Even though I've attended conferences in the past (a total of two), I'm still a little nervous. The possibility of spilling my water on a published author, or worse an agent, is . . . well it's just, I don't know-unthinkable. And what if I do something worse than spill my water? What if I ramble, or stutter, or my stomach growls in the middle of a workshop? What if I fall out of my chair? What if my name is spelled wrong on my business cards?
I could come up with a million other what ifs, but right now I'm trying to make sure all my i's are dotted and my t's are crossed. I don't want to forget my toiletries, which I've packed and repacked in my mind a hundred times.
You would think that since I have traveled halfway across the United States, on a commercial airline (first time ever), jumped on a subway (first time ever) and rubbed elbows with over 3000 other writers, agents and editors, that a three hour drive would be a breeze, especially since there won't be anywhere near that many people at this conference.
Yeah right! I think I'm just as nervous if not more so. You see I know there is an opportunity waiting for me, just like there are always opportunities at conferences, and I don't want to waste it. Or blow it. And I think there is a tiny part of me (okay, a big part) that fears creating chaos with out intending to.
All right, I've laid it out. I'm a bundle of nerves. That's all there is to it. And I have no idea how to exchange those nerves to excitement. Any suggestions?
We're so excited to have Nicole North with us as part of our GUEST AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT SUNDAY series. She's got a fantastic new book coming out, and has some great advice and words for aspiring authors. I know Nicole from Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, and from an amazing series of workshops that she teaches on sensuality and sex in romance writing. (Check out her website for a list of those--they are golden!) Without further ado, I'd like to welcome Nicole North!
There’s a reason they’re called growing pains. Because growth in most endeavors is difficult. Take writing for instance. We all want to grow in our writing, right? To do this we might have to stretch (or would that be flex) our writing muscles and create something we haven’t before. We might have to go out of our comfort zone. We might have to write something more edgy, more emotional, more erotic or more suspenseful than we have before.
If you have always written contemporary romantic suspense for instance, what would happen if you dove into an elaborate paranormal world with strange creatures? Or maybe you would only dip a toe in to begin with, just to test out the waters. Either way, it’s an experiment. It might be a grand disaster. Or it might be a whole new adventure for you.
I started out writing—yes, you guessed it—contemporary romantic suspense, which I still love. But it wasn’t until I started writing historical and paranormal Scotland settings that I felt deep down that I’d found the perfect niche for me. Something about my voice resonates with historic Scotland. When I added paranormal to the mix, I finally found success and got my first book contract.
Where the growing pains came in was the research. Back when I first started I was afraid that no matter how much historical research I did, I would get something wrong. I wouldn’t say that I’m a perfectionist, but I really hate being in error about historical facts or setting details, etc. But the truth is nobody’s perfect, and we are writing fiction after all. Growing pain experienced and moved past and as a result my stories move into new niches.
I’m not saying you should be all over the place with your writing. But early on, when you first start writing and are trying to figure out what you might enjoy writing or what you might excel at, it’s sometimes good to explore and experiment. This will allow you to be more certain you are in the right niche or subgenre of romance before you choose one to focus on.
Have you experimented with different subgenres of romance? Have you experienced growing pains in your writing? What happened? How did you learn and grow?
My latest historical paranormal (Scottish set) erotic romance novella was just released a week ago.
Laird of Darkness: Half-Fae Laird Duncan MacDougall is cursed. His nights are haunted by Otherworld creatures sent to kill him. The only way to stop them is to possess the magic bow currently in the hands of his enemy half-brother, Kinnon MacClaren. In desperation, Duncan plans to take MacClaren's bride-to-be hostage and exchange her for the bow.
Lady Alana Forbes has never met her intended, but she hopes he is handsome-and a good lover, for Alana is no innocent virgin. On her way to Castle Claren, Alana and her escorts are intercepted, and she is kidnapped by a man with extraordinary abilities-and every attribute she longs for in a mate.
Duncan didn't expect the woman he thought of as a mere pawn would be so beautiful, and so arousing. Alana is drawn to him as well-but Duncan still needs the bow, and Alana is betrothed to another. How far will Alana go to save the life of the man she's come to love?
Chapter one excerpt
Nicole North's erotic romance novellas have been described by reviewers as “exciting, high octane, captivating, scintillating, sinfully delicious and pure romance.” Her stories contain “heart and heat, killer love scenes, magic and extraordinary characters.” She has sold four stories to Red Sage Publishing. Laird of Darkness is her first novella for Carina Press. Nicole’s stories usually focus on her favorite things: Scotland, Highlanders and hot men in kilts. She and her husband live in the Southeastern US, but she wishes she lived in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year. As she puts it, Scotland is a beautiful, magical and enchanting place where anything seems possible. She teaches online workshops about various aspects of writing, including sexual tension and how to write great love scenes. Though she has a degree in psychology, writing romance is her first love.
Devil in a Kilt, Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures (anthology, July 2009)
Kilted Lover (November 2009)
Beast in a Kilt, Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies (anthology, July 2010)
Laird of Darkness (March 2011, Carina Press)
Scoundrel in a Kilt, Secrets Volume 30 Desires Unleashed (anthology, July 2011)
Nicole on the Net
Leave a comment to win a copy of Nicole's newest release, Laird of Darkness. Thanks so much for being with us, Nicole! We expect great things from you!
~ Camryn Rhys
Many times I have seen people talk about character arcs but had never received a clear answer as to what it is. So, I went in search of the answer myself. To be a successful writer, I need to know everything I can about everything there is to know.
CHARACTER ARC is the process of getting a character from one point to another. To over come what ever obstacle it is that stands in the way of their HEA. (HEA means Happily Ever After).
Let's say you have a hero. He has been betrayed numerous times by his family and his ex-fiance. That's point A. What needs to happen to him to get him to be able to move past the hurt and betrayal to be able to find love again? Most likely in the arms of the heroine. That would be point B.
He has to learn to trust again. To believe that love is worth fighting for and that even if there are some bumps in the road, it will all work out in the end. We want the hero to feel and believe that no matter the outcome, the heroine is worth fighting for. And if he has been hurt and betrayed that is a long road to travel down.
With that said, it doesn't mean that the heroine has nothing to do. She has to prove herself. She had to help him build that trust by being a trusting kind of person herself. She must betray the qualities that will make him feel as if he can't live without her. And we all know, that sometimes the heroine comes with baggage of her own.
If the heroine has no problems and her goal is to win him over, then her jobs is going to be a whole lot easier than if a heroine came with problems. She will have to overcome her own as she is trying to help the hero overcome his.
As I work on my characters in my book, I need to outline their struggles and find the best way for them to deal with them and be able to move on. No easy task to do, I assure you. Each book will have different problems and different solutions.
Here we go..........
