Category Archives: Uncategorized

Conflict Conundrum


Can you enjoy a book where the characters don’t seem to be much in conflict with each other? See what Elizabeth over at the Eight Ladies thinks.

Eight Ladies Writing

ConflictWe’ve talked about conflict a number of times here on the blog including Jilly’s post here, my Back to Basics post here,  and Justine’s recent Fiction Fundamentals posts here and here.

“Let’s be clear about one thing: conflict must be in each scene in your book. Every. Single. One.”  ~ Justine

Jenny Crusie also has a great set of posts all about conflict on her Writing/Romance blog, full of details and examples.  With all of these discussions, along with our McDaniel class notes and presentations, I think I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the role conflict plays in building a strong, engaging story.

Conflict is a specific struggle between two people, the escalating action of which moves the story forward.” ~ Jenny Crusie

But . . .

View original post 328 more words

Characters Reborn and Reinvented


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.

View original post 534 more words

Hitting the Go Switch


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…

View original post 655 more words

Happy International Women’s Day


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…

View original post 227 more words

Writing Sex Scenes


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…

View original post

Building a Playlist


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…

View original post 312 more words

Reasons for Scene


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.

View original post 339 more words

Author Branding


How do (and how should) authors present themselves? It all depends on who you are and what you write. Elizabeth from Eight Ladies Writing has a few thoughts on this matter.

Eight Ladies Writing

brandA few weeks ago, we took a break from our usual discussions about the craft of writing to talk about social media and the business side of writing. Today, again driven by things that are going on in my day job, I want to continue that discussion and talk a little about author branding.

First off, what exactly is an author brand?

At its simplest level, an author brand is about communication. It is how your readers (existing or potential) know you and it’s what makes you stand out from all of the other writers out there.  You want readers to recognize your name and know what you write so that when you have a book out they’ll read it and then tell their friends, who will read it and tell their friends who will . . .

So I just need to write a good book (and another…

View original post 813 more words

Fighting Talk


In building a world, how do you create scenes you have no experience with? How can your characters fight their enemy if you yourself don’t know how to fight? That’s what Jilly is doing right now.

Eight Ladies Writing

Fighting TalkIt’s been almost a month since a random discussion with my hairdresser inspired me to have a try at writing fantasy. My initial plan was to give it a couple of weeks and then decide whether to carry on. I’m pleased to report that while the story is still a hot mess of fragments, impressions and loose ends, it’s shaping up well and I’m absolutely loving it.

Last Sunday’s discussion about baddies was super-helpful. It gave me just the nudge I needed to figure out that my story does indeed have a shadowy Big Bad. I haven’t figured out the ‘who’ and the most fundamental ‘why’ of him yet, but I’ve figured out what he does, and it’s not good. It will probably take my hero and heroine more than one book to bring him down. There’s also a good chance he might be a stooge for an even Bigger…

View original post 689 more words

Under Pressure


End of February, shortest month of the year, and one of the most stressful times in Japan. Everyone is under pressure. It’s smack in the middle of exam season, and for my daughter, the really important one is coming up next week. Kids are graduating in a few weeks, people are moving. Everything turns over between March 31 and April 1, but now is the darkness before the dawn. Nobody knows anything except “maybe.”

(a mashup of concert footage from Queen and David Bowie at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert; the mix is pretty close to the classic Queen/Bowie song, the description says)

It’s like the beginning of the third act in a novel…

Source: Michaeline: Under Pressure from Eight Ladies Writing.