I’m sitting at my desk, staring at a print copy of my first published novel, and it somehow just does not feel real. I’m holding it in my hands, and I keep waiting to wake up and realize that I still haven’t accomplished anything with my writing. Frost is out in the world. People are buying copies, and I’m tracking sales and downloads on a daily basis. For some crazy reason, though, I keep waking up and wondering if this is real, or if I just dreamed it all and I’m still a failure as a writer. I’m not really sure how to shake this feeling of things being surreal.
Will it feel more real when I get my first royalty check? Will it feel more real when I start signing copies for friends and family? Would it feel more real if I had a launch party? Any thoughts or advice are welcome.
Crystallizing Your Book Idea . . . for Paranormal or Any Genre
By Debbie Herbert
I love paranormal romance because the possibility of magic tingles my creative drive and curiosity. The speculation that there might be something more to reality than can be perceived through our senses provides a natural “what if” environment writers need to create stories.
Plus – I’ve never outgrown my love of fairytales and mythology!
Not only do I write paranormal romance, my subject matter isn’t of the popular vampire or werewolf variety. I chose to write about mermaids. I’d completed three other novels (as yet still unpublished) before switching to mermaids and landing multiple contracts with Harlequin Nocturne for a series.
It all started with a dream. I was swimming in a deep body of water when I noticed a man dumping something from the side of a boat. Curious, I swam over. The man noticed me and his expression was so evil that it frightened me and I woke up. Like a typical writer, I started asking those ‘what if” questions: what if he were a killer? what if he was dumping a dead body? what if I were a mermaid and he caught me?
And from that one dream, I created a world in which a clan of mermaids secretly lived deep in an Alabama bayou.
Okay, great ideas are had by all writers. How do you begin the whole unwieldy process of stringing together thousands of words into an interesting, coherent story?
We all have our own process. I’m sharing mine today in the hopes it may spur you to try something different that might make it all a little easier or clearer.
My starting point is answering these three questions:
If I can grasp these, I can go on to develop character and romance ARCS and external and internal conflicts. The questions form my logline and blurb. This is how I start every book. It’s how my brain works. Here are some examples from my books:
Once you’ve answered these questions you can go about the nitty gritty details of plotting your book. I’m pretty low tech. I get a posterboard and divide it into 20 sections which represent each chapter. I fill in the turning points and any scenes that have come to mind. I don’t worry about filling every square, I just fill in what I have and GO.
How do you begin your novels? I’d love to hear your process as well!
Connect with Debbie on social media or learn more about her books.
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Debbie-Herbert-Author/151793451695632 Debbie Herbert Author
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-Herbert/e/B00F96OXUI
You may have noticed that I didn’t get started with my responses to the exercises in The Daily Writer by Fred White yet. Why? My husband’s grandmother fell and broke her femur on Thursday, and I dropped the ball on my writing to take care of family business. Family is more important, and always comes first for me. I will start the exercises when we reach a state of equilibrium again.
I feel like a lot of the events that have taken place in my life this year have been opportunities for me to drop the ball on one thing or another. One of my problems is that I’m very much the “all-or-nothing” type of ADD individual. I haven’t just dropped the ball on one thing, I’ve dropped the ball on EVERYTHING for the past few months. I am terrible at finding and/or maintaining balance in my life. I know I need it, but I’m just not sure how to get there. I could use a little help trying to balance things.
In the past, I’ve been known to go through cycles of dropping everything in my life to focus on my writing and periods of completely sacrificing my writing to focus on the rest of my life. There has to be a middle ground, and I could use some help getting there.
I’m happily married to the love of my life now and dropping everything to focus on my writing is no longer feasible or possible. I could really use some advice on how to balance my personal life, my scholarly life, and my writing life. I’m sure it’s obvious that time management is not my strong suit.
Can someone please help me figure out how to juggle everything without being a hermit, and still find time to get sleep in the process? Any and all advice is welcome.