writing

Coming Soon…(ish)

It seems like it’s been forever since my last release, even though Taking Stock came out in September. Since then, I’ve been in revision hell. My least favorite part of writing. A necessary evil.

But…

All that revision means there is a book about to be birthed. Book 3 of The Hallowed Realms Trilogy with Amy Miles is set to go to the editor on March 3. That means we are in the final read-through of the manuscript trying to get it as clean as we can before we send it her way. It’s a tedious process that requires lots of red pens. Not to worry. I buy them in bulk.

I’m also reading over the first draft of the script Randy Hunt is working on for our collaboration. This one will be super fun to start once we have a more finalized script to use as the backdrop of my next romance.

At the end of this month, I touch base with R.J. Keller to check the pulse of our collaboration, so, for now, that is a back-burner project. Excited to dive back into that one too! We’ll be back in March for some more Facebook LIVE videos too! You can check out the archives of that broadcast at, Between Two Couch Cushions.

I’m also in third draft revisions of a young adult novel, which is probably going to be a summer release? We shall see!

You can keep up with me on a daily basis over at my Facebook Group, Write All the Words, Danielle.

Okay, I guess I better get at it. Those words won’t edit themselves. I know, I’ve tried!

Danielle Bannister, author and reviser of all the words.

writing

A lonely job…

The life of a writer can be quite dull. We sit at a desk or a couch and we pluck words onto a screen that no one will likely see for months or even years. Often, we write with no one in the room except the muse. You write, essentially, in the dark. You have no idea if what you are writing is any good or not because no one has seen it but you. But, that’s as it should be. You’re busy molding. It’s not ready for the outside world. So it stays with you, and you alone. It’s the nature of the work, the solitude. And as an introvert, I do enjoy it. Most of the time.

Still, there are times you want to talk with other writers. Pick their brains. See what trouble the two of you can create. That’s where collaboration comes in. When you are collaborating on a story like I’m currently doing with three other writers on three separate projects, Amy Miles, R.J. Keller, and Randy Hunt, you are forced, as a writer, to let them see the earliest drafts of your writing. The ideas, the outlines, the crap that never pans out. They get to see your process. Which, let me tell you, is different for everyone. Amy writes pretty clean first drafts. All her thoughts she wants to convey are there so her edit time is smoother. R.J. writes her first drafts in part story, part notes to herself about what she wants the character to be doing. She’s a second draft fixer. Plugging her ideas into the story in that second draft. I’ve only just begun to work with Randy, but his pre-writing is bulleted/outlined. Each methodology challenges me to be a better writer.

This week I’m working on the collaboration with Randy while Amy returns home from vacation and R.J. recovers from the flu. The collaboration with Randy, will likely be the most challenging. Because the serious play Randy will be writing needs to, in certain ways, mesh with the romantic book I’m writing, we have to know, roughly, what the other is writing so we don’t contradict each other. For instance, I can’t have them rehearsing a two-person play if Randy writes a play with a cast of fifty. We need to have some parallels if we want this to work.

That means, we have to share our early ideas/drafts. He’s shared with me his outline for each act, listed his characters, and notes for major plot points. With that information, I now know who is going to be in my book. Those actors will be playing a role in my book. It’s kinda trippy.

I, too, had to share what I was working on, so he had a sense of how his play might mesh with my novel. I sent him the first six chapters, which is always nerve-wracking. What if this didn’t work with what he was envisioning for the collaboration? What if the voice of my piece clashed with his vision of the collaboration? The project would be over before it had a chance to begin.

Fortunately, he liked what I’d come up with and was anxious to start his play. I, myself, am excited to join these two mediums, that will have two very different themes, into an experience that can be enjoyed solo, or in duet.

Maybe this is why I enjoy having a collaboration project on my yearly slate. It helps me, as a writer, to talk to other writers. I feed off their energy and creativity. It helps me get my butt in the chair. Even if those words won’t be seen by anyone else for another year.

I believe in each of these collaborations. In all of these amazing writers I have the privilege to create with. I thank each of them for letting me tag along with their brilliance!

Danielle Bannister, writer and mesher of all the worlds.

writing

I did a thing.

A book thing. I bought a cover. For a book I’m working to release in March. A book WAY out of my comfort zone. AM I CRAZY?

Yes, yes, I am. But hear me out!

Back in November, during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I was working on the first draft of a book with my friend and co-author RJ Keller, but I also snuck in some words for this story that sort of popped into my head before bed. I swear, all my good ideas hit me right before I’m about to fall asleep. Rude.

Word by word, this story that stemmed from a seed took root. Characters that I had been saving for a different story altogether, told me, no, shouted at me, that THIS was their story and to find someone else for the lame project I had in mind for them. Again. Rude.

I finished the first draft of this new story and realized I had a nice little novella on my hands. The problem?

It was a sexy novella. I didn’t write sexy novellas. I wrote mostly fade-to-black love stories. This was not that. This was lights up, all action in plain sight…

Gulp.

After a second draft revision and much debate, I sent it off to a few people to ask them if 1. they thought this was a decent story given that it was so much smexy time, and 2. should I publish it knowing it was not my norm.

The feedback came back with a resounding; PUBLISH THIS NOVELLA. They gave me some minor things to add in order to enhance the story but nothing project stopping. The first hurdle of writing was reached. Write a good story.

The next hurdle was finding a cover on a super tight budget. Planning three releases in a year, you have to budget accordingly and if this one was going to happen, it HAD to be on the cheap.

For kicks, I looked around for a cover on my designer’s site and found a pre-made cover that really fit with my story. Even the color of the font was significant. Best part? It was on sale. It was as though the universe WANTED me to buy that cover for THIS novella. Sold. (Here’s a teaser of it if you didn’t see it on Facebook or Twitter.)

