Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Post by Cynthia Ainsworthe: So You Want to be a Writer


A short Article on Writing Tips.
While I am by no means an expert on the subject, I have written a romance novel, Front Row Center, which won the IPPY Award. I will share in a series of short articles what I have learned in the uphill climb to completing a novel.
            We all have a story in us, whether it is a short story, fiction or non-fiction book. First you need to determine who your audience is. Are you writing for your own enjoyment, or is there a message you want to send to others that will be entertaining and/or informative? Second, is your subject interesting enough to get the attention of the all important reader, to decide to read what you’ve written? And, third, what voice will you write in? First or third person? In first person you only have one point of view and is used for most non-fiction writers, and limits the development of other characters. Third person will allow more development of various characters as you can explore their thoughts and points of view.
            Once you have answered these questions, consider how you will draw the reader in. The beginning of every captivating story requires a hook—that all compelling first sentence that grabs the attention of others. It can be a statement, question or the beginning of dialogue. Take time to craft this first sentence. It is your introduction, the gateway to your story and gives the reader an idea of the subject or adventure that will unfold.
            Some authors use a formal outline for their writing, I do not. I think out my plot in my mind. I find an outline stifles my thought process, though I know it shouldn’t. Other authors find an outline to be a must so they don’t get lost in their story. The choice is yours; there are no hard and fast rules. What works for you is what’s best. Some writers use a digital recorder to record their thoughts when away from their computers—you never know when a creative thought will strike. I have done that as well, though I tend to bounce ideas off  my husband as to plot twists and turns.
            I hope you have enjoyed my introduction to writing. I will share more suggestions in future articles.
            Write and let that story out!
Cynthia B Ainsworthe started writing in high school, and was told by her professor in college she had great writing talent, when he gave her an A+++ for a term paper. Her novel. Front Row Center, which won an IPPY award, was inspired by her favorite singing idol, (hint -- he's in her picture) and she has also written a short story to be published in an anthology of short stories.

Front Row Center -- Their attraction was electric, their affair explosive, and their love ---devastating to the lives of others! 
Front Row Center takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of love and romance, with plenty of ups and downs, twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages. Sequel books are planned to follow. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guest Post: Writing Romance and Writing Love by Kenneth Weene


Romance: what a lovely thought. Gentle love, perfect lovers, fantasies that take us to heaven, then obstacles that must be overcome, and after that—in the end—resolution, the promise of forever.

Perhaps the best thing about writing romance is creating metaphors:
the sharing of a juicy piece of fruit—at once the symbol of sexuality and of sin;
dancing to a song, swaying to the gentle waves of music—surely a promise of heaven on earth now and forever;
taking a horseback ride—can this not be adventure waiting around the corner.

Because of such metaphor, romance offers us a new form prose poetry. I am sure that the devotees of today’s romance fiction would have been in an earlier time the followers of Shelly, Keats, the Brownings. To use words to bathe in the cleansing joy of emotion: what a delight. I can imagine no higher purpose for poetry, for literature.

Now, my true confession; I don’t write romance. I do write about love, but my love stories take part in the gritty reality of life. Perhaps that’s because my characters start in dark places—the death of a husband, incarceration in a psychiatric hospital, or just hanging on to the bottom rung of the social ladder. They already know that the fantasy of perfect love is not for them. Instead they can only hope that relationship will work, that twenty or thirty years hence they will still be holding hands and waking up in the same bed.

Some of my characters make it; some don’t. That, too, is part of real love. The art of storytelling makes it difficult for the reader to know who will make it, and whose relationships will end painfully. Will it be the widow and the college professor drawn together by the excitement of ideas? Will it be the young couple—him teaching her to drive, them going for a first horseback ride together? Perhaps it will be the quadriplegic and the aide who has helped him in the painful course of rehabilitation. What about the psychiatric patient who waits outside the door of a catatonic peer, and she pregnant from a late-night, anonymous rape? Or the bar owner and his middle-aged regular? These are the people and the loves that I explore: Struggling people with no great fantasies. But then isn’t that who we all really are?

Bio:
A New Englander by origin and now living in Arizona, Ken Weene trained as a psychologist and pastoral counselor. He’s been writing for ten years. Three of his novels, published by All Things That Matter Press, are now available.

You can learn more about Ken’s books at http://www.kennethweene.com . They are available in print, Kindle, and Nook.







Saturday, September 22, 2012

Do You know How to Write a Synopsis?

A synopsis is something most authors hate to write, yet it is the most important tool you have at your disposal.  It's a lot harder to write a synopsis than it is to write a novel, but if you want a publisher to notice it, you just have to do it. The good thing is that you can use it in your marketing afterwards. You're going to need a description of the story anyhow.

 I've almost completed the final edit of my newest romantic suspense novel, "The Capricorn Contingency"  aka "Impassioned"  aka "To the Limit". The great thing is--I know it's good. I also know I want to land a contract with a major publisher. Anyone can self-publish these days, but you only know how good you are if a publisher wants to buy your manuscript. I've done the research, and I decided to share it with other writers who may be able to benefit.

