Writing Tip: The Right Story is Worth the Struggle

Two things I can tell you about writing fiction:

  1. It’s hard work
  2. It only gets harder

When I say it’s hard work, I mean it takes far more than just jotting down what your imagination dictates. The greater part of writing is rewriting. There are stories that practically write themselves, and once you get to the end and read it again, the plot is pretty much good as is. But then there are stories you agonize over every step of the way. You rewrite them a million times and when you finally get to the end you realize you need to rewrite it a hundred times more. That’s just the nature of the beast.

The thing about it is you get pickier as you grow. Your first books flow smoothly because you have no expectation of yourself, other than to get the story on paper. But after several rounds of feedback on different stories, you start to see patterns. You see where your weaknesses lie, where you need to improve. You start to doubt yourself more and more, and consider every word more carefully before you commit it to the page. You become your own worst critic and, believe it or not, that right there is what ultimately makes you a better writer. Now you know what you want out of the story. You know what feeling you want to convey, and what message you want your readers to get. You develop strong likes and dislikes in your own writing, and the struggle becomes more intense.

A third thing I can tell you about writing: The struggle is worth it.

It’s worth it if you care about the end result. The stories that end up making you the proudest are the ones you never gave up on. They say to write from the heart. YES! Absolutely. Do that all day long. But writing from the heart isn’t a walk in the park. It literally takes your all. It means you don’t just throw your hands in the air and say, “Oh, well, I guess that’s good enough!” when the going gets tough. You buckle down and work that much harder to smooth out the rough spots, fix plot holes, give your characters depth and a purpose.

As a writer and a reader, it frustrates me when I can tell the author (myself included) takes the easy way out. The curse of being able to see behind the curtain is that now I am much more critical of what I read and write. And the pressure is even more intense when it’s an entire series on the line.

Any writer will tell you the beginnings are easy. You get a fresh new idea, your muse ramps up, and you just go-go-go until your fingers cramp and you fall asleep at your desk. Around the middle part, things get a little dicey. That’s when you need to have your characters well established, and your plot on its way to the main conflict. Once you get over that hurdle, the final one is the actual ending, and that can be the most difficult of all.

Expand that to a series, and your last book now carries the weight of all the previous ones on its back. It has to tie up every loose end and neatly wrap up the story while also standing on its own as a full story with a beginning, middle, and end. No pressure!!

3.3 POD PostcardAt this moment, I am in the process of writing the last part of the last book in my Dawn of Ragnarok series, and a picnic it is not. I’m now so emotionally invested in these characters that I want to do right by them in every regard. It’s a tricky book in so many different ways and every time I think one part is finished, I wake up in the middle of the night because I realize I’d created (or found) another issue that needs to be fixed. The next day, I open my file and go back yet again to find the problem area and fix it.

Like the title character himself, this story has layers upon layers and they keep shifting and changing with every iteration until the manuscript I have is not remotely what it was five iterations ago–and I don’t even have a complete first draft yet!

But the truth is, I would rather spend three years writing one book and make it the best it can possibly be than phone in three books in one year just to keep myself up in the New Releases on Amazon. But that’s me.

In the end, it comes down to what’s more important to you: Are you in it for the story, or the royalties? Are you writing to write, or to have written? Is this your passion, or your paycheck? None of these are mutually exclusive, by the way. But I still believe the old adage is true. You get out what you put in.

And this leads me to my official writing tip of the day:

You get back what you put in–so don’t ever give up. The struggle is worth it in the end. 🙂

Until next time!

The Dawn of Ragnarok series will be coming to a close soon. If you haven’t read it yet, catch up with The Royal Wizard and Dragonblood before Prince of Deceit comes out!




Why Self-Published Authors Are Amazing

Reblogging because it’s worth repeating. ❤ I love all my fellow Indie authors.

Ask Alianne

If you’re following my blog, you’ve seen me post some rants about this or that. I do it to air out my own personal grievances, but also to shed some light on current events happening in the book world. Cathartic and educational. Win-win.

But today, I want to do something different. Today I want to tip my hat and give a nod to every self-published author out there, because the Indie community is a truly amazing and humbling place. Yes, it has its problems–all communities do–but on the whole, its members are some of the kindest, bravest, most supportive, most intelligent people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Too often, the label of “Indie author” or “self-published author” still evokes the unfair stigma of being sub par, unworthy when compared to authors on the other side of that gilded line of traditional publishing. Today, I want to show you…

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On Get Rich Quick Schemes

Guess it’s a good time to officially introduce my business-side website. It’s a pet project I’ve been planning for a very long time to separate my writing from the author tips/advice/q&a side of it. It’s mainly for new and aspiring writers just getting their feet wet in the industry; something of an overview of how things work, and (because I get ranty sometimes, too) an opinion blog portion where I will share thoughts on current industry events, among other things. 🙂

This is the most recent blog post. I already shared my thoughts on this on Facebook, but wanted to expand on it a little, so I wrote a blog. Enjoy!