Hi everyone! I’m very excited because today we have the lovely and talented Delilah Marvelle appearing on our blog. I’ve been wanting to interview her for a quite a while, so I’m very glad to finally have her here. For those of you who don’t know, and—ahem—you should IMHO, Delilah is the author of five historical romance novels. Her Scandal series, published by HQN, is now available in bookstores everywhere. They are all great reads, by the way, and one lucky commenter on today’s interview will win a copy of The Perfect Scandal, book three in the series.
First of all, thanks so much, Delilah, for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with all us New Kids (both those who blog and those who don’t). We’re so happy to have you here.
Thank you so much for having me!!!
So let’s jump right in. When did you start writing? Did you begin with historical romance or did you have another genre of choice?
I've been writing for a VERY VERY long time. Since I was about 8 years old. I was always that kid that wanted to rewrite every story that didn't end the way I wanted it to. I totally rewrote stories like Peter Pan. In my version, he went home with Wendy and they grew up and had kids together, lol.
Did I begin with historical romance? No. I actually wanted to be the next Stephen King but found that people were chuckling a bit too much in response to my stories. My horror writing career was short lived, lol. When I read Jane Eyre in high school, I fell in love with historicals and knew that was what I wanted to write. When I read Judith McNaught based off of a recommendation by some random woman in the library, that's when I was TOTALLY screwed. I devoured it and fell madly and lustfully in love with the sweeping romance, the sex, and everything in between. That's what I've been writing ever since.
According to your website, all your favorite authors are dead. Who are some living authors whose work inspires you?
Yes, lol. Some of my favorite “dead” authors include: Edith Wharton, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Henryk Sienkiewicz, the Bronte sisters, Chaucer, Henry Fielding, and Hemingway. Of course the list is much larger than this, but I figured I'd share the main ones. Some of the living authors whose works inspire me? I would have to say Judith McNaught and Kristina McMorris. Judith McNaught started me down the path of wanting to not only read historical romance but write it. Kristina McMorris is a new author, but I've known her for years and this girl is not only an amazing writer but an incredible inspiration to me.
Yes, and in the second book, the hero is turned into a prostitute. All very heavy topics. I wanted to write about issues of today set back in history because the reality is people in history were no different from the people of today. Only the setting and mores were different. There weren't any names for certain addictions (like sex addiction or cutting) Nor was there any form of any understanding of those addictions. Even today people write off sex addiction as something limited to perverts and have little understanding of what sexual addiction REALLY is. Needless to say, all this drama leaves our heroines to be the ones to help along these men when they need it most. And that is what ultimately fascinates me.
The second and third books in the series begin in late Regency England, but both stories end up in more unconventional settings for historical romances, namely Venice and Russia. What made you want to deviate from the traditional setting, and did your publisher mind?
As much as I love London and its history, there was so much more happening around the world that fascinated me all the more. Readers want to step outside of London but the publishing industry has edged away from trying to give readers that different setting, citing that readers don't want anything but London. Ah, but how can readers know any better if that's all we're feeding them? LOL. And that's yet another reason why I like to set half the book in London and the other half outside of it. My publisher, HQN, is incredible in its support. It still wants to see London but they let me set the book wherever I want to as long as it gives meaning and depth to the story. And that's why I do it. I'm not looking to be “different.” I just am, lol, and it comes through in my writing.
Do you listen to music or storyboard or make collages when you’re brainstorming a book?
I listen to music beforehand to inspire me but otherwise no, I don't collage or listen to music while I write. It's too distracting for me. I'm the sort of writer who needs complete silence and no frills or I can't write. I also have to be in suspense of what is going to happen in my own books otherwise I get bored. So yes, I'm a total panster and I try to keep my process simple otherwise my mind gets too cluttered and I can't focus.
Do you visit your settings before you write about them, or do you just write from research? If you do visit, what is the next place that you think you might take a trip to?
I've only visited a few of the places, like London and Poland. Someday I hope to take trips to every place I ever write about and even write while I'm there. Right now, I'm writing about New York City in 1830, so it was very easy for me to get on a plane and do my research there. That said, however, none of these places are as they were in the era I'm writing about, so I often dig into books that were written within that era and dig through what life would have been and looked like. Traveling journals are always filled with the sort of incredible information that I just wouldn't be able to touch on my own even if I went to that place today.
Are you working on a new series?
Yes, I'm working on a new series! And I'm having sooooo much fun doing research and writing it. In this series, which is set in 1830, London and New York City is about to collide. FOREVER AND A DAY, the first book in the series will be released in January 2012.
Finally, what advice do you have for all of us aspiring authors?
Never, ever, ever, EVER give up hope that your writing will find a place within the publishing world. Don't count the days or the hours. Count the ways in which you are learning and growing. It took me 11 years to get published. I received over 200 rejections and wrote over 40 manuscripts. Sounds scary? It is. But I'm damn glad it took me that long because the publishing world is a tough one. All of the rejection and heartache I dealt with prepared me for a different form of heartache and expectations that stress a soul out. Remember, the habits you create for yourself as a writer now, prior to being published, are the ones you will carry with you into your publishing career. So make sure you are establishing good and positive habits that will last you not only through pre-publication stage but well into publishing.
That’s such great advice. It certainly inspires me to keep on plugging away at that computer and not let myself give up. Thanks so much for being here, Delilah!
Everyone, don’t forget to leave a comment so you can be in the running for that copy of The Perfect Scandal!
Start by examining the basic formula for your story. Let’s play with the “Secret Baby” theme. Everyone knows the premise is a couple who have come together for the sake of a child. This is such a popular theme for category that, to be honest, I’m not sure there is any way to create a slant that hasn't already been done but we can certainly add some twists.
We'll start with Heroine who hasn’t seen her Hero in five years. Let’s say they parted when he was deployed overseas. Now we’re blending something relevant to give it a new twist. But that’s not enough. He is injured during battle and sustains some facial or bodily disfigurement. He can’t bear to let her see him like that. Alone and bitter, he breaks it off with her.
What just happened? We introduced a second theme – Beauty and the Beast. The Heroine is devastated but goes on with her life. Realizing she can never love another man like she loves Hero, she adopts a child to raise. And let’s say the child is of Afghan descent, the very place where Hero has been stationed.
The scenarios for conflict here are limitless when and how they reunite. Or substitute Vampires and Werewolves. Or let the Hero come home with a child – possibly his or one he rescued. How about adding a marriage of convenience theme? It’s been done many times but how could you make it different? How can you make this tried and true theme "yours"?
Crafting a “new” story out of an old formula is truly about developing characters so real the reader doesn’t think about the formula but rather what’s happening to the hero/heroine. The more angst they suffer, the easier it is to draw the reader in emotionally. Keep your novels fresh by writing compelling tales and adding a colorful secondary character.
