Years ago, I attended my first NJRW conference and began this crazy path to discovery and publication. At my first conference I attended workshops given by writers like Virginia Kantra and Molly O’Keefe, authors whom I still read and admire to this day. This weekend I will start a new phase of my journey when I lead my first ever workshop, Using Humor to Add Emotional Depth, at the NJRW 2015 Conference. If you have read the Brothers of Audubon Springs series, then you know humor is infused throughout the stories. It is my belief that humor, when it draws from your characters core beliefs, and fears, packs a powerful emotional punch that will make readers laugh until they cry. At least, that is what this workshop is about. I’ll discuss 4 pathways to using humor. If you are attending the conference, I’d love to see you.
Reaching a Milestone – Presenting a Workshop
Updates and News
Hello readers and friends. I have so much to share. First, and most exciting…I’ve finished a new book! This Young Adult Romance with Mystery has me super energized. I shared a bit about WINGING IT a while back when I wrote about a discovery in my writing process while working on its revision. Writing Process Breakthrough and a Contest Finalist. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating, contests can be an wonderful source for feedback and exposure of your material. The feedback I received from the Music City Romance Writers and Florida Romance Writers first and final round judges really helped me shape my final draft. Beyond that, WINGING IT received two full requests from the final round editors. Between feedback from the contests, comments from an amazing critique partner, an awesome beta reader, and my mom’s teacher’s pen, I polished WINGING IT and sent out the door to the requesting editors. Now the hard part begins in the form of waiting.
Since waiting is not my strong suit, I’ve decided to keep busy and not spend too much time on it. I’ve started a new story about a secondary character from WINGING IT. In addition, those of you who are fans of my already published humorous contemporary romances might be interested to know I’ve been working steadily on a new series set in upstate New York. I don’t want fans of the Brothers of Audubon Springs series to think I’m ignoring your requests for a book for Mia in that series. I promise, nearly half of Mia’s story is written, so hang tight. The publishing industry moves slow, but I do have plans to get that story to you eventually.
To give you a bit of an update regarding my plans for 2015, here is the link to my recent post at The Violet Femmes group blog. It’s all about Making Your Own Luck, something I’m hoping to do in 2015.
In the event you missed other posts over at The Violet Femmes, I executed a Femme Stalking back in November. Pretty much this means I went FAN GIRL on Virginia Kantra, and she was gracious enough to let me. I’ve admired her and her writing for a number of years. I really enjoyed getting to know her better. Here is the link to our interview. Femme Stalking Virginia Kantra. As you can see, I highly recommend her Dare Island series! I also shared my thoughts on The Power of Perseverance after seeing the hard work of one of my old theatre buddies result in a huge milestone achievement.
More to come on the current works in progress in the next few weeks. In the meantime, THANK YOU lovely readers for the continued positive reviews for The Brothers of Audubon Springs series!
See you soon!
Photo credit: wanderlasss / Foter / CC BY-NC
Writing Process Breakthrough and a Contest Finalist
Hello! I have some exciting news to share! I haven’t been posting as much as I would like because I’ve been consumed by writing two projects in two genres. I’m pretty jazzed about both. The first is a Young Adult novel called WINGING IT. I’m pleased to announce this piece was recently named a finalist in two Romance writers Association Chapter contests. For those who enjoy my humorous contemporary romances, do not fear…I am working on a new contemporary series, AND Mia’s story from the Brothers of Audubon Springs series. I haven’t forgotten about her. Part of my enthusiasm right now for the writing is a sense that I have FINALLY locked in to my process as a writer. What does this mean?
The Writing Process
Every writer has their own unique process. Over the course of time, I have taken several online writing courses in addition to attending multiple workshops. Every instructor will say…this is what I do, this works for me…it might not work for you. So I absorbed, wrote, learned, absorbed, wrote, learned. Certain things resonated with me from the very start. GMC, of course, a necessity, and I was attracted to The Hero’s Journey from the get go. These two things have always been components of my process, but I was really writing with the Hero’s Journey in mind along with my GMC, but not enough other tools in my writing arsenal to really feel productive.
So, here’s my process. It’s important to note these components have all been in my “kit” for the past 2-3 years, but how I’m using them has changed.
- GMC – See Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, Conflict.
- Character / Story Development:
- Six Stage Plot Structure (remember when I blogged obsessively on this?)
- Book In A Week: Online course developed by April Kihlstrom
- Six Stage Plot Structure: WOUND, ESSENCE, IDENTITY
- Rules of Six: Online course by Shirley Jump
Why is this an Ah-Ha moment? I discovered after laying the groundwork, I need to write about the first 3rd of the book and then go back to the beginning and do a deeper dive into the character development, specifically focusing on the main characters WOUND, ESSENCE and IDENTITY from the Six Stage Plot Structure. Also at this time, I go back to the beginning and hold myself accountable to the Rules of Six work for every scene through to the end. In a nutshell, the idea is six goals and motivations for the POV character in every scene. It forces you to dive deeper into your characters and story. It is really cool work. If you ever see this workshop offered online…TAKE IT!
The Change in a Nutshell
I had been doing this mid writing at the end of writing a first draft. Now by stopping at that 3rd way mark to add this second layer, when I move past this point, I continue to hold myself accountable to the entire kit until I type THE END. This naturally adds the deeper POV work into the first draft. Although, technically, at this point the first 100 pages are really more a 2nd draft.
The end result? I’m writing faster and stronger (insert Bionic Man joke here) with the prospect of being able to produce a lot of material in short period of time, almost like…gasp…a REAL writer!
If you are a writer, how has your process changed over the years? What is the one thing in your writer’s toolkit you absolutely could not live without?