Growing Pains…My RollerCoaster Ride is Far From Over!

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I had a great day on Tuesday. My book jumped astronomically up the ranks, yes…it is down in numbers. I knew it would happen. I received more fans on my email list, not many, but more and they are realistic numbers for a newbie. I was on cloud nine.

Today, I was writing my fourth book in my series and seemed to have stuck myself into a bit of a corner. It happens. I’m sure many of the greats have been there (if not, I would like to imagine they have). This story is my favorite by far. I know I say that every time I begin a new book, but seriously, it is.

At the same time, this story is coming with a price. It is taking me longer to write. I am taking my time because I am using a new technique. I am being careful to create a more professional product. That, in my head, sounds silly. I typically write like I think. I jump all over the place and my stories come out like the “Pulp Fiction” movie. You think you can follow along, then the scene jumps off to another character or place.

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Quinten Tarantino is an outstanding creative genius so it might be pretentious of me to compare my work to his, but that’s how I see my writing. Unorganized until you finish the book and get the big picture.

I love experimental writing and it was my favorite course in college. It honed my craft of novice writing, but in my professional career, I don’t see big bucks unless I tone it down and ‘work’ on some things. This is where the new technique comes in.

I worked on this new technique to REALLY fix the gaps in my story. I added beef to some of the scenes and transitioned some of the scenes so as not to confuse the readers and leave them hanging. Some of the test readers had issues with that in the past.

I am doing my best to not ‘write like I think’ but to ‘write like THEY think.’ Hopefully, you get what I mean. This new process is taking a lot more time than I thought it would. I am realizing now how difficult improvement can be. I want to please my readers without losing my sense of style. There is such a fine line and I feel I am crossing it every other page, another reason why it is taking so long.

Writing emotion is something that is not new to me. I have been dabbling with emotion (as most writers do) since I picked up a pencil in grammar school. Every artist knows about passion. To connect the reader with a character’s emotion is an entirely different story (pardon the pun).

I live in fear, we all do. I don’t live in a world where fear runs my life or I am in a life or death type of fear. This emotion is not familiar to me. If I need to express this in a story, I will watch a scary television show or movie and study the character. Usually, the character is annoying, I need to be more sympathetic, I guess.

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My characters are not very fearful. They are angry and sad. At times, they withdraw. For my book I am writing now, I was thinking of adding fear into a character (I still haven’t decided since this isn’t a strong suit of mine). Before I decide to add this emotion, I wanted to read how to properly invoke the feeling into a character without it coming off fake.

How To Handle Fear In Your Novel: The Dos And Don’ts

This article discusses exactly what it says. What a writer should and shouldn’t do in writing fear for a character. I found it to be great for all emotions, to be honest. One big DO is have the reader FEEL the fear, not have the reader WATCH it. I love this. I believe this to be true with anger too. I want my readers to FEEL the rage when I write my character is flipping s#!t on somebody. Sorrow can be felt as well. I want my readers to cry after the love of her life died. I think grief is easier than rage and fear. Many have experienced loss but not life-threatening situations or anger so fierce they’re ready to murder (unless someone messed with their child).

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I am not sure what I will do with the emotions, I still have a scene that placed me in the corner. I can’t explain much about it. The new technique forced me to think things through, made this book special, then pushed me in a corner.

Another newbie mistake I made today was just silly. I have a growing email list and I wanted to thank my new readers so I created a thank you newsletter that welcomed them. I set up a nice simple looking template, added the cover design for the new book, told them I was in the process of this book. I also invited them to be on my street team. They will get the book first and free if they signed up. No obligation, blah, blah, blah. If they didn’t sign up, no biggie. Other readers still get free short stories and other offers as well. I also expressed I wanted to get to know them and gave my email address for any questions and concerns.mailchimp monkey

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I felt confident about my newsletter. I didn’t send it out the right way. I sent out the draft to my email list. Which means, I sent the email list my newsletter with an option to edit the newsletter. When I received it (I am one of the few on my readers’ list), it gave an error stating I don’t have authority to be on there. I looked like an amateur (which I am, to be quite honest). I have no idea what I was thinking! I know what I was thinking, I didn’t know what I was doing, that is what I was thinking.

So what I did was resend it the right way. I forgot to send an apology, but it is too late and I should have done it earlier. I don’t want to do it now because then that is three emails in one/two days of each other. Too many and I will lose readers. I am not about to do that. I will wait a week or two.

Now I need to set up a REAL newsletter and have it go to new subscribers only. I have to figure out how to do that before all my readers get the same thing every day. The life of a new author is exciting at the very least. The ups and the downs. The minute one thing goes well, you make a mistake and learn what NOT to do for next time.

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. - Thomas A. Edison

Stay fabulous and don’t be afraid of your mistakes. I am only getting better with mine.

Robyn Branick


Robbie Ellie




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