What is a romantic suspense? That’s a good question and one I’ve been asked by more than one person. Obviously it’s a story that has a romance and a suspense. Well, duh—hence the term romantic suspense! Okay, then how much romance and how much suspense? That’s a good question, too. And a lot of people disagreed on the mix. A lot of it depends... [Read more of this review]
Show Emotion Instead of Naming It
Instead of naming an emotion, show the character under the strain of the emotion.
Instead of writing, “Anger burned through her,” show the anger burning through her, without writing the word “anger.”
A volcano exploded in the pit of her stomach, spewing gases up to sear her nose and make her eyes sting.
She could barely breathe through... [Read more of this review]
The writing book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (second edition) is one of the best books for bumping your writing up to the next level and making it look more professional. If you haven’t read this book yet, I strongly suggest you buy it or borrow it and read it right away.
They suggest eliminating dialogue tags in... [Read more of this review]
Creating Quirky Characters
Writers are fabulous people-watchers. We have to be. After all, the imaginary characters we create must seem both true-to-life and intriguing to the reader.
One way we add interest and realism to our characters is to give them quirks. My dictionary says a quirk is a peculiarity, and a peculiarity is something that is unique, special, or odd.... [Read more of this review]
Nuts and bolts on writing
I wanted to discuss some of the “nuts and bolts” of this writing business. Some of my observations and lessons I’ve learned over the twenty-six years I have been writing.
1. Talent is important but equally or more important is perseverance with some luck thrown in.
2. Rejection is part of writing and sending your work out. We have to learn to... [Read more of this review]
Growing Grammar: COMMAndments
People generally approach grammar and liver the same way. They either dive in with gusto or grow pale, start sweating, and look for the nearest exit.
Okay, perhaps not the most appealing way to start a column that will feature grammar issues, but food analogies seem to work for me.(Food works for me, but that’s another story.)
Grammar is not what... [Read more of this review]
The Secrets of a Sentence
There’s a story about George Washington Carver. He asked God to reveal the secrets of the universe, and God was silent. He asked God to reveal the secrets of science and biology, and God was silent. Then he asked God to reveal the secrets of the peanut, and God did.
I don’t care about peanuts. But you could say I’ve spent the last ten years asking... [Read more of this review]
Character Goals and Motivation
A goal is like an agenda. Something the character wants. It has to be hard to get. Readers like to see the character struggle. They like to know what the character wants, but they have absolutely no idea how she’ll get it. Your audience wants to live moment-by-moment through your character’s life, feeling all the setbacks. For the reader... [Read more of this review]
How to Improve on a Blank Page
One of the most common questions I get from aspiring writers is “How do I start?” The ideas are in their heads, but the problem is getting them on paper.Whether you are writing magazine articles, story stories, novels, or even homework assignments—here are some tips for improving on the blank page.
Sift Through Your Ideas. Realize some ideas will... [Read more of this review]
Plot: Series of Scenes
There are many different ways a writer plots–you could say it’s an individual thing. I think as writers we listen and learn about the various techniques that work for others, then we incorporate what works for us–sometimes through trial and error. Some don’t plot at all, but write by what some people have called by the seat of their... [Read more of this review]
The Role of the Synopsis When Submitting
Why do I need to cut a synopsis?
While I haven’t talked to every editor and agent on the planet, the majority of the ones I’ve spoken to prefer a 2-3 page synopsis.
However, every editor is different. One editor will want a one-page synopsis, another will want an extensive chapter-by-chapter synopsis.
In my experience, it’s usually better to opt... [Read more of this review]
How Do You Get Published?
When I attended my 15-year high school reunion recently, the number one question I was asked was, “How do you get published?” or “How do I get published?” Most of my classmates knew that I just had my first book released, Real Women Scrap: Create the Life and Layouts You’ve Always Wanted, (http://www.realwomenscrap.com)... [Read more of this review]
Querying With an Unfinished Manuscript
AS A FIRST TIME AUTHOR, should you finish your manuscript before you query an editor? I have been asked this question by all kinds of hopeful writers, and the answer is, sorry Kids, but yes. I know, I know. I’m not exactly the most experienced “published” novelist on the block. After all, my book isn’t out on the shelf yet (patience in publishing... [Read more of this review]
Basic Plotting Tips
When we are talking about a plot, I am compelled to say: SHOW DON’T TELL. You might study some of your favorite movies. A movie has to show you what is going on. It’s the nature of the beast. Also, while you’re at it, study books on your keeper shelf to see what that author did as far as plotting went. Go through it scene by scene to see the progression... [Read more of this review]
No, I haven’t Fallen Off the Face of the Earth
I’ve just been interrupted!
As with all interrupted writers, we go through seasons of change and well, interruptions in our writing. This blog has been dormant as I work toward some personal and professional goals. But GOOD things are coming for you and me ! If I listed all the projects I’m in the middle of you might not believe me. Some... [Read more of this review]
#AngelWarz – Prologue
Note: The prologue for #AngelWarz is the only episode I’ll post on the blog. If you or your young readers would like to receive all the episodes, subscribe to my newsletter over there on your right. Each episode will also include Writer’s Notes for young writers. This is the first installment of a four year journey. You’ll get one episode per... [Read more of this review]
Organizing Schedules So You Can Find More Time to Write
As writers it’s easy to make excuses not to write, but add a busy family and back to school schedules, and it seems like squeezing in writing time is impossible. The key to finding writing time is getting organized and intentional about your “free time” no matter how much or little you have. But first it’s important to figure... [Read more of this review]
#AngelWarz: The Beginning of the End Starts in 2 Weeks
The final, epic battle for humanity won’t be fought by humans.
#AngelWarz is the story of two kids who soon discover that they’re not ordinary. They’re descendants of angels. Fallen angels. The Nephilim. These were the Fallen who took human wives and created offspring that would become the enemy of Israel and, eventually, all of... [Read more of this review]
Top 10 Signs You May Have an Instagram Probelm
Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons and swpave
I enjoy Instagram as much as the next guy. But some of you are getting a little carried away. Here are my top 10 signs that you have an Instagram problem.
10. You sign your name with little hearts and smiley faces around it.
9. Your cat has had more published photos than Jennifer Lopez.
8. All ten-thousand... [Read more of this review]
Are There Angels Among Us?
Photo Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons and gacabo
We’ve always been a little obsessed by angels. And why not? Of all the characters in the bible, angels are the most common, yet the least understood. They are usually sent as God’s messengers. The angel Gabriel told Mary that she’d give birth to Jesus. The angel Michael gave Daniel some incredible... [Read more of this review]
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