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M.K. Chester wonders, Do You?

I’ve always heard there’s more than one way to skin a cat.  As gruesome as that is when interpreted literally, it does serve a purpose.  There’s no right or wrong way to do something.  Like…write a book.  When I was younger, the linear approach to writing was taught in my classroom.  Start at the beginning and move forward to the end.
But when I started to get the “writing bug”, I found that tried and true methods didn’t always fit the bill.  So in the interest of sharing some of the weird things I practice as a writer, I give you my top ten and ask: Do You?

  1. I often write out of sequence.  If I’m itching to write a certain scene that is not necessarily the NEXT scene, I do it.  I might not have the same passion about it when it’s “due” to be written.
  2. If I have problems getting into a character’s head (POV), I slip into first person narrative to make the perspective more personal.  Then, I’ll go back over the passage and change all the necessary pronouns to third person.
  3. I write the first chapter, start the second chapter, then usually kill the first chapter.  I like to vomit back-story in chapter one, so I allow myself to do that, knowing it’s the wrong start.
  4. I like to go through catalogs and home good magazine and ads to find things that “fit” my characters.  I once went so far as to find a house plan for a character, because for the first half of the story, they were stuck there and I needed to anchor the place down for readers.
  5. If I don’t know the historical detail I need, I leave it out and research it later.  Usually I highlight it in the text so I don’t forget.  I set aside days for research, so I dig in then rather than in the moment.
  6. I have conversations between characters out loud.  That’s right, I’m talking to myself.  And usually recording it, since I can’t type quite fast enough.
  7. One of my writing rituals is to buy a new candle when I start writing a new story.  I light it every time I write, and when I finish (if the candle hasn’t already expired) I leave it lit until it burns down.  I haven’t yet burned down my house, but there’s still plenty of time.
  8. When I’m looking for names for secondary characters, I often use names from the student roster at the college where I work.  Imagine the fun, lol!  It takes all kinds, and I’ve got all kinds!
  9. Sometimes I write the love scenes with my eyes closed.  Not because I’m whisked away by all the bliss, but because sometimes it’s embarrassing to use some of those words!
  10. I fear The End.  It’s the most difficult part of the story for me because it often feels so rushed and too convenient.  Usually the third or fourth try is the charm for me.

If you’d like to see how any of those things work for me, please check out my latest release, Surrender to the Roman, a historical romance released earlier this month from Carina Press.  Here’s a blurb and the details:

Buy at Carina Press

As the Romans storm the last stronghold of Dacia, Princess Ademeni awaits her fate. Taken as a slave, she is deposited into General Marcus Cordovis’s home as a gift.

Driven to avenge her family, Ademeni plots to kill her captor and escape. Though not the cruel victor she expects, Marcus keeps her too close to make escape easy—so close that Ademeni is soon tormented by an unbidden, traitorous attraction. In a moment of weakness, a passionate kiss almost undoes them both.

But the handsome, widowed general has another surprise for Ademeni: a young daughter. Marcus dares ask Ademeni to help him bridge the gap between him and his little girl. And now, Ademeni is growing too fond of those she is supposed to despise. As Marcus prepares for the triumphal march and the opening of the gladiatorial games—where captives of her homeland will be sacrificed—Ademeni readies for her own battle between revenge and love.

You can find Surrender to the Roman on:
Carina Press
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Audible


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