Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Other Picture

This picture goes with the photo I posted yesterday. Both were taken by my sister while I was in China. She had brought the kids to a local historical church and cemetery, and as they were hiking through the hilly area, they saw the sign. Just a little further up the hill, they found the snake skin. Needless to say, my sister hightailed it out of there with the seven kids running along beside her.

The photos are inspiration as I work on the proposal for my Heroes for Hire book (which may give you hint about some of the action scenes). But, I do think they'd be just as fitting for a my Texas Ranger story!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And We're Back There Again


Back where we always must go.

To the dreaded synopsis.

That horrifying place where good writing goes bad. Really, really bad.

Sadly, writing the dreaded synopsis is part of every author's journey. Whether your pre-published, just published or multi-published, you've got to be able to write a thorough summary of your story. This summary must encompass all major plot points, the faith element (if you're writing Christian fiction), the character development, the romantic themes.....

I could go on, but that would be about as boring as writing the synopsis actually is.

Boring. Painful.

But so useful (and there is not even a hint of sarcasm in those words).

Writing a synopsis allows the author and editor to see whether or not the story will actually work. As painful as the process is, it always leaves me understanding my characters and my plot in a way I would not have if I had simply jumped into the story.

To begin writing a synopsis, I first write character sketches for my heroine and my hero. This includes everything about their past, their current situation and the catalyst that will bring them together.

If you're delving into synopsis writing, I'd suggest beginning there, with your characters.

So, on my agenda for the night - character sketches for the hero and heroine in my third Heroes for Hire book.

I may pull out character sketches from previous books and post them here next.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

For Every Ending a Beginning

Sabrina asked if I'm taking time off since I have four books coming out next year, but I'm actually not finished fulfilling my contractual obligations to Harlequin. In other words, I haven't finished writing those four books.

It seems strange that I have four books coming out, but only three books written, but that's the way the industry works. Once you are published and established as an author within the Harlequin family, you may decide to do what I've done and write up a proposal for a miniseries. This allows two things. First, it allows your editor to offer you a multi-book contract. Second, it allows your editor to plan the release of your books based on the fact that they are a series.

For me, this meant that when I was offered a contract for the HEROES FOR HIRE miniseries, the editors decided that the best way to market the books and keep readers buying was to make sure that all three books came out next year. At the time of the offer, I was finishing up the 2010 LIS continuity which was slotted for April 2010. Since then, I've completed the continuity and two of the HEROES FOR HIRE stories. The third will be out in November of next year, and I'm writing the proposal for it now.

Once I write that proposal, I have to write the proposal for the LIS 2011 continuity.

For every ending there truly is a beginning.

That's what I love about writing, but it is also what proves the greatest challenge. With no one standing over my shoulder, bugging me about page count, word count and deadlines, it is too easy to fall into procrastination. In order to complete my manuscripts on time, I must force myself to work and to keep working.

In the writing industry, careers are established and maintained by hard work and integrity. As authors, we must always be aware that turning manuscripts in late will hold up production and may even delay the release of a book. Establishing good writing habits before publication is the best way to ensure that they are firmly in place before your first book hits the shelves.

I know I've said it before, but I can't stress it enough - set writing goals and meet them. That's the path to success in the writing world

Which reminds me...I've got 1,950 words left to write today!

BTW, the photos are of VALLEY OF SHADOWS. I happened upon the 'new' version this morning. The first version is at the top. The new one under it.