Hi. I'm Sofie Couch and I write mostly sweet novels - romantic comedy, cozy mysteries (in the works), and some off-the-sweet-grid young adult paranormals. I love writing, talking about writing, doodling - which often evolves into writing, and blogging about writing. Well, writing and antiquing.
At home in my writing cave...

The writing cave in Central Virginia is where I am most often found, but I can always be coaxed out of the hidey-hole with the lure of coffee or the promise of brilliant conversation. My favorite speaking topics include:
Writing and Other Storytelling Formats
Chicken Wrangling
Visual Processing

A graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in rhetoric, (her B.A. in b.s.,) I consider myself a child of the mountains as well as the swamps of Virginia. Although I grew up near Charlottesville, Virginia, my family spent most of their weekends in beautiful Gloucester, Virginia on a tidal river, the setting of my three book series: Moonshine, Angels Unawares, and Two Moons Over Cedar Hill.

In a return to my first genre, I have added KEEPING UP WITH MR. JONES - a romantic comedy/silver romance novel. (I just made up that term. Silver = older hero/heroine. Okay, they're not that old. Well, he is. She isn't. I digress.)

Very often, I am asked how one goes about becoming a novelist. So you heard it here first. (You might want to take notes.)

So you want to become a writer and no one is able to talk you out of it? Okay, here is my straightforward “how-to be a writer” tutorial:

1)      Get the heck out of school and go directly to bodyguard training school, (all the while, reading whatever you can lay your hands on.)
2)      Go to Scotland and work in a grocery store for a year, but write at night,
3)      Come back to the states and find the most repulsive string of jobs you can,
4)      Find a better job, but with crappy pay,
5)      Go to college,
6)      Get the heck out of college and pick-up writing where you left off in Scotland,
7)      Write, write, write, (still reading whatever you can lay your hands on.)

(Disclaimer: you may just want to skip steps 2-6, but definitely go to bodyguard training school so you have something to tell your grandkids.)

Okay, that's the tongue-in-cheek tutorial. This is the for-real process. (You may want to take notes.)
1) Figure out in which genre you want to write and study the structure, length, etc. by reading - A LOT.
2)Write a manuscript beginning to end. "Do not pass "go". Do not collect $200." In other words, do NOT ask your friends, family, colleagues to critique the book for you. (More on this later.)
3) Stick it in a drawer to ferment.
4) Write a second manuscript, following steps 2 and 3. (I'm serious. More on this later.)
5) Do this FIVE (5) TIMES! SERIOUSLY!!!
6) After writing "the end" on the fifth manuscript, pull manuscript #1 out of its drawer. (You're gonna wanna pinch your nose before you open the drawer.)
7) Edit manuscript #1 - line edits, copy edits, read-aloud edits, etc..
8) Publish the book through a self-publishing format.
9) Rinse and repeat for the other manuscripts.

There are several reasons why I suggest this methodology. Why not ask friends and families and colleagues to critique the manuscript as you go along? Because you're about to waste a huge chunk of their time. Basically, you're asking someone else to do your work for you. Yeah, you wrote all those words, but believe me when I say you're gonna wanna change the words around, re-write stuff, delete stuff, write new stuff, etc. In the meantime, your friends, family and colleagues have invested a huge amount of their time in giving you an honest critique - of the first manuscript you've ever written. I'll give you a critique right here, right now. It's probably not that good. (I know. That hurts. "That which does not kill me...".) You can take this bit to the bank. Keep your friends as friends. You have to sit across the dinner table from other family members, and your colleagues will resent doing your work for you. What's more, by the time you've written five manuscripts, you're going to know what's wrong with manuscript number one. Writing is HARD. Your intial thought might have been, "I could do better." That may be, but the road to doing better is a hard one. Don't ask someone else to do it for you.*

What? You think you've "got it" after the second manuscript? Again, that may well be, but you don't have a following. Writing the book is only part of the process. The other half of this process is building a readership. With five novels in your cache, you're well positioned to market yourself and your novels. Goddess speed to you!

*It is absolutely acceptable, imperative in fact, to ask for moral support, a shoulder on which to cry, and coffee and chocolate. Yes indeedy, you're gonna need some chocolate for this process.


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