need at a glance when they’re ready to write. Some keep everything in notebooks. Some use handheld recorders. Then there are people like me who do everything in their heads.

It’s pretty funny to hear me mumble about my characters or work out dialogue under my breath as I’m working. I stock shelves for a living and have been known to work my way through a scene while I’m on all fours straightening up merchandise.

When I write I have a tendency to be linear. I start at the beginning of the book and write straight through. Not sure why I write that way but it works for me. I don’t let this style stump me when I get stuck. If a scene won’t unravel in my mind I’ll write a few words of what the scene should be about and move on to the next one, then go back when I have the scene.

If you tried one way and it doesn’t work try something else. Can’t seem to sit at your computer and write? Try using pen and paper. Really busy but have a great scene in your head? Use a recorder to get it out, call yourself on your cell phone and leave a message. Push yourself to get started. Once you do keep at it every day.

It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you write. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you get the words on paper so to speak. Don’t let the fact you use the same word a lot deter you, or the scene isn’t flowing the way you want. That is something you can fix in your edits.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done.



Writing for Barbara Donlon Bradley started innocently enough, like most she kept diaries, journals, and wrote an occasional letter but she also had a vivid imagination and wrote scenes and short stories adding characters to her favorite shows and comic books. As time went on she found the passion for writing to be a strong drive for her. Humor is also very strong in her life. No matter how hard she tries to write something deep and dark, it will never happen. That humor bleeds into her writing. Since she can’t beat it she has learned to use it to her advantage. Now she lives in Tidewater Virginia with two cats, one mother in law – she’s 85 now, her husband and teenage son.





Heather and Storm’s story continues…

When Storm leans against one of Bert’s machines and is sent back in time, without his memories, Heather has to go after him.

A simple retrieval won’t work. She has to make him remember before they can return to their own timeline.

Finding him is easy, getting him to regain his memories isn’t. Then she finds out Ialog is there, giving Storm something to keep his memories at bay.

Now she has to find a way to stop her old nemesis and bring her mate home.