I’ve had an amazing few days!
What have I won? Notably Dangerous Secrets won the 2016 RONE Award for Best Post-Medieval Historical Romance. InD’Tale Magazine presented the award at their InD’Scribe conference which leads me to other things I’ve won: new friends, new ideas, new appreciation for my craft, and some insights about my self.
One insight about myself and my writing has to do with creative process. Writers talk endlessly about plotters vs. pantsers (ie those that write by the seat of their pants vs ones who outline in detail before they write). It is clear to me that if I try to outline in detail a) I never follow it and b) it puts the muses in the basement to sleep and they give up on me, bored before I start. I should never, ever, do it. It only does harm. On the other hand I can’t just sit down in front of a blank screen and expect words to flow. I need first a clear idea who the characters are, the deeper the better. Who are they? What is their challenge? How did they get there? What holds them back? What do they fear? That takes long walks and conversations with them. Really: I talk to people in my head. The second thing I need is a very general road map to where the story will end up. With those too pieces of preparation the first draft will come, and then I can clean up the gaps and errors that plotters try to eliminate in their outlines.
The other piece of wisdom from the conference that has settled in my bones is: before you do anything else write the next book. Keep writing. All the other tasks that cluser around a author’s career pale in comparison to that.
That leads to what I’ve lost. I’m way behind on the next book and I lost four days writing time. I lost track of my release planning for A Renegade Wife. There will be a launch party on Facebook. There will be blog posts and announcements. Is it enough? (Bites nail, shakes head, bangs head on desk) We’ll see. I lost sleep,too. Hopefully the win puts some wind in my sales.
But first, coffee.