I've been thinking about the romance genre lately, trying to explain what it is that "happens" in a romance story. Obviously, it's about a couple finding each other (or realizing that they already know each other) and reaching their happily-ever-after moment (whether it does or doesn't last is another matter entirely, but unless you write … Continue reading Romance: Two Best-Selling Plot Types
Scenes can be delightful, sad, poignant, tense, or scary. They can become a reader's favorite part or most dreaded section, but one thing a scene should never do is just sit there, occupying space. So here are three questions you need to ask every scene. Plotters might ask themselves these questions beforehand, while we pantsters … Continue reading 3 Questions to Ask Every Scene
As writers, we've been told over and over how it's much better to show a reader something rather than tell them, and recently, I wrote about how one can use dance to show a character's thoughts and how she changes. As a general rule, showing means giving the reader details: letting them see what the … Continue reading Four Ways to Plan Showing Vs. Telling in Your Novel
I've been thinking a lot about plotting lately (as my works-in-progress have been at that stage), and it occurred to me that it's kind of like a game, played between reader and writer. In some ways, it reminds me of the game of rummy, where the goal is to collect a certain group of cards--so … Continue reading Plotting a Novel is Like Playing a Game of Rummy
Recently, I've been dealing with...well, we won't call it writer's block. I wasn't out of things to write, merely stumped on how to get from Point A to Point B without creating major plot holes. And it was very tempting to just skip the problematic bit and go ahead to the next chapter or section, … Continue reading Do You Write Chronologically?
One of my friends has been trying to explain the ways, methods, and attraction of Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop role playing games (RPGs). We've discussed how the game master gets to control certain aspects of the story, and yet the actual plot is left to chance (the dice) and the input and decisions … Continue reading Dealing with Other People’s Creativity #amwriting
As I go back over my first novel (for the twentieth time, at least), I'm reminded of one writing "rule" that many authors seem to forget: your rough drafts are worth their weight in gold. They aren't pure gold, of course. There are spelling and grammar errors, plot inconsistencies, and lines of dialogue that no … Continue reading Why You Should Treasure Your Rough Drafts
In the course of writing and rewriting my first four novels, I have encountered five signs of a plot gone wrong. It isn’t always noticeable to Beta readers—the alternate routes are sometimes enjoyable, and they do further the plot, but they do so in a way that harms the overall structure. I am sure there … Continue reading Five Signs Your Story Has Gone Awry