| Every writer has wrestled for hours when they can’t string seven words together into a concise sentence. We doubt ourselves, our mentors, the process we thought we’d perfected, even the quality of beans that went into our cup of java. It happens to the best of us. There is no one-size-fits-all solution since writers are as different as that shade of navy you’re trying to match. I can only give you my humble opinion to tuck into your first aid kit on possible cures.
When the words won’t come I see two possible reasons, both of which involve turning off and moving away from your computer. How many times have we fallen asleep in our easy chairs, but tossed-and-turned in bed for hours? If you get out of bed and put the TV back on, you’ll doze off by the next commercial. Same is true about trying to force creativity in front of your laptop. Once you are seated in a lawn chair or a booth at the coffee shop, consider the first reason your well is dry: You need more story. This happens more often for seat-of-the-pants writers than plotters, but even plotters can reach a lull when the action or romantic drama needs help from a subplot to thicken the stew. Ask yourself: What can come along to blindside your characters? What’s the worst thing they fear? Make it happen. Often writers concoct a thrilling opening and know exactly how to bring their story to a tasty conclusion. They might even have some plot twists in mind, but in long novels, not even the most devout “plotter” can pre-conceive enough scenes to keep the pace moving. Go where it’s quiet, where you can roll your eyes back into your head. Suddenly story ideas will flow faster than you can jot down on your Starbucks napkin.
The second problem we sometimes experience is the haven’t-I-said-all-this-before-syndrome. We’ve got our story; we’ve got our multi-dimensional characters. But we’re trotting out the same old metaphors and tired verbs. It’s time to get away to someone else’s creative work that’s not in the genre you write. Read a book by a writer whose work you admire to see how they craft a story. No time to read a full novel? Go to a movie, again one with a screenplay by someone you love. Sit back, sip your soda, munch your popcorn and enjoy. I’ve been known to utter things like: What a delightful black moment, much to my husband’s dismay. The key is getting away from yourself. Then when you return to your work-in-progress, the well will be primed with fresh creative waters.
Posts Tagged ‘Sunset in Old Savannah’
Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Harvest House Publishers, Magnolia Moonlight, Mary Ellis books, Secrets of the South mysteries, Sunset in Old Savannah, Time Management on November 3, 2016| Leave a Comment »
|In my blissful, pre-published days, I erroneously believed that once an author received the coveted “call” and turned in a complete manuscript, she could relax and put her feet up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being published means honoring contracts in a timely fashion, along with a multitude of details. No longer was I squeezing time to “write a book” into my daily routine of tending home, family and day job. With each new release, the juggling act increases from three balls in the air, to four, five or even six.
Let’s take a look at how five projects could potentially demand your attention simultaneously:
First, there’s the book you’re currently writing and editing, according to your publisher’s expectations for word count, level of violence, etc.
Secondly, the book you recently submitted is by no means done. A plethora of add-ons must be finished before the book heads to the printer, such as developmental edits, line edits, back cover copy, book cover suggestions, and blurbs for catalogs and sales brochures.
Thirdly, if this was a series, chances are a book was recently released and requires promotion. Your title will either sink or swim during the first several months. An author must get the word out to readers through blog interviews, website and newsletter giveaways, and book signings, along with social media. Otherwise, with so many fine books releasing each year, how will potential readers find yours?
Fourthly, an author needs to research the next book she intends to write, and that often involves travel or at least long hours spent in the library. Not everything on the internet can be trusted for accuracy, so first-person travel, when possible, is especially helpful.
And finally, what happens when your current series draws to a close? If you don’t wish to be out of a job, you must devise an irresistible proposal that your publisher cannot turn down. Publishing houses consider projects well in advance, so authors need to think far down the line too. Considering all this stress, hard work and long hours, you might conclude that I’m complaining. Nothing would be farther from the truth. I love being an author and pray each night for God to make me a better juggler. Happy reading!
Mary Ellis has written twelve best-selling novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is third of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog, and cat. Sunset in Old Savannah releases in early 2017. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis/Author