Friday, July 20, 2012

Writers' Corner Friday

To continue the discussion on how I manage to write so many books and keep the quality up. Previously, I told you about my secret weapon Writer or Die.

So, how do I get myself back into the world of the story when I keep getting yanked out of it by life, line edits from other stories and galleys from even different stories?

Because in the way of Murphy's Law for writers, when you're on the tightest deadline, is when it never fails that you'll get line edits and/or galleys from other projects.

(Once I got two sets of line edits from two different publishers on the same day and they both wanted them back ASAP, and of course I was on a burn-the-midnight-oil deadline.)

To instantly transport me into the world of the story that I'm working on--whether it be first drafts, line edits or galleys--I do four things.

1) Make a collage of the book.

This includes things like pictures of the hero and heroine, the setting, their jobs, any kind of photograph that makes me think of that book. Now, with Pinterest, making collages are a snap. I have two computer. One I use for writing on, the other is my Internet computer. On the second computer, I post the collage as the screen background image. All I have to do is look over and see the story unfolding. Here's a collage from the third book in the Jubilee, Texas series, A COWBOY FOR CHRISTMAS.

2) Make a play list

I make a play list for the book like a movie sound track. Right now I use, although the site is starting to become problematic. Chose songs that fit the book, not songs you love. Remember, you're becoming these characters. I arrange the sounds to coincide with the plot. Happy songs in the falling-in-love stage, sad songs for the dark moment. While I write the book, I listen to the playlist. I used to think I could not write to music, but I broke myself of that and it's added a rich layer to creating my stories (plus it makes writing more fun) and whenever I hear those tunes, I'm reminded of the book.

3) Pick a scent

I pick a scent that represents the story (usually, it's thematic) and I buy a candle that represents that scent. I'm a big fan of Yankee Candles. I light the candle and smell the story. If you're sensitive to scents, obviously, you can't do this one, but it is a great way to pull you into the story.

4) Assemble a collection

Assemble things that remind you of the book and put them around you. If you're writing a book set on the coast, put seashells on your desk. If your hero is a high powered executive, put executive toys on your desk. If there's bees in your book, put a jar of honeycomb honey where you can see it.

When crafting your next book take times to do one of these (or all of them.) It will pay off in big dividends. Plus, it's just plain fun and creates a special memory for you of when you were writing the story.


  1. susannah@tabletopart.orgJuly 20, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Love it. I need and brimstone and lightening candle for my dragons!

  2. Great suggestions. I love the collage idea as well as surrounding myself with items that remind me of the book I'm writing.

  3. I'm going to try all of these ideas. Thanks!

  4. I've never made literal collages of my books before. I had a folder with some images in them - usual visual interpretations of my hero and heroine - and then Pinterest came alone. I decided to give that a whirl and create folders for my stories and I really like that. It's odd how your subconscious works with images and had me adding pictures I wasn't sure "why." Later I'd look at some of them and say ooooh I could do XYZ! or Hey! that solves ABC problem! I'm a big fan of collages now. Totally learned that from Lori.

    Playlists are harder for me. I have created them for stories in the past but I generally will have a hard time listening to music while I write. I don't know why this is. I can be doing other things, hear a song, see a scene in my head and know that's how that scene in my book should play out, but listen to it while I write? Ehhhhh. Don't know why I run into problems. :( is a cool site but it is having issues these days. I'm starting to wonder if creating a playlist on Youtube using official videos from the artists might be an easier way (if possible, of course) to create the inspiration soundtrack for a book.

    Picking a scent is such an awesome idea! I didn't think of that one. :) I'll have to give that a whirl. And don't forget, people on a tight budget, that Yankee candle sells votive candles too in all their scents. You don't have to buy those big glass jars all the time. :)

    Hmmm. Assembling a collection, eh? I've done that too. I have a couple of books I've been fiddling with (outside my comfort zone right now) and I picked up an object at a store that total reps the story in my head. I have it sitting on a shelf and every time I look at it, I think of that book. So I love this idea. I'll have to try it on a more regular basis.

    All excellent tips, Lori! Thanks!


  5. Love the suggestions to encourage the creative process. I am going to try the playlist idea tonight.

  6. Hi! Making a collage on Pinterest is harder than I thought it would be! My novel (of contemporary women's fiction) is about serious issues relating to isolation, family, and the media. Sadly, there are no hot cowboy pictures in my collage, either. But I may work a cowboy into the next novel, now that I've seen your screen wallpaper! :)

    For the curious,

    Thanks for the suggestions, Lori!