We’ve all read books that were so predictable we literally flipped through pages due to gradually losing interest. Surprise the reader with unexpected plot twists. Keep your writing razor sharp. No lag time or excessive descriptive passages.
Your voice should be unique but not bizarre. The reader still has to understand what's happening so try to keep it realistic. The best paranormal and fantasy stories are abnormal creatures with humanistic emotions and reactions. I personally believe that's what keeps Twilight so popular. It's truly a story about young teen love. Bella just happens to have two suiters who have unusual heritage. Their emotions are human, however.
It wasn't so long ago Amish Romance was considered boring, especially with erotica hot and heavy in the market. Then several writers developed characters and plots so captivating that readers were hooked. Think back ten years ago. We were all reading multi-volume family sagas. Now it's paranormal.
Remember, there’s nothing new under the sun. You just want your reader to “think” there is and that requires smart, savvy writing.
Answer: It's simple really. It's getting your heroine from point A to point B.What exactly is a character arc?
Did I lose you? All right let me try a different approach.
Let's look at a book I've referred to in the past, Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. According to Bell, "the character arc is what happens to the inside of the character over the course of the story. He begins as one sort of person in the beginning; things happen around him, gradually moving him in an 'arc' that ends when the story is over." (pg. 142)
Now, I'm not going to go into the ins and outs of the layers of this process, at least not in this blog post. I do want you to look at your current manuscript and think about how your hero and/or heroine sees themselves at the beginning of the story. How do you want them to see his/herself at the end of the story? Is there growth subtle or drastic?
Dee, the heroine of my current ms, believes she's unwanted and unloved, pretty much worthless. And she has good reason since her parents abandoned her to a not so nice man when she was young. She's learned a few hard lessons fast; depend on no one, trust no one, and even more, love no one. Over the course of the story she begins to realize that sometimes you need others. Sometimes, whether you like it or not, you have to trust a person every now and then. And loving people, well it happens. Admitting the truth isn't easy, but well worth the gamble.
My heroine begins as a very jaded, self-destructive, avenging angel. She ends up quite different and very much in love.
So, how about your heroine/hero? How do they begin?
Lately, I've been searching for way to take better care of myself. I'm overweight, and both my part time job and my writing keep me glued to a chair. Improvements are slowly creeping into my life, but I still slide back. Yesterday I made a "healthier" version of Blueberry Cobbler using coconut sugar and some whole wheat flour, but my blood sugar still soared. White food is exiting the building as fast as possible. I've switched to Celtic sea salt, whole wheat flour, and sugars with color that are lower on the glycemic index. Thoughts of going gluten free have also crossed my mind, but have you seen the price of almond flour? So I am limiting my gluten exposure. I've increased my intake of fruits and vegetables, and lower my intake of sweets.
Another part of my search has led me to research vitamins and supplements. This process takes a while. First, there is the research, then comes finding good quality supplements that don't cost an arm and a leg, and finally slowly adding them to my regiment finding which ones work for me. That last part seems to be the crux of any plan to create a healthier you. Finding what works for you.
You may ask what this has to do with writing? Well over the past few weeks since I have been on this journey my writing process has improved. My attitude, imagination, and energy has increased. I still have work ahead of me. I want to find a sustainable exercise routine, and really good recipes. This spring I have a garden in the works, and I can't wait until the Farmer's Market opens. It is funny how I have been dreaming of fresh vegetables instead of sweets lately. I think I'm on the right track, and my writing is getting better because of it.
What do you do to take good care of yourself? Do you have any good recipes you'd like to share?
You’ve probably encountered it, if you’ve been in Queryland long enough. You’re told to focus on one book, make it stand alone, and don’t tell anyone its just one book in a series. Well, I floundered through that eeevil, dreaded purgatory for four years, so I was pretty paranoid about that by the time I signed with Decadent Publishing for my first novel, Sugar Rush.
Of course, Sugar Rush was just one book in a series. I loooooove book series! I love reading them. I love writing them. I get emotionally attached to characters and have a hard time letting them go. Kids have imaginary friends and I have imaginary children. I like to start at the beginning and watch my characters grow up.
After signing for Sugar Rush, the prequel, Crushed Sugar, kept nagging me for her turn. I was too afraid to mention her, but she wouldn’t stop. So, with great trepidation, I mentioned it on the Decadent Authors’ Yahoo Groups, because, you know, by that time I was paranoid enough to believe that Almighty Editors never have time for us little peons. I figured my best chance was to snag the advice of a more experienced author. Imagine my surprise when the Senior Editor responded and told me that was a question for her!
I emailed the Senior Editor, Heather Bennett, and told her about the series I had in mind. She was supportive from the beginning and that’s why you see ‘The Ophelia Dawson Chronicles’ on Sugar Rush’s cover. In traditional publishing, you have to prove yourself a money-maker before a publisher will do that.
I wanted to crank out Crushed Sugar to be released *before* Sugar Rush, but I just didn’t have time to do it just in the editing department. Sugar Rush was more ready to go and so it went first. The important thing to remember about…
…like Star Wars Phantom Menace 1999 is a prequel to the originally released Star Wars of 1977. Crushed Sugar takes place over the course of the first two days of the Heroine’s junior year in high school, which is three months before the start of the events in Sugar Rush.
If you’ve read Sugar Rush, please bear in mind that Martin, the villain, is fully human at the start of Crushed Sugar. He’s always been nice to Ophelia and she has no idea he’s the bad guy. Sure, he’s a show-off and a jock, but he’s also seriously hot.
Crushed is a novella about 15,500 words long and, therefore, cheaper! And a fast read. I tell everyone it’s a much shorter tale of a faint heart, a fair maiden, and a blood-sucking dead guy.
Here’s the blurb-
Be careful what you wish for.
Ophelia’s had a wicked crush on Martin since they were kids, but she was always just his geeky little friend. Then, on the first day of her junior year, he’s suddenly and wildly attracted to her. She can’t imagine what’s changed, but shocking her small school’s social order fills her with vindication for insults suffered.
Ophelia meets Adrian right after and true love extinguishes the wicked crush. In secret, he gives her courage against a specter threat.
Tristan is pale and hungry, and draws Martin’s immediate ire. He knows things about Ophelia which she assumes are delusions brought on by an aggravated illness like her own, diabetes. When battle breaks out between his ancient race and new blood, even the courage of her secret love might be crushed.
P.S. The next full-length novel in this series, Sweet Bytes, does take place right after the end of Sugar Rush. I hope to have it to the editors by May.
If you’d like to know more about my stories, find excerpts, and blurbs, and all that, please pop over to my main site-
Thank you for letting me guest for today, Rebecca Lynn!
We're happy to have you, Kimber! Kimber is also giving away a copy of Crushed Sugar to one lucky commenter, so comment away for your chance to win! Thanks to Decadent Press for providing the free copy, and thanks to Kimber An for being our guest!!
Don't forget. Tomorrow is the last chance to finish filling out your brackets for #CSAR. Don't know what #CSAR is? Go here. You could win a free eReader!
Wanna fill out a bracket? Go here, click predict it, and pick all the winners.
You could, for instance, weigh in on who would win between:
The Iron Duke and Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
Just kidding. No contest there.
We have a novella bracket, full of authors you'll likely know; a Harlequin bracket, full of smexy books; and two general brackets of single title and even some non-romantic fiction. Come on over and check us out!
Okay, so I’m a little tongue in cheek. But I’ve been here at New Kids for a while now and I think it’s time you knew my little secret.
I’m a people watcher.
And what’s worse, I make up stories in my head about the people I see. I’ve done this since I was a little girl, wanting the popular crowd to LOVE my new jeans and invite me to eat lunch at their table. Then we’d become fast friends.
Or when in Junior High, I fell for the bad boy in the class. Watching him (from the opposite side of the classroom), I imagined our first conversation, first date, even our first kiss.
In high school, my daydreams went even farther. Now, I’d not only eat lunch with the cool kids, I’d get invited to the swimming party at the river. Yet, the daydreams stayed that. Daydreams. I could reach my academic goals with ease, but actually talk to a guy who was outside my bank geek clique? Wasn’t happening.
So when I took my first fiction class, I started doing my homework at a local pub. Not one of the high-class bars where they liked to move the table quickly to serve more people. But at dive bars. Bars where you’ll find real characters. The guys who’ve been sitting on the same bar stool since 1992. Bartenders who convinced themselves they were only there until they finished their degree. And others who were just out for a good time.
Bar watching is a great place to learn group dynamics. To learn to identify pack leaders. And to see the initial sparks of a love interest flame into something more. Or flame out.
I especially loved bars with sidewalk seating. Sunshine and the added bonus of more people just walking past you and your notebook.
One day, I was enjoying a glass of wine at an outdoor cafe. It was a soft late spring afternoon. The kind of day that hints to a warm summer. The people watching had been slow. Then a priest walked into the café and sat near the door. His coal gray eyes were hooded and his slumped shoulders made me wonder if he was sad or exhausted. My mind went crazy with questions. I started writing description about the man in my notebook and soon, his story (the one I made up for him) was clear to me. I’d fictionalized the man sitting across from me.
Now, I may never use this character in a story. But the image of him with his back against the brick wall of the building behind him, has stuck in my mind, all these years.
Nowadays, I people watch almost anywhere. Trying to figure out what the story is behind the happy family or the elderly man walking up the road. And I think it's made my writing stronger.
Find a character and let them tell you their story. Why are they sitting in this bar, day after day? I think you’ll learn a lot about them. And if you’re lucky, they’ll introduce you to their friends and enemies.
How do you develop your characters? Do you people watch? Ease drop on conversations? Daydream?
Becca and I are huge basketball fans. We've each filled out more NCAA brackets than anyone has a right to know about. But we've gotta take the opportunity while it's this time of year.
But at some point, we asked, why shouldn't we just keep filling out brackets for like another week or so? In fact, we thought, it would be really cool to have a bracket of our very own. Colin Cowherd does it every year. He did the 64 best cereals one year, superheroes another, and this year, he's doing rock bands. So we figured, why not have a bracket for books. Not horribly original, considering that we're both readers and writers. But fun.
Instead of doing a popularity contest, where people can vote, we wanted to have some kind of experience more like the NCAA experience, where you predict what will happen, but have no impact whatsoever on what really happens. Yet, if you predict well enough, you win prizes. That sounds awesome.
So we decided to put on #CSAR Book Tournament. (C)ompletely (S)ubjective (A)nd (R)andom. You, the blog readers, fill out prediction brackets to win prizes. We, the bloggers, set the matchups and decide the winners based on a pre-selected set of qualifications and scores.
You get a chance to win. And there are a LOT of prizes.
* a KOBO eReader
* Autographed books from the following authors
- Lynn Raye Harris
- Lisa Hendrix
- Maisey Yates
- Sandra Hyatt
- Daisy Harris
- Cassandra Carr
- Silver James
- Kerri Nelson
- Kristen Painter
* Romance Trading Cards from a variety of Authors
* Immortal Brotherhood swag
* Starbucks Giftcards
Did we mention a FREE EREADER??? Plus digital copies of the four winning books.
And we separated the categories as much as we could. So there's an entire Harlequin bracket and an entire novella bracket. But in the end, it's just a bunch of great books going head to head to determine who will be the last one standing.
Or, it's our chance to give away free stuff and hang out with you lovely people. So come on by. I'm hosting the #CSAR on my blog. Go here to learn about the tournament, and here to fill out a bracket. Click on "Predict It" and figure out who will be the last book standing.
Ah ha! That’s a bit more of a science.
Let’s start with some basic scenarios found in romance novels. I’m going to match them with movies to show relevancy. Some of these movies were blockbuster hits which just goes to show a good romance can transcend to film with profitable results.
1. Rich Girl/Poor Man. You may hear it referred to as Princess and Pauper. With alpha male plots, it’s more apt to be King and servant girl. One of my favorite takes on this theme was the movie “Overboard” with Goldie Hawn and Kirk Russell. Must have worked. They’re still a couple today. Another classic using this theme is the unforgettable “Titanic”.
2. The Secret Baby. An extremely popular theme in category. Separated lovers reunite with the man discovering he unknowingly sired a child. It was used at the end of “Pirates of the Caribbean 2” when Will returns to Elizabeth and she has their 9 year old son with her. A twist is the movie/remake of “Parent Trap” where the twins did not realize they had a sibling. Even beyond that is “Prince and the Pauper”. But I think the best example of this in a movie is “Forrest Gump”. Also blending this theme with the next one, marriage of convenience, is the aptly titled “Marriage of Convenience”.
3. Marriage of Convenience. Sometimes forced marriages also fall into this theme. The basic premise is a marriage where love develops after the vows are spoken. Historicals and imprints like Harlequin Presents like this particular scenario. One of my favorite movies using this theme is “A Walk in the Clouds” with Keanu Reeves. Even though they weren’t really married, it was a great take on the marriage of convenience theme. A more recent example is the Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds movie, “The Proposal”.
4. Beauty and the Beast. Sounds like a fairy tale. Actually, many romance themes can be found embedded in fairy tales. A beautiful or loving woman with a big heart must look beneath the surface of a scarred, embittered man and nurse him back to the living. A take on this theme is Phantom of the Opera. Obviously, it didn’t end with an HEA but the story was there. Or if anyone watched the movie “V”, you’ll find the scenario clearly at play there, as well.
