Writing Tips from Author K. Kris Loomis

Enjoy these writing tips from author K. Kris Loomis. Kris and I chat about planning a novel, character development, and daily routines.

K. Kris Loomis was one of the first authors I virtually met in a Facebook group when I was just getting started on my self-publishing journey. I read How to Sneak More Yoga Into Your Life some of her short story collections and instantly fell in love with her writing style and sense of humour.

I’ve enjoyed watching Kris’s progress as a self-published author since meeting her in 2016. In the past year alone, Kris wrote and publish two novels and the non-fiction book, Surviving Revision. Kris’s guest posts are some of the most popular on my site, so I knew I had to interview her and share her tips!

The Project Planning Process

Kris likes to plan her projects by keeping a running list of what she wants to work on and deciding what will be next based on how she feels at the end of a project. This way she can alternate long projects like novels with shorter projects like essays if she doesn’t feel like working on two big projects back-to-back.

Listen to Kris below to hear about her planning process and more great tips!

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If you are someone that prefers to read rather than listen, here’s a summary of the rest of our conversation.

Daily Routines

As a private piano and yoga teacher, Kris is fortunate to be able to write during the day. She writes the best in the morning and likes to focus on book marketing after lunch before she starts working with her students. Having set times for specific activities (like writing and marketing) helps Kris stay focused.

Figuring out when you are the most productive writer is something that can take time and Kris warns that not knowing when this is for you isn’t an excuse not to write. If you’re serious about being a writer, making the best of the time you’ve got is key.

Establishing a routine is a great way to train your brain to be ready for what you plan to do, but things can change over time and if you find your writing sessions aren’t as successful, try a different time and see what happens.

When plotting a novel, you need to have a structure to follow so you will know where you're characters are going.

Plotting a Novel

Understand structure

Writing long fiction can be challenging, but following the rules of structure can help. Just like movies and scores of music have structure, so do novels. Kris followed the book, The Story Template, by Amy Deardon which outlines the three act structure and the major plot points stories should include.

Know where you’re going

Establishing the major plot points first, helps Kris figure out how her characters are going to arrive at those points. She uses colour-coded sticky notes to identify the acts, major plot points, and scenes. Learn more about Kris’s sticky note system, the three act structure, and major plot points in Kris’s blog post on the Writing Cooperative.

Developing Characters

When Kris creates her characters, she decides some specifics up front and then lets the rest unfold as she writes. She starts by giving them a name and identifying the following:

  • Age,

  • Gender,

  • Ethnicity (if applicable),

  • Story role (what does the character bring to the table?),

  • Occupation or student status,

  • Where they come from and currently reside,

  • What they’re good at and what skills they need to improve,

  • One unique physical trait, and

  • A quirk.

Some writers like to create really detailed character sketches before starting their novel, but Kris found this prevented her from writing the story, so she likes to stick to these basics.

Determining the Next Project

Kris’s current project is a paranormal story, something that she enjoys reading as well as writing. The idea has been on her mind for a while, but it was the prompting of her cousin, a great supporter of her writing, that encouraged her to start.

Although Kris never really thought about writing horror, she’s having a lot of fun with it so far. She chose to write the story as a novella so she could go deeper into the story around her main character instead of worrying about subplots.

If you enjoy fiction but don't like reading or writing long projects, a Drabble might be just right for you.

What the Heck is a Drabble?

A Drabble is a story written in exactly 100 words. When I first read Kris’s Drabble, “A Night Before Christmas”, I was amazed at how much information she conveyed in such a short story. Kris was challenged to write this Drabble by her writing group. She was so happy with the result that she decided to write a collection of one-hundred 100-word stories. 

Such a short project like the Drabble teaches writers economy and how to find exactly what needs to be said and what words can be left out to achieve your story goals. If you enjoy short fiction, check out 100 Tiny Tales.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can read After Namaste, a collection of essays about how yoga has affected Kris’s life off the mat, for free this March (2019).

I had a lot of fun chatting with Kris and will definitely try some of her tips with my own writing. I hope you learned as much from my interview with Kris as I did! There hasn’t been a book of Kris’s that I haven’t enjoyed. Check out her catalogue by visiting her Amazon author page.

*the Amazon links in this post contain affiliate links which means I will receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click the link and buy something from Amazon. I appreciate your support.

K. Kris Looms

K. Kris Loomis is the author of the new collection of short stories, 100 Tiny Tales: Short Stories Told in Exactly One Hundred Words. She has also written two novels, The Sinking of Bethany Ann Crane and The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer, as well as the short story collection, The Monster in the Closet and Other Stories.

Kris also writes nonfiction and has written several books on yoga and meditation, as well as a travel memoir about the time she, her husband, and their handicapped cat moved to Ecuador.

When Kris isn’t writing at her standing desk, she can be found playing chess, folding an origami crane, or practicing a Bach French Suite on the piano. She lives in Rock Hill, SC with her husband and two cats.

You can connect with Kris on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn