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Category: Writing

Chapter One – Done

I only added about 100 words today.  Some writing binge, huh?  The good thing is that Chapter One is in a good enough state that I can move on.  I’ve got scenes of Chapter Two bouncing around in my head, but again, they’re not in order.  I need to do some more plotting before I can dive in and start to write.

The weird thing is that I’ve been writing later in the day.  Usually, I’m a morning writer.  That hasn’t been the case so far with this book.  I don’t know why, but whatever works.

Total word count = 5246

Chapter 1 – Pushing Through

I didn’t sleep well last night, and I’ve been dragging all day.  With my head hurting, I really didn’t want to write, but I made myself sit down and try.  I managed to get about 700 words.  Better yet, I think I might be able to keep them.  That last scene still needs an edit, but I think I’ve introduced the heroine better.  I got inside her head so readers can understand her.   Chapter One now stands at 5,152 words.

Sometimes I write in sprints.  I tell myself to just work on it for an hour, and that’s my focus.  I can’t hop on the Internet or go check the mailbox.  It’s writing time.  I recently bought a kitchen timer.  It has huge numbers that show the time counting down.  I can see at a quick glance how much time is left and watching the numbers tick down makes me realize I’m wasting time.  I love it.  It’s a simple thing.  A watch or a clock or a phone will do the same thing, but they don’t have those big numbers, standing there looking at me.  And they don’t have the obnoxious beep that this thing does.  Hey, whatever works, right?

Chapter One — Work Continues

I added about 1200 words to Chapter One today, but focused more on editing.  It’s coming along nicely, but I really need to expand on the heroine.  I realized that I’m assuming that readers know her, but you don’t!  That will be my goal tomorrow.  I need to take a deeper dive inside her head and polish up that finishing scene.  Then I’ll be comfortable moving on to Chapter Two.

Speaking of being comfortable, my freak-out from yesterday seems to have subsided.  I don’t know why I was putting pressure on myself.  Writing doesn’t need to be fast, it needs to be good.  I’ve found that if I go too slow, I can lose the overall tone of the book.  If I go too fast, though, I can get ahead of what I’ve plotted.  Then things can take a disastrous turn.  For my last several books, I’ve written at a breakneck pace and have felt the stress associated with that.  I think that I’d come to equate writing with stress and that was what happened yesterday.  It’s not necessary.  I just need to remember that.

Yeah, like I have that kind of control.  Ha!

Chapter One

I got a good start on Chapter One today with 3250 words.  I try to get about 5,000 words per chapter.  It was a boy meets girl scene, told from the hero’s point of view.  I want to add her reaction next.  I always add words when I edit, so that should put me pretty close to what I want to hit before moving to Chapter Two.

I don’t know why, but I’m feeling pressure to write that additional scene tonight.  Self-inflicted pressure, which is ridiculous.  I don’t have the scene fleshed out in my head yet, and things never turn out well when I try to wing it.  I also haven’t plotted out Chapter Two yet, so why the rush?  Writers are weird.  A part of me wants to hit that 5,000-word mark, but the other half wants them to be words I can keep.  If I know the scene in my head, I’ll write it much faster.

Stupid brain. See, it’s starting already.  Want to know a secret? The writing process drives writers crazy.

New Project

I started working on a new project today.  I plan to do some binge writing over the next few days, so I thought I’d blog about it here.  I’ll share what I did, how much I wrote (or didn’t write), and when or why I got stuck.  I figure this will keep me accountable and maybe somebody out there would find it interesting.  Mainly, it’s to hold myself accountable.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been pushing in my head for inspiration, which never works.  I knew who my heroine was, but the story I’d originally envisioned for her just wasn’t working.  Then I had the idea for a different type of hero. I liked him a lot, but there wasn’t enough there for a story.  It’s strange, but a romance is never just the love story.  That would be so boring.  There’s got to be some sort of drama or  action going on, too, to move things along.  Since I write erotic romance, it also had to be sexy.  That’s the part I was missing until the other day.  I don’t even know how it came to me, but I remember going into a room to get something. Instead, I stopped because an idea had hit me — and it was the missing piece that brought the story together.  I finally had the sexy conflict I needed to keep the plot moving with my two characters.  (I never did remember why I went into that room.)

Scenes then came to me.  That’s how my creative process works.  Unfortunately, they’re never in order.  So today was all about getting the big picture sorted out in my head. I ended up writing the synopsis.  A synopsis is a 2-5 page summary of the story that publishing houses require you to submit with the full manuscript.  It’s essentially the Cliffs Notes version of your story. Some authors wait until the very end to write these.  I’ve come to realize that it’s helpful for me to write them first.  Once I plot a story out, it doesn’t change much.  If it does, the synopsis can easily be updated.

Anyway, today I wrote a 1,214-word synopsis.  It helped me get some of those scenes in order.  It definitely helped me flesh out my characters, especially the hero.  He’s not the Alpha type I usually write, but I can tell he’s going to be a good one.  I hadn’t really pictured this story all the way through to its end, but I came up with an idea that would tie everything up pretty nicely.  And, no, that’s not a bondage joke.  Ha.  I’m happy with the progress I made today.  It’s not quite there, but the story is starting to come together.

Tomorrow, I plan to work on Chapter One.  Yay.  Here we go.

Let It Snow

I woke up to find snow on the ground, and I’m finally starting to feel the spirit of the season.  The holiday season – and writing season.  For me, writing during the winter is so much easier.  The temptation to run outdoors isn’t there.  I’m finally allowed to stay inside all day, without receiving those sideways glances from people worrying that I’m becoming a hermit.  My hot chocolate is by my side, and my computer is ready to go.  Now it’s just a matter of picking which project comes first!

