Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Your own accomplishments may seem paltry in comparison. I know mine always do! But the problem is you don't compare to anyone and you can't compare to anyone. Sit back and look at the things that you DID accomplish.
Lately I haven't been writing anything! I blogged about that a couple of months ago and it's all due to moving. And I'm STILL moving. Still in between having my own space and a new home. And when I'm not writing I always feel bad about it. Especially when other people are posting word counts and new projects.
But I have had a couple good things happen. I sold a short story to an anthology and got an estimated release date for Tea Times Three. My immediate thought is always "Well, it's only a small thing. It's not like it's going to put money in my pocket or make my name." For some reason it's always easier to downplay successes as being not big enough.
The thing to remember is that a success, no matter how small is still a success. It's something you did, something you made, that someone out there liked! Liked enough maybe even to give you some money for it! Remind yourself that you did something, and things are happening even if you aren't aware of them.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
So you want to be a romance writer? Well here is a recipe you can use:
Serving size: 1 full length romance novel
1 really intriguing storyline
2 cups well developed lovable characters
5 tablespoons of memorable supporting characters
½ cup of conflict
1/2 cup sexual/emotional tension
Heat (variable depending on targeted readership)
1 emotional conflict resolution
A dash of comedy
Love making (optional)
Before we begin this recipe you need to prep. Here’s how you prep.
1. Know what romance is
Have you ever read a book that’s labeled romance and found that there is everything in the book except romance? The genre romance can run the gamut. There are a million and one subgenres of romance including historical, paranormal, mystery, suspense, erotica, you name it. The heat level also covers a wide range from simple hand holding to explicit sex. So what really is romance?
Romance is a story about the love and eventual relationship between two people that is driven by the emotions with a hopeful ending.
So before you begin to write romance, make sure you know what kind of romance you want to write, the heat level and your targeted readership.
2. Know your characters
Well developed lovable characters are essential for writing romance. Readers like to fall in love with the characters themselves. An interesting way to create multidimensional characters is by doing an interview with the main characters. It helps you to know how they think, what they would and would not do, and how they would react to different scenarios.
3. Know your storyline
Whether or not you are using an outline know where you story is going. You must know how it begins, how the couple meets, and what would happen in the end. The middle is a determined by your imagination.
4. Know how to create conflict.
Conflict can be either internal or external. It could be a residual scars from past relationships. It could be the person’s own insecurity or dislike for the other person. It could also be caused by other people, circumstances, or decisions that have to be made. The greater the conflict, the more interesting the resolution.
Now that you’re all prepped we can begin making that spicy romance.
To the intriguing storyline add two lovable characters. The characters should be strong, memorable and even if they are the most villainous characters, have something that readers could identify with and like. We want characters that readers will be rooting to get together.
Add a dash of conflict at the beginning of the recipe. We’ll add the rest later. Stir in a few memorable supporting characters or sidekicks. Beat for a few minutes and add emotional/sexual tension drop-wise allowing it to build up to a fever pitch. Stir in comedy so that it blends with everything else. When mixture is nice and smooth, place it on the fire and slowly add heat. The heat depends on the targeted audience so be careful. Let it simmer so readers can get a whiff of the HEA. Love making is optional depending on subgenre and heat level, but it should be driven by emotion. Use your discretion when adding this. As it comes to a boil add the rest of the conflict and turn up the heat. Keep stirring. When it begins to bubble out of the pot add the conflict resolution. Stir to make everything smooth.
Taste the pot (proof read) to make sure you have a lovely flavor and add or remove to improve the taste (editing). Now you have yourself an intriguing romance novel.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
I've been doing this writing thing long enough now that some people might consider me something of a "salty sailor of the sea," and all that. Want to know something? I still get excited by the sight of a new book I've written, or to which I've contributed a short story or essay or whatever. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning. I fondle that first copy when it comes out of the box, before rooting through the box until I find the copy in the best condition, and put it on my "brag shelf" along with my other books. It's almost a ritual. All that's missing is an announcer on the PA system and some music to provide flourish as I cut a ribbon or something.
And then there are the stores.
I don't care what anybody says. For a writer, nothing compares to seeing your shiny new book sitting on the shelf at a bookstore. NOTHING. It's the major leagues, an Oscar and an Emmy, and maybe even the top prize winner on America's Funniest Videos, all rolled into one. Nothing is cooler than walking into a bookstore and seeing the fruit of so many months of labor staring back at you. No, I don't hang around long enough to see if anyone actually buys a copy; that'd just be creepy.
Then there are the bonus locations: grocery stores, drugstores, airport bookstores, and so on. The Star Trek books tend to make it to most of these venues, and the managers who know me at my local grocery and drug stores even make a point to order a couple of copies each month, whether mine or another writer's.
I don't just make this a little song and dance for me, either. If I have time to handle the logistics, I'll involve my readers, too. When a new book is due to hit shelves, I put out a call for readers to get "action shots" from the stores. The first five or six to post to my blog with photographic confirmation of the book out in the wild get some kind of prize.
To this point, no injuries or deaths have been reported from people trying to be the first back with evidence, and we always try to keep things from escalating to Mad Max levels, but you never know. Keep your fingers crossed.
So, for those who might ask, "Does the thrill ever go away?" the answer is an unequivocal "NO!"
This stuff never gets old.
(Sidebar: I realized this morning that this is my 50th post for Novel Spaces. I think that means a set of steak knives, right?)