May 29, 2020


Stephanie Payne Hurt              @StephanieHurt4
Romance Author

What makes a story powerful? That’s the elusive goal of every writer. Does your story do something to people? Does it bring out tears, laughter, or deep thought? Maybe all of them… Maybe none…

To Dance with Dragonflies came to me in a dream a couple of years ago. When I woke up, only bits and pieces were there. As other stories came into my mind, this one nagged at me. Some days my fingers would hover over the keyboard, wanting it to all come back, but it didn’t. Well, not at first.

Then last fall, it happened. I was in the middle of writing the largest book of my writing career, Christmas at Mistletoe Ranch, when a dragonfly landed beside me. To say I was mesmerized doesn’t even come into the ballfield of how I felt. That simple dragonfly, just going about life brought the dream back to me. My heart began to race. My mind ran at full speed ahead. But, I was on a deadline, so how could I do this?

I knew that I had to get as much of it on paper as I could before it left me again. So, I grabbed a notebook and sat down to outline the story. It was as though I couldn’t write fast enough. My mind was skipping ahead, whole chapters. But, somehow I managed to get the story outlined.

The sad thing was, as I stated earlier, I was on deadline, so it would have to wait. I sat down with my assistant the next day to look at my publishing schedule for the upcoming year, 2020. I had to get this story out. Of course, she’s levelheaded enough to know when I’m about to overload my schedule. We studied the books scheduled for release. I had them lined up perfect with the seasons, so how could I add a book?

Let’s put some perspective on this situation. I run an accounting business, which means I’m busy most of the time, but especially the first five months of the year. Usually those months are sparsely scheduled so that I can give my brain a rest. But who are we kidding, does a writer’s brain ever really rest? No.

When I plan my schedule for the year, I take into account how many words, realistically, I can write in a day. Then I look at projected word counts for the books that are in the works. This gives me an idea of when I can finish a book, get it edited, design ads, publicize it like crazy and publish. Sometimes I go past the goal and other times I just barely make it there. But, the important part is that I get the story told in a way that’s not rushed or too long that I will lose the reader. Sometimes it’s easier than it sounds.

My schedule was tight, and I know my assistant was hesitant to make changes that she knew would put me in a time crunch like no other. But she knew that look in my eyes. This was important to me. It had to be put in somewhere. So, we decided that if I did small amounts of work on it between my other obligations, that it was possible to have it ready for an April release.

I keep a calendar beside my laptop that reminds me of what’s coming up and what needs to be front runner for my time. As I said earlier, I figure out how many words I can do a day. It’s usually 1500-2000 Monday through Friday and 2000 on the weekend. When scheduling, I always make sure I have time to miss a couple of days of writing and also editing.

I put my nose to the grind. Let’s just say, this book took a lot out of me emotionally as well as physically. Some nights I couldn’t shut my mind down. Even though the story flowed through me, there was . . . (see Part 2 Monday,. June 1

Stephanie picked up her first romance novel in her early teens and fell in love. She began to pen stories in notebooks in her teens and throughout her twenties. It was in 2012 when she decided to publish her work and let the world in on her version of romance. Now she has 50+ books published and many more in the works.

A busy woman, sheps an accountant, children's minister, wife and mother. Her life may be busy, but when she sits down at her laptop the world slips away and she goes into another place. Sometimes it's a ranch full or horses, or back to the Civil War saving a heroine, helping her find her love, but as always, she'll find romance even in the most remote places. 

All of her books are clean, wholesome romances, some even dubbed as Christian romances. Her books range from western, historical, time travel, Christian, and she might even dabble in a little paranormal from time to time.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Stephanie. I loved this post. Maybe I need to pay more attention to my dreams. Can't wait to read the rest of the post Monday.