How I Write (a miniseries)

So in the "How I..." series, today we have the process in which I write my stories.  It wasn't always this way, but I've tried lots of things and have sort of found out what works for me and what doesn't.

Like outlines.  *shudders*

The Idea

My writing happens the typical way - I simply get an idea.

But I don't start writing it immediately.  I'm usually elbow-deep in another WIP, anyway, so I stick that idea in my notes.  These are linked to my phone and email, so no matter where I am, I have access to them.

And one of two things happen:

I forget about it.  All excitement I had for it vanished and I'm left with just a threadbare idea that won't take me anywhere.  So I toss it and continue on my merry way.

I remember it.  I can't stop thinking about it.  A character pops up, and I add him/her to the idea.  A plot begins to form.  A world is created.

The Preparation

Full of anticipation, I prepare for the story.  I gather lists of my main characters, and write a page or two in their POVs to discover how they view their world.  I make a Pinterest board.

And when I feel ready, I write a synopsis.  This contains everything I know about the book - how it begins, where it's supposed to go, and anything I know about the ending.  These range from three short paragraphs to pages, depending on what I've gathered so far.

Making a Mess

Then things get messy and painful.  I open up a blank document and wing it.  I start with the beginning and just type and type until I find I've reached the end.  It usually takes me a month and a half to get an entire book finished.  But in the end, I've got a story.  It might be all over the place, but it's all there.  Thankfully, my synopsis guides me a good part of the way.

Break Time

Once I've finished, I push the story aside and try to catch up on things I've neglected while drafting.  I clean my room, organize the backups on my flash drive, get some extra sleep...and try my hardest not to think about the book I just wrote.  Usually this is only a week or two, depending on life.
The All-Important Read-Through

This is where I regret half the things I typed, and fangirl over the rest.  I usually have scenes and characters that I just love love love...and then the ones that need to be taken out.

I start my read-through by copying my draft, scene by scene, into Scrivener (when I draft, I don't even bother with chapters).  I can type up my notes and ideas into the epic little sidebar the word processor comes with.  I summarize the scene, what happens in it, what use it brings to the story, and what changes need to be made.

After moving it over and making notes for each scene, I add another folder in Scrivener and make notes of things that also need to be changed (side plots, character arcs, and things like that).

First Edit
I make said corrections I've already noted.  This can be as simple as catching a few typos, to completely removing or adding scenes.  Sometimes this goes along well, other times, not so well.

Alpha Read
After making any corrections I've seen beforehand, I send the draft off to Sarah, my trusted Alpha reader.  Then I send Evan a copy before I receive death threats.  They both will catch any plot or character holes.
Second Edit
I fix anything they pointed out, maybe things I noticed on my own while I waited for their feedback.
The Order of the Pen
After that, I send the story out to the other folks in my writing group.  They will edit and make notes as they can (for they're quite busy and they are so awesome to take the time and edit for me).
Go Crazy
Once I've sent it out so many times and fixed all the errors...publishing looms on the horizon at last...  It would be my dream to be traditionally published, but I think it would be fun to self publish as well.  I guess whatever form publishing takes, I'm game.
So, what do y'all think?  Is your process similar?  Different?  Any editing laughs you want to share?

How I Blog (a miniseries)

Today I want to give you all a little insight into my blogging process.  Read it and learn, dear fellow bloggers.  Because I know exactly what I'm doing.

(Read: I have no idea what I'm doing, but apparently I'm doing it fairly well.)

Get an Idea

Kind of an obvious starting place, hmm?  Maybe someone else does a post that I want to imitate and share my own ideas.  Maybe I've got something on my heart to share.  Or maybe I just feel like giving some advice or making people laugh.  In any case...inspiration has hit!

Type it Up

Easy, right?  Wrong.

See, I don't have internet at my house, just the wifi from my phone...which is slooooooow.  Uploading pictures is especially a pain.  Typing a post up on my phone, however is even more of a pain.  I do have a wireless keyboard for my iPad, which works well, except my iPad has the battery life of like...ten minutes...

Sometimes I'll type up parts of a post while on lunch break at work, but when I open them on my laptop and edit in Blogger...the formatting goes completely haywire.

But I eventually get it done.  Somehow.

Accidently Publish the Post

Who had the brilliant idea to put the Save button right beside the Publish button???

