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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When I'm Struggling With A Story

To all my friends and fellow authors at the Romance Writers of America conference starting today in New York City – have fun and just know that I'm so jealous.  I wish I was there, but I'm home working on my next book (deadlines). 

I'm struggling right now trying to finish a holiday novella.  Don't tell anybody but I've restarted this one for the third time, because nothing around me is putting me in the holiday spirit.  I've tried scented candles.  Christmas carols.  Watched holiday-themed movies.  Drank hot cocoa.  Nothing has worked.

Why?  Because I live in Texas and it's bloody hot here.  The last time I blogged here at Not Your Usual Suspects, we'd been having rain for a solid month.  Today it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside (the temperature inside the car read 110 degrees).  Not conducive to thinking about cheerful romps in the snow and the scent of pine filling the house.   

But, I still have to finish the book, because I have a deadline when it has to be turned in for edits.  I have to invoke my imagination and beg my muse to help me picture the scene and help it take shape. 

It's not a magic trick or voodoo science.  It's listening to your characters and where they're at in the story.  What's the locale?  Is it snowing?  Is it cold?  Are they spending the holidays in a tropical setting and maybe missing building their annual snowman? 

Get into the mindset of the hero and heroine.  What are they wearing?  Are they bundled up against the cold, snowbound in a blizzard, or maybe stuck at the office party in atrocious Christmas sweaters?  (Sorry, even inside with the A/C blowing, I'm not doing putting on a sweater.)

Clear out the space around you.  If you're writing area is cluttered, that can steal your focus.  (I'm guilty of that most times.  I can get so focused on the words I kind of ignore the stuff piling up around me.)  Right now the only things on my desk are a stack of sticky notes, a Diet Coke and since I'm trying for the holiday spirit, a scented candle.  (I'm trying a cinnamon one.  If that doesn't work, I'll switch to peppermint.) 

So, if you get stuck, try a couple of these tricks and see if they might help you get over the hump and finish the book.  That's the bottom line– finishing the book.  You can't forget that because there's somebody out there waiting to read it.
Now I'm going to sign out of here, because I've got a holiday story that's calling my name. 


Anne Marie Becker said...

And I bet it's humid, too. Ugh. Good luck meeting your deadline! I have a deadline next week, too, but am lucky the setting is July in Las Vegas, so it's easy to get in the mood. ;)

Kathy Ivan said...

Funny thing, my book is part of my Lovin' Las Vegas series, too. It's holiday and starts in Vegas and ends up in the tropics. Words flowing better today, so fingers crossed I can finish this and meet the deadline. Thanks for stopping by.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Good luck, Kathy! I know exactly what you mean. I once wrote a short story in winter, but it was set in summer in a rainstorm, and I managed to have my character crash her car in a snow-covered ditch... Thank goodness for first readers.

Kathy Ivan said...

I definitely hear you, Marcelle! I'd be lost without my beta readers who catch all the stuff that I don't. But I love the rush when the words are flowing and the story is coming together just the way you want. Fingers crossed that this cinnamon candle and Christmas Carols do the trick today because I need a bunch of words.

Of course, I'm sending them from chilly Las Vegas in December to sunny Florida where they can have some fun in the sun. LOL

P.S. i once had my character's car slide on a patch of black ice - in the middle of August. Um, I don't think so.

Rita said...

Good luck finishing. Heat index is 112 here. Staying inside and having adult beverages.

Elise Warner said...

"Have yourself a very Merry Christmas."

Kathy Ivan said...

I know, Rita. Florida heat, Texas heat it's all relative. Hot is still danged hot.

Kathy Ivan said...

Thanks, Elise. Humming Christmas carols as I'm typing. Seemed to help today as I've done just over 3400 words on the new story. Hopefully more tonight.

jean harrington said...

Kathy, you're having a Christmas in July. Now isn't that a heck of an annoying comment?

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