Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chugging Away

I'm finally getting over that first hurdle in writing the first draft of a new story...getting beyond the first 50 or so pages of the proposal. Now, I'm almost at the 'first turning point,' where something dramatic must happen between hero and heroine.

It means really beginning to dig into these characters and become a little consumed with them day and night.

On a good day, after writing 10 pages, I am a happy camper.

What kept me from moving faster along on this story was that I suddenly got an idea for another story. When that happens, I have to let it run its course, and write everything down while the inspiration is flowing. I may not get to this new story for another year or so, but if I don't develop it now, it'll be gone.

Scene ideas would come to me, dialogue, a story arc. In a few days, I had a whole story (minus those pesky details that involve research) mapped out and most of the key scenes written out longhand in a spiral notebook (a lot of them at midnight or 5:30 in the morning). Now, I can put it aside with a peaceful mind, knowing the essence of it is there whenever I can get back to it.

I can also go back to my original story and concentrate fully on those two characters waiting for me to continue their story.

It's a crisp fall day in the Netherlands and the leaves are turning, although they don't turn as dramatically here as in the northeastern United States.

I'm going on a walk through the fields and forest edging one end of Almere and continue mulling on my characters' story. What next...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Thoughts on Branding

I recently returned from the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Conference in Dallas, Texas. It was my first Christian Writers' Conference, and my first writers' conference as a published writer. (I think my last was the 1994 RWA conference in NYC when I was a Golden Heart finalist).

A lot of things have changed since then.

This conference was great. It was large enough to attract a lot of people in the industry, yet small enough to still be able to meet a lot of people and run into the same people over and over. There were almost 500 in attendance. It shows that Christian fiction is on the move.

I attended a 4-hour Early Bird workshop on branding. It was led by two people from Thomas Nelson Publishing and the design firm they work with. I learned a lot about the thought put into a book's presentation from the editorial, marketing and design end of things. For example, the different type of covers, including the size and script of the author's name, that are considered before a final choice is made.
Most importantly, I learned that the latest buzzword in publishing seems to be "branding," and that branding begins with you, the author. In other words, you, the author, must decide who you are, preferably in ten words or fewer.

It got me to thinking about a reviewer's quote about my books being not just romances, but more old-fashioned love stories....