5. Cinderella. Who can deny the romance in this ageless tale? It even comes complete with a HEA. Nice girl from a good family suddenly robbed of her stable lifestyle and tossed unceremoniously into the poor house. She can only daydream of the handsome prince on his dashing white stallion coming to whisk her away. Many stories use this theme. It’s one of my favorites and classically carried out in the immensely popular movie “Pretty Woman”?
6. Last but not least is Bad Boys and Women Who Love Them. Or Bad Girls and the Men Who Love Them. Either way, it’s a fun scenario with lots of possibilities. An earlier Western using this theme is John Wayne’s “Angel and the Badman”. It was used as the base in the award winning “Unforgiven”, as well. Not all movies using this theme are westerns. A more modern day take is the Twilight saga. The Bad Boy mixed with the Beauty and Beast theme created one of the best selling franchises in recent film history. Let’s end it with bad boy, Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing”. He still makes my heart go pitter pat. RIP, darlin'.
This is not a complete list by any means of the “formula” romance models. Many are blends of several themes and I’ve offered a couple as examples.
Next week I’ll discuss how to take a theme and mold it into something “new”. Not an easy feat but necessary in this tight market if you want to write and sell romance.
Even as far back as elementary school I can remember having been told to change up the he said/she saids. She interjected, she exclaimed, she whispered, she hissed. Well there are only so many he/shes you can do before you sound like a broken record. BOOOOOORING! After reading over their examples in the workshop, WHOOOOOHOOO!!! I got it! And just in the nick of time (I'm in the process of some serious polishing).
Here are a few examples from my own manuscript.
“You sure 'bout this?” Teddy asked, pushing his spectacles high on the bridge of his nose.
“You sure 'bout this?” Teddy pushed his spectacles high on the bridge of his nose.
“Reverend Creasey was the best man I’d ever known,” she whispered.
“Reverend Creasey was the best man I’d ever known.” She slipped the treasured timepiece back into her pocket.
Which do you like better? I'm all about the action beats! Don't get me wrong, a simple he said/she said has its place, but now that I really understand what action beats are, it makes interpreting contest judge comments much easier. Just think, all this time and I hadn't a clue. :)
I'm actually having fun polishing the ms. Seriously, I feel like I've found a rythm to my song. Do you ever come across a bright flash that seems to make writing much easier and more enjoyable?
Yesterday, Eliza Knight blogged about GMC (Great Main Characters). It started me thinking about my characters. Their GMC seems to stand for Good Main Characters instead of Great Main Characters. It's obvious that my characters' weakness is the G portion of GMC. They all have Goals, but they have blah goals.
I have one heroine who traveled from place to place as a child wants a home, a town, a place to settle down. One heroine wants to find her father after her mother dies so her life will be more settle. And yet another has the goal of getting out of the mob so she too can have a more peaceful settled life. (Does anyone see a theme here?) My heroines' goals are sedate. No one has an exciting goal like remaining unwashed for the rest of their lives, or saving the world, or becoming famous or infamous. Just a quiet, peaceful life.
My heroes don't fare much better. One hero wants to have a family and build a tree farm to replace trees in areas where the lumber industry was clear cutting the land. Another hero wants to preserve the integrity of his name and his business. And yet another has the goal of obliterating the illegal liquor business during prohibition. Okay so the heroes fare a little better than the heroines, but they also just want more peaceful settled lives. Good goals for good characters, but nothing that screams of greatness. Not yet.
I still have to work on improving my characters' standing in the literary world. I need to turn their goodness into greatness, but that's what revisions are for. How's your characters' GMC?
I would like to welcome, as part of our AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT SERIES, The Illustrious Eliza Knight. Author of HOT-HOT erotic romance, especially her Captain series (one of my favorite Regency series of all times). Workshop Teacher extraordinaire. I took her "Edit Your Book in a Month" workshop and was floored to realize that she'd turned it into a book! Fantastic resource!! If you are looking at a deep edit of a finished manuscript, you absolutely have to pick up this book. There are buy-links all over this post, but I wanted to bring Eliza here to tell you about the book herself, and to talk about writing, because she is flat-out brilliant! So without further ado, I'd like to welcome the amazing ELIZA KNIGHT!
First of all, thank you so much, Camryn, for having me on the New Kids on the Writer’s Block blog today!
Second… okay, so I’m a little off with what GMC stands for (really it is the acronym for Goals, Motivation Conflict), but honestly, without GMC, you don’t get great main characters, in fact you don’t get any great characters, since even your secondary characters and villains, etc… all have to have a purpose.
Without a goal in life, we are lost. We walk aimlessly, not sure what to do, what we want, where to go. We become listless, bored, insane. We wonder why we’re here, what is the purpose of life? Why are there humans? What am I destined for? What great thing can I accomplish?
Some people are happy to languish their days away on a couch flipping through channels in ten-day-old underwear, while munching on stale chips between the seat cushions. Some people never stop moving, never stop doing, make your head spin. And still others are content to do their own thing, and still more who live in fairy tale world (that would be me!).
But even that guy eating soggy chips and watching re-runs of Cash Cab, has a purpose—a goal. His goal is to never shower again, sustain his life on moldy couch food, and watch 350 hours of television non-stop. Why?
Well, the “why” is his motivation. Why he would want to do it is beyond me, but he has a real and believable reason for breaking the record on couch potatoness. (FYI, the Guinness World Record holder for Couch Potato in 2010 was just over 40hrs.) As a child, he was never allowed to watch television, eat anything other than celery and carrots, and was forced to shower ten times a day. As an adult, on his own now, he’s decided he will live exactly the opposite way he grew up.
But uh-oh, we have to make this interesting, not that a smelly, Cash Cab addict isn’t riveting, but… we need something more to sustain our attention. This is where conflict comes in.
If you ever find yourself in a slump with your writing, just toss in a conflict, no matter how small or large, the conflict will get your characters moving.
How can we torture our sluggard? What would really mess with his goals? Ah, I know! A girl, a very pretty girl. She comes to his house with a delivery of his favorite grocery items—potato chips. He yells for her to enter, because remember he refuses to get off the couch. She gingerly picks her steps between tossed and rotting food containers until she reaches the couch. And she says something like, “You are a real pig. I’m not coming to deliver for you anymore if you don’t clean this mess up. And seriously… you smell like something my dog pooped out…”
The sloth look-a-like’s eyes widen. The chip he was about to stuff in his mouth is forgotten. He wants to shower. For her! But he can’t! It will ruin everything. He has to find a new delivery person—preferably one that isn’t so pretty. But there is no one else! What is he going to do???
Are his goals about to change?
Characters can and should have more than one goal. There can be secondary goals, or their goals can change depending on other factors in their lives—not unlike our own lives. We are constantly growing and changing, as your characters are too. (This growth and change, is the character’s arc, by the way.)
