Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! – Get Story Ideas from History

GUEST POST:

Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White

Stuart White

Stuart White

 More on Stuart HERE

Stuart continues his tips on how to decide…Where do I get story ideas for my novel?

CONTINUED FROM: HERE – HOW TO GET AN IDEA FOR YOUR NOVEL.

And aside from asking yourself ‘what if?’ to generate story ideas – there’s history. History is littered with amazing vignettes that can yield incredible potential novels.

An example from my own writing career

I once read a non-fiction book called Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown. In it I read that in 1940 the British authorities had been seriously concerned about a Nazi plot to kidnap Princesses Elizabeth (later to be Queen of England) and her sister Margaret, as an engine of blackmail.

In the same book I read an intriguing story about two German agents who had died mysteriously, one in England, one in New York. It was thought the latter had been killed by British agents.

The two things began to spark off each other like those electrical machines in a mad scientist’s 19th century lab. A royal kidnap; two mysteriously dead Germans. To pursue the mad scientist analogy I put the ideas in a beaker, stirred them, added a pinch of cogitation, a soupcon of imagination, stirred vigorously, let bake at Gas Mark 7, and eventually came up with a novel idea.

Operation Raven.

One spy comes to kidnap the Princesses. The other – with Hitler’s permission – was helping track the man, who had – I ventured – killed the second agent’s sister. And I wrote it and my agent sold it in America, Britain, Japan, Turkey and also got it serialised in what was then a Yugoslavian newspaper. It’s now an optioned film script called, ‘To Kill a Queen.’

 And to show what a treasure trove of novels that non-fiction tome Bodyguard of Lives was – well, listen to this.

 Best-selling author Ken Follett wrote a thriller called The Key to Rebecca, about a WW2 German spy who came into Cairo from the desert on a camel, befriended a belly-dancer who then seduced a British officer on a Nile houseboat to get his secret code-books.

Come back Monday next week and Stuart will continue his series on how to get inspired by history. SIGN UP for the blog newsletter so you don’g miss a single post!

Purchase one of Stuart’s MANY works here…a FREE sample is available when you click through the link to Amazon.

 

Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! – How to get an idea for your novel

GUEST POST:

Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White

Stuart White

Stuart White

 More on Stuart HERE

Stuart continues his tips on how to decide…Where do I get story ideas for my novel?

CONTINUED FROM,WHAT IS YOUR NOVEL ABOUT?

YOU’RE NOW SAYING YOU DON’T HAVE A GIRAFFE-LIKE CREATURES TYPE IDEA, BUT YOU’D STILL LIKE TO WRITE A NOVEL. SO WHERE CAN YOU GET A GOOD IDEA FROM?

You can get your ideas by remembering this principle:

Learn and inwardly digest.

Most stories of any kind can be novels.  Movies or TV series start with the thought: WHAT IF?

Here are 5 famous “What if?” examples: 

* What if there were a lonely English kid who ends up in an incredible school of magic?

Answer: Harry Potter.

* What if an alien somehow got stranded on earth and was befriended by a young boy?

Answer: E.T.

* What if there was a rootless, disaffected ex-Military Police officer who went around America somehow righting wrongs?

Answer: The Jack Reacher novels.

* What if a disaffected spy and renegade Admiral decided to give himself up to the FBI and help a new young profiler solve mysterious crimes?

Answer: The Blacklist.

* What if a demented sea captain was obsessed with capturing a great white whale that had taken off his leg?

Answer: Moby Dick.

GET THE PICTURE?

And aside from ‘what if?’ – there’s history. History is littered with amazing vignettes that can yield incredible potential novels.

Come back Monday next week and Stuart will show you how to get inspired and dig up story gems from history. SIGN UP for the blog newsletter so you don’g miss a single post!

Purchase one of Stuart’s MANY works here…a FREE sample is available when you click through the link to Amazon.

 

3 Ways to Write in the Morning

Lets get real here. If you’re not a morning person to begin with and and you have stuff that keeps you up at night (ahemmmm…small child) how are we really going to get up in the mornings? Especially to write. We all love to write, but it’s just so hard to sit down and do it. Especially for neurotic mommas (ahem…me) who try to do everything. Sure, that sink of dirty dishes you left last night REALLY CAN wait the 20, 30 or 60 minutes you allotted to writing.

