Saturday, August 23, 2014

I HEART YA 2014: Top Ten Do's and Don't For Writing a Book by Author Elisa Dane

Ex-Factor (Diamond Girls, #1)

Check out on Goodreads!

Purchase on Barnes & Noble and Amazon!

Synopsis: Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn’t working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl. 

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it. 

But Nev feels she doesn’t deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died. 

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.


Writing a book is a massive undertaking. For anyone! Whether you're just starting out, or you've written ten Bestselling novels, there are a handful of steps every writer must take to make it from Page One to The End. Listed below are ten of those steps.

10. Do make time to write every day. This sounds like such a simple task, but given the busyness of our lives, it can be a difficult task to complete. Find out what time of day you feel most productive/creative, and give yourself a REALISTIC amount of time with which to write during that time. If you've got a 9-5 job, and coach soccer on the side during the evenings don't go overboard and expect yourself to write until the wee hours of the morning to meet a word count goal. Give yourself an hour later in the evening, and make that hour count.

9. Do set realistic word count goals. Some people can shell out 5k words in a very short amount of time and write a first draft in just a few short weeks. I've never been one of those people. I find I write best when I don't put too much pressure on myself to match anyone else's word count goals. When I start a new book, I set a goal of 1k a day. It's attainable, it sets a good pace, and it doesn't stress me out. Find the word count that works for you and stick with it.

8. Don't compare yourself to other authors. Just because Sally Writesalot can whip out an Amazon Bestseller every two months, doesn't mean you should try to mimic her. Your writing process is just that: yours. Embrace your own style and productivity. Readers don't want a million Sally's who all write the same thing, the same way, over and over. Own your writing style and process and roll with it.

7. Do make sure to get enough sleep. This tip sounds silly, but it's essential. Well, at least for me! If I don't make sure I get the sleep I need, I'm a zombie the minute I sit down to write. A tired body and brain will smother your creativity, not to mention your writing output. Make sure to give your body the rest it needs.

6. Don't try to remember all of the details about your story and your character in your head. I don't care if you're a member of Mensa International, with an IQ that would put Einstein to shame. At some point, you're going to forget that it was dusk when you started the scene (a scene that lasts only a few hours), and end the chapter at high noon. And Rafael? The hot Latin shape-shifter with the amazing diamond eyes in chapter one? Yeah, he'll end up with emerald eyes in chapter fourteen. Keep notes, my friends. Whether it be a notebook, or a separate Word doc. Notes are your friends!

5. Don't wait until the last minute to start your book if you're under contract and have a deadline. This is imperative! Procrastination is NOT your friend. Save yourself a world of heartache and stress and start your project well before it's due. Your agent/editors will thank you, as will your sanity.

4. Don't try to force your way through a scene if it's clearly not working. Yes, the idea is to set a word count goal and try to stick with it each day. BUT… If your characters are being stubborn and a scene isn't working the way you want it to, don't shell out a bunch of garbage just for the sake of keeping up with your word count. Close your Word doc for the day and do something to feed your muse. Come back to the scene the following day and try again.

3. Do take note of things that spark your creativity, and rely on them when you're struggling with a certain scene, or feel blocked. It happens to all of us. Certain chapters trip us up. Stubborn characters refuse to do what we want them to and we get stuck. Rather than freak out and proclaim you're blocked and will "never finish this damn book"; look to those things that feed your creativity. Watch movies. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Personally, my best ideas come to me while I'm driving, and when I'm showering and styling my hair. It's during those mindless activities that all my best ideas come. So weird!

2. Do find yourself a group of trusted beta-readers. These gals/guys will be your best friends. No joke, peeps. Manuscripts generally go through several passes with editors because not everyone catches everything the first time. Or the second. Sending chapters to betas will ensure you don't have any dreaded plot bunnies, holes, unbelievable dialog, and so on.

1. Do find a critique partner/partners, and cherish them! Just like your beta readers, your critique partners are ESSENTIAL. These peeps will be the voice of reason when you're so clouded by love for your main character that you think it's okay for him to hack down a crowd of twenty old people with a dull spoon, just to get to his ladylove. Critique partners will remind you (not so gently) that mass killings of innocent old and infirmed, though done in the name of love, is probably not a good idea. They'll nix bad dialog, unbelievable story arcs and more, all with a not so gentle hand. And you'll thank them for it. It's these honest and loyal critique partners that will save your book, and you, from yourself. Get yourself at least one, and cherish them, for no author is an island. We need all the help we can get!


ELISA DANE is a self-proclaimed book junkie. A lover of handbags, chocolate, and reality television, she's a proud mother to three All- Star cheerleaders. Writing is her absolute passion, and it's her mission to create stories that will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but help you find a new respect and interest in the sport of All-Star cheerleading. 

Elisa is no stranger to the publishing world. She writes steamy paranormal romance under her real name, Lisa Sanchez. Her adult works include the Hanford Park series (Eve Of Samhain, Pleasures Untold, and Faythe Reclaimed), Obsessed (an erotic suspense), and a paranormal novella, Cursing Athena. Elisa lives in Northern California with her husband, three daughters, and a feisty Chihuahua who stubbornly believes she's human.

Where to Stalk Elisa!

Enter to win a copy of Ex-Factor over on the I HEART YA 2014 page

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