how-to-cure-writer-mindset

How-To Cure 3 Writer Mindset Problems

how-to-cure-writer-mindset

Over the past month I’ve been avoiding doing my work. I love my work, I’m passionate about Kdramas and helping writers to unlock the secrets that they hold, and yet… I’m avoiding doing it. Has this happened to you? I had a good think and realized I have a writer mindset problem. Maybe you have a writer mindset problem too.

writer mindset

Writer Mindset Secret 1

Don’t compare yourself to others.

As an author it’s very easy to “see” how our peers are doing. We can go to Amazon and look them up and see their ranking. This number can easily give us a gauge of how “well” we’re doing. But what does this number do to our writer mindset?

Imagine Nora Roberts went to sit down and write her next book. Before she did so, though she went to Facebook and saw Diana Gabaldon’s book sitting at number one. She went down the list of top 100 Romances and she couldn’t find her books anywhere.

If Nora Roberts had the mindset I find myself in most of the time her “inner mean girl” would think these things:

  • Am I writing in the wrong niche?
  • Do I need to take more craft classes?
  • What is Diana doing for her marketing? How much does she spend on her ads?
  • How man fans does she have?
  • What do her readers not like about her book?
  • Do I do these things that her readers don’t like?

It would go on and on and guess what happens next? You’ve spent countless minutes worrying about your sales and comparing yourself to Diana Gabaldon. You’re not Diana Gabaldon and you don’t have to be!

Mindset Secret #1: Stop comparing yourself to others. You are on your own path surrounded by your own set of circumstances. You have a backstory unlike anyone else’s. You see the world differently than anyone else. You are not #InsertNameHere and that’s GREAT!

How boring would the world be if we only had one romance author voice? Your voice counts too. Use it!

How to Do It: (Simple, not easy)

  1. Take note of when you’re comparing yourself to someone else.
  2. Reframe your mindset. Instead of saying, “I wish I had as many sales as she does.” Think: “Wow, Diana G is rocking it today! Good for her!”
  3. Accept your feelings. If that comparison has already come in and made you feel crappy, accept it. “I accept that comparing myself to Diana G made me feel sad.” Feel the feeling and then move on to something on your to-do list.
  4. The only one you should be competing with is yourself. Can you do better than you did with your last word count? Your last book release? Can you improve your characters on this next draft?

Stop comparing yourself to others.

You shouldn’t want to be anyone else but you!

-marie cole

Writer Mindset Secret 2

Do not insist on perfection.

Perfectionism. Do you suffer from it?

How many of these do you answer yes to?

  • When you release a book, do you focus solely on your sales numbers more than the fact that you spent months to create a glorious piece of art?
  • If you try something new and you’re not good at it, do you give up?
  • When your editor tells you that something needs fixing does that feel like a personal attack?
  • When you finish a book and a reader points out a typo does it make you feel like a complete failure?
  • Do you struggle to finish your book because you’re afraid it isn’t perfect and ready to be shared?

If you answered yes to more than one of these it’s very likely you have some perfectionism mindset issues. No judgements! And if you’re a woman it’s very likely you do! Why? Society.

We women are expected to do everything and look magazine-ready while doing it. You “should” be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect housekeeper, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend and have a perfect career to boot. And on top of that you should have the perfect diet, the perfect fitness routine and look perfectly put together at all times.

This bleeds over into our writing work as well. Should you slap a book together and release it without a care? I mean, you can. Maybe it would be freeing for you. But you cannot expect your books to be perfect. Nothing – and I mean nothing – in this world is perfect. You included. (Me too!)

So how do you overcome this mindset issue?

  1. Identify what perfectionism is costing you.
    How many more stories could you get out there to your readers if you could get past your perfectionism editing time? How much more time would you have for writing if you delegated your household duties to someone else? Or (*gasp*) let the house stay a little dirtier for longer?
  2. Play the “What would it mean?” game.
    Original Thought: My book sucks. What would it mean if your book sucks? If my book sucks then that means I won’t get many sales. What would it mean if don’t get many sales? It would mean that I’m not good enough to be publishing my work. (The underlined phrase is the root of the issue. This is your fear.)
  3. Identify and own your flaws.
    Your characters have flaws, so why do you think you shouldn’t? Do you hate your characters because of their flaws? No! In fact it’s usually the opposite. Flaws humanize our characters and we can then sympathize with them. No one is perfect. Once you have your list mark which ones are changeable flaws and which ones aren’t. Stop expending energy wishing away flaws that cannot (or will not) be changed.
  4. Write yourself a kind letter.
    This one is my favorite and I do it on a smaller scale every day. I’ll write myself little love notes. The things I want others to say about me. Why does it mean less if it comes from me? Write words of encouragement to yourself on post-its and hang them all around. Send emails to yourself and schedule them for your release day, or when you know it’s going to be tough for you.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – in this world is perfect. You included.

marie cole

Writer Mindset Secret 3

Don’t let self doubt keep you stuck.

This one is very firmly me. Self doubt is a huge monster. I self doubt myself all the time. Should I wear this or this? Should I write this or this? Am I doing the right thing? Is this a mistake?

What happens when you doubt your own thoughts all the time?

A 2002 study found that self doubt can lead to a greater need for approval from external sources, lower self-esteem, higher rates of anxiety and depression and procrastination.

How can you fix it?

  • Be Aware of Your Emotions
    Emotions can influence your thoughts. Be aware and begin to label your thoughts if you notice self-doubt taking control. Practice saying, “Okay I’m feeling ______ right now so I might be ________.” Emotions are not bad or good. They just are. Recognize them and accept them first. Then try to separate them from reality.
  • Become a Detective
    When you feel you have a self-doubt statement coming out, (I am a failure as an author), write down a two column list of evidence. Column One: Evidence I am a failure as an author & Column Two: Evidence I am NOT a failure as an author. When you are finished look at the lists and figure out if that self-doubt statement is valid or not.
  • Play Worst-Case Scenario
    When you’re stuck writing your book or you aren’t sure if you should publish it or (like me) you feel that putting yourself on Youtube is a huge mistake play the worst-case scenario game. “What’s the worst case scenario if I ____?” For me the worst case scenario if I put myself on Youtube is that no one will watch the channel. Or some trolls are mean. Then ask yourself, is that something you can deal with? Will it kill you? You can handle a lot. Don’t be afraid of rejection, criticism or failure. Just keep trying!
  • Know that a little Self-Doubt is Okay
    If you’re 100% confident all the time that can be worse. Having some self-doubt is perfectly normal. Accept and embrace that BUT keep moving forward. “I’m feeling some self-doubt around writing today, but I’m going to set a timer and try to write for fifteen minutes anyway. Progress, not perfection.”

Putting It All Together

The beauty of writer mindset is that it’s all within your power to control. There are things that you can actively do to switch it from one that is hindering you to one that is helping you.

I’ve been working with my mindset for nearly three years now and it’s still a battle – why wouldn’t it be? I’ve learned and been practicing negative mindset for thirty plus years! Remember that your life is a journey, not a destination. Any time you’re unhappy with the direction you are headed you have the power to change it. Am I promising that it will be easy and happy and rainbows? Nope, but it is your choice. That is your power.

I hope this article was helpful! If you want more ideas on how to get past your writer’s block you can find them in my latest book: The Kdrama Cure. Want to read more writing tips? Check out my other blog posts.

writing-a-romance-hero

Writing a Romance Hero

writing-a-romance-hero

When I say writing a romance hero that’s “sexier” I don’t mean describing the bumps on his six pack or including some shirtless car washing scenes.

Sexy is attractive. What will make you romance hero super sexy? Keep reading to find out how to write a romance hero that is swoon-worthy.

Writing A Romance Hero: Show His Soft Center

Now you may not want your hero walking around being like Santa Claus but you should definitely seduce your readers with a man who is thoughtful. Your job as the author is to make sure your hero woos his heroine*. (*For ease of reading I’m going to refer to the love interest as the heroine but it could be another hero, an alien, a monster or something else altogether. You do you, boo!)

