Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin
I’m pleased to welcome Robin Patchen to this month’s Finishing Strong. Robin is not only a romantic suspense author but the owner of Robin’s Red Pen. So if you need a freelance editor, I can tell you from experience that she’s a joy to work with. Welcome, Robin!
Planning Well Leads to Finishing Strong
I’m not one of those people with a million ideas floating around in my head at the same time. I usually just have one decent idea at a time—and I’m glad to have it.
When I start a series, I don’t even know who all the books are going to be about. I usually only know how many books I intend to write and what genre they will be.
For instance, with the Hidden Truth series, I had the idea for the first book, Convenient Lies. I plotted that book and started writing it, and when I introduced Samantha, Rae’s best friend, I knew she would eventually have her own book. But the deeper I got into Rae’s story, the more I knew book two had to be about Nate. I’d put him through such horror in book one, I figured he deserved it. As I finished writing Convenient Lies, in the back of my mind, I was already plotting Nate and Marisa’s story. Halfway through writing Twisted Lies, I was planning Sam’s story. By the end of Generous Lies, I knew poor Eric had been left out long enough. He and Kelsey became the protagonists for Innocent Lies. So, I’m generally thinking and planning only one book ahead.
All that planning fell apart as I started writing Beauty in Flight. It was intended to be book one in a four-book series that takes place in the fictional town of Nutfield, New Hampshire (where the Hidden Truth books take place.) Unfortunately, Harper’s story got completely out of control. It became far too long, and there were three distinct parts that didn’t flow well together. I reached a point when I realized there was no way I could tell her story in one normal-length novel. I stalled out, and the book sat and sat while I agonized over what I should do away with.
Finally, I decided that I would write the story as three books, and with that plan in mind, I was able to finish them up. For me, when a plan stalls, I do, too. It’s not a pretty picture. But when a plan (even if it’s a new plan) comes together, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m thrilled with the three books that make up the Beauty in Flight series.
I think some writers would have moved on to a different project all together. Maybe that would have been wise. I’m a bit stubborn, honestly, so when I decide I’m going to write something, I stick with it until it’s written. And in this case, I couldn’t leave Harper and Jack’s story unfinished. I rarely know exactly how a story is going to end when I start it, and I wanted to know what was going to happen!
The moral to the story for me is that I have to plan my projects well, or I’ll cause myself lots of grief.
About Robin’s latest release, Beauty in Hiding, book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series:
Harper’s second chance at life will become a second stint in prison if anyone connects her to those two dead men.
Nutfield, New Hampshire, is as good a place as any to hide from the murderer Harper left behind in Maryland. All she has to do is lie low and make enough money to keep herself and Red alive until she can figure out who her enemies are.
Jack Rossi is mystified by his beautiful new tenant and her confused grandfather. Something’s not right, but the love he sees between them and the care she takes of the old man convinces Jack they’re trustworthy. As drawn as he is to Harper, she’s his tenant, so she’s off limits.
Derrick, Harper’s ex-boyfriend and Red’s grandson, needs to find his grandfather and get his hands on the old man’s money before Derrick ends up with a bullet in the skull. And when he locates Harper, she’ll be sorry for what she’s put him through.
Harper and Jack grow closer, but so do her enemies. If the truth comes out, she may lose her freedom—or her life.
Don’t miss Beauty in Hiding, Book 2 in the Beauty in Flight series.
Beauty in Hiding links:
Amazon Series Page: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MWC4GVS/
Aside from her family and her Savior, Robin Patchen has two loves—writing and traveling. If she could combine them, she’d spend a lot of time sitting in front of her laptop at sidewalk cafes and ski lodges and beachside burger joints. She’d visit every place in the entire world—twice, if possible—and craft stories and tell people about her Savior. Alas, time is too short and money is too scarce for Robin to traipse all over the globe, even if her husband and kids wanted to go with her. So she stays in Oklahoma, shares the Good News when she can, and writes to illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.
Download a free copy of Convenient Lies, book 1 in the Hidden Truth series, when you visit Robin’s website, robinpatchen.com.
Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin
Author Candee Fick stops by today to give us her perspective on what it takes to “Finish Strong” when it comes to our writing projects. Welcome, Candee!
Some authors have one epic idea for a book that consumes them for years. Others—like me—have far more ideas than available hours to write. There’s a quote circulating about avid readers dying next to a pile of books they’d wanted to read. I fear I might be the writer whose heirs uncover an overflowing folder of unwritten story ideas.
On one hand, having a multitude of stories waiting on the backburner of my brain allows them the opportunity to simmer for awhile until each nugget of an idea grows strong enough to carry a complete book. On the other hand, it’s too easy to get distracted by all those interesting characters and situations instead of focusing on the current work-in-progress and seeing it through to completion before starting something new.
When I’m tempted to wander down that rabbit trail and start work on a different idea, I’ve learned to allow myself a few moments to write down that fabulous dialogue snippet or plot twist or setting detail. Then I drop it into my file of future ideas…and forget about it. When the time comes to start a new story, all those assorted pieces will be there waiting.
So how do I choose my next writing project? It’s a combination of inspiration and business tactics. What genres, time periods, lengths, and series/standalone tropes are selling best? Does the idea fit into my overall brand as an author and would my readers enjoy the story? But most of all, am I still excited about the idea? If not, back into the pot it goes to keep cooking while I fish out another idea instead.
In some ways, I think of my idea bank like a recipe for chicken and dumpling stew with many terrific ingredients simmering for awhile…and then the goodies rise to the top. In fact, that’s what happened with my newest series featuring castles. I had four historical ideas simmering that just would not leave me alone until the day I came up with a plan to weave them alongside a contemporary plot to create a series.
Of course, I’m still putting in the work to actually write all of the books, but having an exciting feasible idea in the first place makes it that much easier to finish strong.
How do you store all those flashy new ideas until you’re ready to use them?
Stepping Into the Light (Within the Castle Gates Book 1)
Sometimes the most heroic live in plain sight.
Tragedy stalks Gunn Castle, most recently when the heir to the Gunn chiefdom died, leaving the land vulnerable to attack. But security has come in the promise of a marriage alliance with the Clan Sinclair, the Gunns’ powerful northern neighbors.
The search is on to gather the eligible maidens…except mysterious accidents befall all who join the laird’s widow at the castle. Meanwhile, messengers have been spotted along the southern border, and Clan Sinclair may be walking into a trap.
With war looming and a madwoman in their midst, the only hope for a peaceful future may lie in the hands of a disfigured Gunn recluse and the overlooked second son of Clan Sinclair.
If you like clean medieval romance, the Scottish Highlands, and cheering for the underdog, then you’ll love the first installment of this new series from Candee Fick.
Candee Fick is a multipublished, award-winning author. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy writing, editing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.
Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin
…I never knew how hard it would be to decide on a cover until I was responsible for choosing one for my latest novella…
I’m posting on the Seriously Write blog today and talking about book covers. Join in on the conversation. Tell us your experience in choosing the right cover for a book or what you do and don’t like in covers.
Have you been responsible for making the decision about a book cover? What did you learn from it?
Sandra Ardoin @sandraardoin
It seems that the harder we think about it and the more we try, the more difficult it is to come up with a solution.
Dr. Richard L. Mabry visits the Seriously Write blog today with suggestions about how we, as pantsers, can get past those times when our minds go blank on what comes next.
What do you do when faced with writer’s block?
About Sandra Ardoin…