The Gypsy Muse – Author Rachel Kenley

September 13, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – I’m a little behind

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It's a little behind... get it?

Yeah, after doing so well through the beginning of August, the last few weeks have been busy with things other than writing – which makes me feel very unbalanced.  I love writing, and I miss it when I don’t take the time to do it daily.

I need – and want – to get back to my 500+ words a day (closer to 1,000 words would be better) and get the edits and additions to PEAK EXPERIENCE done.  I have figured out how to get rid of the charcter/conflict that was weakening the book and upped the heroine’s conflict, both internal and external, which should help overall.  My goal is to have it complete by the end of the month.

But how did it get to be the 13th already??

How are you doing?  Are you where you want to be?  Need to catch up?


August 23, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – The Lull and a Return to Discipline

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So WAVES OF PLEASURE is done and with a copy editor and I’m working on edits and new scene ideas for PEAK EXPERIENCE, but it’s been over two weeks since I wrote daily.

And that’s not good.

Time to jump back into the deep end!

Yes, I needed the break and to relax and recharge.  But now I need to get back to the words.  A week of 500 words a day, then up it to at least 750-1000 until I’m at 1,500 a day, which I discovered is the best amount for me to write in a day without churning out too much junk.  Getting back to a discipline is frustrating and challenging.  Makes me annoyed to have let the discipline go in the first place (I’m the same way with exercise and food).  Fortunately, I know the benefits!

A couple of good days in a row and I’ll feel back on track and the momentum should carry me.  Otherwise, I turn into a body at rest… and I tend to stay at rest.

How do you get back in the groove?

July 19, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – 2K a day

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It’s a lofty goal and one that seems impossible after only the first hundred of the morning, but I am pushing myself to write at least 2,000 words a day on WAVES OF PLEASURE so that not only do I finish the draft quickly, but have as much time as possible to polish it before sending it to my editor.

Other than during NANOWRIMO, I’ve never written this much this consistently.  On some days it’s a marathon, on others a sprint, but it always feels great to cross the daily finish line. 

It is also giving me hope on my ability to keep up this pace (or close to it) after this manuscript is complete so I am producing more work more consistently – and having more time to let it sit before editing.  Did you know Stephen King lets a manuscript sit for at least six months before revisiting it?  I’d like to be able to give my work that kind of space and time.  When I edit immediately after finishing, it’s not quite as good – or objective.

So, back to the page for me.  Hope you’re having a productive week.

June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – New Contract, Better Discipline

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I am SO excited to say that PEAK EXPERIENCE has been accepted by Ellora’s Cave.  This is my older woman/younger man story which had its rough draft completed during Nanowrimo ’09.  I am thrilled to have a new book coming from the publisher who released my first book. *And* I have been accepted to write as Rachel Kenley there, which is great since my other two books with them are as Rowan West.

So now I have two books contracted to two different publishers.  I’ve gone from writing 500 words a day a few weeks ago to over 1,000 a day.  Some days it’s slow, some easy, but it is thrilling and worth every moment of “AAHHH, what have I gotten myself into?!!”

Sometimes when your dreams come true, it takes a second to get past the overwhelmed feeling – doesn’t it?

June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Be Honest With Yourself

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I am working on one book I have under contract (yay!) and another that is part of a multi author series.  The one under contract has an August 1st delivery date and needs to be a minimum of 50,000 words.  The second, will be around 27,000 words and I had planned to turn it in by July 1st.  This was before the other book was contracted.

So there I was, trying to find a balance to get both books done. And driving myself crazy in the process.

Worse, when I was honest with myself, I knew that if I tried to keep both of these deadlines, I was not going to turn my best work for either project.  It’s been a challenge for me in the past for when Ihave a picture in my head of how things should go, and then it turns out to be improbable. It’s hard to let it go it, reorganize, and re-evaluate.  But that’s what I did.

Now, my writing time is focused on the contracted book which will get in by the deadline (which will make my publisher happy) and I’ve set a new goal of submitting the shorter work by September 1st.  Both books deserve my best efforts as do my editors and readers. 

Sometimes it’s best to be honest with yourself on what you can – or can’t – accomplish and then replan accordingly.

Ever ben in a similar situation?

June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – 1K A Day

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Writing 500 words a day was great.  The progress was happening and GUARDED HEART was nearing the end of its first draft.  And then…

My editor at Ravenous said, “Who wrote the mermaid story in your anthology SPELLBOUND?  Do you think she’d be  interested in writing a novel for us?”  Well, it turns out I wrote that story (It’s called LEGS and it’s one of my favorite shorts).  She then asked if I’d consider doing a mermaid novel.  I thought about if for a while and said, “How about one where the mermaid comes on land on the Jersey Shore.” (I grew up there). She loved it… and on that sentence I’ve been contracted for a new book. 

Very thrilling.  And doable, right?  Except being a mermaid and beach story, it really should come out in the summer.  So before my brain could kick into gear, I said “Sure I can get it to you by August 1st.”


