So today’s WordPress writing prompt is sandwich, and I was served a rather tasty sandwich by a bestselling author. In my sandwich was lots of advice on writing and general editing and how to look at your work in a new light.As a few readers have asked me questions on my journey /for some general thoughts and advice, here’s some of the highlights on what I’ve learned on my road to a published author – in addition to my last post which you can read here. Which is a Q and A from a reader on publishing. I’m not selfish, and far from an expert but I’ll share my sandwich with you that’s handmade by Tammy Tate. Since Tammy is a busy lady over in the USA and I don’t want to disrupt her research and writing time, this guest blog I’ve done myself with her permission to quote her from the organic conversations we’ve had. It is my pleasure to share with you a guest blog with Mrs Tammy Tate – Romance Author from the USA.
Creating The Villain in Your Writing:
This really depends on what genre you write in and whether a villain falls naturally. I write across two genres, and in romance you don’t often see a villain really do you? Have you ever thought of or have you already wrote a villain in one of your stories and wondered if you should keep him/her in? In A Stranger in France you will meet a villain – Danny a complete asshole no one is meant to like him, I really dislike him myself and wrote him in a bad light on purpose. I was nervous about him as I thought having a villain in a romance story may spoil it or turn readers off. To me it was a risk, but he’s central to the story and has a rather dramatic part that spices up the story, alongside Nicholas the hero (and my dream man!). Tammy (without even knowing) helped to calm my nerves about Danny and including a villain. I am now no longer nervous and would do this again in this genre.This happened during an organic conversation, when she touched on this subject, here’s what she said.
“Sometimes we take risks when we create a bad guy who plays a big part knowing our readers will hate them. Who could blame them? Truth is, we hate them, too! It reminds me of a character I created in Off-Duty Christmas. Ethan. He was an arrogant cop who thought he was god’s gift to women. My readers hated him. By the end, everyone liked him, including me 🙂
Now in my case didn’t aim to make Danny likeable in anyway, but to hear this from Tammy made me realise – take a risk a villain is OK (in romance), and may even spark great discussion and debate for readers. If it works, hey it works even if it’s not the norm.
Writing From What You Know:
I find that this can make stories realistic if you use a little of what you know or have witnessed/experienced in life. Again, via an organic conversation we touched on this subject, and I’m not sure how Tammy guessed I may have done this! But I guess that’s what happens when you’ve wrote and published five books- you just know. Tammy says
“They say our DNA is etched into every character we create. I truly believe that to be true.”
The message I got from this is if you want a realistic feel, it’s OK to use what you know. Just go for it dramatise it if need be but use it.
Editing Your Own Work
I have been in a constant paranoid state and labour with no pain relief for about seven months over A Stranger in France LOL- is the story EVER good enough? And I found that sometimes when I read, and re-read, wrote and re-wrote I started to read what I WANTED to read maybe not what was there. The next day I’d go back and be like what is THAT? Tammy says…
“You are so right about not being able to edit your own manuscript! Your brain will fill in words that aren’t there. Mine does too, even after 5 books. What I like to do, is take it to another room or step outside. If you read it somewhere other then where you wrote it, you’ll see it in a different light! No pun intended…LOL I’ve heard other authors say the same thing.”
I did this, I went to another area of the room….
Paranoid State and Nervous To Share:
Nervous some? Yes, very. Whenever I do a short story for a writing prompt/ poem for my blog or write a full novel as a published bit of work for commercial sale. Whatever I write to share I don’t know how to calm my nerves. Tammy says
“I don’t blame you. I was the same way, especially with my first one. You’re going to be a published author on the Sept. 20th! Of course, you’re nervous
What I took from this is – Just take a chill pill and move on to the next book leave this one alone. This is never going to be easy, it is not designed to be easy to be good, just keep practising and work hard. Maybe one day you nerves will ease.
So my learning curve has been very steep to say the least, but I feel that I have some key things I’ve learned from the writing and editing of book #1, that I will apply to book #2 which is what I’m on now the editing stage now I have it back.
Hope this advice helps an aspiring writer and author out there!Best of luck.
Thank you Tammy!
Here is where you can find Tammy: