Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Making Your Reader Like Your Characters #MFRWauthor #MFRWorg #WriteTip #Authors

Have you ever read a story and absolutely hated one or both of the main characters? 

This month I’m looking at how we can make our readers like our character.

The first thing the reader will want to know is who the character is and why should s/he root for them. Why should the reader care what happens to the character?

Recently I saw the film Interstellar with Matthew Mcconaughey, one of my favorite actors. If you haven’t seen this movie—a: I highly recommend it! It was amazing, so emotional and touching. And b: I’ll try not to ruin it for you so in the interest of giving you a heads-up…Spoiler Alert…

I was thoroughly enjoying the movie when it got to the part where one of the characters died. Sadly I didn’t care because I didn’t really know him, which is always a warning that that character will more than likely be the first to get bumped off. But what made it worse is that the character became too stupid to live (TSTL) just before he died. I positively disliked him for his sheer stupidity. After his untimely exit, I didn’t give him a second thought.

In contrast, when the main character almost died I was on the edge of my seat. The difference between these two characters? I never really got to know the first guy, so I wasn’t invested in him or really cared about him, and it was easy to dislike him for his stupidity because there was no reason for his actions. 

Meanwhile, I’d gotten to know the main character, empathized with him, cared about him, so I was invested and wanted him to survive. Plus he fought for his life. The other guy stood around like an idiot and did nothing! 

Don’t get me wrong, we want our characters to be flawed. Without flaws, our characters have no way of changing or growing. 

The flaw is the external representation of the internal fear. What I mean is the flaw is the result of the internal conflict, and internal conflict usually results from a past emotional scar.

For example, what if your hero is overprotective because somewhere in his past a loved one got injured or killed because of something he did or didn’t do. Say, maybe, as a teen he had a girlfriend and they got in a fight while driving home. She demands he pull over and let her out. He’s so mad he does exactly that and leaves her. She is attacked and possibly murdered. The hero has to live with this for the rest of his life. So now he won’t let the heroine out of his sight because he wants to protect her and make sure nothing bad ever happens to her. 

Now, if we make the flaw too dominant we will make the hero unlikable. In order to make your reader like him, you need to let the reader see the reason for his fear and you need to make your hero begin to fight the impulse to be overprotective along the way.  

Don’t make your characters’ issues so deep and dark that you create jerks. On the other hand, if you do have deep dark issues, you need to work extra hard to show the reader why the character is like this and give glimpses of a softer side—hint that this character can change. 

So How Do You Make Your Character Likable?

Start with the core competencies of your character, made up of three aspects: strengths, skills, and desires. As well as having bad experiences from the past that gives us our internal conflicts, we also have happy moments that might inspire us to do, or be something. I like to think that for every bad moment of the past there is a good. As authors we often focus on the bad in order to get a hold of the internal conflicts, but when we let the reader see the good moments that influenced our characters we allow the reader to bond with, and therefore, care about and like, our characters on a deeper level. 

Our overprotective hero from above may be a rescuer at his core. You can give him a job to reflect this and maybe he beats himself up so much because he feels guilty that he couldn’t save the past girlfriend. His black moment can come when we place him in a redemptive situation and give him an opportunity to redeem himself from the past by now saving the heroine. This guy can have a lot of layers, and if we show them to the reader, she will not only understand him, she will fall in love with him. 

The trick is to show the character’s niceness before you show the flaw. That way the reader is already invested and will stay to find out if this character finds her/his happy ever after. 

Do leave a comment in the comment section below. Even if you just want to say "Hi!", I'd be thrilled to know you stopped by.

Until next time, write with clarity and style!

Monique x 

Author/Screenwriter Monique DeVere currently resides in the UK with her amazing hero husband, four beautiful grown-up children, and three incredible granddaughters. 

Monique writes Romantic Comedy stories some call Smexy—Smart & Sexy—and others call fluff. Monique makes no apologies for writing fun, emotional feel-good romance! She also writes Christian Suspense with a more serious edge. 

