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These are my writing posts from my former blog, spanning 2009-2012. To see new writing posts, click on the blog tab above. To see these archived post organized by topic, click "For Writers" above.

Entries in save the cat (3)


Slow Writer Reform School


So we writers can sometimes be a superstitious bunch. We make up stories for a living and many times that creative thinking bleeds into our real life. And one way we do this is by placing some mythical or magical significance on our "process."


Shh...don't disturb the Process. Don't try new things. This is working for you. You ARE a (insert appropriate designation: a plotter, a panster, a fast drafter, an edit-as-I-go writer, a morning writer, a midnight oil burner.)

I know I've done this. I read writing craft books like they're going out of style, but I quickly discard suggestions that may go against my Process. I can't write shit down on notecards! *gasp* That will send my pantsing brain into a tailspin. My muse will curl up into the fetal position and weep in a corner!

Okay, maybe you aren't as melodramatic as I am. But I know I'm not the only one who is scared to change things around too much because it might just suddenly steal our ability to write. Like our creativity is made of some delicate blown glass that will shatter if jostled.

Here are the things I've told myself: I'm a slow writer. A thousand words a day is about what I can do. I'm a panster. Planning ahead will kill my passion for the story. I will hit writer's block at some point in every one of my stories. I'm a morning writer. I must blog brilliantly every day and must be on Twitter all the time.

Well, guess what happened though? I sold two more books which have tighter deadlines than I've ever worked under before. My kidlet switched preschools and now goes in the afternoon instead of the mornings. And I fell in love with the Save The Cat! technique.

My Process has been tossed into a blender. Everything I was doing before isn't going to fit into this new setup. I had to figure out something different.

So for book 3, FALL INTO YOU, I've changed up the sacred process. I'm calling it Slow Writer Reform School.


Slow Writer Reform School Procedures


  • I've dialed back my online time to free up more hours for writing. I don't need to be constantly available online.
  • I wrote the synopsis of this book before starting to write it. (Something you have to do, btw, if you want to sell on proposal.)
  • I wrote out a sentence for each of my major scenes and turning points on (ack!) index cards
  • I'm holding myself to a 1k a day minimum goal
  • I'm writing in pockets of time I usually wasted doing something unimportant
  • I'm am not tying my ability to write to a certain time of the day
  • And when I want to make a major change in the story, I just make a note and don't rewrite the whole thing right then.

And you know what? In seven days, I've written about 12,000 words. Now that may not seem like a lot to you fast drafters or Nano-ers (congrats, btw, to those of you who won Nano), but for me, that is a revelation. I even had an afternoon where I wrote 3200.


And it's been fun. Refocusing myself has helped me remember how awesome it is to get lost in your story and to be itching to get back to it. And having those simple plot points already sketched out has kept me moving forward instead of taking a day off to figure out what happens next.

So if you are feeling stuck or not as productive, consider throwing a few curve balls to your sacred Process. If it doesn't work, you can always go back. You never know what you might find.

And if you need more inspiration, there have been a number of posts recently about how others have sped up their writing:

So how about you? Do you see your Process as precious? Have you told yourself that you can only do things a certain way? What have you changed up in your process that's helped you? What hasn't worked?



"Revved up and red-hot sexy, CRASH INTO YOU, delivers a riveting romance!"
--Lorelei James, NY Times Bestselling author of the ROUGH RIDERS series


CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|



Save the Pantser! A Solution for Pantsers with Plotter Envy

Today I'm a guest over at Janice Hardy's awesome writing blog, The Other Side of the Story. I would love for y'all to stop by and say hi.


“...a sexy, sizzling tale that is sure to have readers begging for more!" –Jo Davis, author of I SPY A DARK OBSESSION



CRASH INTO YOU is now available for pre-order!

Read an excerpt here.

All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing or re-posting. Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author. ©Roni Loren 2009-2011 |Copyright Statement|



WIP Wednesday: Sequels, Plotting, and Save The Cat!



For the past few months I have been attempting to write the second in the Wanderlust series.  I've blogged a bit about it.  I wrote a few chapters of one version, hit a wall, wasn't liking where my characters were going, so I started fresh with a different plot line.  Then I got stuck again.  Grr.  

This is a bit of a new issue for me.  For my first two books, I had moments where I had to stop and rework something  or cut a chapter, but for the most part, I continued to move forward without much issue.  Now I've found myself with a version of writer's block. 

Many writers say that there is no such thing as writer's block--that it's just another label for fear.  Perhaps, that's true.  I definitely have a fear of writing the second story in the series before the first has sold--even though it would be a connected series where each story could stand alone, not sequels per se.  I think this fear is what is smothering the creative part of my brain.  Then, after reading Nathan Bransford's post on sequelitis yesterday, my fear is even further confirmed. 

So about two weeks ago, I put that project on the side and returned to Exposure Therapy.  With this one, however, I decided I was going to tie up my inner pantser and toss her in a closet.  This story has a suspense/mystery element, which requires more intricate planning.  So, I am attempting to *gasp* plot beforehand.  

It's been painful.  My version of plotting so far has consisted of writing about ten notebook pages of bullet points that say--perhaps this happens, then maybe he does this because of this, etc.  I wouldn't so much call it plotting at this point, it's more brainstorming.  But I think I almost have all the pieces I need to get started on a more structured outline.  But what does that look like?

Blogs to the rescue!  I was going through my Google Reader and came across this great post over at The Guide to Literary Agents Blog about the screenwriting book Save the Cat  by Blake Snyder.

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

I thought the information was great, so I googled the book to see if I could find anything else out there on it.  Lo and behold, I found Ciara Stewart's post on Story Structure from Save the Cat! and I think it's just what I needed to help me start my outlining.  She posted Blake Snyder's 15 beat structure for stories using a Nora Robert's book Born In Fire as an example.  Here's the graphic she posted.  (I'm sorry some of it is cut off, nothing I did fixed it.  If you save the image on your computer, you'll get the whole thing.)

(image copied from Ciara Stewart's blog)

I thought this was a terrific summary.  It's originally based on screenwriting, but I think the trends in books these days are very much like movies--quick hook, jump into the action, etc.  So, I'm going to attempt to use this to make a rough plot of my book before I type any of the story.  We'll see how it goes.  Hopefully, it will move along quickly, because I'm ready to write!

*Alright, on a completely different note, thanks to everyone who participated in The Beta Club yesterday.  Your input was awesome.  Remember, there will be another submission tomorrow!  For those of you that participated, how did you find the experience?  Was having my own crit posted helpful or would the comments from others be enough?  Did anyone have trouble opening the scribd document?*

Okay, and for today's questions:  Do you plot?  If so, what structure do you use?  How do you feel about writing sequels before book one has sold?


**Today's Theme Song**

"Move Along" - The All-American Rejects
(player in sidebar--go ahead, take a listen)