I have never been so grateful for already having a discipline in place.  Instead of having to go from 0 to 60, I’ve gone from 60 to 75 and that feels much more doable.  I’m writing at least 1,000 words a day on the new book (tentatively titled WAVES OF PLEASURE) while GUARDED HEART sits for a week before I go back to edit and expand it.

Am I nervous?  Oh yeah.  But I’m more excited so that’s a good thing.

After years of fighting it I surrendered to putting discipline in my life and planning my days according to my priorities (another hooray for and, oh, how happy I am that I did.

What disciplines make your life work better?

May 4, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Just write

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Like many, I think, yesterday I couldn’t focus.  I would turn on the news, surf the internet, and stay close to my kids.  It was an odd day, and nothing got written.

Today, other commitments kept me from writing (including here) until the end of the day.  In fact, I was going to skip it all together, and then a good friend said – Just write something.  It doesnt have to be on the manuscript you are working on at the moment, just write and own that this is who you are and what you do.

And that’s the best advice of all.  Just write.

April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – And yet…

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 2:57 pm
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I am really glad that I am keeping to my writing schedule of at least 500 words a day, and even spending this week with family in New Jersey I expect to be able to keep that going.

And yet…

Although the overall word count of the manuscript continues to increase, it doesn’t feel like enough.  I find myself focusing more on how much more is still to go.  I’m at that point in the manuscript where I am definitely committed to it.  I like my hero and heroine and the journey the heroine must go on to have her happily ever after. I know most of the candy bar scenes (thanks to Holly Lisle for this tool – and what it will take to get to the dark moment and the happy ending.

And yet…

There are days when I sit at the computer and even though the words come, it feels hard.  The writing is choppy.  There’s too much passive voice.  Too much telling and not showing.  Too many weak words. 

Yes, it’s a first draft and I need to get through the whole thing before editing, polishing and making it truly readable, but there are times when the inner editor is awfully loud.  And times when the inner critic is even louder (“You sure you’re up for another pass from your editor?”)

And yet…

I keep writing.

I hope you do to.  What are your tricks for moving forward even when it feels hard?

March 29, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Rolling Along

There’s something wonderful about  getting a little done every day (although why I can’t seem to apply this knowledge to the process of getting to a healthy weight is beyond me).  My goal has been to write at least 500 new words on GUARDED HEART each day, and I have.  *POOF* the manuscript is more than 2,500 words longer.

Added to that are the words I wrote this weekend on my writers group retreat, and the book has a nice solid foundation to keep me moving forward.

There are two tools I  credit with being able to move a book forward.  One, is Debra Dixon’s book GOAL MOTIVATION CONFLICT.  This book is possibly the best $20 I’ve every spent on my career. These are three must haves for your main characters, and Debra shows you how to develop then, use them, and  know if you have enough to write a fully fleshed out novel.  Sometimes I fill out my GMC charts before I start the book, other times I start writing and then go back to see if I know the answers to chart.  Either way – I dont finish without it.  In addition, when I edit, I make sure every scene is related to the hero or the heroine’s GMC.  Otherwise – the scene is tossed.

My other “mentor” is Holly Lisle ( Holly gives new meaning to “paying it forward” with all she’s learned and discovered about writing and the writing process.  From her mini-plot class I use the idea of making a list of “candy bar” scenes for my hero and heroine.  These are those yummy scenes you can’t wait to write.  As the list builds I can start to see the best parts of the novel taking shape and come up with ideas for how to get to each of those scenes.  It’s very helpful.

Wishing you all a great writing week.  What techniques and devices have you learned that work for you?

February 15, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Recommitment

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 2:45 pm
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So on Tuesdays I own up to where I am, where I am not yet and where I am aiming to be by next week.

And, honestly, since Nanowrimo in November, I have not been as consistent in writing as I want (and hoped) to be.  It’s scary/sad/eye opening to realize that if I wrote 1,000 words a day Monday – Friday in the 10 weeks since Nanowrimo ended… I’d have 50,ooo words done.  Now, of course, they would still need lots of editing, but at least they would be commited to the paper.  PROVE IT ALL NIGHT would be a complete draft.

Yup – eye opening.

So as I recommit to myself, I put it out there to all of you as well that Monday through Friday – or more – I will write a minumum of 1,000 new words on a current project.  Of which I have three.

1) PROVE IT ALL NIGHT – paranormal romance

2) GUARDED HEART – erotic contemporary romance

3) WIZARD OF OZ – non fiction essay book

I realized several years ago that focusing on only one project at a time isn’t necessarily effective for me.  Yes, there comes a point where the manuscript develops a life of it’s own and like a powerful whirlpool sucks me in deeper and deeper, but until that point, I’m better if I’m working on more than one manuscript.  And it’s even better if they are in somewhat different genres.

Next week’s tell all should mention the 5,000 new words I’ve done as well as any other progress I’ve made.  If there is one thing successful published authors agree on it’s the importance of writing every day.  It’s a habit I’ve had and let go of at different times in my life.  I want to move my writing and publishing career to the next level.  It needs to be a habit now and forever.

Any habits that are working for you?  How about ones you want to change?

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