Monique loves to hear from her readers. You can contact her by visiting her HERE to learn more about her and check out her other books.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Where Do Story Ideas Come From? ASK #MFRWauthor @SaschaIllyvich

The idea for SLOW BURN came from me playing "what if" while watching Burn Notice. About that time, I discovered the metal band Devildriver.  Loving their groove metal sound, I wondered about a female version of the same sort of band, and what that'd look like if she had magical powers and had to be protected. Sonja and Derrick were born of Dez from Devildriver and Michael Westen from Burn Notice!

I am the author of over 52 published titles throughout sixteen years of my career.  While I possess talent, I've been lucky since day one and I remember that lesson every day.

Sascha Illyvichok'sest book is Slow Burn, a Sexy Spy Thriller with Ardent Books.

Tempting secrets of an angel
Seductive mysteries of the beast

Derrick, a former spy, has been asked to protect the sultry Sonja, a death metal singer whose magical voice grabs him by the balls and won’t let go. He’ll protect her, all right…with every part of his body tight against hers.

Sonja uses her voice to purge her fans of their darkness, their hate and hopelessness. But evil forces want to use her magic for their own ends. All she wants, at this point, is safety for herself and her band.

When Derrick and Sonja team up, Sonja does her best to resist the lure of safety he represents, until a radical league that wants her dead propels her into his arms. Will his help be enough? Or will she lose her heart to him, only to be killed in the process of saving the world?

Tears streamed down her face.
He wanted to kiss them away.
She opened her mouth and screamed; power flowing out from her in a torrential force that clued him in to just how terrified the images were that she saw.
Then he saw them, the faces of the sad, the lonely, the angry, those who had taken their lives. He'd seen a very brief glimpse of the men who captured her, then his mind went fuzzy. Quickly stilling his mind, he leaned over her and did the one thing he could think of to distract her from whatever horrors raced through her head.
He kissed her, muffling her cries.
She sobbed but gave herself openly to the kiss. The power flowing from her stilled, calmness now settled around them. She still shook, her body convulsing in his arms while she tried to flail this way and that, turning from him with such force he had to use his puma strength to overpower her and force her back to the kiss.
Somewhere in that haze of their mingling tongues, the air changed again, this time the scents of terror and agony fading to give way to something dark, yet sensual. Derrick tasted her, pressing against the sweet plumpness of her mouth against his. Eyes open, he gave her hand a light squeeze.
She settled, blinked and looked at him through her wild gaze until her breathing slowed and she seemed to return to the here and now. Sonja shifted against him. She reached for his face, lithe fingers stroked along his chin.
He hardened instantly at her touch. Careful to steady his reaction against rising hormones, Derrick moved, feeling the softness of her breasts beneath his jacket. ""You're still wearing my coat,"" he licked her chin, then bit her neck.
The tears stopped, and she sniffled. Sonja laughed and kissed him back, taking his face in her hands while she slid beneath him. ""It fits. Perfectly in fact. I think I'll keep it.""
ABOUT Sascha Illyvich
Sascha, who was proclaimed by the publishing industry as The Bad Boy of Romance, started writing sixteen years ago. His erotic romances have been listed under Night Owl Romance’s and Road to Romance’s Recommended read lists, and he’s been nominated for a CAPA by The Romance Studio.  Recently, Torn to Pieces was a USA TODAY Recommended Read.

Sascha is a trained and experienced public speaker, and enjoys giving talks and teaching, particularly on aspects of romance, erotic romance, and writing.   He was the former host of The Unnamed Romance Show on Radio Dentata, and is fond of doing guest spots and interviews, on both traditional radio and podcasts.

Sascha writes for Assent Publishing, Red Sage, Secret Cravings Publishing, Sizzler Editions, Totally Bound, and Decadent Publishing.

Find him at

Friday, August 21, 2015

#MFRWauthor HOW TO: Get The Most Out of Conferences @AliceOrrBooks

A Whole Lot of Being Nice
Question: What does it take to get the most out of a writers’ conference?
Answer: "What it takes is a whole lot of being nice."

I put that response in quotation marks because I heard those words from another author. Sabrina Jeffries giving an uplifting talk at – you guessed it – a writers’ conference.

Summer is conference time. Small retreats and huge gatherings punctuate June through August for many writers. Civilians – as in non-writers – are off to the shore or the mountains or the campsite. But we pack up our notebooks and our hopes and head for a convocation of scribes.

What most of us are hoping is that we’ll find the key to getting our work published or better published. I say that isn’t the most important thing we find at these gatherings whether they take place in a grand hotel or a modest cabin or anywhere in between.

The most important thing we find is each other. We make the most of a writers’ conference by maximizing that discovery. We writers are our own most natural allies. Why is that so true? It’s true because we understand one another from the inside.

We understand what it’s like to labor in the formidable publishing marketplace. We understand what it’s like to struggle toward getting our work published and keeping it published. We know how it feels to suffer rejection and disappointment. We also know how it feels to experience the joy of our accomplishments whether they’re large or small.

We also understand we need support in these hard struggles we’ve chosen. We understand that because we need the same support ourselves. With this understanding comes an obligation. Our obligation is to reach out and give what is needed – a little bit of niceness to our writer friends.

All it takes is a few words in a few sentences of encouragement and kindness. Over the several days or even the single weekend of a conference these few words at a time will add up to what Sabrina inspires us toward – a whole lot of being nice.

Our need to succeed tells us to be nice to the max to the agents and editors and instructors we line up for to pitch our projects or sit in front of taking notes. We long to recruit them to become our allies on the inside of the publishing world. In the meantime let’s not forget the allies we already have on the inside of the writing world.

Give what you can. A word of advice or a commiserating ear or a shared laugh – and definitely a hug. As you scurry from class to class or from appointment to appointment take a moment to touch another writer ally with your own whole lot of being nice. I guarantee you will experience a whole lot of feeling good in return.


Contributed by Alice Orr
Alice Orr loves to write. Especially Romantic Suspense novels of danger and romance. She's well known as a workshop leader, book editor and former literary agent. Now she lives her dream of writing full-time, especially romantic suspense. Alice has published thirteen novels, two novellas and a memoir so far. About her novels, Amazon says, "Alice Orr turns up the heat."

Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her husband Jonathan in New York City.                                                              website  |  blog  |  facebook


Riverton Romantic Suspense Series Book 2
Mainstream Romantic Suspense
Alice Orr Books

Hailey Lambert loves the North Country though she doesn't love some of her North Country memories. Now her estranged friend Julia is accused of murder and Hailey has no choice. She's got to help.

Mark Kalli has wanted Kalli in his bed forever but she won't give him the time of day. Now she's mixed up in a killing and Mark has no choice but to get involved - whether Hailey wants him around or not.

"This book is the perfect combination of suspense, mystery and romance and will have you turning the pages unable to put the book down." 5 Stars, Amazon Reviewer

Monday, August 17, 2015

Where Do Book Ideas Come From? ASK #MFRWauthor @VellaCMunn

What became the Seasons Heartbeat series started the fall afternoon a dear friend and I were watching a fierce storm head our way. Fueled by a glass of wine and the wind whipping the evergreens while the sky became dark purple, I started thinking about how much I'm impacted by the wilderness. In only a few minutes I had the series' basic concept in mind. I wrote four books with each one taking place during a different season plus a novella that covers a single day. Hopefully I've created flawed and complex people who allow their peaceful mountain surroundings to free them from their pasts and open them to love. 

Seasons Heartbeat:Spring
by Vella Munn
Contemporary Romance
Seasons Heartbeat Series

Alisha Hearne must decide whether to sell the family's mountain cabin or stay and tackle the necessary repairs and face painful memories. The nearby resort represents one thing to Nate Quaid—where he earns a living. Nothing means more to him than freedom and forgetting his past.

Despite their reservations, loneliness and need bring them together but are they capable of revealing their deepest secrets and exposing their vulnerabilities?

Do they dare risk falling in love?

Amazon: Seasons Heartbeat: Spring is romance at its best. Ms Munn's vivid descriptions of Lake Serene and her family's mountain cabin made me feel as though I was right there in that beautiful setting.
Amazon: The author's love of nature comes through so clearly in this book that I can almost imagine myself at Lake Serene. She has made the environment another character in the story and the book is richer for it.

Taking her cue from the older man who’d already started toward the shore, she trailed behind him. Doc was right. The crazy boat driver appeared to be checking out the fifty-some small docks belonging to private cabin owners. At least he’d slowed to trolling speed. At the rate he was going, he’d reach her dock in a couple of minutes so she planted herself as close to the listing structure as she dared. She didn’t care what he thought of her dock. She just wanted to give him a piece of her mind about his disregard for what this high mountain lake stood for. As she waited, she studied Mount Steens across the lake. The top was still buried under snow and thus intimidating to her. By late summer the sharp edges would show. She'd never climbed it, but when she was growing up, she used to tell herself she could tackle it no problem. She just wasn't sure whether she'd have to carry a sleeping bag and plan on having to stay the night.
Night alone near the top of the area's most imposing mountain. Away from all responsibility.
The motor’s high growl triggered something inside that she didn’t want to examine. She’d been under a lot of tension lately and didn’t need this idiot adding to it. She wanted him gone and the quiet back. Not just quiet. She needed to smell what was left of the snow, the water, pine and dirt. To be renewed.
Now that he was close, she realized this wasn’t one of the nearly-derelict boats she remembered the resort renting out. At least twenty-feet long, it had both a trolling motor and an outboard she figured was least ninety horsepower. Judging by the shiny sides and immaculate pedestal fishing seat, the craft was new. Envy nibbled at her. Being in control of the craft would be a ball.
As it eased around partly-submerged trees and closed in on her dock, she forced herself to stop imagining she was putting it through its paces and concentrated on the man with his hand on the steering wheel. It was hard to be certain, but she guessed him to be in his early thirties. The wind had been having its way with his longish dark brown hair while his slightly canted nose and cheeks were wind-chapped. He had a square jaw, deep-set eyes shielded by shaggy brows, and a serious slant to his mouth that made her wonder if there might be more to him than a hell-raiser after all.
Over a blue T-shirt sporting a motorcycle logo he wore an unsnapped grey windbreaker that speed had pushed away from a chest made for physical labor. This was no indulged teenager, not this man with his broad shoulders and big, strong, tanned hands. Because he was sitting low in the boat, she couldn’t see his lower half.
“Where’s your life vest?” Doc called out.
When the man didn’t immediately respond, she wondered if he was debating answering. If he gave Doc a hard time, she’d give him a piece of her mind.
He shifted into neutral and indicated behind him.
“Crazy as you’ve been driving, I’m surprised you thought of safety,” Doc grumbled. “There’s a speed limit here.”
The man shrugged. She wanted to examine his expression, but now that the wind was in charge, the boat had started to turn away from the shore. It swayed with the waves it had created. She imagined him a drifter, a lost soul without any idea how to put his life on course. He spent one week here, another week there, never planning beyond following impulse.
Then he put the motor back into gear and came alongside the dock, making her decide he had some sense of direction after all. He stood and reached out so he could grab the one remaining cleat. He wrapped a tie rope around it and sat back down.
“This yours?” he asked Doc, indicating the listing dock.
“No,” she said. “It’s mine.”
“Needs work.”
The understatement almost made her laugh. “Thanks for pointing that out. Winter’s been a little rough on it.”
He’d turned his attention to her while she was talking, surely time enough for her to get used to the intensity in his eyes. There was something arresting about him, something on the wild side perhaps. She half expected him to jump out of the boat and take off at a dead run because that was his way of dealing with the energy boiling inside him. This wasn’t a man for sitting and contemplating his navel. Just sitting inside a motionless boat was testing the limits of his self-restraint.