When I talk about doing I am not talking about love bombing, we don’t need more narcissists in the world, but subtle meaningful acts of “Hey, girl, I care about you enough to inconvenience myself.”

When plotting or as you are writing or revising try to think about how your hero can will your heroine.

From Korean dramas these are some fan favorites:

  • Retrieving the drunk woman from her company dinner and carrying her on his back to take her home. (He may or may not have put on shoes or changed out of his pajamas before leaving to go rescue her. He wouldn’t want her being taken advantage of.)
  • seeing a heroin struggle with something and then getting that thing to her. (Like in True Beauty when Su-ho (our hero) sees Joo.-kyung, our heroine, pinning her bangs with a cheap plastic hair salon clip. He purchases her a nice barrette to replace the cheap salon one. She is touched by his thoughtfulness.)

What’s sexier than a man giving you a really great gift without you needing to prompt him???

Writing a Romance Hero: Quirky Can Be Sexy Too

Perfect doesn’t exist in real life and it shouldn’t in your romance either. Prince charming is a fallacy and grown women know the difference. Make your hero more human and give him some quirks.

In What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Young-joon, the hero, is a bit uptight. He has his reasons but one of his biggest quirks is that he’s never dated or kissed a woman. It’s a really fun time trying to watch a romance unfold with this guy who has healing to do before he can fully give himself to his heroine, Secretary Kim. He wants so desperately to be “normal” but he has to work with what he’s got and when he finally overcomes his issues it makes the audience love him even more.

In Coffee Prince Han Gyeol, the hero, loves legos. Like a lot. This is his unexpected quirk especially for our free-spirited playboy hero. On the outside he’s cool and hot and kind of stuck up, but these legos show that he has a soft center. He has an innocence about him. These legos, which are seemingly toys, are something he is very serious about. (One of my favorite scenes from this 2007 K-drama is when he is in his lego room. He’s adorable!)

When writing a romance hero ask yourself: what is this guy’s thing? What is something he does or loves that is special to him and when or how will he share it with the heroine.

Your readers will swoon over these moments where your hero lets down his walls and shows his vulnerability.

Writing A Romance Hero: Put Your Hero On His Knees

I don’t mean in a BDSM kind of way (unless that’s your thing – no judgements) in real life men tend to have a tough time apologizing when they mess up.

In the fantasy world it’s really hot when the hair apologizes. This can look different depending on the hero. For example, an alpha kind of hero is going to have a hard time admitting he’s wrong. He might not get down and grovel until the very end, but it’s that’s the case then you’d better make the grovel really, really good.

The most alpha-est alpha in K-drama that I can think of is Jyun-pyo from Boys Over Flowers, the poor thing has to grovel a lot in order to be initially accepted and then forgiven time and time again by his love interest, Jan-di. He’s not a jerk intentionally –it’s just how he is– until he learns and matures. By the end of this classic drama (which is based on a Japanese shojo manga series and has been adapted into a Chinese version (Meteor Garden) and an upcoming Thai version (The F4)) Jyun-pyo is a worthy hero for our heroine, Jan-di.

Another type of American hero, like a cowboy, might not need to grovel but might instead glance down, shuffle his feet and mumble his apology after having some think time. Perhaps he puts his foot in his mouth a little bit and makes the heroine angry, but doesn’t thoroughly offend her.

But either way don’t underestimate the power of a good apology.

In Shopaholic Louis, Louis, the hero, delivers something to the heroine, Bok-shil, which she thought she’d lost forever. He doesn’t ship it to her but instead gathers all his friends to help recreate their meet cute to remind her how much they mean to each other and when she thinks she’s so close to finding the thing she’s lost forever she discovers it’s there where she is. She then sees an apology video from Louis before being reconnected with him.

TL;DR

  • When writing a romance hero, make your hero vulnerable. Show him as a human, not a God.
  • Again, as a human, when writing a romance hero give him something uniquely him. He’s not perfect. Give him some kind of “flaw” or “quirk” that makes him relatable.
  • Lastly, when writing a romance hero bring him to his knees and apologize when he’s done something wrong. Who doesn’t love a person who can communicate and accept their part?