A synopsis can be anything from one page to ten pages, and more in some cases. Most agents or publishers publish their required length in their submission guidelines. I've read that two pages is usually enough.
So how do I do it? You ask.


A good suggestion I found was to imagine you're telling a friend about a movie you just watched and really enjoyed. You would want them to know why you liked it so much, so you would be enthusiastic about the way you tell the story.

The first thing you need is a one-line description of your story, about 20 – 25 words. This is the sentence that will captivate the agent or publisher in your query letter and entice them to read on. You can use it as a blurb later. Mine is:

"Small town veterinarian Riley Shaughnessy can't help falling in love with mysterious FBI agent, Powell Stewart, even though he could be the serial killer."

The next step is to read your entire novel through and make notes about each chapter. This is essential and is called your Outline.

Now write a paragraph summary of your first chapter. This will set the scene. Write in the present tense and show whose POV you are using. Some submissions tell you whether they want it to be single or double-spaced. If they do not specify, make it double-spaced just the same as your manuscript.  The first time you mention a character, put their name in capitals. 

"RILEY SHAUGHNESSY is afraid to reveal the details of her dark past to the inhabitants of Shady Valley." NOT "RILEY SHAUGHNESSY was afraid..."

The next paragraph to write is a summary of the ending. It is considered amateurish to hide the ending from editors and agents.

Now you can fill in the middle with a few more paragraphs. The third one should start with a sentence showing the dark moment, and you can add a few more lines to make a paragraph.

Begin the fourth paragraph by writing a sentence describing the turning point, then complete the paragraph.

The next few paragraphs will fill in the rest of the story. This is where you should address character and/or romantic development.

And now you have the basis for your synopsis. As always, edit until you're happy with it.

Next thing you need--a query letter. I'll post about it when I've done the research.

Good luck!!


Monday, September 10, 2012

WAY OUT OF LINE - GREAT REVIEW

Way out of Line is not a traditional romance. I've always known this, and my publisher knew it but she decided to take a chance on it and since I already write romantic suspense, that's what we called it. 

It definitely is a love story, but in a true romance novel, the primary female character is the most important person in the novel, and the story revolves around her and her interactions with the hunky male character, who is always really gorgeous. 


This review, by Sandra Scholes of Love, Romance, Passion is very accurate. She picked up on the fact that when I wrote this story, more than ten years ago, I was actually more sympathetic to Hal than to Trent. Instead of being the almost impossibly handsome bad boy we find in most romance novels, Hal is just an ordinary guy--like the guy next door. 

Trent is a spoiled brat, and she causes Hal indescribable pain, but in the end, after suffering some frightening events herself, she is forced to mature. 

The one thing that is central to the story is their love for one another, which eventually triumphs over evil and erases the pain and suffering. 

So, while this book probably doesn't really fit into the romantic suspense genre, it is undoubtedly a love story.






Sunday, September 9, 2012

Women Who Read Romance Have Sex More Often

According to Psychology Today, romance novels to women are like porn to men.

They say women who read romance novels make love with their partners 74% more often than women who don't, have more fun in bed, and are more adventurous in bed.


An understanding of what stimulates each gender sexually can lead to a far more satisfying relationship. Are you taking note, guys?

Basically, men are stimulated visually. They see a picture of a naked woman and they're aroused. While a woman may become aroused by looking at a man's naked body, she really needs emotional stimulation to put her "in the mood". The difference has been portrayed by the statement that men's desire can be likened to an on/off switch, and women's to a complex circuit board.

Romance novels allow women to fantasize about the sexy heroes. They are kind of like emotional aphrodisiacs. They may sometimes even take the place of foreplay. The most interesting fact, to me, is that the love scenes don't have to be super erotic or explicit, as long as they create emotional intensity, which increases blood flow, heart rate, and the release of the right hormones.

There's no doubt about it. We love romance and happy endings.

Maybe that's why the romance genre is still the most popular in the USA, and statistics show someone buys a romance novel every five seconds. 

Refs:
Picture by Nattu's Photostream
http://www.clickpress.com/releases/Detailed/8563005cp.shtml

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This Author has Kickassitude

I LOVE this interview with Mary Metcalfe. She is great and has a fabulous blog.



My guest author this week is Trish Jackson. Trish has the singular honour of being the first author I’ve interviewed who knows how to shoot a UZI submachine gun, let alone sleep with it under her bed. There must be a book in there somewhere. But, for today, welcome Trish! Tell us a bit about what you’re working on these days.

First, a big thank you to you, Mary for having me on your blog and for asking such thought-provoking questions.

I'm currently writing a new romantic suspense novel, Impassioned. This is a very intense story revolving around my protagonist's relationship with a serial killer. I'm also working on edit-1 from my publisher of my upcoming romantic suspense/comedy novel Kickassitude. This is a sequel to Redneck P.I. and every time I read it again, it makes me smile.


Are you character driven or plot driven?