Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What's one thing you did early on as a writer that you don't do anymore? (With K. M. Weiland!)

K. M. Weiland is our guest this week (yay!) and we're just thrilled to have her. In addition to having an amazing writing website,, K. M. is also a fabulous novelist. You can get the ebook of Dreamlander for free on all platforms, which is a great way to check out her novels if you haven't yet done so.

Here's a bit about Dreamlander:

What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds? What if the dreams we awaken from are the fading memories of that second life? What if one day we woke up in the wrong world?

In this fantasy thriller, a woman on a black warhorse gallops through the mist in Chris Redston's dreams every night. Every night, she begs him not to come to her. Every night,she aims her rifle at his head and fires. The last thing Chris expects--or wants--is for this nightmare to be real. But when he wakes up in the world of his dreams, he has to choose between the likelihood that he's gone spectacularly bonkers or the possibility that he's just been let in on the secret of the ages.

Only one person in a generation may cross the worlds. These chosen few are the Gifted, called from Earth into Lael to shape the epochs of history--and Chris is one of them. But before he figures that out, he accidentally endangers both worlds by resurrecting a vengeful prince intent on claiming the powers of the Gifted for himself. Together with a suspicious princess and a guilt-ridden Cherazii warrior, Chris must hurl himself into an action adventure battle to save a country from war, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.

Read K. M.'s thoughts on our panel question for today, and then go get your free copy!:

What is one thing you did or focused on when you were first published that you don’t do anymore? Why did you stop?

K. M.: My process in general has gotten much more streamlined. I’m not as obsessive as I used to be. I’ve learned what marketing is necessary and what isn’t. I spend a lot less time on social media now. I used to check in on Twitter five times a day. Now I only check once four days a week. Thanks to automation, the system runs nicely without my needing to be present constantly. It frees up a lot of my time and attention for focusing on the writing itself. But part of this, too, is having built the foundation of my social sites for so many years previously. I don’t know that this approach would work when just starting out.

Stephanie: Discovery writing my novels.

The reason I started doing this was because I grew tired of spending days plotting out a novel, only to veer off my outline basically as soon as I started writing. This was further validated when I read Stephen King's On Writing and learned he's a discovery writer and is rather disparaging of those who plot out ahead of time.

What I didn't realize is that just as my actual writing skills needed to grow, so did my "planning a story ahead of time" skills. I really just didn't understand what made stories work, so it was hard for me to plan effectively.

I discovery wrote the entire Skylar series, and those second two books were under contract and tight deadlines. (And I had a newborn. I was delightful to live with that year.) I grew so tired of rewrites and thought just a teensy-bit of planning ahead would have probably saved me a lot of headaches. So that sent me on a journey of understanding my personal perfect blend of planning ahead and discovery writing.

Jill: I read my book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s a trap. Don’t do it.

People will say they learn so much from their reviews, and maybe that’s true for them. But I know myself. And reading every review makes me crazy. The good ones make me feel good, but the bad ones read like someone came into my home, trashed my desk, and told me I need to get a job anywhere else. They make me feel worthless as a human being.

Now, in my head, I know that’s just not true, but it feels true. It hurts when people say cruel things in book reviews. A well-written and fair critical review is different. I’m talking about those scathing, cruel reviews that say mean things with absolutely no point.

When By Darkness Hid released, I read them all, and I never forgot the people who said cruel things. To this day when I see them in person or online, I flinch a little. Part of that stems from the lies in my past, and I have to remind myself why these kinds of critical moments are hard for me, but part of it is also me being human. Bullying happens in book reviews. I’m horrified at the hatred some reviewers will spew on their blogs. It’s like they’ve forgotten we’re all human beings with beating hearts and eternal souls. So, yeah. Book reviews are so necessary. Authors need them very badly in order for their books to succeed, but I don’t read them because I have to protect my heart.

Shannon: Reading reviews has already been mentioned, but I definitely don’t do that unless it’s sent to me and I can’t avoid seeing it. Good or bad, reviews just do not help my writing process. I’ve also stopped worrying so much about Facebook. It’s such a time-suck and the algorithms make it very difficult to reach readers. I do use it, but I don’t stress. I try to stick with social media platforms that bring me a measure of joy. I like the pictures on Instagram and I love the #bookstagram community, so of late, most of my energy is spent there.

What about you, writers? What's something you used to do when writing stories that you no longer do?


  1. I loved reading these answers! It's so awesome to see how others have grown throughout their writing journeys. It reminds me that I don't always have to keep doing the same things if they're not working for me anymore.

    Keep up the hard work, ladies!

    1. That's a huge realization, Sarah. It was helpful for me when I discovered that I was never going to have "the perfect writing system." That it would continue to evolve, and that it was a GOOD thing, rather than a sign that I didn't have things figured out yet and was therefore a failure. It's good to both let go and to try new things!

  2. For me, it's writing with absolutely no plan at all. I've learned how helpful a plot line is, making my own kind of discovery writing. I've learned so much from other writers, including y'all and K.M. Weiland!

    1. It's so great when you can figure out what works best for YOU.

  3. I started out like a butterfly, flying from one idea to the next--sometimes within days. As I've grown, I've learned to stick to things, not even starting until I'm really sure this is a story I really want to write, a story that really excites me. I still jump around a bit, but I've gotten better at keeping projects going for months or years.

  4. I adore that we're all so different and that stories still happen. Miraculous, I tell you!

  5. Back when I first started writing, I would create characters, and would figure out their names, appearances, and personalities, but I used to tend to leave their backstories fairly undeveloped, which was an issue that I would have to go back and fix later. I'm learning now that before I even start to write my story, I need to do some in depth soul-searching with my characters, to figure out their histories and get a better idea of how they would react to things in a story.

  6. Wow good articles