I can tell myself, “NO, you did NOT get up at 5am to do the dishes, damn it! ” But…*sigh* what do I find myself doing at 5:30am? Dishes…omg And that’s if I actually roll out of bed long enough to press the coffee button.

Here are my 5 tips that help me to get up and get moving so I can meet my #wordcount #goals.

#1 Let it goooooo….

Cue the Frozen sound track that we all have a love/hate relationship with…

I’m getting better one day at a time at letting things go. That’s really a numero uno, especially if you are a parent. It seems like there is always, always something else that needs to be done right now or the world will end. Somewhere you have to go, etc.

Trying to create time (notice, I said create time, not find time) to do what it important to you is a challenge. As Crystal Paine has said, in her amazing book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode there are seasons in your life where anything beyond the basics, and many times THE BASICS (*ahem* can anyone say laundry?), seem to be a hurdle over which you have no energy to jump. You sit and stare blankly at your to do list that is longer than your car and just wonder, what…the…hell.

But, you can just let stuff go. You can. I can. We can.

#2 Give yourself a reward

Sure, this might not be the best solution…Shouldn’t we just want to get up to write so we can fill our souls, better our lives and finish what we started? Sure….But then life happens. When the SHTF, what are we really going to think about? I know what I think about: How am I going to survive the eternity that is the hours before bed time so I can crash from exhaustion?”

But really. Establishing a reward has helped me out. Here’s how…

I’m a grocery budget drill sergeant. If it’s not essential or healthy, it gets struck off the list. We have a tiny grocery budget and we do what we can with it using coupons and a strategy. (here, I must say thanks to Crystal Paine, Dave Ramsey and KrogerKrazy) But, at the end of the day, there’s just not that much to work with when it comes to grocery money. And we hardly ever have money for things like fancy coffee creamer. My amazing husband (@knightsbayne), for Mother’s Day, gave me a huge bottle of my favorite fancy coffee creamer. He’s an amazing, wonderful, sexy man. And I love him.

I’m a giant coffee fan. Love, love, love. So, I reward myself with coffee + coffee creamer in the mornings when I get up to write. Delish.

Sure, it’s nothing huge, but sometimes it’s just the little things in life that can make a hugely positive difference.

#3 Remind yourself, “why.”

Why are you doing this? Ask yourself, and then answer your own question. When my phone alarm goes off at 5am so I can get up to write, I have a reminder programmed into my phone that pops up. It’s more like a challenge actually: “1,000 words, Don’t you want to be a writer?”

So, that’s what helps me out. Share what helps you in the comments below. Happy Writing!!!

The Life of a Romance Writer – follow your dreams now

This week started out great. I was doing power yoga, getting up early and getting that #wordcount up! Then, life happened.

Anyone with a child knows that 10pm, a two year old and a wet bed are a combination that makes misery. My poor baby ended up dumping apple juice all over his bed. He fell asleep and it just dripped everywhere. He’s just so pitiful when he’s sleepy too. He was not happy to be woken up and changed. By the grace of God, he went right back to sleep, but it took what felt like 5 years to get his new pillow and sheets on the bed. I’m STILL trying to dry out the pillow he dumped apple juice on.

It’s this kind of interruption, this LIFE thing, that sometimes gets in the way. I didn’t get up early the next morning, Tuesday, like I had planned. And I guess I just got thrown off my game, so Wednesday I didn’t either. Dragging myself out of bed this morning I did feel more rested. Goes to show you, sometimes you just need to rest.  I was starting to feel like it just wasn’t working out, this blogging and writing thing.

This in combination with other life happenings brought me to where I am. Here. But that’s really the only place where you can truly be. The only place that matters.

I had to review my list of “Whys…” I explored this list in depth, here.

 Why should you stay motivated to do something that is hard? Why shouldn’t I just roll over in bed and just go back to sleep or watch a TV show instead of doing some writing?
When you tell yourself that your dreams and goals are just not that important, your soul dies a little each time. I know, I’ve been there.
Where you are RIGHT NOW is where you can make your choice. Yesterday is done and tomorrow remains to be seen. Choose now.
What are you choosing today?

Coffee Date with My Character

WRITER STATS (Monday):
Wakeup time: 5 am
Word count: 4036
GOAL: 25K
Playlist: Wake me up, Avicii
Last week I talked about how I was having trouble connecting with my female lead character in my novel. So, I’m going to get to know her better. Join us for coffee!
COFFEE DATE WITH MY CHARACTER:
Laina, my character from the Jason Seare Series, sits across from me, her hands around an aluminum cup of rationed coffee.
“Thanks for meeting with me, Laina. I was hoping I could get to know you a little better.”
“Not much to know, really.” She takes a sip of the coffee and closes her eyes. She moans in pleasure. “I don’t know how you got this…” She glances at the cup and lowers her voice, “…past compound security.” She licks her lips and sets down the cup. “This doesn’t even exist anymore unless you get lucky and find a stash. But that stuff so very valuable.”She sips again. “Especially for trade against things we really need.”
I smile and dig in the small knapsack I have brought. “Would you like sugar?”
Her eyes light up. “Now, that’s just magic.”
I slide a tiny brown packet of sugar under the table and our hands meet as she takes my offering. Her finger are almost too warm. But not a damp sweaty warm, a dry familiar warmth. Something you would be grateful for after coming in from snow sledding on a cold winter day still in wet gloves and boots. Warm to the bone.
“Thank you so much.” Cautiously, she opens the sugar packet under the table, pours in the sugar and stirs with the back of a fork. “I feel bad taking all this. I really have nothing I can give you.”
“But you can.” I reply.
She looks at me over the rim of her cup, question in her clear brown eyes.
I lean over the table, elbows and forearms against the rough wood of the cafeteria table. “You can tell me your story.”

Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! – Is your book interesting?

 GUEST POST:

Welcome back to, Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written! By Stuart White

Stuart White

Stuart White

 More on Stuart HERE

Stuart continues his tips on how to decide…What is your novel about?

MORE TIPS: WHAT IS YOUR NOVEL ABOUT?

 

So let me ask you. What’s your novel going to be about?

 

There are often two generic sorts of answers to this question, and one of them in my experience is the WRONG way to go.

 

Here’s Answer 1:

 

“Well, I’m doing this science-fiction romance novel about a race of giraffe-like creatures that accidentally land on earth, meet a tribe of hermaphroditic monkeys, and together they colonise earth and breed a race of loving creatures and……”

 

Good! Yes indeed. Why not? Interesting idea. It’s a story, it’s different. I don’t recall seeing that before. Yup – go ahead and write it.

 

Answer 2:

 

“Well, you see it’s kind of my life story. It’s about me and my friends, and how we meet and talk, and it’s also about that bitch Charlotte who is supposed to be my friend but she is like SO not my friend, and about when I went to Summer camp and got poison ivy, and……………”

 

NO! In the name of all that’s holy stop right now. NO! Don’t do it. Come back from the cliff edge before you commit writing suicide.

 

YOU ARE NOT THAT INTERESTING

 

Sorry but it’s true. And by you I mean me, him, her, them – a good 99.9% of the population).

 

Your life story? If you’ve spent five years in the French Foreign Legion fighting the  Taliban in Afghanistan, left only to have been kidnapped by white slavers, then escaped to become a trapeze artist with the circus, go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, walk from Toronto to Tierra-del-Fuego, then marry the heir to a Nepalese fortune and set up home in an Everest base camp, now THAT is a life story!

 

For rest of us, well, our lives tend to be same old, same old, and who wants to read the same old stuff? When we read we want to be taken out of ourselves. We want to soar on emotional highs, be moved, and changed if possible. We want to – almost literally – be taken somewhere else, and that means to forget for a while our rather dull earthbound lives.

 

(And remember, this is a novel isn’t it? A novel is fiction; your life story is reality. And if you want to do an auto-biography the same rules apply. Is your life interesting enough? In all truth, probably not. Sorry.)