Spruce Up the Post

Provide the links to bloggers and sites referenced...find pictures to go with the points...get a pretty header...catch any typos....add some tags...the standard stuff, I guess.

Schedule the Post

Easy enough.  The next available Wednesday at 8:35 AM.  Don't ask my why I picked that particular time.  I'm weird sometimes.

Get Another Idea

I start drafting the next post, eager to share my wisdom.  Because I know everything there is to know about writing, obviously.

Edit It

Because even amazing posts have errors...and as I start catching those errors, I begin to realize this post idea isn't that great.

Delete It

No one probably wanted to read my tips at playing Ping-Pong anyway.

Get Another Idea

Seems like I'm always thinking "This would be a great blog post!"

Instantly Forget the Idea

Did my bad memory come from the time we crashed the Jeep?  The time I spun off a horse into the rose bushes?  The radioactive banana pudding Evan and I ended up with the day we blew up the oven?  Did I inherit it from my Dad?  I know I can't remember things, but at least I could remember to write them down before I forget them!!
Another Idea Hits
Like I said...I'm full of ideas.
Type It Up
Turn It Into a Series
Why have one post when you can have a bunch of posts??  One idea feeds another...and guess what??  There are more "How I..." posts coming up!

Favorite Literary Friendships

So a while (quite a long while) back, I talked about my favorite fictional romances.  And that’s fine; though maybe a little ridiculous, tbh.  But not all great friendships in stories are romances.  So today I’m going to talk about some of my favorite friendships in literature.  (No shipping allowed!)

Marcus and Esca from The Eagle of the Ninth

This has always been one of my favorite historical fiction books ever.  The movie only made everything better, in my opinion.  (The Return of the Eagle is one of the best soundtrack pieces ever!!)  These guys go through some pretty tough stuff together, but they push aside their differences and slowly learn to trust and help each other.  (The movie displays this in a more exciting way.)

The Wingfeathers from The Wingfeather Saga

I love them all so much.  Janner, Kalmar, Leeli...  I mean, they annoy each other and yell at each other and then fight back to back and it’s just adorable.  Being the Eldest and Supreme Sibling of the family myself, I particularly love Janner’s storyline, and how he learns to care for his younger siblings and sacrifice himself for them.

Shad and Leith from The Blades of Acktar

I thought they would try to see who was the coolest.  I thought they would fight each other.  I thought they would hate each other.  But…they didn’t.  They just...accepted each other.  Became friends.  Helped each other out.  And I love it.

Vanyar and Jewel from Heritage of Kings

Jewel's a Princess, with elegance, good manners, and everything someone with royal blood should be.  Vanyar's a half-breed.  She's lived her own since she was eight, and knows nothing about etiquette whatsoever.  You think they would have a hard time getting along, yet they practically adopt each other.  Many years later, after they've gone on their separate paths, they continue to write and visit each other, and it's so adorable to watch them together, because they're so different, and yet really enjoy each other's company.

Walter and Ashley from Dragons in our Midst

Walter himself was a particularly memorable part of my childhood.  His humor (and the voice of the actor who played him in the audio version) stuck with me for many years.  But I loved the bits where he was with Ashley...those two were epic.
"Supposedly you came along to protect me.  Don't you know what chivalry means?"
Walter lowered his head.  "Sure.  I know what it means."  He slowly lifted his eyes and extended his half-eaten Moonpie.  "Want a bit of this?"

That will forever be one of my favorite lines.  Ever.  (I haven't read any other books outside of the four in the Raising Dragons maybe these two eventually get married??  I dunno.  But anyway...)
Anakin and Obi-Wan from The Revenge of the Sith
So we all know Anakin's story.  But the first 15 or so minutes in this movie (or book) are just the best of the whole Star Wars saga.  We get to see Anakin and Obi-Wan working together, as old friends, on a mission.  And the way they work with each other, pass banter, and trust each other is just really enjoyable to see.  If only it could have stayed that way...

Tintin and Captain Haddock from The Adventures of Tintin
Ever since my Dad read aloud these comic to me, when I was just a wee lass, I've loved seeing Tintin and Captain Haddock solve mysteries and go on adventures together.  They are just so much fun!!
Anyone else read these books?  Agree with me?  Fight me?  Enjoy my red cover theme??  :)

The Wolf Prince Cover Reveal

Hey y'all!  I've got some exciting news for ya today!  (Okay, an exciting cover.)  Claire Banschbach is preparing for her next publishing adventure, and today we get to see the cover for her next book, The Wold Prince.
I have read Claire's two books, The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton, and honestly, I fell in love with both books and would highly recommend them.
So without further ado...THE COVER!!!

