Romance: Two Best-Selling Plot Types

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

Relational Inequalities in Fiction Writing

So today I wanted to talk about relationships. No, this isn't just for Romance books. This is about all relationships--your antagonist and his second-in-command, your hero and her best friend, and even the protagonist and the antagonist (chances are, if they're fighting each other for any length of time, they have a relationship, albeit a … Continue reading Relational Inequalities in Fiction Writing

Book Review: Mercer Street

Book Description from Goodreads: Weeks after her husband dies in the midst of an affair in 2016, Chicago writer Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time … Continue reading Book Review: Mercer Street

Fictional Families: Mothers and Daughters

We've been exploring positive literary families, covering Fathers and Sons and Fathers and Daughters, and today, I wanted to start looking at the Mothering side of the equation. We've all read lots and lots of bad mothers, step-mothers, and dead mothers; most fairy tales have at least of these as the villain or story device … Continue reading Fictional Families: Mothers and Daughters

Fictional Families: Fathers and Sons

We've been examining family dynamics in fiction, looking at strong and healthy relationships rather than the dysfunctional ones that tend to create drama and difficulties. While the latter are more common and more interesting at times for an author to write, the former give us imaginative role models for our own lives and can give … Continue reading Fictional Families: Fathers and Sons

Fictional Families: Fathers and Daughters

I've been thinking about examples of good parenting in novels and movies, and, not entirely to my surprise, I haven't found that many. I can think of lots of bad parents and lots of stories where a parent (or both) are absent--all the Cinderella and Oliver Twist stories, the Pride and Prejudice -type mothers and Persuasion -type fathers--but … Continue reading Fictional Families: Fathers and Daughters

The Art of Making a Good Match

I've been dealing with writing romance lately. Not the genre but the plot component, the seemingly inescapable phenomenon that crops up when writing fantasy, science-fiction, historical fiction, and just about any other genre, provided you have a few single characters floating around. And I've written about how authors can woefully get a romance wrong before, and … Continue reading The Art of Making a Good Match

Busy-ness: Demonstrations of Character

Busy-ness is generally considered unimportant when it comes to plotting. We don't usually make space for it, because it isn't central to the plot. Unless we are writing a romance and need a quite moment for the two characters to interact, we try to keep the pace going. Note, I spelt it with a "y" … Continue reading Busy-ness: Demonstrations of Character

The Courtyard

Out in the stone courtyard Waiting You're right there on the other side Your world beyond you Hidden in sun and shade and the whisper of a thousand plants. What would I find If I were there Closer Accepted Even invited? Have weeds overrun your garden? Or is all beautiful Tranquil As alive as ever? … Continue reading The Courtyard