ABOUT Vella Munn
Vella Munn has been writing ever since she created a comic book with a horse as the hero. She has had over 60 books published and can't imagine doing anything else. She lives in rural Oregon with her family and two rescue dogs.

Thursday, August 13, 2015



A great site where you can look up agents, the genres they represent, the time it takes for them to respond, and even track your queries.

Another great site like Query Tracker.

This is a place to go to see what agents and editors are looking for.

TWITTER: #MSWL: MSWL twitter link
The Twitter link to ""real time"" hints, tips and wishlists of agents and editors - BUT PLEASE do not pitch your story on this twitter site.

A place to check and see if an agent or editor is reputable.

The perfect place to see if your word count is in the right ballpark.

A treasure trove of information about agents and more...

Tips about publishing.

An on-line community where you can share the trials and tribulations of being a writer, and get support, encouragement and inspiration.

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators website

A fount of information with contests that help you get published, find an agent or simply help you perfect your craft.

Growing up in a family with 9 kids and 1 t.v., I spent my days reading and, later, writing. I love books. . .maybe because I never got to pick what shows we watched. I’d run home after school to catch the last fifteen minutes of Dark Shadows...

I still love to run especially in Halloween-themed runs - where people wear costumes, while running. It's a lot of fun...I know those two words don't go together: But it is and I guess Dark Shadows influenced me more than I thought because Stephen King’s Salem's Lot is my favorite book.

Amazon Author Page:

Demon's Ink

Young Adult Paranormal
Midnight Frost Books

Demonic tattoo artist comes to town in DEMON’S INK.

Drake and Bartos come to the Pacific Northwest, where they open yet another tattoo shop but Bartos has no trouble dealing with the competition because there’s nothing normal about his art. And he’s stealing more than clients from the local skin artists. He's stealing their souls.

Customers fall in love with Bartos Slinderman’s tats but end up paying the ultimate price for their purchase because unlike Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, they can’t walk away from this art and it’s beautiful until the artwork takes on a life of its own...

DEMON’S INK: Art that’s more than you bargained for... Drake has to choose between love or his soul.
Excerpt (DRAKE)
Expectations can ruin everything. Like thinking my senior year was going to be something special. What a set up that was.
I should have known better than to get my hopes up.
I’d never been lucky. No one in my family was. I was six when I’d heard grandpa say, “We come from a long line of losers.” He was talking to my Dad. I don’t even know about what. But, now, I know I should have listened.
Dad had gone to prison, leaving Mom and me worse than ever. And we’d never been good but, at least while he’d hung around, she acted like things were okay. Now she wasn’t even pretending. Really, it was worse than that; she wasn’t even getting up off the couch any more.
I’d come home from school to find her passed out. The first couple times it freaked me out. Seeing her face-planted in the front room, not knowing if she was dead or alive, I didn’t want to find her like that, to have to turn her over to check if she was still breathing but I did. . . and I had no idea if she was high or drunk. I didn’t even care because what difference did it make? She was out of it and that was all that mattered.
So, after Dad went to jail, I was completely alone until Bartos made me a deal I couldn’t refuse but that was later.
For weeks, I’d come home after class and make a sandwich—if there was bread—otherwise it was a bowl of cereal for breakfast and dinner, sometimes I’d eat it dry because the milk had gone bad.
I knew I was going to have to get a job if I wanted to survive and I’d started looking around but that was right before everything changed.
It was late one Thursday evening. I still remember because I was thinking, “Only one more day…” I just didn’t know how right I was.
I don’t know what woke me up that night. Maybe it was the smell, the heat, the sound of my Mom screaming. I really don’t know. But I opened my eyes to the thick burning haze of a room filled with smoke.
I’d gone down into the basement that night and fallen asleep.
Looking around, I already knew there were no windows. I was trapped. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Retweet Day - Aug. 11. Come Join the Fun #MFRWauthors, #MFRWorg

MFRW graphics photo MFRWThunderclap_zpse01964cf.jpg

For this month's Retweet Day on Twitter, we'd like to invite all Marketing for Romance Writers to set up tweets for their books.

