Guest Post: The Heart of the Writing Space by Sheryl Steines

Sheryl Steines, author of The Day of First Sun, is stopping by the blog today to talk about her writing space and how the heart of her home became to best place for her to complete a novel that has vampires, zombies, and magical wizards.

Her novel (according to the Amazon synopsis):

In this Young Adult Fantasy, Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky are tracking the vampire Sturtagaard who they believe is creating a zombie army. Before they find him and learn why, the FBI recruits them to solve the murder of the mortal Princess Amelie: who they believe was killed by magical means. Amelie’s magical boyfriend Jordan is missing and with him the key to finding her murderer. The key, a magical glass Orb used to capture and trap souls, is the vital item needed to create the zombie army.

The vampire Sturtagaard needs it and when Annie and Cham finally catch up with Jordan, they encounter Sturtagaard too. While in custody, Jordan is murdered and the Wizard Council becomes aware that there is a mole in the council who is hampering the case. It becomes clear that Amelie and Jordan’s death is collateral damage in a plot to overthrow the ruling Wizard Council. A trap is set using the Orb, knowing that someone is desperate to have it. Annie and Cham need to hurry before the magical holiday, The Day of First Sun, a time when the magical energy created on that day can expose their world and endanger the non magical society as well. The Orb, the Wizard Council and the world are waiting on Annie and Cham.

I just love fantasy worlds with vampires and zombies. Now, without further ado, please welcome Sheryl as she shares with us her writing space.

My workspace. It probably wouldn’t be considered the most productive place in which to write a book. I really tried when I first started writing. I set up my desk in the guest room with my computer, my printer, extra pens and paper. You know, an office separate from the rest of the house, where I could go and work. The first time I sat at the desk I remember how quiet that room was. Really, really quiet. I was fidgety and would find other things to do. A little filing, a little cleaning, a little internet searching. For white noise, I brought in my MP3 player, but all that accomplished was a good deal of daydreaming. My dreams of writing the next great American novel would never materialize at this rate.

Every workspace is individual to the person who uses it. We find comfort in the things around us, and hopefully become inspired by those spaces. If a space limits our creativeness, or makes us uncomfortable or doesn’t offer us inspiration then we need to find a new space to work.

I moved my workspace to the family room, the heart of my home. It has a big comfortable couch, blankets when I’m cold and it’s close to the kitchen. And most importantly, it had a television. Now I don’t recommend doing homework or writing a best selling book with the television on, but I have to say, with the right program, the white noise, keeps me sane and even focused. And sometimes, a particular program, a word, a thought, a plot twist can inspire something grand.

Eight chapters into my second book, I happened to be watching Torchwood, one of my favorite science fiction programs. The storyline of the show was similar to the storyline in my book. And I paid special attention to the plot. I was concerned with how the characters got themselves into the problem and back out, how the story flowed and progressed to the finale. I realized quickly that my own work, my plot, my characters, had taken the easy way, something that I found myself doing in my first book. And it occurred to me at that moment, that sometimes a little stress, a little angst, a little in fighting and definitely not working through the problem quickly is the way that I should now be thinking of my story. I made a book altering decision and rewrote the first eight chapters of my book and I didn’t look back.

My goal isn’t to rewrite what others have done. My desire as I watch television shows and book in my genre, is to remind me and inspire me to think about things in a different way, remind me that there are no rules, no formula to a fantasy novel. It only takes that one idea, to spark an entire book.

Moving my workspace to my family room was a much more productive workspace than the quiet of my guest room. Though I have to admit, when the kids are home from school, it’s not the easiest of places to work. I have to learn how to do my most productive work when they’re not home, make sure that I set aside a time to only work and not get caught up into the rest of my life. My writing is my full time job and I need to treat it as such.

The workspace is far more than a place to sit down and write a little. It has to offer us comfort and safety as we continue to strive to meet our goals. As unconventional as my space may seem, it is the place that I work well in, it offers me a chance to find inspiration and I don’t dread my time there. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thanks, Sheryl, for sharing your workspace with us.

About the Author:

Sheryl Steines’ mind is chaotic and surprising and it shows in her writing. Never one to sit back and see what may come, Sheryl is driven to write everyday. Somehow, amidst the chaos, she finds the time to volunteer and give talks to book clubs and students about her writing. She even walked the Avon Breast Cancer walk two years in a row.

Sheryl’s series Annie Loves Cham is full of surprises and mystery. Refusing to be restricted by genre Sheryl has taken the characters she loves and set them in new situations which test them and their friendships. The second book in the series is set to release in late summer 2012.

Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out her blog.