 

And – I just noticed something from two paragraphs back. ‘Almost literally?’ Beware of ‘literally’. Literally means you actually did something. If you say, “I literally exploded with rage,” it means that your body came apart as though a bomb hit it. “I literally went insane.” No you didn’t or you’d be in a psychiatric facility now. Don’t use literally unless you really mean it. So we don’t want to be almost literally taken somewhere else (rap on knuckles for me) we want to be figuratively taken somewhere else.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…..COME BACK NEXT MONDAY FOR MORE GREAT WRITING TIPS from Guest Author, Stuart White.

Don’t Get it Right, Get it Written!

Purchase one of Stuart’s MANY works here…a FREE sample is available when you click through the link to Amazon.

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5 Ways to GET MORE WRITING DONE when you’re too busy

day 3

This is me. 6:30am Saturday morning. I love writing. That’s why I’m awake.

My Writer Stats:

Wakeup time: 6:30am
Word count: 3,487
GOAL: 25K
Playlist:
Avicii, Wake Me Up
Joshua Bell, Beethoven Symphonies No. 4 & 7
I’m a self-titled Day to Day Prepper. So, what on earth do I mean? What is a Day to Day Prepper?

A “prepper” to me would be people who are preparing for something. A hurricane, a power outage, the zombie apocalypse….

See people who are prepping for when SHTF with crazy guns, hunting and stockpiling…Be assured, this is NOT what I’m talking about. lol

I’m a prepper in as much as I try to prepare for the inevitable: being BUSY. My goal each day is to get at least a little writing done. This is what I do to make that happen…most days.

“Busy” is the death knell for writers because we can always tell ourselves, “I’m just too busy to write.” And really, that can go for anything in life you want to do. You’re just way too busy. So, to combat that, I am a Day to Day Prepper. Makes sense, right? #lifehacks #writerslife

DAY TO DAY PREPPER IN 5 EASY STEPS:

1. MENU PLAN

This doesn’t need to be and really shouldn’t be complicated. I do a loose menu plan based on what’s on sale, in my freezer and pantry. I just have a general idea of meals that we will have for the coming week. I am by no means an expert in meal planning. I just use it as a means to my goal: get more writing done. Some great resources for meal planning are at www.moneysavingmom.com. HERE

2. FREEZER AND BATCH COOKING

Again…don’t get this complicated. I do one freezer meal prep per weekend and make about 3 of the same one. Maybe with a bit of variation. We stick to easy-to-make simple meals around here. Cheaper and easier. For example, when I buy chicken breasts I buy them in bulk and on sale. I dump serving sizes into freezer bags with different marinades. I label them with cooking instructions and freeze. Easy peasy. Find MORE freezer meals at www.moneysavingmom.com and New Leaf Wellness. These are my go-to sites. Oh, and The Virtuous Wife has amazing freezer recipes. Can’t really go wrong here.

3. EVENING ROUTINE

My goal for my evenings is to go to bed early! I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep. That’s me. And it does NOT always happen. Not consistent. EVER. Why, you may be asking. I have a two year old.

But, I still want to remain as sane as possible. Sometimes this means I can clean my kitchen before I go to be, sometimes it doesn’t. I just try to get enough prep done for the next day. I don’t want to scramble in the morning because I have no clean socks and no apple juice for my kid’s sippy cup. But…I still want to get to bed before 3 am. Technically, you could go hard core prepper and lay out every article of clothing, have your kid’s breakfast dishes laid out in a perfectly clean kitchen and make sure you mop the floor before bed, but seriously, WHY? Why would you do that to yourself? Maybe you will have the perfect day and this will happen AND you will get to bed. You are a magician and I applaud you. Please pretty please comment with your secrets!

But for me…If I try to do everything the night before when I’m dragging after being up half the night before with a sick child, that’s just not doable. I get enough done that I can find stuff and get dressed and get out the door without wanting to scream in frustration. Sure, my kitchen isn’t clean. Whatever. Because, for me, I can be perfectly prepared for the next day, go to bed at 3 am and STILL feel way behind when I wake up. Because I’m exhausted.

I’m just saying, a little goes a very long way when it comes to prepping for the next day and an evening routine.