Ask Alianne

I was scrolling Facebook yesterday and came across an ad promoting a workshop that will tell you how to write a book in 40 hours (not a typo) and double, quadruple, even decuple (multiply by ten) your income (also not a typo). For privacy reasons, I won’t share the actual post, but if you’re in any way involved in the writing world and active on social media, you’ve likely seen any number of these ads already.

Is what they’re promoting physically possible? Well, typing non-stop for 40 hours at the average typing speed of 40 words per minute, you would get about 96,000 words. This does not include typos, editing, backspacing, breaks, or any kind of thought or planning process. It is literally just typing words non-stop.

A couple things you can accomplish this way:

  • manually copy an existing manuscript
  • write absolute nonsense in 96,000 words

Given the parameters, I…

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20 Questions

Saw this on Facebook and thought it’d be fun to do… So here we go!


1.) What is you Author name? Alianne Donnelly

2.) What is the first book you ever published? Blood Moons

3.) What is your publiversary? September 27, 2010

4.) What is you favorite book you’ve written thus far? Wolfen

5.) What book took you the longest to write? Blood Hunt

6.) How long did it take you? Over 2 years, on and off. Incidentally, it is now also my least favorite book written thus far. Just because it was such a pain in the ass.

7.) What kind of music (if any) do you listen to while you write? Depends on what I’m writing. For fantasy, I recently found that the Witcher 3 soundtrack is amazing for inspiration. Anything else, I either randomize all my songs or play nature sounds.

8.) Who is you favorite character from any of your books? Err… Hmm… I honestly don’t know.

9.) What are you currently working on? Dearest Love for my Rebel Court series, and Prince of Deceit to round off the Dragonblood trilogy.

10.) Do you have anything you snack on while you write? No. When I write, I often forget to eat and drink all together. I remember when I get light headed and can’t concentrate.

11.) What is your favorite quote or line from one of your books? “My choice is you–always.” (Dragonblood)

12.) Are you a self published or traditional published author? Self-published all the way.

13.) What is your writing inspiration? Everything. Movies most of the time, because they spark my imagination the fastest, but often ideas for my books will come from something I dreamed.

14.) What genre do you write? Fantasy romance, sci-fi/paranormal romance, erotic romance, and post-apocalypse dystopian horror. I know, that last one kind of snuck in there…

15.) Do you have any writing rituals? No. Just write, write, write, whenever and wherever I can, for as long as I can.

16.) Do you have a specific place you write or time? On the bus to/from work, during lunch in the back room, and/or at home at my desk during weekends. I try to avoid writing when I get home from work during the week. I find it burns me out very quickly.

17.) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? You have to love it. You just have to. If you don’t it’ll kill you like a serial killer slowly removing parts of your anatomy inch by cubic inch. Don’t do it because you think it’s “cool” or because you think it’ll make you rich (trust me, it won’t). Do it because you can’t not. And when you reach that point, don’t let anything stop you. But when you do reach that point, the advice becomes redundant. 🙂

18.) What are your writing goals? My goal is to write the stories I am craving to read and hope that someone else out there likes them just as much.

19.) What authors inspire you and your writing? Every single book I have ever read has had an impact on my writing, whether it inspired me, or cautioned me, or sucked me in so deeply that I still feel part of that world when I remember it. There is no single title or author I can point to. I have favorites I return to again and again, but some books have left such an impact on me after a single read that it’d be a disservice to them to leave them out.

20.) What will be you next release? Dragonblood (September 3, 2016), followed by Catch Me ( October 8, 2016)

Until next time! 🙂

Vote WOLFEN for February’s Featured Book

WolfenWOLFEN is nominated for February’s Featured Book at The Writer’s Inkwell! This is a HUGE thing for me! Help me out, click below and cast your vote for the book that still gives me (and several other people) nightmares. Wolfen for president!

Thank you so much to the amazing Kristine for the nomination. ❤

The Writer's Inkwell

I was a little concerned as I came into today’s voting post. I feared I wouldn’t have any books to feature. But that’s just because I have reading amnesia. I actually have some amazing books that are up for becoming my featured book for next month. So please, take a moment to vote for one of these amazing books. If you haven’t read them, then feel free to vote based off of the review I wrote (just click the title to read it) or the synopsis of the book listed below it’s title. There are some fantastic authors being featured this month and I really hope you all will enjoy the books as much as I do.

Here are the books that you can vote for:

The Mine by John A Heldt

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground…

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