Go into Twitter and create a tweet. Once the tweet has been posted. Click on the ... (three dots) in the right hand corner.

This will give you the option to (copy link to tweet). Copy this link and put it in the comment section of this post.

On Aug. 12, click on each link and share everyone's post on twitter. Also, make sure to have #MFRWauthor in the tweet.

This month I did not create a MFRWauthor thunderclap campaign for lack of interest.

Here's to a great day of retweets,

Tina Gayle

Tina Gayle writes stories with strong women fiction elements. Visit her website and read the 1st chapter of any of her books.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

#MFRWauthors Writing With A Partner @ErinCMcCrae @Racheline_M

Ever Consider Writing with a Partner?
MFRW Authors Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese do it! And they do it well!

Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, and delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.

Racheline Maltese lives a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car. A long-time entertainment and media industry professional, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.

TOGETHER, they write great stories!

Reviewers Say...
"MIDSUMMER is a beautiful blend of classic and contemporary themes....I love the theater, and this well written story marries one of my all time favorite productions, A Midsummer Night's Dream, with another one of my favorite things, finding love in unexpected places. Once again Racheline and Erin have gifted me with a complex cast of characters, multi-layered drama, romance and suspense. I'm thrilled with this new series and am excited to see where further installments will take me!" Carly's Book Reviews

Their newest release is Midsummer (Love's Labours, Book 1) is an Erotic GLBT Contemporary
Romance with Dreamspinner Press.
Buy Link

John Lyonel, a long-time theater professional and teacher, heads to Virginia to play Oberon in the Theater in the Woods’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, intending to focus on his work. John is recovering from the tragic loss of his family and needs a break. The last thing he expects is to become captivated by Michael Hilliard, the professional actor playing Puck, especially since John has never been attracted to men, let alone one so much younger.

They rush headlong into an affair which falls apart dramatically over secrets that John and Michael are keeping from each other. A steep learning curve, the gossipy cast of the show, and the sometimes sinister magic of the woods conspire to keep them apart. But stage lights and stars might work their magic and help them define a new future.

Costume fittings and dress rehearsals means that John finally gets to see Michael costumed as Puck. The human characters are dressed contemporarily, in suits and cocktail dresses that become increasingly disheveled as the show goes on. The fairies, though, are dressed in greens and browns with crowns of strange wildness -- thistles, cornsilk, and Queen Ann’s lace. Michael as Puck looks deeply inhuman, covered in leaves as if dragged in from the wooded grounds. For their first dress rehearsal, it takes all of John’s considerable experience and willpower to actually focus on the play and not Michael. As taken as Oberon is meant to be with Puck, he should actually be able to remember and deliver his lines.
“Whose idea was this?” he asks Michael afterward, catching him before he can change. Michael blinks at him with eyes done up in silver and green. John wants to devour him.
“Do you like it?” Michael asks, more distant and coy than usual, sliding his hands up John’s chest which, like his own, is bare.
All John can do is groan when Michael looks up at him from under his lashes. He stands on his tiptoes to kiss John briefly, and then vanishes. When he reappears he’s Michael again, in t-shirt and shorts, but John can’t forget the image of him transformed.
CONNECT with the Authors
Joint Blog:
Joint Facebook Page:
Erin’s Twitter:
Racheline’s Twitter:
Erin’s Goodreads:
Racheline’s Goodreads:
Erin’s Amazon Author Page:
Racheline’s Amazon Author Page:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Author-to-Author Tip: Find Your #Writing Zone @Siera_London #MFRWauthor

Not all roadblocks to writing are created equally and most are multi-faceted.
Don’t get sucked into an emotional black hole because your writing life isn’t where you want it to be. It’s okay. Admitting there is a problem opens you up to the possibility of moving from where you are to where you want to be as a writer.

