What’s on your desk, Wednesday? Weekly Spotlight Feature!
From the desk of : : James Cudney
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My Writing Routine :
by James Cudney
Website: : https://www.jamesjcudney.com
Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?
It begins with a dream that percolates all night long, stealing my ability to sleep. Once I get out of bed, and after drinking a few cups of coffee, I’m seated at the dining room table outlining the details in an MS Word document on my laptop. I’m often quite formal when I pull together the structure of a new storyline and descriptions of the characters. It’s information overload, dropped into a pre-set ‘new novel’ format I’ve developed. By the end of the day, I finish the three key elements I need ready before I can truly start to write: (1) Five bullet points per chapter listing the important scenes and characters. (2) Two pages per major character with physical and emotional descriptions, best and worst traits, and relationships to the plot. (3) A detailed picture of the tone, perspective and narrator’s point of view.
I write two chapters (about 6K words) per day, forcing myself not to self-edit as I go along. I break for social media, the gym, lunch and sometimes errands, at different points depending on my stamina. Since my novels are about 100K words, it takes me 4 weeks finish a first draft. Then it’s time for research and editing. I usually highlight all the areas (in yellow as I’m writing) where I need to go back and include specifics that might require some additional research, e.g. facts about the setting. Editing is a few different stages: grammar, plot holes, under/over descriptions, character & dialogue. By the end of the second month, it’s off to beta readers to destroy – I mean, provide constructive feedback. The third month is a few back-and-forth rounds with the publisher and editor to finish drafting a complete novel. Overall, it takes about 3 to 4 months, with a majority of my time dedicated to the book, to produce a final product.
Since an author can’t focus only on writing (we must also market and advertise), I spend 50% of my time writing each new book and 50% promoting prior releases. I plan to publish two books per year, building a bigger fanbase and crossing into different genres. For me, it’s important to develop a bond with your readers as you evolve your style, voice and tone. Life is all about making connections and this is just one way to make that happen.
About the Book : :
The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.
Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.
We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family.
Order your copy here:
About the Author : :
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a B.A. in English and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a technology company during Y2K. I spent ~15 years focused on building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. After leaving my position in 2016, I directed all my energies towards re-invigorating a focus on reading, writing and publishing.
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.
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