All that was left was securing an editor. An impossibility so close to when I wanted to release (late March.) Wrong again! I found someone right off the bat who I’d been wanting to work with and she was able to work with my insane deadline.

All the ducks were lining up. Full steam ahead. That means, this month…I do my last edit. Plug in the suggestions the beta’s made, get the manuscript to my editor by March 1 and then the fun begins in late March.

It will be a busy month getting this ready, but I know ducks aren’t always this cooperative, so I’m taking it as a sign and get my butt in gear to waddle in time with them.

Start looking for cover reveal posts, teasers, and pre-order links this month if you like sexy reads! If not, hold on. I have another release planned for June that is a light-hearted later in life romance!

Until then, I’ll be working my way through a few red pens.  

writing

Interview with RJ Keller

As you may, or may not know, I am working on a romantic comedy with my dear friend, RJ Keller. We got the idea to work together over the summer and as we near the completion of our first draft, (our goal is to finish by Dec. 31) I thought it might be fun to interview her on the process thus far.  

Danielle: This summer, we got together and decided to write a book together. What was that moment like when the idea was first tossed out to you? Be honest. You’re on board now, but were you a little hesitant at first?

RJ: I always assumed I would never be able to write a book with another author. My writing process doesn’t really lend itself well to collaboration, as you now know. And it was quite challenging at first, because we tried writing alternating chapters. Gah! That definitely didn’t work. Once we decided to divide the writing by sections, I knew we’d be okay.

Danielle: It might have worked out if we hadn’t given ourselves such a short turn around for draft one. I am a fast first draft writer but a painfully slow second draft writer, so I think that will work to our advantage. Playing off each other’s strengths. Okay, next question. What has it been like working with someone as annoyingly organized and linear as me?

RJ: Much easier, I’m sure, than it is for you, working with someone as annoyingly disorganized and scattered as me. I think the only really challenging part is when you’ll randomly message me with, “What day/month/season does chapter [X] take place?” And I’m like, “Beats the hell out of me.” That’s when I throw you a random day of the week and hope I’m close. I usually worry about that kind of thing in later drafts.

Danielle: Ha! I ask those questions because I struggle with timeline myself! And you aren’t disorganized. You just have a different process than me, which is totally okay. There is no one right way to do this writing thing!  What has been one frustrating thing you’ve learned about coauthoring?
RJ: I learned how very insecure I am about sharing my writing, especially at the first draft stage. Ernest Hemingway said that first drafts are shit. And, like shit, no one should see my first draft. But that doesn’t cut it when you’re writing with someone else. They’ve got to see your shit, too.

Danielle:  It is helpful to see what you’re thinking, even if it’s just notes about what you want to accomplish in a chapter so that I know what to cover and what not to. I wonder, what is one surprising thing that you’ve learned about coauthoring? Aside from a newfound love of Paul Rudd gifs?
RJ: I’ve learned that there are a lot of Paul Rudd video clips on YouTube, too! Who knew? Seriously, I was surprised at how much I loved working together on the story. Especially when we started plotting out the story via Google Drive, when I could actually see what you were writing as you were writing it, and vice versa, and then one of us would cut in and say, “Hey, what if Cori says this instead?” or “Oh, and then Ian could…” I don’t think I’ve enjoyed anything in my writing life more than that. Also, I’ve learned that Pinterest is just OVERFLOWING with Paul Rudd pictures. It’s awesome.


Danielle: Yes, it was fun bouncing ideas off each other. We seemed to feed off each other’s ideas, instead of dismissing them we enhanced and found a way to make them work. THAT is co-authorship to me, when there is no one main person running the show. I think we balance each other well. Having said that, I can’t help but ask…What did you honestly think about my ridiculous outline planning session? (I taped lines on my floor like the image below.)

RJ: I’m not going to lie, it was a bit overwhelming when I saw the entire thing laid out on your living room floor. I have never outlined anything that extensively. But it ended up being super helpful. It keeps me focused as I’m writing, something I desperately need. I’ve always been a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of author. I don’t imagine I’ll ever be quite as plan-aheady as you, but I’ve learned how more deliberately organize my ideas. I even made an outline for the other novel I’ve been working on and it’s helped tremendously.

Danielle: I never used to be like that. And some stories I don’t outline at all. If they are flowing well, I let them fly, but if I start to get stuck, out comes the outline so I can figure out where I went off the rail. But if I co-author, I have to outline. It’s crucial so we both know what page we’re on. Okay, next question. On a scale of one to I want to stab my own eyes out, how much do you enjoy writing first drafts?

RJ: Negative 73. There are moments when I love it, when my mood and muse are just right. But most of the time I’d rather be doing literally anything else. I’m more of a second draft gal. I love tearing an existing manuscript apart and putting it back together again. The second draft is where I figure out what the book is really about, where I discover connections I didn’t know existed, then build on them.

Danielle: See, and I LOVE the first draft. That’s where the magic happens. Everything is gold. I can do no wrong in a first draft. There is no editor, no going back to review, just full steam ahead. It’s the second draft that I loathe. So, the fact that draft two is where you shine, is a bonus for me.  Now, final question. Without revealing the actual title, what are your thoughts on the title we finally came up with?

RJ: I love it! We’re pretty smart, Danielle. We really are.

Danielle: We kind of are. And we’d LOVE to tell you the title, but we’re gonna wait until we do a cover reveal. Because we’re evil. 

Before I let ya go, RJ and I wanted to let you know we’ve started a Facebook Page for our live broadcasts, Between Two Couch Cushions. We literally started it yesterday so the only thing on it so far are the past videos we’ve done. We’ll be posting stuff about out book there and doing our live feeds there too, so if you wanna check it out and give it a follow, here is the linkypoo.