But don’t worry, no matter how much their goals change, or how many more goals they accumulate, we can always through a giant fallen tree in their way to mess things up. That is, of course, until the end, when everything should be solved all nice-like and presented with flourish.
How do you flesh out GMC? What works best for you? Leave a comment for your chance to win an e-book copy! (NKotWB is going to double the winnings, and will buy an additional copy of Eliza's book for a second commenter. So your chances of winning just went up. Comment, my pretties!! This is an amazing book! ~Camryn)
Eliza Knight is the multi-published author historical romance, erotic romance, historical fiction and non-fiction. Visit Eliza at her website, her historical blog, or her writing blog.
Edit Your Book in a Month – available now in Kindle format from Amazon.com. Print edition coming by end of March 2011.
Have you finished a manuscript? Want to submit your novel to editors or agents, maybe even self-publish? You need to edit first! First impressions are important and the stronger your book is, the better presentation it will make. This book presents tips on editing, most common mistakes made in manuscripts, show vs. tell, plotting, dialogue, story development, inconsistencies, tightening up your sentences, weak words/verbs, overused words, filler words, formatting and so much more! Get your manuscript ready for its grand debut!
What people are saying about Edit Your Book in a Month:
“Edit Your Book in a Month is loaded with great information and excellent examples. Every writer—both new and old—can benefit from this how-to book. If you’re ready to polish your manuscript in record time, then this is the book for you.” Kimberly Killion, RITA®-nominated and award-winning author.
“Eliza Knight's "Edit Your Book in a Month" method made the difference between my manuscript being passed over in the slush pile and getting requested, and eventually published.” Rebecca Lynn, award-winning debut author. (And fellow NKotWB contributor!)
“Solid craft assistance from multi-published writer Eliza Knight. Her Edit Your Book in a Month workshops are always filled, yet she encourages class participation and manages to give each participate the individual attention they need. Now with a high demand for her workshop materials, Eliza Knight has done what she does best, put it all in a book! I attended Eliza’s Edit Your Book in a Month workshop. She provided me with a writer’s tool kit that will serve me well throughout my writing. Her clear presentation lays out a plan that is easy to follow. The results? After working with Eliza I submitted my manuscript and got THE call within a month.” Ruth A. Casie, award-winning debut author.
“Whether you're writing your first book or your fiftieth, Eliza Knight's Edit Your Book in a Month is an invaluable resource for making your manuscript gleam. Eliza's mastery of the craft of fiction writing shines through on every page.” Victoria Gray, multi-published author of riveting historical romance.
Don't forget to comment for two chances to win! And thanks for stopping by!!
Since my local Border's store has been closing, I've been raiding the romance section. First of all, I will say, I bought a Kobo so I could give it away when my book releases. And I got a screaming deal on it. In fact, I'm considering going back to get another one.
The other thing I've been doing is buying books. At 40% off, it's hard not to buy all those books I've always wanted to read and never wanted to pay full price for. Or books that are only on sale one month at a time (like every Blaze and Presents and Desire on their shelves).
I bought the entire J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It's one I've been wanting to read for a long time, but never bought.
I bought all three Louisa Edwards Recipe for love books. I have them all on Kindle, but wanted the paperbacks as well.
I bought the entire Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark Hunter Series. One of my friends recommended this to me and they happened to have several box sets that I could pick up one at a time. That was nice.
I bought four Jaci Burton books, two HelenKay Dimon books, two Kieran Kramers, two Angela Johnsons, three Monica Burns, two Sarah McLean, three Lisa Hendrix, two Toni Blake, eight Blaze, eight Presents, and five Linnea Sinclair. Yes, I spent a sh**-ton of money. :-)
I also bought out their stock of Beth Kery books. It is my personal goal to get everyone I know reading these books. I'm going to give them to my friends for Christmas. "Release" by Beth Kery is one of my favorite books I've ever read. So I'm looking forward to reading "Sweet Restraint", "Wicked Burn", and "Paradise Rules", neither of which I've read, in addition to reading "Explosive" again.
What about you? Picked up any good books lately? Any series you're looking forward to reading? Any suggestions for me, where I should start, after hauling home all these new books?
Do you have a book releasing? Would you like to highlight your future release or talk about your first sale? We're always looking for authors to be in our Author Spotlight on Sundays.
If you're interested, please contact me (Rebecca) at rlcameron(at)yahoo(dot)com.
That was before I started a new job and all form of normalcy in my life disappeared.
I commute an hour each way to work, weather permitting. On nights with inclement weather, it can take an hour and a half to get home. I enjoy the company I work for and the people who share my department but the training has been short and in some cases, non-existent. I think the term is “thrown to the wolves”. Or perhaps “sink or swim”.
Needless to say my brain waves are straight lined by the time I arrive home. I’ve written very little since I started two weeks ago and it bothers me….a lot! I was on a roll with revisions and a new WIP. I was participating in a blog challenge on my personal blog. Now I’m lucky to remember my name and where I live.
What’s a writer to do when this happens? I try to read in the bath tub thinking it might spark a moment of creativity but I find myself staring at the pages and not comprehending what I’m reading or falling asleep in the process.
I need advice, fellow writers. And a big dose of motivation. It’s only temporary insanity, I tell myself. It will get easier. This is the worst part of the learning curve – not knowing much and having to cram my brain full of new information and procedures.
It feels like an excuse, and I hate excuses. How do I work around this?
New Kids has some very savvy readers so I know one of you will offer some words of wisdom on how to maintain a writing schedule when everything around you has gone to the potty house.
And let me take a moment to issue a sincere note of apology. I will recover over the weekend and schedule next week’s blog in advance. I promise this won’t happen again. I think I need a big dose of BICHOK!
Yum, yum…this humble pie tastes good.
I am a member of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. Now, I will admit that besides being a member of RWA, this is the only group that I have joined. I can honestly tell you though, that I couldn't imagine belonging to any other group. I imagine there are some good ones out there and I hope to one day find them. But for now, I am so excited to be apart of this group.
They are extremely helpful and supportive. Whether you are published or not, there is always someone there to answer a question. They never make you feel silly for asking questions, no matter what it is. They share information about the industry, links on dinnerware, Gaelic translations, to what to wear at Nationals in New York.
So, in the spirit of giving, I am going to share some helpful information here. I hope that out of the things I post, there will something you can use. Good luck.
The first thing I want to post is the link to Celtic Hearts. If you write with a Celtic theme, then this is the place for you.
Next, I would like to post a link for you to be able to find an Agent. Here, you can look up may agents, find out if they are associated with AAR, what genre they are affliated with, etc. This has been a very useful tool for me when it came time to querying an agent.