Writers love questions, so here’s one for you.
What is hindering your ability to get the words out of your head and onto the page?
Is it time, space, motivation, fear, or lack of creativity, or something else?

Write where you feel the most comfortable. When I told my husband I wanted to be a writer, we built a house with an office. It’s a beautiful space with plenty of sunlight, a view of the backyard, and the surrounding trees. But guess what, I write more words with my feet up on the living room couch in front of the fireplace. Go figure? I have a friend that writes best in the bathtub. Do what works for you. Don’t force yourself into a mold that works against your productivity.

Motivation, Fear, & Creativity.
I struggle with two of these anti-writing demons on a weekly basis. This is where the ritual kicks in. My morning starts with a two minute tension tamer breathing exercise CD and prayer. These two behaviors act as a mental and physical reminder that I am preparing myself to write. I spend 15 minutes on social media, eat my breakfast, then I sit down to write. This routine helps me to focus on the task to come-writing, not the fear of what will I write today. I’m a pantser so if I’m having trouble with a scene, I stop and take my character on an adventure. I pick a central character and take them to lunch, a meeting or back to work. You decide where you want them to go, have them interact with another person in the story, and write down their dialogue. Maybe, I’ll use the scene later or maybe I won’t, but I’m still writing. You get the picture? Don’t be afraid to write a bad scene.  Writing a good story is a process. The first words you write are not the final words in the story. Notice, I didn’t have you jump to another WIP. A part of the process of becoming a prolific writer is finishing the work you started.

Goal setting.
What is it you want to change, improve or eliminate from your writing life? In my case, I wanted to write in sixty minutes intervals. Not staring at the computer screen for sixty minutes, not checking emails, chatting, tweeting or on Facebook. Set a realistic goal for yourself. I’m not going to tell you how much time to devote to your writing, but I’m going to strongly encourage you to commit to a daily word count and a timeframe to reevaluate your progress. This is a personal goal, do not set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals at this stage. When I admitted to myself that I wasn’t using my available writing time wisely I started with a daily writing goal of 100 words per day, every day for a one month time period. Within two weeks I was writing more than 250 words per day. There were spelling errors, grammar no-no’s, and poor word choices, but I was writing every day. The story was out of my head and on the paper. Remember, your words are your own. You needn’t share them with a single, living sole until you are ready. So, it doesn’t matter if the words aren’t perfect, get the best words for the moment on the page.

Tactics & Implementation.
How are you going to accomplish this goal? We are writers, so you have to write your plan down. Mine was posted on a sticky note on the mirror in the bathroom. What are the action steps you are willing to take every day to achieve each of your writing goals? For me, I had to limit time on social media to specific intervals first thing in the morning for a total of 15 minutes, again in the afternoon and later at night- total of 45 minutes on social media at three different intervals. If you need to share your writing plan with another for additional support and encouragement, please do so. I prefer to keep new endeavors to myself initially. I approach new challenges like an undercover agent, too many prying eyes can jeopardize my mission. Give yourself some flexibility, if a component of the plan isn’t working, change it. No summit meeting required and you don’t have to wait till a designated evaluation date.

Which parts of your writing ritual did you master the first time out of the gate? Which action steps didn’t work for you or your lifestyle? Again, you own this process, you decide what stays and what has to go. Sit down, take your time, and evaluate your accomplishment with each action step. Be honest about your progress. If you missed the mark on a few goals, don’t beat yourself up. It’s your plan, adjust the game plan and get back on track. Get feedback from your family or friends if you shared your plan with them. Did you seem more relaxed, more organized, or more focused while implementing your writing ritual? When I put myself on a writing ritual my husband was much happier. No more staying up until 2 am with my character’s soundtrack pumping through the sound system. Music helps me connect with my characters, but that’s for another blog.

If you met your daily word count for the designated time frame, share it with your social media family. Spread the word and help another writer establish a writing ritual. And remember, the writing ritual is not about editing, revising, or structure, it’s about getting your story out of your head and onto the paper.