All of us have different styles of writing.
I am naturally a quicker writer, words flow, sometimes faster than my 60wpm fingers can type. Other times, not so much. So this year I added to my prep work before typing my first sentence. I hope you find something you can use among the tools I’ve found that help me best. And to be fair, I give you this disclaimer, I work full-time, do have kids, a family, and all the stuff that keeps everyone busy. Generally, I have two hours a day to write, occasionally more, and on some days no time.
Start with Character.
I write romance, steamy to erotic usually, and I believe character rules in romance, not that I ignore plot. So, first I get to know my characters. I use up to three tools, depending on how secretive my character is being–as you know—some won’t quit yammering in your head.
Follow with GMC.
Once I know my characters, I write their internal and external Goal Motivation Conflict (GMC). Simple stuff. Avery wants the town and bikers to get along because she secretly wants to be a biker’s old lady but her father is the main voice against the motorcycle club.
Avery wants the town and bikers to get along because she secretly wants to be a biker’s old lady but her father is the main voice against the motorcycle club.
Which leads to plot.
After I am done with GMC, I move to plot. Here, I must thank Jamie Gold’s blog for some awesome Excel plotting spreadsheets. I like Story Engineer best but have used them all and now have created my own sheets that fit my plotting style. These Excel sheets give you the key plot points for a book in a spreadsheet format. Based on awesome magic, not only does it give you descriptions of what those points should do, it gives you a corresponding word count where each one of these should fall. I enter the skeleton of my plot into these worksheets, and make sure my story ideas actually work, and that I have enough conflict. Slow pacing and the lack of good conflict were two of my early weaknesses.
And then to an outline
Then I outline. You can, of course, outline to the degree you want. I use bullet points encompassing the chapter’s POV, a couple sentences about setting, word count for the chapter, and 5-7 plot points for the chapter. Generally, my chapters are about 3,000 words long. As I outline, I match my word count in the spreadsheet. For example, fun and games begins at about 20,000 words and is where the characters usually get to know each and fall in love. I make sure I outline lots of good sex and fun dates, along with some minor disasters in this section. This outlining method helps me make sure I have tension, highs, and lows in each chapter, and ensures I give each major plot point enough attention. Unless I’m working with a publisher who needs a synopsis before I write the book, this is where I start writing. Otherwise, I complete the dreaded synopsis.
Finally, I write!
My last hint is how I sit my butt down to put words on paper. I like to write in 15- to 30-minute blocks with no interruptions and music blasting. This means no internet, no social media, no kids, and no email.
But what about when I can’t remember or don’t know a fact?
I don’t let it derail me instead I use this trick…. I type #restaurantname and move on to the next sentence. Now, I use *** to mark scene, POV, or time breaks in chapters, if you use ### then pick another symbol. The beauty of this is that you can search the symbol and go back later and fill in the blanks easily, without missing any. Writing is an art and a craft. I find that my best writing comes when I write every damn day. When I take breaks, days or weeks, I have to retrain my body and mind to write again. And that sucks.
Why should you care?
This formula has given me about an extra 1,000 words a session because with this prep, I don’t need to stare into space deciding what should happen next. Instead, I keep writing.
Using this method, I completed and turned in two books to my publisher in six months.
You can use these tools whether you are a panster or a plotter, and believe it or not, I’m primarily a panster, as my characters change the freakin’ plot all the time, and I don’t outline in depth. But this style keeps me from needing to cut pages of back story or too much sex, and gets my first draft done in 3 to 8 weeks, depending on my motivation and focus.
Happy writing! And feel free to email me if you have questions!
[box type=”bio”] Join Jade for her SavvyAuthors class Ready, Set, Write Workshop, starting August 15.[/box]
[box] Enough: A Dark, Erotic Motorcycle Club Romance (Jericho Brotherhood) She wanted nothing to do with me. Well, that’s too f*cking bad. My MC brothers call me Dare for a reason. I never back down from a challenge. And Lila was the sweetest challenge I ever faced. From the moment she walked into my tattoo shop, she was going to end up in my bed. Tied up, moaning my name and begging for more. Her past was a nightmare and I couldn’t guarantee her a future. But I could promise her a good time. I didn’t know what we would turn into, let alone how hard it’d be to stay away after my selfish ass sent her packing. Problem is, my girl is hot, so the same men I call brothers tried to claim her. There’s not enough bourbon in the world to help me forget the love we shared. But to get her back, to prove she’s more to me than a quick lay, I’ll have to tell her the secret I’ve been hiding from everyone. Before she’s gone forever. Book one of The Jericho Brotherhood[/box]
[box type=”bio”] Jade Chandler is a new author who lives in Kansas City Missouri, with a hubby surrounded by a house full of girls–two daughters, a dog and a cat. A life-long lover of romance, she decided to write romance in 2014. Enough the first book in the Jericho Brotherhood series is available from Carina Press wherever digital books are sold. Release, book two will be available October 17 and Deny will be on sale in January 2017. www.jadechandler.com Twitter: @JadeChandlerRom Follow on Facebook[/box]