4. MORNING ROUTINE

Still working on this one. But, coming along nicely. www.moneysavingmom.com and Michael Hyatt are great resources and these guys know their stuff!

I’m still mostly at phase one. GET OUT OF BED. lol

It took me two months to get two where I’m mostly regular in getting up before 6am. I get some writing before my two year old is up and ready for the world, happy squeaking with diaper sagging and pacifier plugged firmly in the mouth. He’s a cutie, but I’m biased.

5. MAKE A LIST

Make a list. Or several different lists. On your phone, on a piece of paper….of stuff you need to get done. Grocery list, list of characters for your romance, list of freezer meals in your freezer…When you have a list and you get interrupted…(gosh, when does that ever happen) you can be reminded of what you were doing and where you left off. Keep it simple and short though. Again, www.moneysavingmom.com @CrystalPaine. She rocks.

 

MY CURRENT FREEZER MEALS:

Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about when it comes to prepping meals. These are an example of what’s in my freezer. Yes. We eat a lot of chicken.

Enchiladas:

photo 2

I just used chicken, corn tortillas, cheese and canned enchilada sauce. Boom! Fancy recipe here: http://www.amandathevirtuouswife.com/2011/05/beef-enchilada-tutorial.html#.VXGVZ89VhBc

Chicken:

photo 1

This is exactly what it looks like. I baked chicken which I previously marinaded in Italian dressing. Then I cut up the cooked chicken. I froze the cooked chicken. BOOM! Dinner anyone?

 

Please comment and share your prepping or lack thereof…we hear ya.

Paranormal Romance Free Chapter!

NEW! Chapter on Jason Seare Series is up today! #Free #Paranormal Romance! Click the link to check out the revision and next installment.
Thank you for checking out my blog and my book! The Jason Seare Series is #Paranormal #Post-apocalyptic Romance. If Underworld and Children of Men movies had a baby, they would have my book! Not coincidentally, those are two of my favorite movies. Please feel free to comment, SHARE, and offer constructive criticism. I’ll be posting revisions and new chapters as I write.

Click HERE to see veteran author, Stuart White’s initial thoughts on my first chapter of Jason Seare Series, From Where I Lived.

WRITER STATS:

Wakeup time: 5:49 am
Word count: 3,022
GOAL: 25K
Playlist:
Crazy in Love – Fifty Shades of Grey, Sofia Karlberg

 

The Life of a Romance Writer – the dirty secrets

The Life of a Romance Writer
Wakeup time: 4:45 am
Word count: 3,022
GOAL: 25K
Playlist: Imagine Dragons, Demons
day 1
Please excuse my GIANT pink robe…so soft and fluffy. Disclaimer: Doubt if I will EVER wear anything else first thing in the morning.
The dirty details:
Struggling with writing about my female protagonist. I usually like my male protagonist better. It’s always been that way with everything I write. I think it stems from me having a hard time finding female protagonists I like when I read romance novels. There are some that I LOVE #JaneEyre, but I usually find it hard to identify with female protagonists in romance novels. I just don’t have the same all encompassing obsession with shopping for brand name shoes, applying makeup and friend drama. I know many women would be with me on this. @theinklinggirl [She’s the talented artist behind my gorgeous avatar]
J.Semmes Author avatar
It’s hard to find a female protagonist in a romance novel who likes jeans and t-shirts, keeping my kitchen sink clean and creative writing. Note: I just described what I  think of myself. Goodness knows other people would have a different description of me…
But, regardless, I made some awesome progress in my novel this morning. Well worth my ridiculously early wake-up time. I’m getting ready to post my next revision and next chapter in my novel, so stay tuned. Planning the next installment FRIDAY.
Inspiration for the day: @crystalpaine LOVING her series #makeoveryourmornings. I’m on #daytwo today and loving her gorgeous and inspiring course. Check it out! I do NOT get anything by promoting this, I’m just a fan. : )
BTW…Today is my anniversary of 4 years with my amazing husband! @knightsbayne He’s also a writer and #twitchstreamer You can check him out here. Who says opposites have to attract? Love my dude…<3
Who is your favorite female protagonist?