I’m excited to welcome author Marna Reed today as she shares what she learned while writing her latest release. And read on through: she’s offering one lucky winner a free copy of the book!
What is something writing-related you learned while writing this book?
My name is Marna Reed, and I’m the author of Home Sweet Cocoa, one of seven novellas in the Cocoa Christmas Collection from Lovely Christian Romance Press. Home Sweet Cocoa is a contemporary romance novella, what you would call sweet romance.
This story has a special place in my heart. It’s no secret that I abhor winter. It’s already getting chilly here and if it wasn’t for the excuse of drinking all the cocoa I want, I’d have packed up and moved to warmer climes. However I’ve wanted to write a Christmas-themed story since I decided I wanted to be an author more than half a decade ago now. The holiday time is such a warm, happy moment. It’s a time of family, friends, fun and food (lots of good food!). It’s also a time for forgiveness; a subject I explore in Home Sweet Cocoa.
I’m only grateful I’ve been given this opportunity to make that dream come true.
Of course the journey wasn’t all sunshine and sweet-smelling roses. I struggled with writing this novella, and I came to learn a bit of forgiveness myself; namely, forgiving myself of the doubts and irrational fear plaguing me around the majority of the novel’s progression from first draft through to final publication.
When writing the first draft of Home Sweet Cocoa, I ended up hitting a wall. A proverbial one, although it hurt emotionally as much as if I’d actually walked into a wall. I could see, clear as mud, I’d walked myself into a plot hole. On top of that my pacing—which I have a problem with in general when it comes to writing—was sluggish and boring. It dragged along through “episodic” scenes. Sadly I knew the remedy to my problem, and after ignoring it for a week and some, I made a scary decision to delete almost all 13K I’d written thus far.
In the end I kept 3K that I could salvage and work into a fresh (second? first-first?) draft. From there I set those words aside and tackled an outline which required me to ask the tough questions: who are my characters? What are their goals? What is motivating them? Why can’t they be together from page one? etc.
I also wrote a chapter outline. That was hard. I hadn’t written one since I first approached writing seriously seven years ago. Back then I wrote LONG outlines. I’m talking 10-20K ballpark, and novellas themselves. Going into this chapter outline for Home Sweet Cocoa, I feared failure. Those long outlines belonged to novels I’d trunked, so would this be the end for my little Christmas novella?
TL;DR it wasn’t. The trick, as it turns out, is to continually interact with your chapter outline. Go back and make changes that reflect the real-time draft. Bonus, I was able to use that chapter outline to help guide my revisions, too. It was a pre-Christmas miracle if I ever saw one. Trust in yourself, trust the process and exercise patience and forgiveness—it’s the only way I write and share stories now.
Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to take a bit of your time.
Now the fun part: Leave a comment below to be placed in a draw for a free e-copy of Home Sweet Cocoa.
Marna Reed calls the capital of Canada her home. She lives there with her family. She’s lucky to have grown up a romantic; it makes her see the glass half-full always. When she isn’t talking to her characters, she’s writing, or reading, or baking cakes she shouldn’t be eating. You can reach out to her on Twitter (@Marna_Reed) or her blog (authormarnareed.wordpress.com).
Buy link on Amazon.com: https://amzn.com/B01JBZG2TC