Erotica vs. Erotic Romance

There’s a difference. Lately, I’ve heard the terms being used interchangeably, but erotica and erotic romance are two distinct story genres.  Some readers like both, but others might not.  Here’s a guide to help you understand the difference:

  • Erotica — This is the story of a character’s sexual evolution.  It’s all about the character exploring their sexuality and their boundaries.  Expect hot, explicit sex scenes, potential darkness, and often multiple partners.  There doesn’t have to be a happily-ever-after, but there should be growth in the character if the erotica is any good.  Good erotica also has a strong story line and doesn’t simply skip from one sex scene to the next — although there will be a lot of hanky panky going on.
  • Erotic Romance — This is a love story cranked up to 10.  It’s about two characters (or more) falling in love and lust with one another.  The focus is on the emotional relationship, and it should be strengthened by a sexual connection.  The characters are committed to one another and care for one another.  It’s a romance, so a happy ending is expected.

I started my career with Black Lace Books, which was the premier publisher of women’s erotica back in its time.  My early stories were published through them, so they’re mainly in the erotica genre.  My preference, though, is erotic romance, and I couldn’t help but let that creep in to most of my erotica stories.  Today, I write mainly erotic romance, although I did venture back into the world of erotica a few years ago with Private Dancer.

Through the years, the pendulum has swung wildly on just how explicit both genres will go and what sexual practices are explored.  Today, most of my books would probably just be considered “hot.”  I think sensuality is not only in the act, but in the buildup of sexual tension.  So whatever you read, enjoy it, but be aware of what you’re buying so you’re not surprised or disappointed.

Happy reading!

Written in the Stars

This past weekend, I went to a Psychic Fair.  I love testing out how different kinds of readings work.  This time, I chose to have my astrological chart done.  The woman started reading my results.  She went very fast, so you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t use the correct terms.  Anyway, one of the items in my major house was sex.  She said it in a very hushed voice and looked at me closely.  I kept quiet, but thought “hmm, maybe there’s something to this.”

She continued on, reading my results in another area, and once again came upon the “s” word.  She kind of coughed over it this time and gave me a side-long look.  I couldn’t take it any longer.  I could just see the thoughts going through her head!  I blurted out, “I write romance novels.  Lots of them.”  The expression on her face was priceless.  Then she started laughing.  I started laughing and soon everyone was looking at us.

It all fit together then.  The focus on sex and the strengths that showed up in my communication field.  She had some exciting predictions about my future, which I’m looking forward to.

These are interesting times, she said, with two eclipses, the autumnal equinox, and a super blood moon all happening within a few weeks of one another.  Pluto is squared off with Uranus, which causes stress, but don’t worry.  That’s only supposed to last through 2017.  Hang in there!

And yes, after our hearty laugh together, I’m sending her a book.  I think Dream Man will be perfect for her.

In The Zone

I’ve been working hard on finishing up my next book (currently titled Courting Innocence.)  I’m cleaning up chapters, tying up loose ends, and rewriting scenes that don’t quite work.  I am in The Zone.

It’s a wonderful and horrible place to be.  It might be hard for non-writers to understand (and some writers might not agree), but I have to be in a certain head space for this to happen.  It’s truly a mental and physical experience.  I can actually feel when I’m there.  I can write around the space.  I know the plot and the technical aspects of the story.  I can write some cool characters and some really hot sex.  Yet writing in The Zone is entirely different.

Everything else goes away.  I’m very aware of the passage of time, but it goes too fast.  I’m one with the characters, and the words flow.  I sit in front of the keyboard for hours.  I ignore the phone.  The house doesn’t get cleaned.  Meals are whatever I can grab fast.  Family knows not to disturb.  Sleep is shorter.  I am mentally checked out and in another world.  In this state, I can crank out an immense number of words — and they’re usually keepers.  But when I come up for air or drink or food, it’s like trudging through sludge, trying to come back to reality.

So why don’t I always write in The Zone?  Because as difficult it is to leave it, it’s even harder to get there.  My mind resists, and so does my body.  It doesn’t like the ache in my back from sitting in a chair.  My mind resists being pulled away from so many other interesting things.  What helps push me past all this and get into the groove?  Pressure.  I wish I could turn it on and off with a snap of my fingers, but I can’t.

So yes, I do have different places I go inside my head.  No, I don’t have mental problems, I’m a writer.

Do any of you do that?  Do you have a job or hobby or talent that you can become engrossed in?  What does it feel like for you?


plotting_process_webWhen I write, I have a bunch of scenes in my head or points that I know need to be made.  Sometimes they come in orderly fashion, but often they’re a jumble.  There are always holes on how to get from one place to another.  That’s when I know I have to sit down and think everything through before I write one more word. Today was one of those days.

When I started writing this story, I followed the same process.  I wrote down a bunch of high points on index cards.  I haven’t looked at them for a while, but I’ve followed them really closely.  I had six cards left when I started today.  Quickly, I began to add all the new things that have come into my head.  They’re all scenes that need to take place to close out the book.  Threads need to be tied together. Characters need closure. Climaxes need to be hit. (Excuse the pun, but the sex scenes are on the index cards, too!)

Then I stare and sort. Add a card here, move a card there.  Stare some more.  Get rid of something that’s cool, but doesn’t fit. Save it for another time. Take care of a supporting player, add some foreshadowing, shuffle the remaining cards… Etc. etc.  And so it goes until I’ve got a pretty darn good map to get me to the end of the book.  Sometimes it works well (like today).  Other times I just want to throw the cards at the wall.  Then I have to figure out another way to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper.

And yes, whatever method I end up using, peanut butter-filled pretzels do help.