Ever use a word and wonder where it came from or how it was or is used? Then go to the Online Etymology Dictionary. These are not definitions, they are explanations of how our words were used 600 to 2,000 years ago. Here is an example.
poontang- c.1910, probably via New Orleans Creole, from Fr. putain "prostitute," from O.Fr. pute "whore," probably from fem. of V.L. *puttus (cf. O.It. putta "girl"), from L. putus, with derogatory sense. But also possibly from O.Fr. put, from L. putidus "stinking" on notion of the "foulness" of harlotry, or for more literal reasons (among the 16c.-17c. slang terms for "whore" in Eng. were polecat and fling-stink). Shortened form poon is recorded from 1969.
Now, if you, let's say, want to desribe how your hero looks when he is angry, or maybe your heroine is in a bank and you need detailed descriptions, then the place you want to go is The Bookshelf Muse. These ladies put a lot of work into their site and it shows. I have used this site more than once.
I want to wish you 'GOOD LUCK' in your writing. I know how hard it is when you need something particualr and you just can't seem to find it. I hope these links make it a little easier.
What does this have to do with writing you ask? Weeeeeell, let me ask you a question. Are you the type of writer that obsesses over that first line and the first paragraph? Do you work hard at hooking your reader with kick-butt beginning? If you've ever entered a writing contest you've probably seen a question on the score sheet similar to this one: "Does the writer hook you or draw you right into the story?"
Many contests stress the need for a beginning hook, a need to draw the reader in. Yes, that is super important, but almost just as important is how you end that first chapter. Remember that female Idolist I mentioned up above?
Like most of y'all I've read plenty of books. That first chapter sets the tone. It tells me many things, like how long it will take me to read the book or if I'll quickly become bored with it.
I recently read Christy Barritt's Keeping Guard. It's been a while since I've picked up a book and had trouble putting it down. Was it because of her fabulous writing and characterizations or her quirky humor mixed into the suspenseful setting? No. Now that isn't to say all of those things didn't exist, they did, but that's not what kept me turning the pages.
It was how she hooked the end of the chapters. Particularly the first chapter.
Let's look at her beginning.
The cold rain felt like daggers penetrating Kylie Summers's skin. She tried to escape its torrent, but the drops kept chasing her, even as she retreated under the awning of the brick-fronted restaurant.
Are you hooked? Maybe. Does this first paragraph present a story question? Sure it does. The reader immediately wants to know what she's doing out in the rain. There's another thing this first paragraph does with a few key words; escape, torrent, chasing, retreated. These few words in this beginning paragraph are doing their job. They're telling the reader something about Kyle Summers and that she is doing something more than just trying to escape the rain.
But I'm not here to talk about beginnings. I'm here to talk about endings. First chapter endings. This next bit is the very end of chapter one. We are now in the hero's point-of-view.
"Kylie, it's me--"
As soon as the words left his mouth, something hard came down across his head. His world began to spin and then went black.
Does it make you want to turn the page? Does it make you want to see what chapter 2 has to offer? It's kind of like watching your favorite drama and having the week's episode end with the two main characters locked in the freezer with no way out. It's what brings the viewers back the next week. Just like a kick-butt ending will have your readers turning the page.
As you finish up your first chapter or while you're revising it try to remember to bring it on the end. Oh, and if you get a chance to pick up Christy Barritt's book do so. It's a good one to study how certain things should be done, especially if you're writing suspense.
I've told you all multiple (**multiple**) times that I have a new release coming out. Eh? Yes, I've said it may different ways, and in many different languages. Okay, just English. But multiple times. But since that news happened, I've never had any new news. Until today.
Today, I am proud to unveil, for the very first time, my new cover:
Releasing, Spring 2011 from Breathless Press: The Barn Dance by Camryn Rhys. Isn't it pretty? :)
Today’s blog is spotlighting the Jeannie Gray’s Golden Friendship Award.
The wonderful sponsors of this award chose my essay as this year’s winner. The award supports unpublished writers who enter RWA’s Golden Heart and the winner receives a certificate and funds to defray the cost of entering the contest.
What a lovely way to remember a friend by supporting other writers in their journey to the magic ring of publication.
Sponsors of Jeannie Gray’s Golden Friendship Award – you ROCK!
And now, here’s my essay on this year's theme of paying it forward.
Learning at the Feet of the Masters
I was one of those. The ones who declare, “I want to write a book.” I had a thriller, a middle grade time travel, a mystery, and a romance started. Each story would grab me and I’d be on fire until chapter five. Then I’d lose steam. In a few months, I’d start a new story convinced that the problem was the genre, not me.
I hung out at blogs, bought writing books, and told everyone that someday I was going to be published.
One day, I won a contest from one of the blogs. The author lived in my area and we agreed to meet for lunch so she could hand deliver my prize. When she asked what I was working on, I unloaded all the ideas for my stories. Her eyes glazed over. When I finished, she asked me what story I was passionate about. I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about so I chose the romance. We made a pact to meet in a month and report progress on our projects.
The next month, I wrote a chapter. We agreed to meet the next month. Again, she made strides, I wrote two chapters. Her secret? She sat down to write every day. No excuses. I made a commitment to write thirty minutes a day. If I couldn’t commit thirty minutes a day, I didn’t want to write a book. I wanted to talk about it.
After two years, I’ve finished four full manuscripts, seven short stories, and a novella. Five of the shorts have been published.
Paying it forward means mentoring a new writer. I want to cheer when a new writer starts a manuscript, support at the sagging middle, and spread breadcrumbs leading them to the end.
Lately I've been sidelined with a severe case of tendonitis affecting my elbow and now my shoulder so I haven't been able to get much writing done. I have a second appointment with the ortho on Monday and it looks like a cortisone shot is imminent. I'm not thrilled by the prospect, but if it relieves the pain and inflammation I'll endure it.
Since suffering this repetitive-use, soft tissue injury, I've been carefully looking at ergonomics at home and at work. If you haven't heard about ergonomics, it's the science of "assessing those work-related factors that may pose a risk of musculoskeletal disorders and recommendations to alleviate them." Basically that means creating a comfortable workplace. However, comfortable doesn't mean typing on the NetBook while propped up in bed.
In ergonomics, comfort equals the best fit for the writer's body. "It takes account of [your] capabilities and limitations in seeking to ensure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment suits [you]."`~Wikipedia.
Here's the general recommendations for sitting at a computer....
I won't use this forum to complain about the awkward configuration at work. There's not much I can do about changing it. At home, my set-up is much more ergonomical. I have a desk that's the right height for me. My computer monitor is at arms length. I use an ergonomic, wireless keyboard and mouse. The chair I have is adjustable and appropriate to my height. My main problems is sitting. I don't like sitting with my feet flat on the floor. It doesn't feel comfortable. Often times I find myself sitting with one foot tucked under my leg. Of course, this throws off my posture. In an effort to improve, I've tried the beneath-the-desk foot rest. I'm not a fan of that either. Guess I'll have to force myself to plant both feet on the ground.
