Tag Archives: Writing Process

The Title or the Story: Which came first?

It’s something I find interesting to hear from other authors. Did your story stem from the title you came up with, or did your title inspire the story in the first place?

Some create their new world full of characters that’s all their own, and the title stems from the story itself. Others become inspired by their title, and the story starts from there, taking on a life of its own.

For my book, it was the story that inspired the title, though I wasn’t even thirty pages in when the title hit me full force out of nowhere. It helped inspire the story even further and ended up foreshadowing a theme I hadn’t even realized I’d begun.

Has that happened to you, or are you still stumped with what to name your work? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts on this, fellow authors!




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And The Editing Begins…

I have now come to the editing point in my manuscript. I’ve been having a difficult time getting started as my manuscript is 499 pages and seems beyond overwhelming.

I can’t help but find it a bit ironic. When I first began writing, I had a difficult time not constantly editing and re-editing, and had to force myself to let it go and continue writing the story. Now it’s the opposite. My story is written, but I’m now going to have to force myself to start editing.

It all seems overwhelming, but I know I need to dive in and just start the process. I’m hoping if I break it down into sections, it will help with the overwhelming undertaking of it all.

Have any of you had this problem? What is your approach to editing? I’d welcome any and all advice you’d like to share!



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What I Listen to While I Write

I’ve found that when I’m writing my book, nearly any type of noise distracts me. I can’t have the TV going {even in the background} and since I’m already such a musical person, playing music while I write is completely out of the question. So what do I do to keep myself from being distracted by any and all sounds the world around me makes while I’m trying to concentrate?

I listen to thunder and rain. It’s perfect for me, actually, as I absolutely love the rain anyway. Double win, because my book takes place in an overcast/mostly rainy setting. The soundtrack makes it perfect to get my mindset where the characters are- hearing what they might be hearing.

The best version of thunder and rain I’ve found is Relax With’s Thundering Rainstorm. The rain actually sounds like rain {instead of a cheap rainstick as so many often do}, and the thunder is perfectly spaced and sounds real. There are also a few bird sounds intermittently placed, which adds to its charm. I also love it because it doesn’t have any music enhancement- it’s strictly nature. {No, I am not trying to sell this product- I just love it and use it so often that I thought I’d share!} So if you’re looking for a good background soundtrack to write with, I encourage you to check this one out. It’s been around for a while, but it still tops my list.

What types of sounds/music do you listen to while writing? Do you prefer silence? I’d love to know your thoughts!


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Pre-published vs. Unpublished

Recently, I’ve been running across more and more debates over the merits of saying, “I’m pre-published,” vs. “I’m unpublished.” In all honesty, I’d never even heard the term pre-published until not too long ago. But it stuck with me- in two very different ways.

My first reaction was thinking, wow what a cool way to sound confident even though you haven’t been published yet. Because, really, when others find out you’re an author, the inevitable follow-up question is always whether or not you’re published, and saying you’re unpublished tends to have a more negative undertone, instantly causing their eyes to glaze over. And who really needs salt rubbed in the wound? So it would seem this term would be the equivalent of proudly stating to all, that while you may not be published yet, you’re completely committed to it and that it’s just a matter of time before it happens. Sounds confident and precocious. Win-win, right?

So I agreed, until I really began to think about it. The other side of the coin {and now the most prominent side argued, I’ve seen} is that saying you’re pre-published has a completely negative connotation to it- as if you’re unflatteringly presumptuous, sounding further arrogant in presuming you’re even going to be published at all. I have seen numerous editors, authors, and the like, beg for writers not to use the term pre-published as it drives them crazy. But in all fairness, I have seen agencies that actually use the phrase pre-published, as well. Personally, I can definitely see how it could put off others, and make you sound arrogant and without charm. {Though, couldn’t it be proper when using it in hindsight? “Back in my pre-published days, I…”}

I suppose it’s up to your own discretion whether or not to use pre-published or unpublished. In my opinion, while unpublished tends to feel more glass-half-empty, I think I’d rather run the risk of sounding negative rather than presumptuous. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this!