What do you think makes a good hero? If you’re a K-drama/C-drama/J-drama/T-drama fan, can you name any other good examples of these characteristics? I’d love to hear from you! Drop your comments below!

Looking for more writing tips? Check out more blog posts about writing here!

Writing a kdrama

Kdrama Kiss Goblin Episode 12 Recap and Analysis

This is the very last episode of Kiss Goblin. If you missed any of the recaps you can find them here.

Let’s get to it!

The Goblin appears and apparently, he had the magical power hidden within him the whole time. Exorcist drops our heroine, the goblin’s power surrounds the Exorcist with this green blob of can’t move and then he punches The Exorcist and knocks him out. 

In the restaurant where they were working part-time together, Goblin asked her if she believed in fate and she tells him she does but she doesn’t want to rely on fate. She wants to rely on them. So she grabs him and pulls him in for a kiss and says “I want the future you and the future me to worry about finding each other again. We’re not going to leave it up to something else outside of us like fate.” He says he knows why he fell for her because she’s so cool and she says “it better be because I’m pretty” and he says “the future me will fall for you again for sure because you’re so cool.” 

They kiss. A lot. 

Time Hops One Year

He’s at university and she passes right by him. She takes a seat in class. And then he comes in and sits down. The teacher assigns a group project with two team members. The Goblin Queen comes by and swaps names so that they are paired together for the project. 

Their relationship begins, they meet in front of the library and she pulls him out of the way of a bicyclist, saving him. She says she knows immediately that she’s going to date him. He says she’s cool and thanks her for saving him. She asks if they’ve met before and he says he’s not sure. Maybe…

Analysis

So super cute ending where both fate AND Goblin magic come into play. If this were a full length drama perhaps we would have gotten a more solidified ending where we could watch their romance unfold for a second time.

Below is the outline for the whole series where we can see the progression of the romance, the breakdown of our characters.


Kdrama Cure Outline – Kiss Goblin


HEROINE

• Quirks – She speaks her mind, hits people on the face a lot

• Hobbies – None. She works and goes to school. 

• Problems – needs to earn money, get good grades at school, recovering from a break-up

• Work – Works in a restaurant part time

• Contrasts – Human/Goblin, Clueless emotionally/very emotional, Student/Adult

• Motivations – School, Work, Helping Goblin complete his mission

• Wound – Cheating ex

• Need – Real love and honesty

SECRETS

• From Each Other: She was cheated on, (Midway) she is falling for him

• From Her Friends: She is helping a Goblin become a human, She is dating a Goblin

• From Her Family: N/A


HERO

• Quirks – Stoic 

• Hobbies -N/A

• Problems –  Needs to earn money, Exorcist is trying to kill him, Needs to kiss 10 humans to become human

• Career/Job – Works in a restaurant part-time

• Contrasts – Human/Goblin, Clueless emotionally/very emotional, Student/Adult

• Motivations –  Work , To not be lonely – become human

• Wound – None

• Need – Real love

SECRETS

From each other – He’s a goblin

From their friends – He’s fallen in love with a human

From their family – None.


SIDE CHARACTERS

• Sounding boards (Her Best Friend, Goblin Queen) 

• Put the main character into action (change of motivation catalysts/moves plot) – Goblin Queen, Exorcist

• Matchmakers (Her best friend to the second male lead)

• Defenders (her best friend defends against the ex)

• Love triangles (second male lead)


PLOT

TROPES USED

• Wrist grab

• Against a wall

• Heroine hurt – band-aid scene

• Ass kicking heroine

• Stoic male lead

• Crude man talk (not from leads)

• Love triangle

• Unrequited love (second male lead)

• heroine grabbing hero for kiss

• Knight in shining armor

• Princess in shining armor

• Kimchi slap (w twist – fried chicken)

• Head on the shoulder

• Falling asleep, head in lap

• Playground setting – vulnerability? Innocence? 

