Author Archives: Kay Keppler

About Kay Keppler

Kay Keppler is a writer and editor of fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northern California.

Diary of a Writing Workshop Dropout

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Diary of a Writing Workshop Dropout

Have you ever signed up for a workshop to discover you didn’t have the time, energy, thoughts, or ambition to complete it? Here’s Nancy’s story, over at Eight Ladies

Eight Ladies Writing

Sometime in January: Dear Diary, today I got an email notice that Donald Maas, author of one of my go-to writing texts, Writing the 21st Century Novel, is giving an online workshop in March. I want to take this class. I have no time for this class. I am crazy to even think I should consider this class. I WANT TO TAKE THIS CLASS. I cannot take this class.

Sometime in February: Dear Diary, I just signed up for Donald Maas’s online class.

March 11: Dear Diary, today I got an email reminder about an online writing class. Apparently, in a moment of abject denial about the reality of my life, I thought I could handle a class. While working 80-hour work weeks. Was I drunk?

March 15: Dear Diary, my online class started yesterday, and the first assignment – to write a blurb for a WIP – is due…

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Characters Reborn and Reinvented

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Characters that go through fire and come out stronger than ever are characters you want to read more about. See what Jilly has to say over on Eight Ladies Writing.

Eight Ladies Writing

Characters reborn and reinventedHappy Easter to all who are celebrating today!

For hundreds, maybe thousands of years the Spring equinox has been a time to salute the coming of light and new life (here’s a link to a Wikipedia article about the goddess Eostre and all kinds of Paschal traditions). Makes sense to me. I’ve always found this time of year to be my most positive, productive and creative. There’s something about the light that makes me feel energized and inspired. I get the feeling everything is new, change is in the air and anything is possible.

I was daydreaming yesterday about how much I’d like that feeling to saturate my current WIP when it struck me that almost all romance writing is about rebirth and reinvention. Maybe that’s why I find it such an effective pick-me-up in the depths of winter or when I’m feeling under the weather.

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Hitting the Go Switch

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What triggers the actions of your characters? See how Jilly over at Eight Ladies Writing suggests you find their Go switch. Then you’re off to the races!

Eight Ladies Writing

Boom!So far, so good. I’m still engrossed in the discovery stage of my fantasy WIP: growing the world, developing the community, digging away at the characters of my hero and heroine, adding images to my collection and tracks to my playlist – thank you so much for the great suggestions last week – and generally trying to knit together the jumble of impressions, ideas and loose ends into something vaguely coherent. Getting there. I think.

I’ve also been investigating lots of diverse subjects I know nothing about, including how to field dress a broken arm, much ado about horses, how to maintain a shaved head, leather armor, underwear through the ages, the history of soap, and lots more stuff about fighting.

I was talking to a knowledgeable friend about fighting, sketching out the essentials of the story, and I got to a turning point that makes the heroine commit to…

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Happy International Women’s Day

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Eight Ladies Writing

women's dayAs a romance writer—a female writer whose books put women and their goals in the center of the story—I have to commemorate today, March 8, even though I’m a bit late here! International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world, but less noticeably in the United States. The holiday celebrates women’s achievements, even as women use the day to organize for social and political rights.

The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York in remembrance of the 1908 strike of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. One hundred delegates from 17 countries to the second International Women’s Conference, held in August 1910, agreed to promote equal rights, including suffrage, for women, and by 1911, more than a half-million Europeans marked the day with 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women carried banners honoring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that women be given the…

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Writing Sex Scenes

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What should a good sex scene do? More than insert Tab A into Slot B, that’s for sure. See what Michaeline over at Eight Ladies Writing has to say about it.

 

Is there a secret to writing sexy scenes? Image via Wikimedia Commons

Is there a secret to writing sexy scenes? Image via Wikimedia Commons

Sex scenes can be scary to write. We live in a strange sort of pop culture that delights in sharing details, details, details, and this is fine up until the point when a description is suddenly branded Too Much Information. The reader enjoys an open and frank conversation about whatever, when suddenly the writer turns the corner into something that’s just a little too personal.

The scary part is that we, as writers, never quite know where that turn is. It’s not marked with signposts. One reader might switch off at the first mention of bodily fluid, while a different reader will devour descriptions of the most depraved and degrading acts, only to be turned off by something that most readers accept as just part of the modern written sex scene – heaving bosoms or a quivering member.

So, I suppose, like so much writing, the first rule is write to please yourself…

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Building a Playlist

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What do you listen to as you write? Jilly over at Eight Ladies Writing has made some suggestions based on the acts of the story.

Eight Ladies Writing

playlistsAre you a fan of playlists? I find them incredibly helpful as an aid to discovery. This week I started one for my new story, I’ve been listening to it non-stop, and it’s really got my creative wheels turning. I wanted to give myself a flying start, so I used songs we already had in our library and a few that came immediately to mind, but I’d love to build on it and I’m looking for suggestions.

It’s a strong, active story so I’m especially interested in powerful, energetic, punchy songs. When I put the list together I just picked titles that felt right, but below I’ve grouped them into a few themes: Our Girl on a Mission, Our Girl in Trouble, Kick-Ass Fighting, Hunting and Hiding, Preconceptions Challenged, Hard Choices, and The Right True End. I’d love to add songs about a man on a mission, family obligations, classy…

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Reasons for Scene

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How many reasons for a scene do you include in your work? The more, the merrier! See what Michille at Eight Ladies Writing has to say.

Eight Ladies Writing

Red Stage Curtain

My goal for the next week or so is to get several powerful scenes written. By powerful, I mean scenes with multiple purposes in the story. As we have discussed here many times, every scene is a unit of conflict. I want to write scenes that go beyond a unit of conflict.

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