The 60,000-word Outline & a JR Ward Giveaway!

CONTEST: Read on to win a new copy of JR Ward’s fantabulous Black Dagger Brotherhood Insider’s Guide — it’s an awesome read if you’re a writer interested in learning about a successful author’s process and also if, like me, you luuuuuuv those ginormous macho vampires. Plus there’s a novella about Zhadist and Bella that doesn’t appear anywhere else. What’s not to love?
I bought a copy of this book a while back because I read that JR Ward published her entire BDB proposal in there, just as she’d originally submitted it, warts and all. I was trying to figure out how to put together a trilogy proposal at the time and thought seeing her structure would be helpful.

And it was–it gave me a good proposal template to use. (I’ll have to let you know sometime in the future if it actually is a saleable proposal).

What I found most interesting about the book–well, besides all the sexy outtakes and “interviews” with the brothers and specific plot challenges JR Ward came up against in writing the different books–was her writing process, specifically her outlining process.

If you’ve read my blitherings on this blog at all, you know I’m such a plotter that my crit partner calls me Rain Man. I have NOTHING on JR Ward. Nothing. Nada. The woman writes 60,000-word outlines so detailed they are practically a first draft. I have draft envy.

So as I begin to flesh out the sentence outline I’ve already done for my third New Orleans-series fantasy, Elysian Fields, I decided to try her technique. Between now and the start of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be seeing how fleshed out I can make my sentence outline. Watch the progress on the Tracker. I’m setting my outline length at 40k (yegods, the very idea makes Rain Man quiver with excitement). We’ll see how it goes 🙂

Okay, the contest to win the BDB Insider’s Guide (and warning, it contains spoilers if you haven’t at least read through the first six books). It’s an easy one: Tell me who your favorite Black Dagger Brother is, and why (if you haven’t read the books–shame on you–tell me your favorite vampire). I’ll go ahead and ‘fess up and say I love Vishous, the most tortured, screwed-up character to grace the pages of any novel I’ve recently read. And JR Ward will tell you why Vishous is her least-favorite character and the mistake she made in writing his story. Extra entry for blog followers; extra entry for Twitter followers @Suzanne_Johnson.
I’ll announce the winner on the blog on Friday, Oct. 17. Sorry–U.S. and Canada only.
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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

26 thoughts on “The 60,000-word Outline & a JR Ward Giveaway!

  1. Butch is my favorite. He’s tortured. He’s hawt. I’ve heard that Ward’s outlining is impressive. I’m lucky to come up with ten pages for an outline.

  2. V is my favorite brother too. And for couples…okay, I was hoping and hoping and hoping that V and Butch would end up together. IMH, there was such a huge depth of love and commitment between those two. (sigh

    Yeah, I’ve heard all the arguments against that HEA, and I even agree with some of those arguments. But I still hoped. To me, their bond was the strongest.

    umm- did you read on the BDB board about V currently breaking her heart? Sounds like something horrible is in the works with him.

    I don’t have the insider’s guide. But if I don’t win it, I think I will buy it. I’m writing a series right now that has some similarities with BDB. Not in vampires, so much as in bonds of brothers and soul mates, but set in current day military.

    Reading her outlines and proposal for the series would be really helpful.

  3. It is hard to pick just one, but I have a hard time choosing between Wrath and Z.

    Wrath is is the ultimate (to me)alpha male, strong protective and at the same time dealing with very human issues of his blindness.

    Z is getting there, he still has issues to work through–he made such HUGE leaps in his and Bella’s novella with the baby.

    Thanks for the contest, I think the insiders guide is the only book I don’t have yet

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone!

    JC. When I first read the BDB I wasn’t wild about Butch. Second time I read the series (okay, yeah, I re-read the whole thing when Lover Mine came out), I abosolutely loved him.

    Trish–I gotta agree with you about V and Butch, and JRW talks about that relationship in the giveaway book. I was all for letting V having a happy ending w/ Doc Jane but I hated the way it was done. Absolutely hated it. The next book is on V’s sister, so I bet he misbehaves. Apparently, JRW has the least control over V of any of the brothers! He never behaves as she wants 🙂

    Welcome, Ruth! Love Wrath and Z as well. It will be interesting to see where JRW takes Wrath now that he’s totally blind.

  5. I’m actually rereading the series right now on Phury’s book. about to tackle my own series in para romance.

    I think my favorite would be John and then Butch because we actually see what they are going through as it happens. its more personalized to me.

  6. OK Big confession…I have not yet read the BDB. Lately I have been hearing all about the Vishous…on other blogs, random internet searches and even at lunch last week!
    So I’l go with Vishous-by-proxy and get caught up on the books.

  7. Oh my, I have a few favorites, but I’m going to say Z, Butch is a close second…

    and I’m so with you on writing – I need a guide to turn my pantser butt around…

    Dawn Chartier

  8. Wow, I’m intrigued by JRW’s outline process. I’m definitely going to check this book out. Good luck on your own 40k outline.

    I think Wrath is my fave of all of them. He is the quintessential alpha male yet has this vulnerability. Really draws me in.

  9. Hi Suzanne, I already have the insiders guide and love it. I stopped by just to check out what everyone is saying about my fav series. As for the brothers, I love them all, but especially, Butch. I’ve read the first of the Fallen Angels books and have the second on the TBR pile to be read really really soon.

    Oh, btw, I reread all the books again when Lover Mine came out too. I’ll probably read them all again in February. 🙂

  10. Shame on me, I haven’t read any of the stories. I’ve been meaning to, but I’m a writer, newly sold, and I’m struggling with deadlines and simply can’t read as much as I want to now. It’s on my wish list!

    My favorite vampire is not one you would know, and he’s a villain, but he’s a great villain. His name is Tristol, and he’s a villain in my Scottish paranormal series. I adore Tristol, even though he’s evil. He’ll make an appearance in three of my books before he stars as the main villain in his story. He’s only half vampire, but he’s very powerful, very good looking and very much out to get his way. It will take more than one hero and heroine to take him down.

    I’m fascinated by JR Ward’s outlining. I love plotting and make tons of notes. My backstory is so good that one day, I’ll actually go back and write it as a story, but JR Ward’s outlining puts me to shame.

  11. Your books sound great, Anita–congrats on the sales! My reading has taken a big nosedive in the past year too, so I know where you’re coming from. Dawn Marie, I have no doubt I’ll re-read them all before the next one too 🙂

    You guys have surprised me with your Wrath love, here. I expected it to be all about Zhadist, the wounded warrior.

  12. *hangs head*
    I haven’t read these yet! They are lingering on my TBR mountain. So that being said- I have to go with jean-Claude from LK Hamilton (at least the early books ;)).

    And might I add- I LOVE LOVE the new look to the site! It’s great!

  13. Thanks for the info on the Insider’s Guide! I haven’t checked it out yet, but after reading your post I’m thinking that it’s now on my most wanted list. Wow–60K word outlines. That is just amazing. I love reading about other author’s writing process. Good luck on your outline!

    My favorite brother? Z. Why? For me, he was the ultimate underdog who dragged me (and my heart) kicking and screaming into the brothers’ world. I think it might be the mothering nurturer in me that just wanted to love Z and root for him on every page to defeat his demons. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed all the other brothers as well, but when it comes to favorites and their stories… well, Z’s book is one of the very few on my bookshelf that I have no issue going back and re-reading time and again.)

  14. If you haven’t started them yet, you’re in luck– I think I started with #4 and then had to go acquire backlist like crazy. At least you won’t be waiting and waiting for the next one! My favorite is V., followed by Wrath. Loved the sex scenes with Butch (can I say that?) for the character development, but didn’t care so much for Phury (probably because I wanted to kick Cormia into the middle of next week).

  15. Ha, Anne! I wanted to do bodily damage to Cormia too–Phury deserved better than that wimpy virgin priestess prima donna 🙂

    Glad to see some more love for V out here.

  16. I read the first book, and have to admit, it wasn’t a series for me.

    However, reading your post, I have enormous respect for J.R. Ward as an author for being so prolific and keeping things on track. I always like reading successful authors and their habits.

    My fav vampire ever is a tough one. I have to show my age here and go for Lestat from the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles. Not necessarily because he is my most fav character, but he was the first vampire anti-hero in my life… a girl never forgets her first. 🙂

  17. JR Ward gets men and writes them very well. I think that is why I like her books so much and use her writing as a model of how I like to torture the characters in my own writing.

    I guess if you would have to nail down my favorite, it would have to be Wrath, the reluctant leader. His character change spans the series and he has a direct effect on all the brothers. Zadist is my second favorite- what a tortured soul- I’m a sucker for them.

  18. Oh boy…V, or Z, or…this is so weird. I just BOUGHT the Brotherhood guide, I’m trying to decide if I want to drive two hours to a JR Ward book signing today, I am spazzing about my inability to decide if I am a plotter or a pantser. To top it all, I dropped my kid off today at the convent where the mental hospital scenes were filmed in Rainman.
    And I’m not trying to make my son become a nun. He’s at a retreat for school.

  19. LOL Teri Anne–sounds like a strange bunch of coincidences! My guess is if you can’t decide if you’re a pantser or a plotter, then you’re some kind of plotter! Maybe not Rain Man status….but that may be a good thing 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  20. I was sure there would be more John Matthew. How could you not LOVE him? And we’ve seen him grow from the beginning! So hot!

    And Zhadist. The bald head, the turtlenecks. The bad boy tamed by Bella. So sexy!

    Those are my favorites. Guess it’s just me and Beth.