WIP Experiences

Holidays & Traditions in World Building

Today is February 2nd. You know what that means. Groundhog Day!

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Every year, my husband is so excited to get to rewatch the cult classic movie. That’s our Groundhog Day tradition. Maybe one year we’ll actually go to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to experience the day in style and in person.

Anyway, let’s be honest that this is a bit of a weird holiday/tradition. We listen to a large, though extremely adorable, rodent to see if we get more winter. Living in Texas where it’s already creeping into the 80s by February, I have to say, the significance is even less impactful. 

And it got me to thinking as a writer. It seems every culture is going to have unusual holidays/traditions that might seem weird from the outside. Even from the inside.

Writing contemporary romance, I think that means doing my research on any culture I’m including. In fact, I think of the research as fun. An opportunity to try to go experience some of those traditions when I can, or, at the very least, have my mind and heart opened to new ideas. It also means incorporating those traditions or holidays that are ones I don’t practice myself with as much sensitivity as possible.

As a paranormal romance writer, that means possibly creating my own unusual holidays and traditions that my characters might celebrate. What if my big, bad dragon shifters had a day when smaller animal shifters helped predict something important to them?Obviously, I wouldn’t just randomly stick a tradition in a story. I’d give it some history of its own and a particular meaning to or impact on the story.

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For example, if you look at the history of Groundhog Day, you’ll find it didn’t just arbitrarily happen. 

According to the history channel, Feb 2nd falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and was a significant day in several ancient and modern traditions.

As Christianity spread through Europe, the day evolved into Candlemas, a feast commemorating the presentation of Jesus at the holy temple in Jerusalem. In certain parts of Europe, Christians believed that a sunny Candlemas meant another 40 days of cold and snow.

Germans developed their own take on the legend, pronouncing the day sunny only if badgers and other small animals glimpsed their own shadows. When German immigrants settled Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th centuries, they brought the custom with them, choosing the native groundhog as the annual forecaster.

It makes more sense if you look at it from that angle. And, when you incorporate it into a story–like the movie Groundhog Day–it makes the story that much more special. 

This is something I’ll have to consider more as I incorporate world building into all my books–contemporary, paranormal, or whatever.  But I’m already starting to think if there’s something I can do in my current WIPs–in paranormal that would be Fire’s Edge #3, and in contemporary my 5th and final Hills of Texas book. You’ll have to wait and see what I think up!

Worst Writing Advice I Ever Got

Worst writing advice I ever got? Honestly, this is a hard question because if someone is giving it as advice, it’s because that tip worked for them, or is a standard for most, if not all, writers.

For me, just like in most life situations, there is no BAD advice. There is advice that is given with bad intentions, or without all the information, or with a perspective that doesn’t work for the situation. Those can all apply to writing, too. There is also taking good advice and going way overboard.

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That is what I find happens the most with writing. Taking a good rule, and being so rigid or methodical about it that you end up with bad writing or a boring story.

Here a few examples…

No Adverbs

The rule is to try to not use adverbs because it’s “lazy” writing. That there are better verbs you can use or a better way to describe that scene.

The girl walked slowly. 

The sentence gets the point across, but let’s be honest it’s pretty basic and even boring. An improvement would be to use a better verb.

The girl plodded along.

But what about this example?

Her screams abruptly cut off as her lips sealed shut. 

Is the sentence boring? Does it seem poorly written? Or too beginner-ish? I don’t think so. Sure you could cut the adverb and get the point across, but personally I can hear the aburpt end to sound with it in. You could reword the sentence, but part of the impact is that the sentence is as abrupt as the action happening. If you try to reword it, you’d get something like:

Her screams cut off in an abrupt manner as her lips sealed shut.

This fix makes it awkward and rather stiff or overly formal.

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Her screams cut off, the sudden silence almost jarring, as her lips sealed shut.

If the goal is to keep the sentence abrupt as well, you start losing that feel with the addition.

So yes, there are ways to remove every adverb, but they’re not always better.

Remove Every Instance of “There is” “There was” “It was”

This one I do search for and kill as many as I can. The idea is that both the noun and the verb are lazy/boring/vague. You can use a stronger noun, a stronger verb, or both. But there are (snicker because I just used those words) instances when killing it just makes for an awkward sentence. I find this is especially true if it’s related to spoken dialogue. Or even internal dialogue.

How about this one…

There was more?

Sure you could reword it. But you might lose some of the meaning or make a worse sentence.

More was to come?

Too formal in most instances.

More, there was?

Okay, I went a little Yoda there.

No way could she handle more.

Now it’s no longer an internal dialogue moment, and internal dialogue can be important. You can break up long descriptions with it, convey the characters inner turmoil with it. So cutting it just to reword a sentence seems pretty dumb.

While we’re on the topic, I’d like to point out that, one of the most famous opening lines in literature breaks this rule:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. 

Try rewording that and see if you get the same impact.

Don’t Use Verbs for Dialogue Tags

This is one I will get in a knock down/drag out with editors over, particularly with my paranormal romances. I have editors who insist you can NOT use words like moan, bark, choke, gasp, and so forth, as dialogue tags. They insist that, for example, one can not both speak and moan at the same time. That it’s physically impossible.

I disagree! Ask me demonstrate next time you see me. Lol.

It’s not that the character is physically doing both things. It’s describing how the words are coming out. Does the tag help the reader hear how those words are being uttered? I say YES!

Example my way: “Right there, John,” she moaned.

She’s moaning the word as she says it. She could be moaning in pleasure or pain. The scene would set that up. But next time you see Meg Ryan do that famous orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, tell me she’s not moaning some of those words.

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Example without: “Right there, John.”

Sounds so emotionless, right? No oomph.

Example how editors want to fix it: “Right there, John.” She moaned.

Uh. Now she’s saying the words matter-of-factly, and then moaning after the fact. This particular fix gets even funnier with dialogue tags like “barked.”

“Drop and give me twenty,” the drill sergeant barked.

vs.

“Drop and give me twenty.” The drill sergeant barked. 

Aahahahahaha. Don’t tell me that works. It makes it sound like he’s barking like a dog after he says the words. Meanwhile, changing the dialogue tag to a standard “said” is so boring. So is “ordered” IMO. But barked… you can hear that, can’t you?

My way is clearly better. 😉

My point is, rules and advice are made or given for good reasons (usually). But always remember that when you are writing, YOU own that story. Rules are there as guides, but if I feel bending or even breaking them will make my story better, damn strait I’m going to do that.

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Best (Recent) Writer Advice… #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

Isn’t it funny how the right advice comes along just when you need it? Kind of like when you learn a word you’d never heard before, and suddenly you hear it everywhere? There are piles of advice I’ve received over the years as a writer that I could list here. But if I did, I’d be here for days. Instead, how about I share the most recent best advice?

Lately, I’ve been working to make some of my scenes less…predictable. Mostly because I’ve written 27 books now, and I need to keep it fresh for myself. Lol. A friend went to a workshop recently (I wish I remembered more about the workshop. My friend can’t remember either.) and she shared this as the best takeaway.

Here it is: When coming up with a scene/plot point, start listing. Discard the first 5-10 you come up with, because those are obvious and will have been done. See if you can get to 15-25 idea on the list. That range of things will be the meat, the most interesting ideas you could come up with.

I’ve been applying this advice to everything (and have to say that it’s turned into one of my favorite exercises because it’s so fun to do).

Here’s an example. This week, I was trying to come up with a reason my cowboy, in my current WIP (Partnering the Playboy–Book 3 in my Hills of Texas), would need to do community service. I need a reason that’s actually honorable and endearing. Since the hero is a playboy and has a reputation for running a bit wild, the reason for his doing community service was easy. He got in a public fight. Pretty bad one. But what would make that honorable, particularly to the heroine? This is where that advice comes into play.

My first few ideas included:

  • a bet
  • hit on by another guy’s girlfriend
  • jealous other contender for a girl at a bar
  • the other guy hit a woman
  • defending the female bartender
  • his buddy started the fight (but he ended it)
  • someone owes money
  • breaking up another fight
  • for beating a dog
  • for hurting a cat

As you can see, these are all fairly predictable. Of course the hows and whys could make each more interesting. But I kept going.

I don’t want to give away what I eventually settled on, but let’s just say it involves an animal you wouldn’t want to tangle with. I add insult to injury by having his older brother–the county Sheriff–be the one to arrest him, and the heroine be the one to bail him out and come up with the community service that he’s assigned.

Should be fun! Yay for timely, fantastic advice!


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

 

1st, 2nd, or 3rd – The Person Make a Big Difference #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

Before I get into my personal preference, let’s touch on the different “persons” you can write from and make sure we’re all on the same page.

1st Person

1st person stories are written from a single point of view–that of the protagonist. The reader gets to float around inside that persons head seeing all their thoughts and every experience from their lens. The easiest way to identify 1st person is by the pronouns. Everything is I, me, we.

2nd Person

2nd person tends to be reserved more for manuals than fiction, but on the rare occasion this point of view can be used. 2nd person is about making the reader the protagonist in their head. Identify 2nd person again by the pronouns. Everything is directed at “you.”

3rd Person

3rd person is all about the person being talked about in that scene. This allows the reader to experience scenes from a less person, more “fly on the wall” type of perspective but still through the lens of individual character or characters. The identifiable pronouns in 3rd person are he, she, it, they.

Okay, now that we have that down, I’ll share. While I’ve written all 3, I am definitely a 3rd Person fan as both an author and a reader. Here’s why…

Not a Manual

My degree was in Technical Writing–essentially writing instructions an manuals. After having written many, I don’t think I could ever write fiction from this POV. It would be too much like writing a manual.

Not Breaking the 3rd Wall

I actually LOVE when a character breaks the 3rd wall and talks directly to the audience in TV or movies (think Deadpool or House of Cards). However, it’s much easier to pull off in a visual medium. Readers do not like short, jerky POV switches, which makes this technique dang hard to pull off in written fiction. Not my cup of tea.

Heroine & Hero POV

I write romance. Therefore, I want, nay, I NEED to see both the hero and the heroine’s points of view. I love to see what they are both thinking and experiencing as they move through their character arcs. This can absolutely be done in 1st, but I find it more difficult.  Maybe if each chapter is dedicated, but I find it comes off feeling…odd. Much easier from 3rd.

Insight into Multiple Characters

Same as with the above, I actually love to get scenes in secondary character POVs. Doable in 1st, but better in 3rd.

Less Angsty Internal Thoughts

This might be the Gen-Xer in me, but I find most of the fiction written in 1st Person POV these days is just…self-centered and whiny. All we hear are the character’s internal angsty thoughts and it’s very, me, me, me just by nature. I find 3rd person allows the reader to distance themselves from an overabundance of internal dialogue.

Now don’t get me wrong. I read plenty of books in 1st person and love them. 3rd just happens to be my preference. And yes, it probably dates me, but I’m okay with that. Lol. What about you? What’s your preference?

 


I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

How I Create a Character #MFRWAuthor Blog Challenge

The character is the heart of the story in my writing world. I figure out the characters long before I figure out the plot. Maybe because memorable characters are what I look for in books, movies, and shows I love. Maybe because I feel like who a character is will determine how they react to the external and internal impacts going on in his/her life.

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a single, guaranteed, this-always-works method for determining a character. Sometimes they pop into my head fully formed. More often than not, they start out as a vague entity. I do, however, have several tricks I use to help me profile my character and turn them into something real.

Here are my top 4 methods for setting up my characters:

Character Archetype

51pp-s0SCEL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’m a romance writer, and my go to, kick things off tool for creating characters is the book The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes.  This book is fabulous because not only does it give several archetypes for heroes and heroines, but it also gives a how would one type of hero work with one type of heroine.

I don’t take these and just write my characters out. What I do is take bits and pieces that I think will work particularly well within my story. I also use it as inspiration. Ex. The librarian is quiet but will stand up to the boss when her intellect tells her to. How can I use that in my story?

Write the Blurb (GMC)

I will frequently write the blurb first. My blurbs always have one part for the hero and one for the heroine and essentially lay out the GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) in one paragraph for each.

The hero/heroine has a problem/need/opportunity resulting in a required action/mission/quest/job (goal) with obstacles that block his/her path (conflict) with something at stake (motivation).

(This sentence is pulled from a workshop with Larry Brooks – I highly recommend you take it!)

By having a simple sentence that breaks down the cornerstones of my characters, I can reference that throughout my writing to keep myself on track.

Character Verbs

Last year at RWA I took Damon Suede’s Power Couples workshop. If you get a chance, take it! The biggest element I use from that workshop is Damon’s use of verbs. To paraphrase… He assigns a powerful verb to a character. Then he uses variations/synonyms of that verb for each of their scenes. There’s also a way to make sure your H/H have verbs that help create conflict.

Picking a verb for my H/H is one of the first things I do. But seriously, take that workshop. I can’t tell you about it as well as Damon can. 🙂

Pick 1 Particular Thing

I use this technique any time I feel like a character is coming in flat–a main character or a secondary character. Even, sometimes, random characters. I try to think of one very unique thing about that character and I build a backstory around that unique thing. Slipping that 1 particular thing into the story ALWAYS ends up making that character come alive.

Unique things could be a multitude of elements. Usually I try to make it something observable by other characters. For example:

  • a tattoo
  • a scar
  • a particular word they use
  • a favorite song
  • something they don’t like
  • something they notice or are drawn to

I could keep going. Hopefully you  get the idea.

I used to just start writing and see how a character developed. Sometimes I still do that (you can only make a pantser plot so much). But These techniques have become so effective for me, that I find I’m addicted and have to do them every time. If you’ve read my books, can you pick out any of these in my characters? I’d love to see if my craft is showing. 😉

I am participating in MFRW’s 52-week blog challenge, and it’s a blog hop! If you want to see how other authors approach this topic, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.

Using Personal Stories in My Books

Every single book I write has a little bit of me in it. Pull from what you know, right? More often than not it’s things like sneaking Star Wars in, or an expression I use a lot. But sometimes I use personal stories to help me bring my characters, settings, or situations to life. Some have more me in them than others.

My Hills of Texas series, in particular, gets a lot of me in the books. Maybe because I’m writing characters in my home state, or maybe because these are ensemble books centered around the Hill family.

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Sometimes, the moments are smaller. In book 1, Saving the Sheriff, Cash’s daughter Sophia is quite a character. A lot of her moments in the book are taken directly from moments with my own daughter. She is older that Sophia now, but I write down a lot of her quotes just because they are so good, and that comes in handy when writing kids.

Here’s one of those moments in Saving the Sheriff:

Sophia hopped right up on the chair specially deemed for the birthday girl. She donned a sparkly tiara that Carter had bought her and sat up very regally. “I am the queen, and this is my palace.” She waved toward the house.

“I thought this was Pop-pop’s and my house.” His mother had her hands on her hips.

Sophia shook her head. “No. You’re the groundskeepers.”

Cash burst out laughing while his mother muttered, “Why I never.”

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Other times, I’ll pull goofy little details into a story, usually nothing huge. In book 2, Resisting the Rancher (coming July 30th!), the heroine is feisty and independent and trying to prove herself. Her truck is a reflection of that. I modeled after a truck I used to drive.

Williams Hill dragged his hand over his face as he sat in his truck at a stop light in Estes Park, Colorado. After two straight days of driving up from Texas, he was ready to reach his destination of the rodeo grounds in the small Rocky Mountain town. Flexing his shoulders to work out the kinks, he happened to glance over at the vehicle stopped next to him.

Everything in him froze…then released in a pent-up laugh.

The woman driving a shiny new black Ford truck was gorgeous with high cheekbones and pouty lips. Her long hair was pulled back in a ponytail, so he couldn’t quite make out the color, but her appearance wasn’t what had made him laugh.

She was clearly enjoying a favorite song—singing and dancing for all she was worth, without a care in the world for who might be watching. He chuckled again as she did a little shoulder shimmy. Adorable was the word that struck him, and he was strangely affected, an instant attraction coiling inside in a way that surprised him.

He wasn’t an instant attraction kind of guy.

Suddenly she glanced toward him and stilled as she discovered her audience. Her eyes went wide and she sent him a sheepish grin. He smiled back and pretended to tip an imaginary hat. However, instead of another smile, she went cold on him, eyes hardening, lips thinning. She whipped her head around to face forward, her chin in the air, and didn’t glance his way again. She definitely didn’t start singing again. Not that she would have had much time, because the light changed a second later.

She was quick to hit the gas, faster on the draw than Will who was still blinking at her abrupt about face. He almost expected her windows to frost with the drop in temperature in there. A flash of bright pink on her back window caught his attention as she drove ahead of him. For the second time in a handful of minutes, Will chuckled. The sparkly sticker on the back of her truck read, “Silly Boys, Trucks are for Girls.” Lips tipped in amusement, he shook his head.

At the next light, she went straight when he turned, which meant she probably wasn’t there for the rodeo. He gave a mental shrug. Wouldn’t be seeing her again. Probably for the best, since he was here to work.

I always got a kick out of men’s reactions to that sticker in real life. Lol. Some would drive by and glare at me. I even caught one taking a picture once. Hilarious. 🙂

I’m working on book 3, Partnering the Playboy, right now, and the entire opening scene has my goofy butt written all over it. I’m drawing from one of my most embarrassing moments, but turning it into a meet-cute. You’ll have to wait for that one, but let’s just say it involves the heroine accidentally locking herself out of the wrong truck.

Sometimes It’s All About Scheduling

Between deadlines, releases, running AOAD, my gig as a VPA, and momming, I’ve had several author friends ask how I do it. How do I keep on top of everything?

First of all…I don’t. I am not superwoman or a magician. Things fall through the cracks on a regular basis. Plans don’t work out the way I set them. I get tired and cranky and have even been known to skip a day of doing just to give myself a break. And yes, I have a tendency to say YES to too many things. I get it done, but sometimes with a cost.

Part of what helps is that I’m blessed with an odd combination of stamina and ADD. Yeah. I said it. The ADD bit means that, to help me focus, I need tons to keep me busy. Sounds strange, but it’s true. I don’t sit and do one thing well, so it helps to have lots of things to do. The stamina helps because I can go non-stop from the second I get up until the second I go to bed, and not really stress about it. Helps that almost all of what I do during that time is stuff I love. If I was in a job I hated, that would be a different story. which means I need.

But here’s my real secret…I schedule. Everything.

Like everyone else, I schedule my life, my appointments, my kids’ activities, and so forth. But I also schedule reminders for monthly/quarterly/yearly tasks. I schedule my social media calendar and posts. And…I schedule my writing.

MAKING THE SCHEDULE

I have figured out how many words a day I can get in without feeling like I’m overloaded (for me this is 2-2.5k/day), and still get in my VPAing, my AOADing, my kids (of course!), and everything else. I take a deadline and everything I need to get done to hit it and back it up from there–at a weekly level. I include:

  • Writing the first draft
  • Writing/editing subsequent drafts
  • Beta readers to read
  • Me to apply beta readers’ comments
  • Deadline

Post-deadline I include a guess at:

  • 2 rounds of editing (1-2 weeks each)
  • Copy-editing – a few days
  • Galley reads – a few days

THE RULES

In my schedule, if I have books that aren’t contracted yet, but I have high hopes for, I’ll still include those books as placeholders. I also apply some extra rules. For example…

  • I don’t schedule anything else (other than beta readers reading, which doesn’t require me to do anything) during the 1st two weeks and last week of a 1st draft.
  • I block off holidays (Christmas, Spring Break, etc.)
  • Anywhere that doesn’t have those blocked off I put a Secondary First Draft as optional.
    • After I hit 2k words for the day for my main WIP, I give myself the option of getting in 500 words on a WIP scheduled later down the road.
    • This allows me to get ahead, but with no pressure.
  • I TRY (but usually doesn’t happen) to have the 2 weeks after finishing a first draft blocked off so I don’t start any new first drafts – giving my brain a break and letting me focus on 2nd/3rd drafts of that completed work.

ADJUSTING

My schedules are never set in stone (except contracted deadlines of course). I use them to both keep me on task (in order to hit those deadlines), but also to help determine where/when I can do more. That way, if new contracts come in, I can be honest and fairly accurate with what/when I can produce.

I will also adjust my schedule any time something major changes–I get way behind, any given step takes longer (or shorter) than anticipated, etc. Adjust the schedule. I live and breathe off this thing daily.

 

So that’s me. Like I said, I’m not perfect and I do miss things, mess things up, and collapse sometimes. But I will say that since implementing this calendar, I hit my deadlines with a lot less angst (and a lot less of a pile up of work at the end). Authors, what about you? How do you handle your deadlines and writing schedule?

WIP Status Check

I used to share my WIP status a lot more. Lately, it feels like my writing life has sped up exponentially. When I first started, I’d spend six months on one book, and only work on one book at a time–not just the writing, but the editing, publishing, and marketing. These days, I’m on fast forward, juggling multiple projects at a time. And LOVING it!

In addition, as new events–like contracts–happen, my schedule shifts rapidly. At this point, primarily thanks to the combination of my agent and new contracts, my schedule is full up. Lol. Let’s take a look at what’s in the hopper at the moment and through the end of 2017 (at least as of September 26, 2017).

This list includes ALL my active projects, including paranormal romance as Abigail Owen and contemporary romance as Kadie Scott.

The Attraction Equation – Upcoming Release

Book 2 of my contemporary romantic comedy Love Undercover series release November 13th with Entangled! I am gearing up to start promoting in October as we do cover reveals and preorders. Super excited for this one. Max might be one of my favs. 🙂

Saving the Sheriff – Copy Edits & Cover Design

The first book in my contemporary cowboy romance Hills of Texas series with Tule is set for release in January. I’ve just sent in info to get the cover started (can’t wait!) and am waiting on copy edits to come my way sometime soon.

Inferno Rising #1 – Submitted to Editor

I’ve completed beta edits on the first book in this new paranormal series for Entangled and have turned the MS into my editor. I am on pins and needles to hear what she thinks. Fingers crossed it lives up to her expectations!

Resisting the Rancher – Writing 1st Draft

The second book in my Hills of Texas series with Tule is due to my editor in January. I’ve been waiting to write Will and Rusty’s story for years (while I found an agent, and then a publisher home for the series). I am about mid-way through the first draft, which I’m scheduled to wrap up by mid-October. That’ll give me three month to do additional drafts and beta readers.

The Boss – WIP Next Up

Starting in November (when I’ve finished Resisting the Rancher), I move into writing the first draft on The Boss. This is the first book in my recently announced 2nd dragon shifter series for Entangled. Chomping at the bit to get to it.

Don’t Open Until Christmas – In Query Process

I have a publisher interested not only in this story, but in starting a series with it. I’ve just submitted a rewrite of the MS to the editor my agent is working with, along with a synopsis, and a series outline. I’m not sharing who because I don’t want to jinx it. 🙂 Of course, with my commitments, it’ll be a while before we see this one out. Fingers and toes crossed!

That’s enough to keep me busy for a while. I’ll check in again in January with a look at 2018. 🙂

I Still Love Editing/Revising

Almost 5 years ago, between releasing my first book, Blue Violet, and getting ready to release the next book, Hyacinth, I posted about how I loved the editing process.

Now, years later, I’ve completed 13 novels, 3 novellas, and 3 short stories with more on the way. My writing style has changed over the course of writing those books. However, I can still say that editing/revising is still my favorite part of the process, and for pretty much the same reasons…

The Worst is Over

Writing the first draft is a personal form of long-term torture. It’s gotten easier over the years as I’ve morphed from a pure pantser to a hybrid who plots key parts and pantses the rest. But I walk around with a pit in my stomach until the bulk of the story is on the page. Pure relief.

Making It Better

I see revising and editing as a way to make my story the absolute best I can make it. I use the time to fill in details, make sure I’ve covered plot holes, build the world, make sure my characters are consistent, check the plot and pacing, and set the stage for future books. Yes, I do a ton of that on the first pass. That pass is about laying the foundation and the walls, the second and subsequent passes are about adding those little touches that make it a home.

Feedback & Learning

Working with my beta readers and especially with my editor, I love getting more sets of eyes on the pages after I’ve gone blind to it (or have started to hate it, which happens with every book. Lol.) I love getting that feedback. Even when it requires major rewrites, it’s still about making the book better. I also look at these edits as an opportunity to learn. Believe me, I am constantly learning, changing, and growing as an author.

Final Product

I love knowing that the final book that you see as a reader is the best possible book I could write at that time. Knowing how much it’s improved from that first painful draft to the last version makes me proud and shows me how all that time spent on revising and editing was well worth it.

 

At the moment I am at varying stages on 4 different projects.

  1. I just wrapped up copy edits and am waiting for the final galley for The Attraction Equation, the 2nd book in my Love Undercover romantic comedy series.
  2. I am in the painful first draft process on Resisting the Rancher, the 2nd book in my upcoming Hills of Texas cowboy contemporary romance series.
  3. I am doing a revise and resubmit of my cowboy contemporary romance Don’t Open Until Christmas.
  4. And I am about to start apply beta reader edits to the 1st of my new Inferno Rising dragon shifters paranormal romance abefore sending it on to my editor.

And I’m LOVING every second (except that darn first draft lol).

I know a lot of authors out there can’t stand the editing process. I wish I enjoyed the first draft more. It’s not that I hate it, I just agonize through it, anxious to get to the really fun part of editing and making it better! 30 years of writing and 7 years of publishing my books later, I have to wonder if I’ll still love it 30 years from now. 🙂

 

 

FAVORITE WAYS TO BUILD CHEMISTRY & TENSION IN ROMANCE

I know you’re expected a show don’t tell king of blog post here, but not today. 🙂 The other day I posted a question on social media. I wanted to know readers’ favorite ways to show/read chemistry and build up of tension between the hero/heroin in a romance novel.

I got some great answers, so thought I’d start a list. That way when I get stuck or feel like I’m repeating myself, I’ve got a resource. So here we go, favorite ways to show chemistry:

  • The moment when they’re eyes meet and they connect for the first time.
  • The way they avoid each other, even though they are attracted to one another, but still have to be in the same room or elevator.
  • The first casual touch. It doesn’t have to be sexual. (But not a handshake) It can be as innocent as a hand on the arm, or a hand on the lower back to guide them.
  • Where you can tell they really, really want to kiss, but neither will make the first move. Then they’re interrupted and the moment is gone, but they’re both just SMOLDERING.
  • That “will he/won’t he” moment when you’re hoping he will.
  • When they’re laughing and then the chemistry kicks in and they stop abruptly
  • That shared joke or inside piece of information that no one else in the room knows about, but you see them connect over it.
  • When they share a vulnerability, fear, or experience that builds intimacy and connection.
  • When the other person sees more than everyone else.
  • Becoming hyper-aware of each other. Both physical – the sweep of her neck, the way she blushes, his strong forearms, and personal – the way she’s nice to everyone, how he defended her when he didn’t need to.
  • A feisty dialogue exchange where the underlying tension just screams through both words and actions
  • Their inner thoughts reveal that they both WANT but can’t HAVE, but still WANT

Okay – that’s what came from Facebook and Twitter (and me lol). What else? Help me add to it!