Friday, March 6, 2015

Author L. Blankenship is here to talk about Disciple and to share her own insecurities with you

now on sale
Disciple, Part VI
the final installment of the gritty fantasy romance series by
L. Blankenship

Back cover
Disciple-PartVI-cover-1200.jpgTwo years ago, Kate was a peasant girl who only wanted to serve the saints of her kingdom as a healer during the war. Her gifts led her to cross paths with the crown prince and a ne’er-do-well knight — they shifted the path of her life and of the entire war.

All three of them paid a steep price for having met.

Kate spent a cold winter alone, re-forging her strength out of a deeply broken heart. She’s ready, as an elect, to stand beside her saints and go to war in ways no peasant girl could have dreamed.  

She needs answers, she needs absolution, and she needs to discover what she’s truly capable of.

Disciple-Omnibus-coverprelim-800.jpgNew to Disciple?
Download Part I for free!

or look for the
Disciple Omnibus
collecting all six parts into one handy doorstop!
available in paperback and ebook
on sale no later than March 15, 2015

"Insecurity and Inventory"

I’m glad Michael had a spot on his blog open to let me do a guest post to promote the final installment in my Disciple series: Part VI. I’ve always been a fan of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group though I haven’t been a participant.

Is that because I’m not insecure? Don’t be silly -- all writers are insecure. :) Even after writing dozens of novels/novellas, self-publishing six of them (Disciple) and having one picked up by a small press (Hawks & Rams, at Dreamspinner), I still have my writerly worries and insecurities.

You might wonder: do the insecurities ever go away?

Well, I think you can learn to manage them. And you can learn how to compensate for them. Writing takes time and practice, of course, and once you’ve been doing it a while I think it helps to take an inventory of your writing abilities and rethink your insecurities.

I’ve written a lot of stuff and I’ve gotten a lot of feedback over the years. Seeing the patterns in the feedback has gotten easier… when I was a less experienced writer, I needed to work on everything, essentially. As I improved through practice and found my own voice, then the real pattern of my strengths and weaknesses began to emerge.

What sorts of things do your betas frequently say you do well, that they enjoyed, or were especially effective?
My betas say they like my detail, my dialogue, and they note that my plots can take unexpected turns without seeming artificial. I’ve gotten little “love this”-type comments next to descriptions and imagery. I’ve made people laugh or cry at the places I wanted to, or grossed them out, and gotten readers emotionally invested in my characters.

So there are things that I do well. I can worry less about them and just follow my gut instincts -- which is fun.

What sorts of things are consistent problems?
These turn up a lot: not taking the time to explain. I avoid info-dumps to the point where it becomes a problem. Sometimes my language gets away from me and my readers lose track of what’s going on because I’m assuming they know what I mean. The motivations for my characters can get confusing because I haven’t explained their reasoning or the influences affecting them.

Oh, and my commas tend to be out of control. Constantly. :)

These are things I have trouble with and I’m right to feel insecure about.

So I spend more time on those things. Especially when I’m working on a first draft, I try to find the places where my problems are going to be problems and compensate. When I send a manuscript to a beta reader, I ask about those things.

The stuff in between
There’s also plenty of things that aren’t consistently problems or strengths. Sometimes I forget to set the backdrop of a scene. Sometimes I spend too much time on something and it gets overwhelming. I try to find those and fix them early in the process, but they’re more “oopses” than something to be insecure about.

Have you taken an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses?


  1. I avoid info dumps to that point as well. Hey, we're just leaving it up to the reader's imagination, right?
    Congratulations, L!

  2. I gave my opinion of these things on Wednesday.

  3. I also have a tendency to write info-dumps and it's something I wish I was better at avoiding.

  4. My commas always seem to be out of control, too. Either too many or too few. Very seldom do I ever seem to get it right. :)

  5. Interesting post. I suspect that even the most experienced authors have a tad of anxiety before opening that crit. In my case, it's less than it used to be. Best of luck with your books.

  6. I guess when we stop being insecure, we've stopped giving ourselves room for growth?

  7. I really like the sound of these Disciple stories, so I'll check them out.

    "Exposition" is the fancy word I use for info dumps, and yes, I can be guilty of it if I'm not very careful. As for my other literary faults--to numerous to mention, so I've learned to be a better editor of my stuff.