Saturday, November 21, 2015

Writer Exhaustion

By its very nature, writing is deeply introspective work and when in the groove writers can easily spend eight to ten hours writing non-stop and when the writing gets good, even more. Sure, making time for writing is important, but being glued to the keyboard for days at a time with no social interaction can and will wreak havoc on our physical and emotional health. Conversely, lack of physical activity and isolation often contribute to depression, weight gain, and poor productivity.

So what's a writer to do?

While it is necessary for us writers to immerse ourselves in our work we do need to be self-aware and recognize unhealthy triggers. As long as writing has been a profession many well-established authors have held down outside jobs and managed to successfully juggle writing, work and family responsibilities. It is a very delicate balance, but it can be done.

Here are three top tips writers can adhere to for a healthier and happier life:

Breaks
Take breaks outside of your writing space. This will help you disengage from the writing world for a short while and allow you to recharge.

Move!
Exercise can help ward off lethargy and depression it can also help ward off weight often gained during periods of inactivity. So, walk your dog or run on a treadmill physical activity can make you feel better and increase productivity.

Fighting Fatigue
Insomnia or oversleeping affect many of us, and could very well be symptoms of anxiety, stress and/or imbalance. So do not discard interrupted sleep patterns as just simple nuisance, seek professional help as needed.

Bottom line, while the writing lifestyle requires reflection and solitude, writers need to make every effort to include friends and family into their lives. Get off your chair, pull away from the computer, and get face-to-face with people on a regular basis and have fun. Don't dismiss laughter, such fun interactions may even provide you with new writing ideas!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My life as a pantser

In my early teens when I began writing, I didn’t even know there were different styles of writing. As a young woman, I was just thrilled with the idea of world building. I discovered I had the power to change a person’s fate with a few simple keystrokes and that fascinated me.
As the years went by and more responsibilities were piled onto my plate writing became secondary soon I’d stopped writing altogether. It wasn’t until just a few years back that I delved into world of fiction again employing the only method I’d ever known, the make-it-up-as-you-go-along method.
When I set out to create my first short story Captive I started with nothing but a blank Word document and the hero’s voice in my head. The plot and supporting characters would emerge during the course of that first draft.
As you might imagine my initial attempt at this short story didn’t go so well as plot lines were changed and/or added along the way. The second and third manuscript drafts were just slightly better. But, the more I wrote, and rewrote the more Captive began to resemble a cohesive storyline.
Most pantsers will tell you that allowing our imaginary friends to direct the course of a book is the most exciting aspect of the writing process. Pantsers might also tell you that this technique can be as equally frustrating.
Now, I’ve tried plotting and using character sheets before, but the process didn’t feel natural, so I reverted back to my pantser ways. However, once I began to adhere to stricter deadlines I realized I had to have a much more structured path to follow so I decided to give the plotting idea another spin.
I agree with those who say that plotting can be dull. Yes, planning and outlining is a departure from the spontaneity of ‘pantsing’, but bottom line, plotting makes me far more productive.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m an exploratory writer at heart, but with continued practice I hope to get much better at this plotter thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Writer identity crisis?

I know what you are, but what am I?

Any romance writers out there?  Do you ever ask yourselves, where does my writing material fall? Am I a chick lit writer? Or maybe I write contemporary? Or, is it erotic? If this is you, take a look below at a brief summary of the most popular subgenres in romance today.

Contemporary
This genre is set in present time (after World War II) and it focuses primarily on the emotional attachment between the leading characters. In contemporary romance the relationship is typically monogamous and not explicit (sexual content/language). Also, the intimacy doesn't normally deviate from the conventional. The story does have to have a HEA* for the characters, and the HEA almost always occurs in the traditional romantic sense.

This genre is set in either the present or the past. In erotic romance, both the sexual and emotional aspects of the relationship are integral to the storyline and the relationship is typically monogamous and can be explicit (sexual content/language). Also, the intimacy may be unconventional (fetish, BDSM, etc.). The story can and normally does have HEA/HFN**, and typically the HEA/HFN occurs in the traditional romantic sense.

Sensual
This genre is set in either the present or the past. In sensual romance the relationship is primary to the storyline. In sensual romance the story is spicy and steamy and the relationship is typically monogamous and not necessarily explicit (sexual content/language). Also, the intimacy may be unconventional (fetish, BDSM, etc.). The story can and normally does have HEA/HFN, and typically the HEA/HFN occurs in the traditional romantic sense.

Chick lit
This genre is set in present time (after 1970) and it focuses primarily on issues of modern womanhood topics which are often addressed humorously. Some chick lit authors weave elements of romance into their novels, but chick lit is not generally considered a subcategory of the romance genre. In chick lit the story can and normally does have HEA/HFN.
*Happily ever after
**Happy for now

There you have it friends, a quick and dirty overview!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Flash Fiction…what is it really?

Flash fiction is a short form of storytelling defined by the number of words and/or sentences, which of course vary from writer to writer. In a nutshell, flash fiction is any writing material more than 50 words and less than 1,500 words—some flash fiction writers stretch the limit to 2,000 words.
Note: Other names for flash fiction are micro fiction, pocket-size story, and minute-long story.
Flash fiction has been around for many years—reportedly since the early 1990’s—but has become increasingly prevalent in the literary community over the last five to seven years. Once regarded as “lazy” work, flash fiction is now considered quite the opposite: intellectually challenging storytelling. So even though by definition the context of flash fiction is to remain extremely short, it is not a medium that tolerates fragmented writing. The challenge of flash fiction is to tell a complete story in which every word is absolutely essential.
It stands to reason that in a society where people expect information at lightning speed that the instant gratification that flash fiction provides would grow in popularity. Due to its wide spread appeal today, many mainstream publications have shifted their focus to include flash fiction. For example there are many publications that exclusively feature works in flash fiction format, Vestal Review, Brevity Magazine, and FLASH Fiction Online just to name a few.
As it pertains to the romance genre itself – the genre I specialize in – numerous romance publishers such as Decadent, Etopia, and Evernight have in recent years added Anthologies to their categories; Anthologies are compilation of flash fiction and/or short stories.
Hope you found this article to be informational; if you did I very much would appreciate a comment. 

Thank you!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My Writing Den Presents: Chanel Cleeton


Playing with Trouble by Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Capital Confessions #2
Expected publication: July 21, 2015 by Penguin/InterMix

The author of Flirting with Scandal presents her second book in a sexy contemporary romance series about three sisters in a powerful political family, the scandals that threaten to destroy them, and the passion that drives them…

The daughter of one of the Senate's most powerful figures, Blair Reynolds was ready to become the ultimate political wife—until she caught her fiancĂ© cheating on her wedding day. Law school is a fresh start, her shot at putting the pieces of her life back together. That’s the plan, at least. Until trouble comes in the form of her Torts professor, the man whose arrogance infuriates her in class but haunts her private fantasies.

Graydon Canter had a fortune and a place on all the hottest "Thirty under Thirty” lists, until a series of personal missteps nearly destroyed his career. A year teaching at a D.C. law school is just the break he needs to get his life back in order, as long as nothing—and no one—trips him up.

When Blair and Gray are forced to work together, their explosive attraction becomes impossible to resist. But Gray’s demons have drawn him dangerously close to the edge, and Blair has spent her life playing by the rules. Will she break them for a shot at love?

Google Play | iBooks | Kobo | Penguin

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Author

Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise and a fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure.

Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her husband. 



Chanel writes contemporary romances. She is published by Harlequin HQN, Penguin/InterMix, and Penguin/Berkley and is the author of the International School, Capital Confessions, and Wild Aces series.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Life as a Pantser


In my early teens when I began writing, I didn’t even know there were different styles of writing. As a young woman, I was just thrilled with the idea of world building. I discovered I had the power to change a person’s fate with a few simple keystrokes and that fascinated me.

As the years went by and more responsibilities were piled onto my plate writing became secondary soon I’d stopped writing altogether. It wasn’t until just a few years back that I delved into world of fiction again employing the only method I’d ever known, the make-it-up-as-you-go-along method.

When I set out to create my first short story Captive I started with nothing but a blank Word document and the hero’s voice in my head. The plot and supporting characters would emerge during the course of that first draft.

As you might imagine my initial attempt at this short story didn’t go so well as plot lines were changed and/or added along the way. The second and third manuscript drafts were just slightly better. But, the more I wrote, and rewrote the more Captive began to resemble a cohesive storyline.

Most pantsers will tell you that allowing our imaginary friends to direct the course of a book is the most exciting aspect of the writing process. Pantsers might also tell you that this technique can be as equally frustrating.

Now, I’ve tried plotting and using character sheets before, but the process didn’t feel natural, so I reverted back to my pantser ways. However, once I began to adhere to stricter deadlines I realized I had to have a much more structured path to follow so I decided to give the plotting idea another spin.

I agree with those who say that plotting can be dull. Yes, planning and outlining is a departure from the spontaneity of ‘pantsing’, but bottom line, plotting makes me far more productive.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m an exploratory writer at heart, but with continued practice I hope to get much better at this plotter thing. 

What are you a plotter or a pantser?