May 18, 2013

Fine Nuances of Writing 101

Pay close attention to your characters' positions.  If they are talking with a screen or glass door between them, they should not be able to touch each other without it stating in the narrative that one of them either came inside or went outside.  The same with having characters sit together on a sofa in a room previously described as only having single-occupant chairs.  It's a lot easier to miss details like this than you think, and while editors are invaluable, they are not infallible.

The best thing about being an eBook only author:  You can go back and make corrections and then re-load the new file (for each e-tailer).  It takes a little longer to correct a print version, and you have to order a proof and approve it before the corrections will be reflected.  So it's possible to change the print version; it just takes a little longer.

It's your book (not your editor's).  Make it your best work.  You owe that much to your readers.
May 16, 2013

Thrifty Thursday tip

When it starts to warm up, remember that our parents (and many of us) didn't have central air back in the day. Do what they did: Open the windows and turn on the fans. If you must turn on your air in the springtime, see if you can manage to sleep with an oscillating fan by your bed (ceiling fans work well also), since it's usually cooler at night. Remember, fans cool people, not rooms, so if you're leaving the room for more than a few minutes, turn them off. When the heat becomes unbearable, set the thermostat that controls your air at 83 degrees when you're not home, and remember to change your filter once a month (make it the same day you pay your rent or mortgage for easy remembering). Keep cool!
May 10, 2013

He said, she said

One of the "rules" of writing I learned in my critique group from my days of living in Florida (besides the one that goes, "There are no rules"), is not to get caught writing.

I was reading a book late last year, and while I found the storyline entertaining, something about the book irked me for a reason I couldn't identify, and I ended up closing the file and opening another book  I opened the file again a few days ago, read a few pages, and this time the problem came to me right away.

No one in the novel says anything.

Yes, there is dialogue, but the writer has made a concentrated effort to avoid using the word, "said." The characters drawl, stammer, murmur, greet, guffaw, assert, mumble, mutter, prompt, and decline, among other things.  They also make a lot of actions before or after speaking that make dialog tags unnecessary: swallow, laugh, grin, and chuckle (they do a lot of this, so much that an "ly" word usually accompanies it for variety), grimace, wink, shake their heads, snort, smirk, gasp, nod, scowl, and stare.  But they hardly ever just say anything.

This author got caught writing, i.e., taking special pains to avoid the word, "said," and it's driving me nuts!  I've only seen two other authors who do this.  Call me obsessive-compulsive, but once I realize this, I start making special note of the creative ways they tried not to use this word rather than paying attention to what's going on...and I put the book away.

Guess I'd better find something else to read.

Don't get caught writing.

What will make you not enjoy a book to the point where you close it forever?

May 9, 2013

The more you write, the more you learn...about yourself!

As I work on bringing the story and characters of Love Will Follow to life, something occurred to me: I have a tendency toward romance storylines where instant attraction doesn't occur. 

Well, maybe not always.  Instant awareness and attraction have been major factors in many of my books...but maybe not so much lately.  My book Man of Her Heart (2013) was a continuation of a romance that started in a previous book (Something Real) from 2012, in which the heroine had a crush on the hero, who really hadn't noticed her.  It took her giving a sexy performance on a cruise ship for him to open his eyes. But it's Isn't She Lovely? (2012) that I'm really thinking of. The heroine of that book met the hero to discuss an auto accident in which his unlicensed son sneaked out with a vehicle, and in his haste to get home before being discovered, ran over her son in a parking lot, breaking his leg...and then drove off. This is not the type of situation that is ripe for romance; if anything, my heroine wanted to break the legs of both the hero and his son...both legs. But yet...well, you'll have to read the book to see how the change comes about.

In Love Will Follow, it is equally inappropriate for the hero and heroine to have a sexual magnetism for each other due to the circumstances under which they meet. I also see shades of this in a few of the romances I have drafted for future publication. When I ask myself why I've been doing this, I realize that it gives me much more story possibilities, because conflict is a must. It won't be necessary for me to fall back on the played-out I've-been-hurt-and-I'll-never-love-again scenario that I have never used and hope I never have to.

I don't want to give away too much about the plot line of Love Will Follow because I'm hoping there will be a few surprises for readers. But if you'd like to try and guess which way the story will go, I invite you to download the free prequel to it, Lost That Lovin' Feeling, from my publisher website or from Smashwords. The prequel also includes the first two chapters of the book. 

How do you feel about storylines in which attraction is inappropriate initially? Do you prefer the more traditional, take-one-look-and-a-goner approach to romance? Why or why not?