Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Figuring It Out – Never Underestimate Yourself

by Jennifer Faye

This past month has been a crazy busy one. I’m just finishing up the draft of book #2 in my Italian brother
duet. It is my first ever duet, due out in the Spring of 2015, and I found that I really loved writing such closely linked stories. I ended up writing 2 books in 4 months. That right there is something I never thought I’d accomplish.

Let’s go back to the beginning, well, maybe not that far. I don’t think sharing my childhood adventures of writing short mysteries and passing them around the elementary school lunch table will demonstrate what I’m trying to get at here. ;-) Instead let’s rewind time back to when I became serious about my writing and my pursuit to be published.

In the beginning, I would write when the mood struck me. Then it progressed to writing with a modest daily goal. But then I’d trip myself up by revising and revising and revising so that writing one book would take me a year. I was proud that’d I finished a book, but it was only one book in a year. I started to stress because I wanted to write for Harlequin, a lifelong dream, and I’d heard that they wanted their writers to produce multiple books a year. *stomach churned* I was never going to be able to do that at my current pace. Something had to change. But what?

At that point in time, I didn’t do any planning—zero plotting. I wrote everything from the seat of my pants, including writing myself into some corners. Eventually I decided that it was taking far too much time to rewrite the entire book, not once or twice but three or four times. Sooo…I took myself on a journey to find out what process worked for me.

I took online writing classes, one after the other, trying other people’s methods. I tried brain mapping, poster boards and any number of other things. I finally settled on Plotting via Motivation taught by Laurie Schnebly Campbell. It clicked for me and I use it as a jumping off point. I’m not saying it’ll work for you. Everyone is different. You just have to find what works for you.

Two years ago, I wrote my debut in 3-4 months, but now I am able to write one in 2 months including time for revisions on a prior book and AA’s. It all flows together. But one thing I learned not to do is go back and edit my draft. I keep moving forward and make notes as I go so I don’t forget what I wanted to change. These notes aren’t anything major that will change my plotline. They are more along the lines of finding an appropriate name for a secondary character or finding out how long it takes to get approval for something. Anyway I never thought I would be so productive, but sometimes I surprise myself. LOL.

I use a spreadsheet to keep me on track. I talk more about my spreadsheet in an earlier “Figuring It Out” post. You can read it HERE. Being the curious sort, I pulled up my spreadsheet for my current release, THE RETURN OF THE REBEL. I completed that book in 5 weeks. :-) Of course there were no interruptions in there such as revisions or AA’s.

Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can’t do something. That is never helpful. Instead, we should prop ourselves up and realize that we are capable of more than we think. ;-)

And what does this accomplishment mean to me? I get to reward myself with some down time this summer. It’ll be a much needed chance to unwind. :-) Yes, that was one of driving motivations to kick up the pace.
But in the meatime, I’m celebrating the release of book #4, THE RETURN OF THE REBEL.

Jax Monroe is a reformed bad boy with a good heart. Cleo is a good girl with a guilty conscience. Reunited beneath the bright lights of Las Vegas, can this childhood crush turn into something more? Or will secrets and danger destroy their chance at real love?

TOP PICK! RT Book Reviews 4.5 Stars ~ "Faye's romance tugs at the heartstrings and the surprising element of suspense is the perfect addition to make this one fly off the shelves. Readers will be engaged from start to finish as they try to unearth secrets alongside the bold characters."


Cleo’s eyes twinkled. “Are you flirting with me?”

“If you have to ask, I must not be doing it right.”

She laughed some more. “I’m glad not everything about you has changed. You were always a great guy in my book.”

Her gaze lifted up to meet his. The tender look in her eyes touched something deep inside Jax—a part of him that he thought was long dead. In that moment, he felt more alive than he had in months.

Without thinking he reached out and caressed her cheek. “Thank you.”

She leaned into his touch, short-circuiting the logical side of his brain. The only coherent thought in his head was to pull her close and kiss her. And this time he wouldn’t be kissing her rosy cheek. This time he planned to find out if those cherry-red lips were as sweet and passionate as they were in his daydreams.

THE RETURN OF THE REBEL is available now:

Amazon US - 
B&N - 
Kobo US: 
iBooks US: 
Amazon UK - 
Amazon Canada - 
Amazon India - 

So my question to you is…What is the last thing that you accomplished that really surprised you?


  1. Hi Jennifer!
    I love reading about how successful authors work through a book (what writer doesn't?), and it's always comforting to know this writing thing isn't always easy and it's usually a combination of elbow grease and determination. :-)
    Even after completing a few books, I'm still trying to find the best process for me—and I'm beginning to think that each book will have its own. *sigh* Thanks for sharing how you went about increasing your productivity. I may have to go over and check out Laurie's class...
    I make myself do it but plotting always gives me hives! :-)

    1. Amy, I hope you find a process that works for you. Once you have it figured out, it can be a comfort when you start to feel stressed or lost. At least that's the way it works for me. But it took me a long time to figure out what worked for me and everyone is different.

      Wishing you all the best with your books. :-)

  2. Great post, Jennifer!

    I am still working on trying to write regularly. I did really well for a while, then life came in and engulfed my writing time. Grr!

    I am getting better at trying to write a synopsis or outline (for contests and submissions) and trying to follow them, but it doesn't always work well for me. I'm still figuring out how to complete books.

    At least reading this gives me hope that I don't have to have it all figured out as I'm starting on this journey. Thanks again for the encouraging post.

    1. Thank you! :-) Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Following a synopsis doesn't always work for me either. That's when the fun begins. But my characters eventually find their way back to the synopsis path, they just have some detours. ;-) So don't fret about that. It's what makes writing fun.

      Completing books isn't easy. I still hit the point of 'this is awful' and then I have to slog through to the end. It isn't the story that's awful, it's those pesky doubt crows. I now recognize this as part of my process and accept that it will eventually happen with each book. When I go back to edit, I'm usually pleasantly surprised that it isn't as awful as I originally thought. LOL.

      And no, you don't have to figure this all out at the beginning. I'm still learning things every single day. That's what keeps this job fun for me. I hope it'll stay fun for you too.

  3. Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it!!! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  4. Great post! Going to look up Plotting via Motivation by Laurie Schnebly Campbell.

    1. Thanks Ann. So glad you found it helpful. If you catch up with Laurie, tell her I sent you. Her classes are great!!! :-)