10 Things We Need in Order to Write
1) For Jess, it’s COFFEE!! (Hazlenut, please!) and for Kurt, it’s tea. Unless we’re writing at nighttime, in which case a Michelob Ultra or glass of Dornfelder works for Jess, and a mixed drink for Kurt. Give yourself permission to refer to these beverages as “story juice.”
2) An Idea. While this may sound simple, that’s not always the case. It’s the most crucial element of the story, and once you have it, you mustn’t look back. Don’t second-guess yourself. If you find the idea interesting, your reader probably will, too. Shaping, cultivating, and elaborating on that idea are all part of the writing process. Get it down - we sometimes refer to this as the “throw up” version. It may come out crappy, but it needs to come out. Editing can be done later.
3) Strong storytelling skills. We are already blessed with having a fisherman as a co-author, and, well, we’re sure you’ve heard about the kinds of tales that they tend to tell…
But in all seriousness, ask yourself this as you go along: are you feeling something while you’re telling your story? If not, your readers won’t feel anything, either. Robert Frost said: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” While your stories should be interesting in themselves, you must have the heart to back them up.
4) Editors, beta readers, and critical audience members. Hand the book to anyone and everyone who will read it and critique it for you. Be especially sure to give it to a person who’s provided constructive criticism or insight for you in the past: chances are, you’ll receive invaluable advice from this person. If your cousin Marge thinks you’re the best writer in the world and that you can do no wrong, your finished book will make a great gift for her, but she’ll be unlikely to provide critical feedback.
If you’re concerned about asking someone you know for feedback on your work, consider hiring beta readers through a site such as elance or guru. You can find candidates who have experience and credentials, and hire them for a fair price to critique, edit, and/or provide suggestions for your manuscript.
NEVER rely on your own self edits or the edits of a single additional person. There will always be a misspelled word, grammar error, or funky verbiage that you or one other person overlooks. After all, we’re humans, not Computer Love Companions.
5) A love of writing. Because, what’s the sense of doing it otherwise? If you’re writing simply to create the next NYT bestseller, stop what you’re doing right now. Writing can be painful at times, yes, but writers write because they absolutely have to - it’s in their blood. Don’t set out to write a full-length novel if you hated your writing courses in school. If you’ve never enjoyed writing, but want to give it another shot, experiment with short essays and use writing prompts. You may find that you enjoy it more when you’re not being forced to hit a specific page or word count. Writing for your own personal benefit should always be approached this way: you should enjoy doing it, and it should never feel forced. That’s when your best work will come out.
6) A support system, especially during the editing stages… During the editing processes for CL2, Jess told her boyfriend flat out, “You may not like me very much over the next few weeks.” Edits are stressful, frustrating, and overall, a writer’s worst nightmare. But they are a necessary part of the job.
Also, make sure that your loved ones and friends are aware that you may go missing while completing your novel. Whether you’re experiencing a creative streak that can’t be broken or have to take an evening to discuss marketing strategies, there are certain demands of writing that are very time consuming. Having a support system of understanding family members and loved ones is critical throughout these stages. We were blessed to have people that were not only patient, but incredibly encouraging as well.
7) Jake, our rescue pup. This misbehaving canine helps to provide much-needed distractions during hours of sitting behind a computer screen. Whether he’s barking for a treat, because he needs to go out, or just barking in general, it does help to have some sort of obligation other than writing to get you out of that desk chair every so often. Everyone experiences the feeling of “being on a roll” from time to time, but we try not to let our legs fall asleep beneath us. Jake helps to make sure this doesn’t happen.
8) A love for reading. If we hadn’t enjoyed other authors’ works, we’re pretty sure we’d have no clue how to craft a novel ourselves. Read anything and everything that inspires you. And, as Toni Morrison says, “If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
9) An ability to know your readers. Know that what one person considers to be “too much” detail may not be enough for another person. Likewise, you should try to appeal to all of the senses. You’ll have readers who are visual thinkers, along with others who think much differently. You want everyone who reads your book to be able to feel something, so take all personalities into consideration when writing.
10) Patience. This is something that Jess especially has learned. We truly live in a fast-paced society, in which instant gratification is the norm. You’ll seldom experience any instant “rewards” with writing, so it’s a matter of learning to love the process and having enough patience to cultivate the finished product.
Computer Love Inc. Series
Kurt and Jessica Hansen
Genre: Science Fiction
Number of pages: 215
Word Count: 46,095
Cover Artist: Steven J. Catizone
After the sudden deaths of two previous Computer Love Inc. CEOs, Marius takes control of the company. Embracing the talents of his godson, John, and his best friend, Zak, he hires the boys to oversee the Companion Services Division.
Marius refines his breakthrough technology, the Brain Machine Download, and as a result, creates his double, M2, as the prototype. Together, they ignite the future of
Computer Love Inc. by acquiring an elite team of scientists to expand the company’s technological boundaries. Meanwhile, Marius struggles with the government’s demands for a clandestine initiative - the Secret Service Companion.
Between the looming government presence and the overwhelming force behind his new team of inventors, can Marius survive the outcome of his own creations?
“So, Marius, I’m pleased, as I’m sure you must be, that the download between you and I went so well.”
The remark was sudden and bewildering.
“Yes, I am also pleased…” Marius paused. “What brings that up, M2? Is there something you feel we need to improve upon?”
“No, actually, I don’t think that at all. In fact, I think the process and aftermath have proven to be extremely fruitful, don’t you?”
“Well, yes… But then, what is it?”
“I just recalled an idea we had, that’s all,” M2 said.
“’We’ had an idea?”
“Well, as you know, to say that we think alike would be an understatement.” M2 paused and allowed Marius to have a laugh. “So obviously your knowledge of robotics resides not only within you, but within me as well. I know you’ve thought about it, the possibility to help the company pounce into the next generation. What if, say, we were to make a team of Companions, not unlike myself, created from experts in different fields? For example… We could use that famous technology instructor, the woman from Advance Propulsion Labs who’s won awards for all of those groundbreaking projects they’ve done recently, or even that metal-loving genius who combines materials recovered from asteroids with titanium and such. It would be a team of biorobotic and propulsion brilliance with unlimited potential!”
Kurt and Jessica Hansen reside in northern New Jersey . Kurt has worked in the aerospace electronics industry for over three decades and enjoys the outdoors, writing, and composing music. Kurt is easily recognized with a guitar in his lap, a pencil in his mouth, and a piece of paper in front of him.
Jessica graduated from Montclair State University, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in English. Her favorite pastimes include reading, running and spending time with her family. She can usually be found with a book in one hand and a hazelnut coffee in the other.
2 $25 Amazon gift cards
3 signed paperback copies of Computer Love Inc. II: Gestation
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