Creativity is a Process

People often ask us how we come up with the ideas for our books. The idea part is the easy part of writing. It’s the fun part, at least for us. The rest of it can be difficult. Creating a plausible plot, creating characters and staying true to them through the story but aware enough to know that they have to grow just as people do, creating believable situations (yes, even in fantasy it has to be somewhat believable), and creating a world and history for it. There is so much more. We like to call it hammering out the details. Those are all the hard parts of writing. The parts that take time and effort. Details.

Whereas we sit down and write without an outline so that the story can still surprise us, we still have to keep all of the details straight which means extensive note taking of when, why, and where something happened. We even have to take notes on our characters for hair color, eye color, personality traits/ticks, etc. That’s were the awesome program OneNote has helped tremendously. We used to have spiral notebooks with all this information in it and it would take forever to find something we’re looking for because we forgot something. With OneNote, it has made it so much easier. We can organize our thoughts and world/character details easily.

And for each writer, the process for creativity is different. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for my husband. What works for some well-known authors who have shared glimpses into their writing styles and habits works for them and others. I’ve tried some of their suggestions and processes. They didn’t work for me the way it did for them. I have taken some of what I learned from them and reworked it to suit my needs. As a writer, you are always learning new ways for creativity. Sometimes those new ways inhibit the process and sometimes they help. The advice we give to any writer is: You do you. Don’t worry about what works for Steven King, George R.R. Martin, J.K. Rowling, Jim Butcher, James Patterson, and so many more. Worry about what works for you and only you. Writing is an extremely personal process.

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I Will Be a Writer

Before writing this post, I was working on the rewrite of Book 3 in the Ordinary series and thinking about the process of writing. For some of us it’s difficult. For others, we rarely experience what’s known as writer’s block. For some of us, probably¬†most of us, we have self-doubt about what we’re writing. Is it any good? Is anyone going to like it? To answer both questions, it is good and someone already likes it. You.

It’s true when others say that you have to write for yourself first. If you don’t like what you’re writing, it’s going to show. As for something being good, you thought it was good enough to write it in the first place and the only way any of us are ever going to get better is to write and keep writing. Even if what you’re working on isn’t that great, keep working on it. Finish it. Writers only grow through writing and honest, critical reviews from people. Now, these critical reviews don’t have to be mean. You can say something sucks in a nice way. Tell them how you thought they could improve. Tell them things that didn’t work for you. Be nice about it though. It’s hard to finish a book, but it’s even harder to let others read it and give you their opinions. For us, that’s the scary part, letting others read our work. Yes, that’s the goal but it doesn’t make it less scary, less intrusive.

The most important thing is to remember to keep writing and to never stop. Don’t let the cynical part of your brain win. Giving up is the biggest form of failure. If you never give up, even if you don’t succeed and become the best-selling author you dream of, you still win. You still never gave up. You still kept on writing and working on your dreams. You still kept writing the novels you felt needed to be written.

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How We Create Characters… Sometimes

How I Create Characters

There have been more times than we would care to admit where we’ve been driving down the road and saw some random person, and suddenly, we’re creating an entire backstory for them. Some of them, well MOST of them, are outlandish and just downright ridiculous. It’s a good creative exercise for us that is super fun. And sometimes, just sometimes, they end up being a character in one of our books.

New Beginnings (Hartland Book 5) Covers

 

Book 5 in the Hartland series, the last one, is going through one more edit, and then it will be released. I know we didn’t give anyone much notice on this one. We apologize for that in advance. This book has been a bit of a struggle to complete. Not because of the story but because of some personal trials that made writing difficult. And now, we’re moving at the end of the month. It’s been a crazy time for us, so we’re trying to wrap up some projects before we move. This being one of them. We hope to have this released before the 24th, which is the day we’re moving.

Time To Toot My Own Horn

The Ordinary series, an 8 book series, is complete. At least, the first drafts are. The reason I am tooting my own horn today is because I managed to write 8 books in a span of 118 days. That’s right, a little less than 4 months which makes it 2 books a month. Six of the first drafts are around 70k, the other 2 are near the 90k mark. That’s 600,000 words, roughly, which boils down to hammering out around 5,000 words a day.

The reason this is such an achievement for me is because after moving to Savannah and losing a loved one, I found it difficult to write. It was almost impossible to finish the 5th book in the Hartland series. It’s finished, but I am still in the process of reformatting it. It’s a difficult book for me as it’s linked to those memories but it’s a book that I am the most proud of. In a time, where I didn’t want to write, where I seriously considered giving up, I continued writing. Even if I could only manage to write 3 measly words in a day, I did. Today, I am thankful for that perseverance.

Only regret giving up Meme

It helps reaching these goals when you love to write, are blessed to have an amazing husband that insists you don’t work because your back is screwed up, and the fact I just absolutely love the story of the Ordinary series. Now, the fun part begins of the rewriting and fine tuning of the story. I am one of those people that typically loves the editing part because you can really see your story take to life during this process. The first drafts, for me, are to get the story out. The other multitude of drafts is to get it to as close to perfection as you can.

But first, maybe a break? I am thinking about reading a few books in between having finished this series and starting the rewrite. We’ll see how that goes. I might get too excited about polishing the story that I jump right to it. I know that the next few days, I will finish getting New Beginnings, the 5th and last book of the Hartland series, ready for publishing.

I wish you all to have a fantastic weekend.