• Heroine in danger


SETTINGS

• University

• Restaurant

• Her apartment

• His apartment

• Place they go to eat 

• Goblin Queen’s Lair

• Flashback setting: Hanbok Korea in the woods

• Playground – swing set

• Second Male Lead’s work

• Tunnel (danger scene)

• Underpass (danger scene)


ROMANCE PROGRESSION

1. Eye to body.  

(Ep 1)

2. Eye to eye.  

(Ep 1) 

glancing at each other at work after confrontation (Ep 8)

gazing while holding hands in bed (Ep 9) 

shy gazes (Ep 10)

3. Hand to wrist. (Kdrama special) The male grabs the female by the wrist, to keep her from fleeing usually.

(Ep 2, 5) 

4. Accidental Bumps and Brushes 

(Ep 4)

5. Back to Wall. (Kdrama Special) The male boxes the female in against a wall. Sometimes to intimidate her and get his point across, sometimes to protect her from danger. 

6. Voice to voice. You talk, call, text or email. This should be a pretty long stage. You start emotionally bonding. 

(Ep 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) 

7. Head to shoulder (Kdrama special) One or the other falls asleep and their head falls onto the shoulder. This is usually before feelings are confessed. 

(Ep 7)

8. Hand to hand. You hold hands. It may be an accidental touch that is kept in contact or deliberate. You are special.

full body protection – he is definitely special (Ep 5) 

he takes her hand and holds it while they stare at each other. (Ep 9) 

9. Hand to shoulder. You put your arm around their shoulder. This publicizes your relationship.

10. Hand to waist. Your arms around each other’s waist. You know this person about as well as you know your best friend, and you like what you know.

11. Face to face. 

she leans in close when asking about his feelings (Ep 8) 

the kiss! (Ep 12)

12. Hand to head. 

he touches her face (Ep 6)

she touches his face while he’s sleeping (Ep 8) 

touches his face when questioning his feelings (Ep 9)

she touches his cheek.  she pokes his dimple (Ep 10)

13. Hand to body. 

14. Mouth to body.

15. Touching below the waist. 

16. Intercourse.


Romance Required Scenes: 

Awkward First Meeting: Yes, in the alley he was kissing another girl. (Ep1) 

First Kiss: False First kiss (Ep 4) – She kisses him, but not out of desire. 

Real First Kiss: (Ep 12)

Locking Eyes:  (Ep 1, Ep 8)

Touching:

Wrist Grab (Ep 2)

Embracing (Ep 4, 5, 6) 

Face Touch (Ep 6, Ep 8)

Confession: 

kind of from him (Ep 7)

kind of, from her (Ep 8) 

Full Confessions (Ep 9)

Break-up #1: 

he denies feelings and she goes to drink w another man (Ep 9)

Make-up #1:

in bed after his near-death they confess their feelings (Ep 9)

Selfless Giving: 

she saves him from the exorcist (Ep 9)

Final Test of Relationship:

he has to go back to the goblin world bc he doesn’t want to kiss her to pass his final test and risk them both never remembering or finding each other again in their lifetimes (Ep 10)

Happy Ending: 

Happy For Now – They meet again (Ep 12)


Couple Characteristics

Inside jokes – N/A

Talismans – N/A

Places they go – grocery shopping, work

Activities they enjoy  – Watching TV at home

Food/drinks they share – Breakfast. She likes to drink beer. 

Dating

Use character’s background, career, hobbies to dictate what these look like 

N/A

Showing thoughtfulness

• Goblin brings her chocolate milk after a bad customer experience

• Heroine grabs onto the exorcist to save Goblin

• Goblin touches her and removes her from danger w exorcist

• Goblin protects her and hides her (exorcist)

• Goblin gives her first aid on her hand

• Goblin confronts guys who made her cry

• Heroine protects Goblin from the exorcist 

• Goblin picks Heroine up and walks her home after work

• Goblin puts ketchup on her eggs

• Goblin hides her eyes from the bright new lightbulb he installed

• She allows him to sleep on her lap when he’s scared

• She makes him breakfast

• He offers to do the dishes

• She saves him from the bicyclist 


Want to learn more? Check out the Freebies page for lots of free goodies!