I don't have a wrist pad either, but I've been wearing a wrist brace, per doctor's orders. Maybe that offers the same benefit. I'll have to ask the doc on Monday.
I love natural light so I have an oversized window in my home office. And, my back is to it so of course I get a glare on my computer screen. Drats! Now I'm going to have to move my desk, but if I face the window, I won't get any work done. I'll be staring out the window, day-dreaming instead of writing.
I've definitely got a few bad habits to correct. I don't want to have continuing problems with tendonitis or develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Do you have good ergonomic writing habits? Or are a few tweaks needed?
it's KRISTAL kLEEr
Well, as we all know, there is no such thing as a dumb question.
A new writer approached me the other day and asked “What does heat level mean?”. This is another one of those things that seasoned writers take for granted and romance newbies might not understand. So let me explain HEAT LEVEL 101.
It’s quite simple. Heat level determines sensuality or how sexually explicit the story is during a lovemaking scene. There are usually 5 levels with 1 being the mildest and 5 being erotic. Here’s a more detailed description:
Level 1: Very light kissing scenes, if at all. Often reserved for inspirational romance or suspense/thrillers that focus on plot and not relationships. I know…you’re thinking “But it’s a romance. How can it NOT focus on the relationship?” True, but in recent years a lot of single title romantic suspense has tried to attract a crossover audience by only alluding to a relationship or else the book was a series with the relationship already established.
Level 2: This is for mild, subtle scenes that may include consummation or just some detailed petting. Sweet romance, cozies, and some romantic suspense fall under this category.
Level 3: Ah, now we’re beginning to feel a little heat. We’ve left the innuendos behind and moved on to a some action. Sexy, sensual encounters are the earmark for Level 3. These scenes stoke the fire and build sexual tension but without the more explicit lovemaking we see in Level 4. There are usually at least two touchy feely scenes but more importantly, the reader feels the emotional angst of the characters brought on by their physical desire.
Level 4: Get the fan out. It’s sure is hot in here. We’ve moved on to SIZZLING. Level 4 lovemaking scenes are longer, more explicit and may include some unorthodox positions or oral sex. However, the author is using euphemisms. Mr. Happy by any other name would be a Level 5 but he still manages to rise to the occasion with some detailed play by play action.
Level 5: Erotic. This is as hot as it gets. Burn, baby, burn. The writer calls a spade “a spade” and cuts to the chase with graphic description. Even though romance typically calls for a HEA, this level features more experimental, sexually driven relationships that might conclude with a pairing but not necessarily marriage. The sex scenes are longer, explicit and leave nothing to the imagination. Not for the shy or timid reader. ADULT content.
**Level 6: As erotica has progressed to more adventuresome scenarios, many writers now use a Level 6 to describe their heat level. This is everything a Level 5 is but may also include non-traditional sexual encounters, ménage a trios, BDSM, GLBT, paranormal/fantasy creatures or situations, sex aids/toys. ADULT content.
So there you have it. Now go take a cold shower and write.
*My apologies. I scheduled this post and for some reason it did not post. I suppose we'll carry on Julie's theme Better Late than Never.
I recently attended a local writer's meeting. The topic on the table was plotting. Something I've been kind of feeling my way through and doing it without really doing it, which can cause a whole world of hurt later.You know what I mean?
Here, let me explain. My brain rarely stops coming up with story lines. Some are good, some not so good. So, even though I might have several other manuscripts in the works, when a really awesome one comes through the waves I jump on it. I visualize that initial scene and write the first paragraph or two. And then I file it away. If I'm really excited about the story, I grab a stack of index cards and split them in half. One stack for my heroine, the other for my hero. At the top of each index card I'll write a scene idea and whose point-of-view I think it should be played out in. I might add a few little notes.
Misty Evans car accident
stray cow, several strays
windy dirt road, checks damage
it begin to rain and she realizes she's locked out of car
Yes, my notes are pretty scattered like that and they don't really get into goal, motivation and conflict. Was her goal to hit the cow? Was she trying her hand at tipping cows with her car? Was her goal to check on her car? If so then why do I have that written last?
During the writer's meeting the presenter went over several methods of plotting. Some were in the form of triangles, others were presented with simple Q&A. The one thing they all had in common seemed to be goal, motivation and conflict. Not just GMC for the over all story line, but GMC within each scene.
The lack of definite GMC in my major plot points has caused what's known as a sagging middle. I say I've been plotting without really plotting. Whether I've been plotting haphazardly out of pure laziness or from ignorance I have no idea. What I do know is that I need to make a change if I'm going to make this whole writing process easier for myself.
I think I'll stick with my index cards but now they'll hopefully look more like this.
Misty Evans substitute postal worker
Goal: finish mail delivery
Motivation: sooner she's done sooner can get ready for her blind date
Conflict: rain storm leaves her stranded/in need of rescue
What's encouraging to me is that I knew something was bothering about me about my latest WIP. I'm glad something finally clicked in my brain. At least I hope it has. GMC is one of those things I've had problems grasping no matter how many times someone tries to explain it to me (so I guess it's possible that I'm still mucking it up). I never realized how big of a part it played in the initial plotting.
Hopefully the plotting process will be much easier from here on out.
- ► 2012 (84)
- Can A Good Storyteller Be A Bad Writer?
- Conference Jitters
- GUEST AUTHOR: Nicole North & Growing Pains
- Another lesson I learned about writing
- Guest Author Delilah Marvelle
- Something Old, Something New
- Character Arc
- Taking Care of Yourself
- Guest Author: Kimber An and Writing a Series in eP...
- Don't Forget to Fill Out Your Brackets
- Character development - One bar at a time...
- Brackets Schmackets (Win an EReader!)
- The Secret Formula to "Romance Science"
- Action Beats
- How's your GMC?
- Guest Author: Eliza Knight and GMC (Great Main Cha...
- To Be Read
- Call for Author Spotlights
- Shall I Serve Cheese With My Whine?
- Helpful tools for you
- Bring It on the End!
- My... Purrrrrrecious...
- Writers helping writers.
- A Little Matter of Ergonomics
- Who Turned the Heat Up?
- GMC in Plotting
- ▼ Mar (26)
- ► 2010 (333)
Monday: Food of the Week
Tuesday: Favorite Recipes I
Tuesday: Favorite Recipes II
Wednesday: Foxy Foodies
Thursday: Best Foodie Books
Thursday: Writing Prompt
Friday: Food Network Shows
Friday: Food Shows on TV
Saturday: Foodie Romances
Saturday: Foodie Blogs