Thursday, October 30, 2014

We can write “The End,” but is it really?

Writing fiction had lingered in the back of my mind since third grade, but outside of school projects, I never attempted it. I didn’t want to die and have people find what I’d written. J (I still have that fear. Weird.) Still single in my latter twenties, I needed a little extra cash and thought I’d get it through freelance writing. Crazy, huh? The realities of publishing trampled that idea real fast, but by then, I was hooked.

While I’ve written and published small pieces since 1986, I didn’t begin to work on novels until 2008 (2009 with serious intent). It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since. Good news followed by bad news followed by good, etc.

I received great news in May with a contract from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for my Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel. It’s the first release from Heritage Beacon, their new historical imprint. Then the realities of marketing hit me full in the face. But … in August, I received another contract for my first novel, a follow-up to the novella that will release in January 2016.

Creating whole stories from snippets that pop into my mind gives me a thrill. My best ideas tend to come during the writing process—not necessarily while I’m sitting at the computer. Sometimes, they surprise me as I type.  Other times, they come from pondering the plot as I’m gardening or cleaning. My favorite surprise is when the characters insist on doing something I hadn’t expected, and it fits perfectly into the story.

Call me a plantser, a hybrid, or whatever, I like having some idea of where I’m going when I sit down at the computer, but I’m not one to write out a synopsis for each scene in the book before I start. For one thing, I’m too impatient. For another, it doesn’t work for me. (See the surprises above.) I’ll try to have the major plot points in mind and may do a general synopsis, but that’s about as far as it goes.

For me, writing is a full-time job. I don’t know how I could complete anything any other way. Believe me, I have great admiration for those who work another full-time job, then write in the off hours. I would go crazy trying to keep up with everything. As it is, I sometimes feel snowed under.

In the mornings, I shut the door of my office (which is my guest room), but a closed door makes a lousy “do not disturb” sign. The raising of my hand like a traffic cop stops the words of all intruders until I’m through tapping the keys or reading what I’ve written. Once I lower my arm, the conversation begins.

Unfortunately, writing means sitting on my posterior for hours, so exercise comes in fits and starts. I like to garden, though I don’t get much chance anymore it seems. I also have an old NordicTrac machine in my office. (Yes, we’re stuck in the ’80s around here.) I use it on occasion, along with an exercise ball I sit on at times.

There’s one thing about being a novelist. While individual tasks are accomplished, the ideas remain, waiting for the next day and their opportunity to be turned into printed words.

Sandra Ardoin is a multi-published author of short fiction who writes inspirational historical romance. Her Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel. She’s the married mother of a young adult and lives in North Carolina.

Visit her at and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Sign up for her newsletter.

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when you can enter to win a free copy of The Yuletide Angel!

It's Christmastime in 1890s Meadowmead, and someone is venturing out at night to leave packages at the homes of the needy. Dubbed The Yuletide Angel, no one knows the identity of this mysterious benefactor. 

No one, except Hugh Barnes, a confirmed bachelor who finds himself drawn to the outwardly shy but inwardly bold Violet Madison, a young woman who risks her safety to help others. 

When Violet confesses her fear of eviction from her childhood home, Hugh longs to rescue her. His good intentions are thwarted, however, when Hugh's estranged brother shows up in town ... and in Violet's company. 

But Violet faces an even bigger threat. A phantom figure lurks in the shadows, prepared to clip the wings of The Yuletide Angel.


  1. I really enjoyed this post, as I'm right now dabbling in fiction myself and actually wrote a post about it today. Your book looks like a good one, Sandra! I'm putting it on my 'to-read' list. Perhaps this coming Christmas.

  2. Thank you, Linda. I hope you'll fall in love with Hugh and Violet. Enjoy your adventure in creating fiction! :)


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