If you are ready to unlock the power of Kdramas and apply it to your next romance novel you grab a copy of my book, The Kdrama Cure.

Thanks so much for reading along with the Kiss Goblin series! I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or you can reach out to me via email: mariecolebook@gmail.com

Kdrama Analysis Kiss Goblin

Kdrama Analysis Kiss Goblin Episode 6

Today we are going to dissect episode 6 of The Kdrama Kiss Goblin. if you missed the other breakdowns you can find them here.

Yet again the writers started the episode off with a teaser of the future where the Goblin is kissing a girl and the heroine is standing back, watching. 

Back to the scene at hand, the Exorcist tells the heroine to get out of the way and asks why she’s protecting the Goblin. She asks The Exorcist why he wants to kill the Goblin and the Exorcist explains that killing Goblins and protecting humans is his job. The heroine says “Well I don’t know about other Goblins, but this one helped me today so he’s not harmful. Leave him alone.” The Exorcist reveals that he cannot harm the human.

The heroine smiles, snuggles closer to the Goblin, looks the exorcist in the eyes and eggs him on to try to kill her. There is romantic music as the Goblin looks at the heroine. He must have just fallen for her. 

The exorcist relents and leaves. 

The heroine is happy and asks if he’s happy too and he just stares at her. Her smile fades as she realizes that look of love in his eyes and she tries to get up. He pulls her back down and asks her to protect him by living together. 

“What?”

#tropealert living together/cohabitation

The heroine agrees to protect him, support his mission of becoming a human, and live together as long as he pays 100% of the rent, and does all the chores, and has to do what she says. 

At her apartment, she sets up a whiteboard with the mission objectives and shares it with him. He listens attentively. She says as soon as the GQ identifies the person they’ll go together so she can protect him from the exorcist. 

Morning 1 of living together. He gets up off the couch, cooks a very nice breakfast. She gives him a thumbs up and a huge smile. She watches tv while he cleans. He does laundry (including her bra and panties. She snatches that from him, mortified). 

Mission 5 comes in. They go together. She watches him kiss the girl… for a long time.

The new emotion is happiness and he’s giggling at everything they see Including the exorcist when he appears. As soon as he does the heroine presses her body against the goblin and smiles in victory. Exorcist frowns and walks away in distress. 

Later, it is nighttime and heroine is being followed. She hurries and so does the perp. She stops to huddle in fear and the guy, who is exercising, goes right past her. She pulls out her phone and hesitates to call The Goblin. but that doesn’t matter because when she looks up he’s there. He smiles at her and says he’s there to pick her up. She smiles back and comments on his smile. 

Cut to the next kiss. She’s uncomfortable. He gets the emotion desire and tells her he wants something – a friend. Goblin asks her to be his friend. Exorcist shows up and they hug. Exorcist gets mad and goes away.

They’re grocery shopping. Couple activity. They fight over what to buy in a playful way, you know… a cute way. Not like how it happens in real life with your husband or your kids. 😀 She looks around and sees other couples shopping together too. 

At home, she’s drinking and he’s cooking. He presents her with dinner and comments that her face has changed. She used to look sad and now she smiles a lot. He stares at her with adoration and says it looks better that way. She tells him to stop flirting with her. She tells him why she hates people (because they are selfish). He tells her he won’t be the kind of human she hates. He reaches out and touches her face and tells her that he likes her smiling face. 

Cut to the next kiss… the heroine thinks: she likes being with him and that’s why they can’t be friends because she likes him too much. 

Analysis: 

Lots of plot moving forward quickly, he only has four more kisses to go. We are halfway through the drama. 

They are now sharing moments together as a couple, like grocery shopping, walking home at night together, eating meals together, etc. 

He tells her that he likes her smiling face, which is strengthening the intimacy between them. She is feeling it too and we can tell because she can’t watch him kiss other girls anymore. 

Are you a romance writer? Get the Kdrama Cure Ultimate Romance Arc Cheatsheet for FREE