Friday, April 10, 2015

Writers & Community: You Are Not Alone! by Victoria Bylin

Victoria Bylin

Since writing is not often a team activity, it has the potential to feel like a lonely profession. But Victoria Bylin reminds us that writers have a lot in common. After enjoying her words here, you may also want to check out Victoria’s article “How to Write a Novella,” shared on a previous Seriously Write post. ~ Dawn

Writers & Community: You Are Not Alone!

“You must be a writer.”

My best friend and I say that to each other all the time. She’s an amazing author and I love her to pieces. Whenever one of us comes up with a unique phrase or a play on words, the other one pops up with the longstanding joke. It’s a blessing to share that kind of fun. Not everyone understands what it’s like to live with words constantly demanding attention.

But another writer does. What we do is unique. How many of us have had the experience of being at a social gathering and having someone say, “So what do you do?” When I say I’m an author, this is what often happens:

The person tips her head.

Her mouth opens.

Her mouth closes.

Her eyes widen.

Then she says, “Oh.”

If she’s a reader, she says, “OH!” But if she’s not, it takes her a while to process the information. This doesn’t happen when I tell people I work part-time in a doctor’s office. In that context, they know me instantly. I’m the woman behind the counter asking for their co-pay and insurance card. But a writer? What does a writer do?

For starters, I get up 4:30 in the morning. It’s my most creative time of the day. That’s the sort of thing only a fellow writer or artist will understand. Do I miss my sleep? Yes, definitely. Is it worth it? You bet!

Another thing that sets writers apart is how we play with words. Here are some of the ways I diddle around with a ms, tweaking it to make it the best it can be.

—My first drafts tend to be full of my favorite phrases, so I use MS Word to count how many times I use a particular expression. “She lifted her chin” just might be the number one offender.  Then there’s nodded and gazed. And how about shrugged? Hunting those little darlings down is a game of sorts. I go after adverbs too.

—When I get stuck on a scene, I change the font from Times New Roman to something unconventional. Papyrus, anyone? Right now I’m using Perpetua. It seems silly, but the visual change kicks loose my creativity.

—I talk to myself while I write. Fortunately, my husband understands. There’s something about hearing the words that brings out subtle rhythms. This is especially true with dialogue.

Those are a few of my writing quirks. How about you? Do you play with words just for fun?  Any particular writing tips or unusual habits? One of the greatest benefits to social media is belonging to a community of writers. Quirky or not, we aren’t alone! 

Sometimes the most unexpected love can be exactly what a heart needs...

When a Lost Child warning blares over the mall's PA system, Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that the child suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly's past suddenly confronts her. Never again will she become personally involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny--and Penny's handsome father--tugs at Carly's heart.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is trying to put his life back together. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan has put his faith in his Sink-or-Swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruit Carly Mason to be Penny's nanny.

Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

Victoria Bylin is a romance writer known for her realistic and relatable characters. Her books have finaled in multiple contests, including the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and RT Magazine's Reviewers Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky, where their family and their crazy Jack Russell terrier keep them on the go. Learn more at



  1. I get much the same reaction from people when they learn I'm a romance writer. So comical to watch their facial expression. :)
    I never thought about changing the font. I'd probably ruin the ms because I wouldn't be able to get it back. :) Great post, Victoria!!

  2. I like that you let yourself write the first draft without worrying about your favorite words. I'm always afraid to do that, so I tend to edit as I go. And, yipes!, we have the same favorites! :)

  3. hi Vicki! Great post. I hear ya about repeated and repeated and repeated phrases and actions, sheesh. I am way guilty of "shrugged."'s a great action and quite apt. I am gonna try the different fonts to kickstart me. Thanks for the hint. Good to see you again! xoxox

  4. I have s particular phrase I stick in every suspense manuscript I write. None of them are published, yet. If they start getting published I'll have to delete the phrase in most the books. It is a very memorable (at least to me) phrase.

    It is so hard not to edit while I write!

  5. Hello Dora! Exactly! People hear "romance writer" and jump to all sorts of conclusions. We write about relationships in all their glory and complexity. I love this genre!

    Hello Sandra! I finally figured out that I don't actually "write" a book. I construct it. My first drafts are terrible. Phrases. Single words. Straight telling . . . I have to get the ideas out before I can edit. The cool thing about editing as you go is that you have a much cleaner first draft.

    Tanya! My former Filly sister! It's great to see you . . . no shrugging here, just a big hello!

    And Terri, that's cool about your favorite phrase. Speaking of suspense, I'm wondering what the phrase is :)


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