Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MY BIGGEST WRITING CHALLENGE



It's my pleasure to have author, Kathryne Kennedy, visiting Over Coffee again. I truly enjoy having authors visit, of course, but one the added benefit of this blog is being able to have those authors whose books I love to read. I love vivid worlds peopled by unforgettable characters and settings. Kathryne's books always provide me with an escape into a new place. Her stories are better than Calgon at taking away, lol!

I have to admit, I wondered about her writing process. She graciously shares with us her greatest challenge in telling her stories. 





Thank you so much, Sia, for having me here today. It’s such a pleasure to talk with you and your readers once again! I’m looking forward to responding to the comments.

Today I thought I’d share one of my biggest challenges in telling a story, and I hope both readers and writers find it helpful.

I often find that the biggest challenge I face in telling a story is in how I write. I admire writers who can write anywhere, under any circumstances. But for me, I have to have total focus on my story and characters, and distractions can make that difficult.

A reader once told me “You paint pictures with words.” It made me really look at how I sit down and write a story. I always have a general idea of the plot—where the story will take me—and I have a general idea of my character’s strengths and weaknesses. But the story itself unfolds as I write, and I have to see each scene in my head—I have to be in that scene—before I can get it down in words. If I can’t visualize it, I can’t write about it. I can’t pass along that vision to my reader.

It kinda works the same way with my characters. I have to get back into their heads before they can move forward in a scene. Their personalities grow with each page and any decision or action they take is based on their choices, not mine. So even something as minor as walking across a room, or as major as making love, has to be in their character, with their motivation and purpose.

So what happens when I can’t find my focus? When other issues (like life) cloud my thinking? I’ve found several things that help:


  • I read my last few pages, allowing me to immerse myself back into the scene or characters. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll go back even farther, until I truly empathize with my characters again, and am living back in their world.

  • I make a list of all the things that are demanding my time or mental energy, put it aside with the promise that I will get to each issue after I write my goal for the day. This helps focus my full attention back on my writing.

  • If I’m facing the end of a scene and am not sure where to go next, I go back to my original outline for the general plot, and that gives me back my direction.

  • I help myself the day before. When I’m immersed, the ideas start flowing. So before I stop writing for the day, I’ll put short notes right where I've left off, telling what will happen next in the scene.

  • If I’m having a truly difficult time facing the keyboard, I give myself permission to stare at a blank screen. I do not have to write anything. I will just sit down and stare at the screen. This relieves the pressure, and my mind and fingers have yet to fail to get something written for that day…even though I don’t ‘have’ to.

  • If you’re a writer and share my challenges, I hope you’ve found some of my solutions helpful, and I sure would like to hear any you might like to add.
  • If you’re a reader, I hope this post helps you to understand what my writing process is like, and I’d love to hear what you think.




THE LADY OF THE STORM BY KATHRYNE KENNEDY—IN STORES AUGUST 2011
Giles is bound to protect her...
In a kingdom viciously ruled by warlike elven lords, village blacksmith Giles Beaumont reluctantly swears to protect the half-elf, half-human Cecily Sutton, never dreaming that he will fall under her enchanting spell.
But duty soon turns to desire...
When Cecily's father disappears, Cecily and Giles set out to find him. But, as their journey unfolds, duty is quickly replaced by desire—and the search for Cecily's father leads to a magical destiny that could end the rule of the elven lords forever...Excerpt.  BOOK TRAILER


THE LADY OF THE STORM is a great read for those who love epic fantasy romance... love story between two strong-minded people set against the backdrop of intrigue, magic, 
and incredible danger.

“Fantastical creatures, magical spells, lengthy quests, angst, and passion will satisfy readers looking for a romance plot in a well-developed fantasy setting.”
Publishers Weekly

“Kennedy’s exquisite world building and terrific plotting make this a must-read.”
Booklist Starred Review

Buy: AmazonBarnes and NobleBordersBooksAMillion,
Chapters/IndigoKathryne’s Bookseller Directory

The publisher is giving away two copies of The Lady Of The Storm, to two commenters on today's blog. Limited to the US and Canada. IF you want to be entered into the drawing for her book, please contact me at siamckye@gmail.com with your contact info. Thank you!


Kathryne Kennedy is an acclaimed, best-selling, award-winning author of magical romances. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in The Elven Lords series, The Lord of Illusion (February 2012).

32 comments:

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kathryn, I'm so glad you could visit with us today. I loved this story!

Pull up a chair and enjoy your visit.

I'm racing against an nasty thunderstorm and electrical flickers, darn it, so hopefully I'll have power. If not, I'll check in when I can. :-)

Jo said...

I am impressed with anyone who can put together a good story, no matter how they do it.

Mason Canyon said...

Kathryn, I always enjoy learning more about a writer's process. I agree with the reader, you do paint pictures with your words. You put the reader into the story. Wish you much success.

Sia, thanks for hosting Kathryn. It's fun catching up with one of my favorite author at one of my favorite sites to visit.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Taryn Browning said...