One prince. Two brothers. Three companions to prevent a sorcerer from destroying the faeries.
Prince Killian has always known he’s different. It’d be impossible to miss the whispers of an age-old family curse, to ignore the call of the wolves on his birthnight and the barely-veiled hostility from his people. His family insists there’s no curse. If only they were right.
When an evil sorcerer bent on destroying the faeries turns Killian into a wolf to use in his diabolical spell, Killian must rely on the help of his playboy brother, Lars, and Rose, an aspiring ranger they meet on the road, to escape the sorcerer and find the faeries who can turn him human again.
There’s only one problem. Faeries haven’t been seen in over 50 years.
Together Killian and his companions must overcome their differences and prejudices to defeat malevolent creatures along the road, evade the sorcerer and his minions, and find the faeries before the sorcerer can kill them all.
Doesn't that sound rather interesting?  I'm not big on fairies and magic and sorcerers, to be completely honest.  But I enjoyed Claire's other books...
The Wolf Prince is to be released on August 21st!!!
Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen. She's an overall dork, pizza addict, and fangirl. She enjoys meshing stories of family and faith with healthy doses of action and adventure. She talks to fictional characters more than she should while trying to find time for all their stories.

She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.
Facebook – Claire M. Banschbach
Twitter/Instagram - @cmbanschbach

Goodreads link for The Wolf Prince
And there's more!!!  You can be entered into a giveaway for an ARC ebook copy of The Wolf Prince if you share a post on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).  Just tag Claire (@cmbanschbach) in order for her to see it and enter you!

July Wrap-Up

This month seemed to fly by.  Mostly because of Camp NaNo, but still...

Camp NaNoWriMo

I was in the OotP Camp Cabin, hosted by Sarah.  OotP members Evan, Arreth, and Ella took part, and we also had Brooklyne as a guest.  We all had a lovely time, and got a lot of editing and drafting done.  Not to mention we all reached our goals!!

Camp Goal:  Reach 13 hours  Complete!
Personal Goal:  Edit the entirety of Words of Gold  So I got very close to this, but just couldn’t quite make it. I have three and half scenes left, so I will easily finish by the end of the week, at least.

I managed to get my time goal quite easily.  I probably should have set my goal higher, but I had the same goal in April, and barely managed it with 15 hours total.

Lesson Learned:  Buckle down and do it.  I piddled around at the start of the edits, whining that I didn't know what to do.  But once I started reading the scene, correcting things, adding things, changing things...then stuff got done!

GTW 100-4-100

This was my first time taking part in one, and I really enjoyed it!!  I had a bit of a mix-up because I went on vacation and while I was able to write every day during that time, I neglected to log my word then I had to figure out what was written on which day and that was kind of a mess!

Lesson Learned:  Take the extra two minutes to get your bullet journal and a pen and write in the word count.  Seriously.  Just do it.


Despite spending a lot of time writing, I managed to get some reading done, so I'm quite proud of myself.  I'm well on my way to my 50 book goal for the year!  I have the yearly church conference I go to in August, so I should get even more reading done on the drive there and back.

Lesson Learned:  Don't start reading ten minutes before lights out.  You will end up reading waaaaaaay past your bedtime.

General Life

I wish I could have gone to Realm Makers, but it was fun to hear everyone's stories.  And perhaps I'll be able to go next year!

Chickens are happy.

The rooster Toothless.

The neighbors have fireworks contests...

Trail running.

And trail riding.

I tried to get some writing done.

Went on a two-night vacation to get some salt air.

Fishing boats and dusk!

Spice doesn't want his picture taken.

Starting to clean out the barn.

Grilling out in the mountains!

Mountain life.

Flowers by the greenhouse.

Finished putting up the fence line.

Lizard on the gate post.

Even managed to go out for a trail ride with my mom!

Lesson Learned:  There are countless little things you can get accomplished in ten minutes.  They may not seem important, but the end results are epic!  (Like having an entire fence put up, or cleaning the barn!)