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Research: Working Out the Fundamentals of Your New World

ResearchI have heard time and time again authors stating how important research is for writing a book. It wasn’t until I was naively thirty pages into writing my own manuscript that I realized just how right they were. I’d come to a sudden roadblock in a scene. I hadn’t any idea the rules and guidelines of the new world I was creating and was therefore unable to move the story along and have it make sense.

There is a reason research is so important. It not only helps you in the beginning -to form your new world and help it stay consistent and make sense- but it also helps you avoid future roadblocks, allowing you to continue writing without having to stop and research it on the spot.

Now, I know every author has a different way of going about researching and organizing their information. Personally, I thrive on the complete organization of detailed information in my own research habits. I have Lyme disease {which I’ll be posting more about sometime later on this blog…} and tend to forget details about my characters, settings, etc. So I was forced {and secretly enjoyed} to break down my story into parts, creating tables in Word to organize it all. Here are a few ideas I used for my own novel:

  • Characters— I established main and minor {but important} personality traits/ their descriptions {even how tall they are}/ their relationships with each other {or lack thereof}/ and anything else special or vital about them {as in if they had special talents such as being a master of tennis, or if they had a superpower, etc.}
  • Settings— My novel takes place in a school/castle {I know you’re probably thinking it’s another Harry Potter wannabe, but I promise it’s completely not} so I went as far as to create an actual layout of the castle, naming and labeling where each classroom/used room was. It made it a thousand times easier in allowing myself to take the place of the character in my mind and see the castle from their perspective since I knew right where they would be. Also, if you’re writing a historical novel, or something along those lines that takes place in the real world, don’t forget to research the proper etiquette, attire, what would and wouldn’t be in existence at that time, daily life, etc. for the exact time period it’s taking place. You want to avoid any anachronisms {unless it’s intended}.
  • Other Vital Information— For instance, since my main character, Wynter, goes to high school, I created her daily class schedule, including the subject of each class, the teacher’s name, the place and room number, and which of the other important characters in my book were in the same class. I also made a quick schedule of the classes for the other important characters in my book and correlated it to Wynter’s schedule. I can’t tell you how much it has helped the flow of my writing. With just a quick glance at the schedules, I was able to see the path Wynter would take from class to class, and determine which other characters she might run into on her way, allowing for a chance at further interaction.
    Detailing any other important information and organizing it for future reference will help tremendously. So, say you have sword fighting in your book. It might help to research the type of weaponry you wish your characters to use {keeping in mind it’s appropriate for the time period/world}, any tips and tricks for how to wield the weapon properly, and what a proper fight might entail. Just remember to stay consistent with reality. You want your readers to be engrossed in the fight, not pause and wonder why the fighters are wasting their time on fancy maneuvers that may sound cool but don’t cause damage to their opponent {which is what the main idea in a sword fight is}.
  • Visual Inspiration— I am also a very visual person. It helped me to search for photo ideas online and use them as a loose inspiration for my own characters/settings {though, be careful to put your own spin on things and not steal others’ ideas}.
  • Timeline— Some might not find this necessary, but I needed it. I started a timeline from the beginning of my book, continuously adding a summarized version of each scene immediately after I wrote them {including which day of the week the scene fell on}. That way, instead of re-reading the long pages of content before writing the next day, I simply referenced my timeline to gain the reminder of where I’d left off.

While researching is extremely important, you might want to be mindful of how you share your acquired knowledge of researched information. If, after your research you become an expert in, say, sword fighting, it’s important to use your knowledge to make the scenes feel real and stay consistent. But if you overly explain in excruciating detail that doesn’t flow or further the plot, you run the risk of boring your readers and sounding as though you’re trying to prove that you do in fact know your stuff about sword fighting. Yes, you may know the terms for all the different parts of a certain type of sword, but I’m betting your reader won’t care to have you list them all within your story. Instead, choose only what is relevant to the scene and doesn’t break the flow of your writing.

I may seem overly detailed in my research compared to other authors, but I’m sure there are numerous others who are even more diligently detailed. To each their own in their own process, and I find it interesting to hear how other authors go about their research and journey on writing their novels. So, I would love to hear any and all thoughts and ideas if you’d care to share them!


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