Great post, Kathryn! You provided fantastic tips for writers that I'll be sure to try out. Although, I was kind of distracted reading them because of the lovely picture of a shirtless Chris Evans calling out my name next to it, lol :) Seriously, I really enjoyed your post (and Chris Evans)!!! :)

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Sia! So great to be here today! What's with this weather? Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes! It's been so strange. Hope your power stays on! Let us know what's happening if you can.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Jo! Some days it's a struggle, but most of the time, sheer escapist joy! Lovely to meet you!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Mason! Such a fantastic compliment! I'm honored.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Taryn! Thanks so much! Um, yeah, my gaze kept wandering over to the left. ;}

iarvd said...

Hi Kathryn, Great post! I totally agree that you paint pictures with words. My family can't understand why I would rather read a book than watch a movie. I tell them that when I am reading I see a much better movie in my mind than what they can see on the screen. Keep up the good work!

VA said...

Kathryn, I'm so excited to be back in the Elven Lords' world you created. I loved The Fire Lord's Lover.

I visualize my writing as well so my best strategy when things are bad is to read the last section I wrote just before falling asleep. I generally end up dreaming the next few scenes.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Taryn, Chris Evans is a fine distraction, isn't he?
There's a scene in Captain America, right after his transformation from a 90lb. weakling to this when the heroine's mouth sort of drops and she reaches out to touch his chest with a look of...wonder, before snatching her hand back. I laughed and said in a sotto voice, Honey, I so understand, lolol!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Iarvd! I'll try! My heroes are always more handsome in my mind than reality. :}

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi VA! I wrote a short story from a visual I had from a dream. I wound up publishing it in an anthology along with one of my son's short stories. Ya never know where inspiration will strike. :}

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Sia! Glad your electricity is behaving! Um, yeah, it would be hard to resist all that smooth muscled skin. ;}

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kathryne, power flickered and went off and on. Internet went down just after my welcoming comment. Quite a humdinger of a lightning storm.

Had to do a reset to get back on line this morning, but here I are, lol!

As a writer, I see the scenes in my head like a movie, too. Distractions most definitely interfere with getting it down. It breaks that personal connection to the characters and the story.

I do like your tips--especially the list of things to be done and your way of promising yourself you'll get to them as soon as you're finished with writing. Pulls all those disturbing distractions to one place. I'll have to try that.

Judi Fennell said...

You write the way I do, Kathryne. That "going back and reading the previous scene" was the trick that got me through my first deadline when the story didn't want to come.

Anonymous said...

I like your idea of listing your tasks that are interfering with your being able to write, then putting it aside with a promise to tend to it later. For some reason, I don't seem to be able to write until after I've completed the tasks--but if the list is lengthy, that means it may lose a day or more of writing! I'm going to try your approach instead.

Smoky Zeidel

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Glad I could offer a suggestion that might help you, Sia. And glad your power is back on! How is your writing coming along? What are you working on right now? Would love to know.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Judi! We share a love of world-building, don't we? Your books are so intriguing. Hm, yes, I use that technique often. You'd think I'd be used to deadlines by now, but they still are something of a challenge when creativity is involved.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Anon! Yes, it's difficult to settle down when other matters are pressing. I hope my tip helps for you!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Working on a paranormal and I'm in love with the main characters. They're a lot of fun. She's a wild life photographer and he, well he's wild life, lol!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Sounds fabulous, Sia! What type of shape-shifter is he? I'm working on a book now where my heroine is a were-panther. Such fun!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are good tips for staying in the flow of writing.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kathryne, were-panthers sound fun.

He's a wolf but there has been an appearance of a suspicious cougar and my heroine just might have insulted him by calling him Mouse Breath...could come back to haunt her, lol!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Hi Alex! Glad you thought so. Best wishes!

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

Sounds like a lot of fun, Sia. Your heroine must be gutsy to say such a thing to a werewolf. :} My very best wishes with your writing!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Actually, she says it to the cougar, after shooting it's mate with a tranq--not realizing it's a Were. And it is a fun story for me. And thank you.

And thank you for taking the time out of your writing schedule to be here.

Keep me posted on the were-panther story. You know I'm going to want to read it.

Author Kathryne Kennedy said...

LOL. I will. It's the fourth book in The Relics of Merlin series. :}
And thanks a million for having me here today, Sia. It's always such a pleasure to talk to you and your readers.
Take good care, and wishing you much success and happiness.

Hilary said...

Hi Sia and Kathryn - interesting to read how you keep going .. and I'm sure visualisation is the key .. if we can see things in our minds - they do tend to flow out.

I like the idea of your Lady in the Storm .. but sitting at a blank screen - no thank you!! So glad it works for you though - we all have our own ways of dealing with that need to produce ... but I don't write stories and can avoid that issue!

Cheers to you both .. Hilary

Enid Wilson said...

It's a great advice, Kathryne. I actually don't like to write description. I prefer dialogues. I should learn your method to visualise.

Every Savage Can Reproduce

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed reading the post, Kathryne; it was quite interesting.

I'm also glad another book in this series will be published in 2012; I've got my credit card ready!!

Thanks,
Tracey D

Sharyn L said...

Kathryne, I so excited that you are writing another book in the Relics of Merlin series. I love that series!

I like how you keep the pressure off by just being in front of your computer but not forcing yourself to do anything.